Definition of FRBRoo: A Conceptual Model for Bibliographic Information in Object-Oriented Formalism

by Working Group on FRBR/CRM Dialogue



FRBROO is an ontology or high-level conceptual model for bibliographic data.

It is described in the document:

Definition of FRBROO : a Conceptual Model for Bibliographic Information in Object-Oriented Formalism

Commonly known as FRBROO, this model is closely related to IFLA’s FRBR family of conceptual models. It is the object-oriented version of these models. FRBROO version 1 was based on FRBR alone, while FRBROO version 2 is based on the three models: FRBR, FRAD and FRSAD.

FRBROO remains true to the original models. It does not change the concepts expressed in the original three models, nor does it transform any aspect. It provides an alternative view or interpretation of the FRBR family of models. It is an object-oriented model, that is, the ontology described in FRBROO uses an object oriented formalism instead of entity-relationship modelling. Thus, FRBROO is better suited for the implementation of FRBR concepts in object oriented tools. It also makes explicit some concepts that were implicit in the original models, thus making it easier to move from conceptual model to real-life applications.

Relationship between the library and museum conceptual models

FRBROO is the result of dialogue between the conceptual modelling communities of IFLA and the International Council of Museums (ICOM).  The International Committee for Documentation is the ICOM committee involved in this work; it is known as CIDOC, from the acronym of the Committee’s name in French. 

While the library community was developing the original FRBR entity-relationship model, the museum community was developing its own conceptual model for museum data: the CIDOC Conceptual Reference Model, or CIDOC CRM.

When the two models were completed, each community recognized the great value in harmonizing the two models to support future data integration and interoperability. A common view of cultural heritage information benefits both communities.


The purposes of FRBROO (also described in more detail in the introduction, section 1.1):

  • To reach a common view of cultural heritage information through the harmonization of the high-level conceptual models of the library and museum communities
  • To verify the internal consistency of the FRBR family of models by expressing these models using a different formalism or methodology

  • To enable interoperability of data between the library and museum domains by having a shared ontology, and thus also supporting the integration and exchange of data from these two domains in applications, discovery and navigation tools, portals, etc.

  • To fine-tune the conceptual models of each community through the modelling work required to achieve harmonization: the work involved in harmonization deepened both communities’ understanding of issues that may have been overlooked during initial development

  • To extend the scope of the FRBR family of models beyond the library domain and to extend the scope of the museum community’s model to include bibliographic information:

The harmonisation between the two models is also an opportunity to extend the scope of the CIDOC CRM to bibliographic information, which paves the way for extensions to other domains and formats, such as EAD, TEI, MPEG7, just to name a few. Consequently, it also extends the scope of the FRBR family of conceptual models to cultural materials, since FRBROO inherits all concepts of the CIDOC CRM, and opens the way for the IFLA models to benefit from further extensions of the scope of CIDOC CRM, such as the scientific heritage of observations and experiments.

(Introduction, 1.1.5)

Authorship and endorsement

FRBROO was prepared by the Working Group on FRBR/CRM Dialogue (which is also referred to as: International Working Group on FRBR and CIDOC CRM Harmonisation). The Working Group is affiliated with the IFLA FRBR Review Group and works in consultation with the IFLA FRBR Review Group and with the ICOM CIDOC CRM Special Interest Group. The Working Group has both IFLA and ICOM members.

FRBROO version 2.4 is endorsed by the IFLA Professional Committee.  

Standards, FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records), FRBRoo, Object-Oriented FRBR, FRAD; FRSAD, conceptual models, CIDOC CRM

Last update: 22 May 2017