F15 Complex Work

Version 2.1
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Scope note: 

This class comprises works that have other works as members. The members of a Complex Work constitute alternatives to other members of the work.

 In practice, no clear line can be drawn between parallel and subsequent processes in the evolution of a work. One part may not be finished when another is already revised. An initially monolithic work may be taken up and evolve in pieces. The member relationship of Work is based on the conceptual relationship, and should not be confused with the internal structural parts of an individual expression. The fact that an expression may contain parts from other work(s) does not make the expressed work complex. For instance, an anthology for which only one version exists is not a complex work. 

The boundaries of a Complex Work have nothing to do with the value of the intellectual achievement but only with the dominance of a concept. Thus, derivations such as translations are regarded as belonging to the same Complex Work, even though in addition they constitute an Individual Work themselves. In contrast, a Work that significantly takes up and merges concepts of other works so that it is no longer dominated by the initial concept is regarded as a new work. In cataloguing practice, detailed rules are established prescribing which kinds of derivation should be regarded as crossing the boundaries of a complex work. Adaptation and derivation graphs allow the recognition of distinct sub-units, i.e. a complex work contained in a larger complex work. As a Complex Work can be taken up by any creator who acquires the spirit of its concept, it is never finished in an absolute sense.


Work entitled ‘La Porte de l’Enfer’ by Auguste Rodin


Work entitled ‘Hamlet’ by William Shakespeare


Work entitled ‘Der Ring der Nibelungen’ by Richard Wagner


Work entitled ‘Carceri d’invenzione’ by Giovanni Battista Piranesi


Work entitled ‘Mass in B minor BWV 232’ by Johann Sebastian Bach