Splitting & merging

Records and works

A group of records is called a ‘work’. A work is a group of all the different editions and versions of the same item on one page. For example, “Black Beauty” by Anna Sewell was published in large print as well as several different illustrated editions. Another edition has an introduction by Charles Keeping. All these different editions can be considered the same work.

When you search Trove, each result in the list is a work. Works are not limited to books. Articles, maps, and others may also be grouped by work.

If you are considering merging records into one work, think about what the response of your local librarian or bookseller would be if you asked them, “Do you have this item?”

If their reply would be “Yes” or “Yes, but…” then you should merge the items. 

Why group?

The benefits of grouping different versions into one work include:

  • The search results are not cluttered up with many different results for the same thing.
  • It’s easier to find a copy of the item you are looking for, as all the electronic versions and library locations are shown on one page.

NOTE: When defining a work, we have taken the definition we consider the most useful. This implementation is FRBR-like, but does not strictly conform to FRBR.

Guidelines for splitting and merging works

Group different editions of the same work, even if they have a different language, illustrations, are slightly abridged, or written in braille.

  • Group like with like. A map should not be grouped with a book.
  • Don’t group a significantly different work with the original. For example, the 24 page little golden book “Walt Disney’s Peter Pan” is not the same work as “Peter Pan” by J.M. Barrie.
  • If there are more than a hundred or so different versions, it’s okay to start thinking about whether the work should be broken up further, in order to be more manageable.

Should the audio-book version be grouped with the normal paper editions?

Yes - because it is basically the same thing, only read out loud. It is similar to the rule for grouping different translations of works. Group the same “things”, regardless of the language of expression, or publisher, or format or revisions across editions. 

Should the e-book be grouped with the normal paper editions?

Yes - because they are simply different formats. 

Should a DVD of a film be grouped with a VCR of the same film?

Yes - because they are simply different formats. 

Should the abridged, or children’s edition be grouped with the full editions?

No - because the abridgement or rewriting to produce a children’s edition is a significant exercise and usually directed towards a different audience. 

Should a film version be grouped with the book version?

No - because they are fundamentally different things, widely separated acts of creation. They are “related” works, but they do not belong together, and someone looking for one will typically not be satisfied with the other.