Data Models

The BBP Metadata Team—Melissa Barton, Brenna Bychowski, Mark Custer, and Audrey Pearson (Beinecke Library), and Timothy Thompson (Yale University Library)—developed the data model for this project using the principles of linked data, which leverages the hyperlink architecture of the web to link discrete bits of information about black print to one another and to enable new questions to be posed and answered.

Our data model adopts a modified form of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) framework for cataloging books, a framework that is similar to the Library of Congress’ BIBFRAME model, currently in development to replace the MARC cataloging standard.

We use the Wikibase platform to collect and store our data. Wikibase is a semantic knowledge base originally developed for the Wikidata project.

We developed our data model for the digital description of books, pamphlets, tracts, and broadsides, using three levels of bibliographic description: Work, Edition, and Copy. We soon realized, however, that Serials needed their own data model. The Metadata Team also developed a separate set of properties for the description of Dust Jackets, which we will link to the books they enclose at the Copy level.

Converting the physical features of a print object into linked data’s semantic terms, our database promises to reconfigure how we conceive and understand Black authorship’s relation to the ever-changing means of literary production.