Remixing and forking books

Library practices of bibliographic description have so far taken for granted the stability of the book. In the future, we might have to deal with describing versioning, forking and remixing. The article ” Forking the book” argues that dynamic content will become possible. As an example, it highlights a tool that lets you edit EPUB with GIT as a backend. “[W]ith this demo we are using GIT with a book so you can clone, edit, fork and merge the book into infinite versions.” There is already a platform for remixing books, BookRiff, which has not yet gained wide acceptance but which is slated to enable the kind of forking the article talks about.

Data modeling has to be aware of developments in the creation of the objects it primarily describes and makes discoverable. Borrowing expressions from the print paradigm, the forked book is comparable to a kind of “bound with”, multi-work constellation, but more complicated since only parts of works might be used, different versions might be created and licensing information would have to be noted. I guess Bibframe will be able to accommodate these versions and remixes, but that would mean that the statement in the November Bibframe report, “Each BIBFRAME Instance is an instance of one and only one BIBFRAME Work”, will not hold, because, as I see it, the instance (the remixed/forked book) would be in a relationship with two or more works.


One thought on “Remixing and forking books

  1. Bryan

    The reports from IFLA’s FRBR Working Group on Aggregates (see touch on this very difficult problem of dealing with what you call a “multi-work constellation’ The final report is at It’s an interesting read. Gievn the complexity of dealing with these things, I can understand why American catalogers have tended to relegate the description of contained works into a simple contents note. Although, apparently the Germans have been doing the opposite for many years (see



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