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Multilingual Issues in the Representation of International Bibliographic Standards for the Semantic Web. Gordon Dunsire Independent Consultant; Chair of IFLA Namespaces Technical Group Presented at W3C Multilingual Web Workshop, Rome, 12-13 March 2013.

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Multilingual Issues in the Representation of International Bibliographic Standards for the Semantic Web

Gordon Dunsire

Independent Consultant; Chair of IFLA Namespaces Technical Group

Presented at W3C Multilingual Web Workshop, Rome, 12-13 March 2013


International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) maintains global standards for the library/bibliographic environment:

  • Functional Requirements family of models for

    • Bibliographic Records (FRBR)

    • Authority Data (FRAD)

    • Subject Authority Data (FRSAD)

  • International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD)

    • Catalogue record structure and content

  • UNIMARC

    • Catalogue and Authority record data format

    • Based on ISBD


IFLA has its own namespace Institutions (IFLA) maintains global standards for the library/bibliographic environment:

“http://iflastandards.info”

Used for representation of models, schemas, and terminologies as element sets and value vocabularies in Resource Description Framework

Supports conversion of bibliographic records to library linked data without loss of information

Element sets and vocabularies maintained in the Open Metadata Registry


  • 7 official languages Institutions (IFLA) maintains global standards for the library/bibliographic environment:

  • Bibliographic standards developed in English

  • Translated into many (7++) languages

Multilingual website launched February 2013

with Spanish version


Opaque URIs Institutions (IFLA) maintains global standards for the library/bibliographic environment:


Translation into Spanish exposed some issues Institutions (IFLA) maintains global standards for the library/bibliographic environment:


Translation issues
Translation issues Institutions (IFLA) maintains global standards for the library/bibliographic environment:

  • Scope

    • Priority for developers: Element definition and label

    • Priority for users: Concept label and definition

  • Style (verbal phrasing, CamelCase, etc.)

    • What is ok in one language may not be in another

  • Source

    • Translation of namespace vs source documentation

  • Disambiguation

    • Methods for creating unique labels may vary between languages

  • Language inflection (not an issue in English)


Local schedule Institutions (IFLA) maintains global standards for the library/bibliographic environment:

Partial translation


RDF value vocabulary Institutions (IFLA) maintains global standards for the library/bibliographic environment:

… for authoritative translations of IFLA cataloguing standards and related documents.


26+ languages Institutions (IFLA) maintains global standards for the library/bibliographic environment:


Thank you
Thank you! Institutions (IFLA) maintains global standards for the library/bibliographic environment:

  • [email protected]

  • http://iflastandards.info/ns/fr/

  • http://iflastandards.info/ns/isbd/

  • MulDiCat

    • http://metadataregistry.org/vocabulary/show/id/299.html

  • UNIMARC

    • Real soon now


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