11 December 2009 1:07
Gordon Dunsire (ifla)
2 May 2011 10:11
Gordon Dunsire (ifla)


A work is an abstract entity; there is no single material object one can point to as the work. We recognize the work through individual realizations or expressions of the work, but the work itself exists only in the commonality of content between and among the various expressions of the work. Because the notion of a work is abstract, it is difficult to define precise boundaries for the entity. The concept of what constitutes a work and where the line of demarcation lies between one work and another may in fact be viewed differently from one culture to another. Consequently the bibliographic conventions established by various cultures or national groups may differ in terms of the criteria they use for determining the boundaries between one work and another. For the purposes of this model variant texts incorporating revisions or updates to an earlier text are viewed simply as expressions of the same work (i.e., the variant texts are not viewed as separate works). Similarly, abridgements or enlargements of an existing text, or the addition of parts or an accompaniment to a musical composition are considered to be different expressions of the same work. Translations from one language to another, musical transcriptions and arrangements, and dubbed or subtitled versions of a film are also considered simply as different expressions of the same original work. By contrast, when the modification of a work involves a significant degree of independent intellectual or artistic effort, the result is viewed, for the purpose of this model, as a new work. Thus paraphrases, rewritings, adaptations for children, parodies, musical variations on a theme and free transcriptions of a musical composition are considered to represent new works. Similarly, adaptations of a work from one literary or art form to another (e.g., dramatizations, adaptations from one medium of the graphic arts to another, etc.) are considered to represent new works. Abstracts, digests and summaries are also considered to represent new works.