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The term Item, as used in FRBR/RDA, is

Library and Information Science Questions Answers Quizzes (LIS Quiz)


The term Item, as used in FRBR/RDA, is


(a) A physical medium, in which data, sound, images, etc., are stored

(b) A single exemplar or instance of a manifestation

(c) An exact copy of the content of a resource made by mechanical or electronic means


(b) A single exemplar or instance of a manifestation

The term Item, as used in FRBR/RDA, is a single exemplar or instance of a manifestation


FRBR comprises groups of entities:
  • Group 1 entities are work, expression, manifestation, and item (WEMI). They represent the products of intellectual or artistic endeavor.
  • Group 2 entities are person, family and corporate body, responsible for the custodianship of Group 1’s intellectual or artistic endeavor.
  • Group 3 entities are subjects of Group 1 or Group 2’s intellectual endeavor, and include concepts, objects, events, places.

Group 1 entities are the foundation of the FRBR model:
  • Work is a "distinct intellectual or artistic creation." For example, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony apart from all ways of expressing it is a work. When we say, "Beethoven's Ninth is magnificent!" we generally are referring to the work.
  • Expression is "the specific intellectual or artistic form that a work takes each time it is 'realized.'" An expression of Beethoven's Ninth might be each draft of the musical score he writes down (not the paper itself, but the music thereby expressed).
  • Manifestation is "the physical embodiment of an expression of a work. As an entity, manifestation represents all the physical objects that bear the same characteristics, in respect to both intellectual content and physical form." The performance the London Philharmonic made of the Ninth in 1996 is a manifestation. It was a physical embodiment even if not recorded, though of course manifestations are most frequently of interest when they are expressed in a persistent form such as a recording or printing. When we say, "The recording of the London Philharmonic's 1996 performance captured the essence of the Ninth," we are generally referring to a manifestation.
  • Item is "a single exemplar of a manifestation. The entity defined as item is a concrete entity." Each copy of the 1996 pressings of that 1996 recording is an item. When we say, "Both copies of the London Philharmonic's 1996 performance of the Ninth are checked out of my local library," we are generally referring to items.
Group 1 entities are not strictly hierarchical, because entities do not always inherit properties from other entities. Despite initial positive assessments of FRBR clarifying the thoughts around the conceptual underpinnings of works, there has been later disagreement about what the Group 1 entities actually mean. The distinction between Works and Expressions is also unclear in many cases.


  1. Library of Congress, "FRBR Terminology Quiz," (accessed January 28, 2019).