Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto - OCS, 15th INTERNATIONAL ISKO CONFERENCE

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Maria Teresa Biagetti

Last modified: 2017-12-18



Ontologies hold an essential role in building Linked open data to enhance the Semantic Web. They offer the tool to express semantically qualified relationships in the realization of RDF triples, and the possibility of linking data from different dataset.

At his highest level, the LOD creation allows to connect the data into the Web to enrich information[1] by the way of Interlinking data from different sources. To improve the semantic interoperability, it would be a good strategy to use ontologies well known by the Web community, rather than develop new ontologies.

Bibliographic ontologies enable description of entities that belong to the bibliographic set, such as textual publications (articles, books) and web pages, dataset, etc. They define specific relationships among the entities (authorship, aboutness), and relationships to connect works and their abridgments, adaptations and translations, or a serial and the transformations it had over time (supplements or successors).

Among challenges for Knowledge Organization in the digital age, there is the control over the increase of bibliographic ontologies. Scholars in KO should take interest in bibliographic ontologies, make monitoring and scientific supervision of new ontologies, considering the international conceptual model developed in the field of KO.

Bibliographic data model Bibframe[2] and FRBRoo[3] are well known and well founded on bibliographic expertise. Besides, there are other bibliographic ontologies available on the Web made by computer scientists alone or scholars unrelated to the KO field.

This paper provides the evaluation of two bibliographic ontologies developed without the contribution of scholars of the KO field. It analyses the Bibliographic ontology (Bibo)[4], the first OWL ontology that provides main concepts and properties for describing bibliographic entities and citations, and the FaBiO[5] ontology, based on the FRBR[6] entities for describing entities from different and correlated points of view, as its developers assert. FaBiO imports terms from FRBR Core.

The study analyses the classes and the properties defined in these ontologies, evaluates the use of the categories in Bibo and verifies the alignment with FRBR in FaBiO. Finally, it checks the consistency of the definitions with the categories that belong to the catalographic field.

FaBiO ontology is part of SPAR Semantic publishing and referencing ontologies,[7] a set of complementary and orthogonal ontologies developed in OWL 2 DL[8] by the Bologna University and the Oxford University (2009). SPAR participate in the Semantic publishing project.[9]


The paper compares the definitions of the classes in the two ontologies with the bibliographic categories used in the catalographic field. In particular, the FaBiO classes are compared with the FRBR model and the IFLA LRM (Library Reference Model),[10] which is the synthesis of the FR family of conceptual models previously and separately published. LRM can be used in the LOD building, for improving the use of bibliographical data in the LOD environment.

The study also examines the properties exposed in the FaBiO and Bibo ontologies and makes a comparison with the Cataloging Resource Relationships (General, specific and detailed)[11] of the Bibframe 2.0.[12] Moreover, the Pressoo properties for continuing resources is considered.[13]The use of property links is shortly analysed: Object Properties in Bibo and Datatype Properties in FaBiO to express values of entities.

Main results

The results of the comparison are presented focusing on the evaluation of the use of FRBR categories to distinguish different aspects in the publication process. Tables of comparison between the classes of FaBiO (Abstract, Book, Index, Critical edition, etc) and the FRBR categories are presented, also considering the IFLA-LRM high-level conceptual model. As a result, the mapping emphasizes that the alignment to the FRBR categories is restricted to a simplistic level and it is not always correct. Particular attention is paid to the hierarchical organization of the FaBiO Classes and Subclasses. In this case, the alignment with FRBR categories is not present. The developers of the FaBiO ontology confuse the FRBR bibliographic categories (Work and Expression) with the type of publications, such as books, articles, issues. FaBiO presents a small number of properties; Bibo, instead, a greater number. However, it needs resource relationship Work-Derivative Work.

Finally, tables of mapping between FaBiO - Bibo properties and Bibframe 2.0 properties are presented. The low number of properties of the first two compared with Bibframe 2.0 properties is stressed.


This survey highlights the problems that arise in modelling classes, subclasses and properties aiming to develop a formal ontology in the bibliographic field, available for the Web community. The study emphasizes the simplistic alignment of FaBiO to the FRBR categories on one hand, and the lack of properties provided by the two ontologies, on the other. Moreover, it stresses the soundness of the Bibo classes’ definitions. The evaluation of the two bibliographic ontologies underlines the required attention of KO scholars to the modelling of bibliographic ontologies.



Tim Berners-Lee. Linked Data - Design Issues. http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/

LinkedData.html , 2006


IFLA. Functional requirements for bibliographic records: final report, München, K. G. Saur, 1998.


IFLA. Functional requirements for bibliographic records: final report. Approved by the Standing Committee of the IFLA Section on Cataloguing. September 1997. As amended and corrected through February 2009.


IFLA. Library Reference Model. Eds. Pat Riva, Patrick Le Boeuf, and Maja Žumer

Consolidation Editorial Group of the IFLA FRBR Review Group reporting to the IFLA Cataloguing Section.  March 2017. Revised after world-wide review

Not yet endorsed by the IFLA Professional Committee or Governing Board https://www.ifla.org/files/assets/cataloguing/frbr-lrm/ifla_lrm_2017-03.pdf


Library of Congress. Bibliographic Framework Initiative, Model and Vocabulary 2.0 https://www.loc.gov/bibframe/


Library of Congress. Bibliographic Framework as a Web of Data: Linked Data Model and Supporting Services, 2012 https://www.loc.gov/bibframe/pdf/marcld-report-11-21-2012.pdf


Terhi Nurmikko-Fuller [et alii], A Comparative Analysis of Bibliographic Ontologies: Implications for Digital Humanities, in: Digital Humanities 2016: Conference Abstracts. Jagiellonian University & Pedagogical University, Kraków, pp. 639-642. (Short Paper) http://dh2016.adho.org/abstracts/369.


Terhi Nurmikko-Fuller [et alii] (2015). Bibliographic Ontologies Comparative Features Dataset. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois. https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/88356/BibliographicOntologyFeatures.xlsx?sequence=2&isAllowed=y


Silvio Peroni, David Shotton, Fabio Vitali, Scholarly publishing and Linked Data: describing roles, statuses, temporal and contextual extents, in: I-SEMANTICS 2012,

Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Semantic Systems, Graz, Austria, Sept. 5-7, 2012. DOI: 10.1145/2362499.2362502


Silvio Peroni, David Shotton, FaBiO and CiTO: Ontologies for describing bibliographic resources and citations, "Web Semantics: Science, Services and Agents on the World Wide Web", 17 (2012) p. 33–43. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1570826812000790


PRESSOO Extension of CIDOC CRM and FRBRoo for the modelling of bibliographic information pertaining to continuing resources Version 1.2

January 2016 Approved by CIDOC CRM-SIG http://www.ifla.org/files/assets/cataloguing/PRESSoo/pressoo_v1.2.pdf.


David Shotton Comparison of BIBO and FaBiO. (Posted on June 29, 2011), https://opencitations.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/comparison-of-bibo-and-fabio/


Anne Welsh, Antonios Bikakis [et alii], (2015) The Linked Open Bibliographic Data Project, “Catalogue and Index” 178: 15-19.

[1] Tim Berners-Lee: http://www.w3.org/DesignIssues/LinkedData.html

[2] The Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/bibframe/

[3] https://www.ifla.org/publications/node/11240. A comparative analysis of BIBFRAME 1 and FRBRoo, in Terhi Nurmikko-Fuller [et alii] (2015), Bibliographic Ontologies Comparative Features Dataset, Champaign, IL: University of Illinois. https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/bitstream/handle/2142/88356/BibliographicOntologyFeatures.xlsx?sequence=2&isAllowed=y

[4] Developed by Bruce D'Arcus and Frédérick Giasson  http://bibliontology.com/


[5] FRBR-aligned bibliographic ontology http://purl.org/spar/fabio

[6] Functional requirements for bibliographic records: final report, München, K. G. Saur, 1998, online http://www.ifla.org/VII/s13/frbr/frbr.pdf.. IFLA Study Group on the functional requirements for bibliographic records, Functional requirements for bibliographic records: final report. Approved by the Standing Committee of the IFLA Section on Cataloguing. September 1997. As amended and corrected through February 2009, http://www.ifla.org/VII/s13/frbr/frbr_2008.pdf.

[7] http://purl.org/spar

[8] OWL 2 Web Ontology Language. Document Overview (Second Edition). W3C Recommendation 11 December 2012, http://www.w3.org/TR/owl2-overview/. http://www.w3.org/TR/owl2-overview/

[9] The SPAR ontologies are twelve in all: FRBR-aligned Bibliographic Ontology (FaBiO); Citation Typing Ontology (CiTO); Bibliographic Reference Ontology (BiRO); Citation Counting and Context Characterisation Ontology (C4O); Document Components Ontology (DoCO); Publishing Status Ontology (PSO); Publishing Roles Ontology (PRO); Publishing Workflow Ontology (PWO); Scholarly Contributions and Roles Ontology (SCoRO); DataCite Ontology (DataCite); Bibliometric Data Ontology (BiDO);Five Stars of Online Research Articles Ontology (Five)

[10] Published online 22 May 2017, editors Pat Riva, Patrick LeBoeuf and Maja Žumer https://www.ifla.org/files/assets/cataloguing/frbr-lrm/ifla_lrm_2017-03.pdf.

[11] http://id.loc.gov/ontologies/bibframe-category.html

[12] https://www.loc.gov/bibframe/

[13]Editor Patrick Le Boeuf, version 1.2 January 2016, http://www.ifla.org/files/assets/cataloguing/PRESSoo/pressoo_v1.2.pdf.