What is the British National Bibliography?

The British National Bibliography has been in development for over 60 years with the first record added in 1950. It contains data about virtually every book and journal title published or distributed in the UK and Ireland since that date. In its role as the library of legal deposit in the United Kingdom the British Library is responsible for preserving a wide variety of works, and the majority of these are catalogued in the BNB. The exclusions largely relate to some official government publications that are catalogued elsewhere, or other locally published or ephemeral material. With an increasing number of works being published electronically, in 2003 the BNB was extended to also include data about type of publication.

The BNB Data Model

There are high level overview diagrams that show the main types of resources and relationships in the BNB dataset. One diagram summarises the data model for books while another summarises the model for serials (e.g periodicals and newspapers).

RDF and OWL Schemas

The BNB dataset makes use of a number of standard schemas. These are summarised in the following table along with their base URI and links to their individual documentation.

Bibliographic Ontology rich vocabulary for describing many types of publication and their related metadata
Bio terms for publishing biographical information
British Library Terms new schema published by the British Library which contains some terms not covered in the other vocabularies
Dublin Core bibliographic metadata terms like title and creator
Event Ontology for describing events and their participants
FOAF terms for describing people, their names and relationships
ISBD from the International Standard Bibliographic Description standard
Org terms for describing organisations
Web Ontology Language standard ontology for describing terms and equivalencies between resources
RDF Schema core RDF schema language which is used to publish new terms
Resource Description and Access some standard library cataloguing terms
SKOS publication of subject classifications and taxonomies
WGS84 Geo Positioning points, latitude and longitude

Further Reading