Organized in Firenze, Italy, and promoted by an extensive listing of Italian libraries and organizations concerned with bibliographic control, BC2021 was chaired by Mauro Guerrini (Università degli studi di Firenze), member of the Bibliography Section Standing Committee. The Bibliography Section was honoured to be among the promoters of a conference whose theme is central to our sphere of interest.
The online formula was designed to accommodate European and North (and South) American time zones, by having sessions for 4 hours a day over 5 days, held respectively in the afternoons or the mornings. This certainly favoured participation, as did having the primary language of presentations be English, with some presentations in Italian (which I greatly enjoyed).
All presentations were in plenary, which meant that I could follow everything in real time without having to make any difficult choices. IFLA colleagues were present throughout. After the welcoming statements were the opening remarks by Mauro Guerrini and by Mathilde Koskas, chair of the Bibliography Section. The first presentation was by Renate Behrens, chair of the Committee on Standards, “Standards in a new bibliographic world – community needs versus internationalisation”. The second day started with “Towards an identifier’s policy: the use case of the Bibliothèque nationale de France” by Vincent Boulet, chair of the Cataloguing Section. Agnese Galeffi, member of the Cataloguing Section SC and the BCM RG, closed the fourth day with “DREAM: A project about non-Latin script data”. On the final day, Gordon Dunsire, Cataloguing Section SC, spoke on “Bibliographic control in the fifth information age”, followed by Françoise Leresche on “Rethinking bibliographic control in the light of IFLA LRM entities: the ongoing process at the National Library of France”.
I was honoured to be part of this effort and at the end of the third day, right in the middle of the conference, I spoke on “The multilingual challenge in bibliographic description and access”, situating the need to offer comprehensive bilingual and multilingual access as a natural progression on the road to Universal Bibliographic Control.
The extremely rich program included contributions from all points of view in the publication chain, libraries, publishers, legal deposit, research data, institutional repositories, authority control, identity management, linked data, points of view from several European national libraries on bibliographic control, and closed with a review of “The Italian national bibliography today” by Paolo Wos Bellini. I was particularly intrigued by the cross-domain perspective on authority control provided by Pierluigi Feliciati who discussed authority control and ontologies from the archival point of view in his presentation “Call me by your name: the potential of cross-domain sharing of authority records control”. All presentations were recorded and made available on YouTube, and are linked directly from the conference program: https://www.bc2021.unifi.it/programme
In my view BC2021 succeeded admirably in its aim of exploring the new boundaries of Universal Bibliographic Control.