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Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Records -- or FRSAR, - is a conceptual entity-relationship model currently being developed by a workgroup International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). It is a continuation of the work done on the FRBR model, further explaining how the Group 3 entities, that consists of "entities that serve as subjects of intellectual or artistic endeavor" (IFLA 1998), can be related and controlled within the bibliographic universe. The model is meant to ease global sharing and use of subject authority data. The final draft of the report is to be presented in the spring of 2009 at the 75th IFLA General Conference and Council in Milan.

The conceptual model[edit]



Work is a “distinct intellectual or artistic creation (IFLA 1998).


Is anything that can be the subject of a work. This is the abstract idea of the aboutness of a given work. Thema is independent of language and disciplines(FRSAR 2007).


Any alphanumeric, sound, visual, or any other symbol, sign or combination of symbols by which a thema is known, referred to or adressed (FRSAR 2007). A nomen can be any expression of a thema. This is important when it comes to sharing authority data across systems. Ideally there will be an authority file with every possible thema, and the different catalog will be able to look up in these files, and translate queries.


Work have a Many-to-many (data model) relationship with any thema. Meaning that every work can have more than one subject, and every subject can be expressed in one or more works. The same is true for the relationship between thema and nomen. A thema can be expressed in many different ways and a nomen can express many different themas, all depending on the given system. Besides these relationships, the workgroup has so far identified several other thema-thema and nomen-nomen relationship. Two nomens can for example be said to have an equivalence relationship, if they both are appelations of the same thema.

User tasks[edit]

The workgroup have conducted two user studies in 2006 and 2007, and based on the results of these studies, five subject authority data user tasks were defined:

Find: to find an entity (thema or nomen) or set of entities corresponding to stated criteria (2008 FRSAR News Report to IFLA)

Identify: to identify an entity (thema or nomen) based on certain attributes / characteristics (2008 FRSAR News Report to IFLA)

Select: to select an entity (thema or nomen) (2008 FRSAR News Report to IFLA)

Explore: to explore relationships between entities (thema or nomen), correlations to other subject vocabularies and structure of a subject domain (2008 FRSAR News Report to IFLA

See also[edit]


IFLA Work Group on the Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Records Žumer, Maja. (Functional Requirements for Subject Authority Records (FRSAR) - a conceptual model of aboutness)— Berlin: Springer, 2007. — (Lecture Notes in Computer Science). — ISSN 0302-9743 (Print) 1611-3349 (Online). (Accessed Dec. 1, 2008)