Class: MIAS 230 Moving Image Cataloging
The moving image cataloging course trains students in both the theories and practicalities of describing moving images. A major component of this training was gaining an understanding of the data model at the center of many modern cataloging and metadata standards: Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR). The FRBR model represents the future of cataloging for both archives and libraries. It can be found at the heart of standards for libraries, such as Resource Description and Access (RDA), as well as those in the moving image archiving field, such as PBCore.
Though an international body representing cultures from across the globe, IFLA, created FRBR, its design solely reflects the information needs and knowledge systems of Anglo-American and Western European libraries and archives. Clearly, there exist knowledge systems and ontologies around the world other than those reflected by FRBR. My final project for this course analyzed the degree to which media produced by indigenous communities could be properly described in FRBR and examined alternative approaches to description that take into account the needs of these communities. I discovered that FRBR fails to account for numerous knowledge practices found in indigenous communities and that a number projects, especially in Australia, have emerged that respect indigenous knowledge.
I learned from this project that, as a moving image archivist, I need to be continually vigilant of how my activities impact others and be aware of whom my work privileges. I also learned to question practices in the field that claim authority as the best way to accomplish a specific task because every practice is imbedded in the culture that produced it. As such, certain practices and approaches may not resonate with those of another culture or may be downright inappropriate. Learning this lesson has been crucial to projects I have since undertaken, such as my work in Rwanda and in my current research on digital divides in audiovisual archives.
Image Caption: A graphical representation of FRBR.