Re-Model the Model

There’s a scene in the Adventure Time episode Vault of Bones (season 5, episode 12) that really resonated with me. Finn and Flame Princess are exploring an underground dungeon and early on they encounter a locked door. Much later on, they find a key.

The following exchange occurs:


Flame Princess saying "We have to go back"
Flame Princess: We have to go back?


Finn responding, "We don't have to, we *get* to!"
Finn: We don’t have to, we get to!


Now while the episode serves an important lesson for Finn (and the audience) about the importance of listening to your partner about their likes/dislikes and not trying to control every aspect of a shared activity — taken out of that context, this exchange speaks to me in a different way.

Because I get it.

As any scientist will tell you, nothing is more exciting that finding data that doesn’t fit the your expectations or model you’ve been working from. It means that you might have an opportunity to revise the model and may even gain a better understanding of how that which you’re modeling works!

Now I’m no scientist (library science degree notwithstanding), but I like to think that I have some of that science mojo in me, that desire (and belief) that given sufficient experimentation and brains, we can learn anything about anything.

I was working on an indexing project for my final semester at Simmons and about half-way through I thought of something that would radically change the entire project. So I started over from scratch, and literally quoted the above exchange myself. We get to go back, and learn something new, find something cool, and go farther than we could if we didn’t go back.


So what does all this jazz have to do with anything? The Working Group on Aggregates’ discussion paper came out!

This now gives me an opportunity to revisit my conceptual model of how comics fit into the FRBR structure, and revisit I did! It means I get to go back a little bit, but in the end it’s actually going to save me some time.

I’ve decided to use Option C from the working group’s discussion paper, and I’ll briefly explain why:

Option A: a comprehensive description of the Aggregation Work and Expression, and the aggregating Manifestation(s).

What this would mean for a comic is a detailed description of the issue (the aggregating manifestation) but not the stories contained within. That doesn’t work for me, as I specifically want to describe the stories and give access to them.

Option B: an analytical description of one or more of the distinct Works and Expressions, and the aggregating Manifestation(s):

At first blush this seemed pretty good — I could describe the stories with as much detail as I wanted, and then describe the issue in detail. Unfortunately, because this option leaves off the aggregate (the issue) at the work and expression level, I wouldn’t be able to provide access to the editor(s) of an issue which are associated with the expression level. No good.

Option C: A hierarchical description of the Aggregation Work and Expression and the aggregating Manifestation(s), and one or more of the distinct Works and Expressions, incorporated in the aggregating Expression.

At last we’ve arrived! Option C allows me to describe the issues and  the stories at the work and expression levels.

So what’s the difference? How am I revising things and getting to go back?Previously, I was describing individual stories to the manifestation level and then using a contained-in/container-of relationship to the manifestation of the issue. This meant duplicating a lot of content because the publishers, editors, etc. were the same for that manifestation of the story as the manifestation of the issue.

I won’t be doing that anymore! Exciting times. I look forward to revising and rethinking my modeling more as the paper gets discussed and evaluated by CC:DA and friends.

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