Basic Overview of the Bibliographic Class (BibClass)

The Bibliographic Class (BibClass) includes a range of descriptive metadata, from the minimal (cf. Wing) to the expansive (cf. MARC records or information extracted from the TEI Header). Entities in this class have a relatively flat structure. Most instances within BibClass are collections of bibliographic citations, but may also be collections of entries describing entities other than books or journal articles (e.g., coins, photographs, ostraca, or other objects).

The primary behaviors of the class are relatively limited, focusing primarily on searching, display, and management (e.g., collecting citations of primary interest from a much larger collection of valid citations). Entities in BibClass are typically displayed as brief citations or more expansive citations, with and without field labels, and in different formats suitable for different purposes (e.g., downloading). While issues such as display are simple compared to texts, users have come to expect more sophisticated methods for navigating and managing large numbers of results, e.g., sorting on different indexes, or using a "shopping cart" model for collecting the information for subsequent uses. For more information on the range of bibliographic resources supported by this Class, as well as "tensions" implicit in the Class's definition, please see Representative Resources.

DLXS BibClass was not intended to replace robust, large-scale bibliographic systems like the library catalog, but to accomplish resource discovery across a large body of bibliographic information managed outside of large integrated library systems. Implementation is relatively simple and therefore extremely cost-effective (typically more cost-effective than a similar implementation in an integrated library system), and because of this DLXS BibClass may have continuing value as a cost-effective system for databases like Wing or the indexes to the London Times and New York Times. Nevertheless, we believe that the opportunity for much tighter integration of full text resources and the library management systems may make many applications of DLXS BibClass obsolete.

Within UM, we use BibClass to manage nameresolver, our persistent URL tool, and to provide information to broker20, our OAI-compatible data provider for shareable metadata.

Related Resources

  1. BibClass DTD
  2. Representative Resources
  3. Testing Procedures

Notes on Nomenclature:

Bibliographic indexes are referred to as "collections" for the sake of convenience. A bibliographic index, or collection, consists of all bibliographic fields in SGML or XML format, conforming to the bib.dtd.
We use the term field to describe any bounded and named area of searchable information in a bibliographic collection. Most will correspond to elements in the SGML or XML DTD (e.g., the YR element, used for date information), but fields may also correspond to a searchable attribute, tag, or some "synthetic" body of information such as a subset of elements containing specific information. In XPAT syntax, a field is referred to as a region.
We use the term index to describe any machine-built searchable indexes created by xpatbld, including xpatbld's word and phrase indexes and its "region" indexes (i.e., for searching SGML/XML elements and attributes as containers of information; see Field, above).

Planned Additions and Enhancements to BibClass

BibClass enhancements and additions include: