Search results should enable users to evaluate their relevance as swiftly and easily as possible and inform their continuing search strategy. Typically, results are first listed in a summary display with a choice of formats available for more detailed display of individual records. However, this traditional display of bibliographic information used in most OPAC style systems has been criticised in recent years (Carlyle & Timmons, 2002).

As a minimal requirement it is recommended that the following formats should be supported:

  • Complete bibliographic/authority format (including display of all fields present in the record)
  • Citation format (e.g. ISO 690, APA, MLA, etc.) with all information needed to identify a publication


In addition, the following optional formats may be provided:

  • Labelled user format
  • ISBD style display

Hyperlinks should be supported within records enabling direct navigation to related items e.g. works of the same author, works on the same subject etc.

For acquisitions purposes, a link to publisher information (e.g. address, publisher contact, price, availability and rights) is necessary.

Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) offers a more intuitive and meaningful clustering of large result sets. In addition to the creation of new FRBR-based cataloguing rules to support these approaches there have also been attempts to extract information about FRBR entities, their attributes and relationships from pre-existing data in a  process commonly known as ‘FRBRisation’. FRBRisation experiments (Hegna & Murtomaa, 2002; Hickey, O’Neill & Toves, 2002) show the library community is aware of the need to change current practice (e.g. see: Louvain University catalogue author search “Shakespeare” Due to their coverage, national bibliographies offer a good starting point both for FRBRisation  and original FRBR cataloguing as new rules become available.