Category Archives: Conferences

European Retrospective Bibliographies at CERL

European Retrospective Bibliographies at CERL

Early in 2022, the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL – established a Working Group on Retrospective Bibliographies. The Working Group’s main focus was to identify electronic resources with bibliographical descriptions for national, regional, format-specific (i.e. incunabula, newspapers) or language-specific print cultures (up to 1830). Over the years, CERL has included several of these resources in the Heritage of the Printed Book (HPB) database, has closely aligned itself with the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC), and more recently started to act as the host for bibliographies such as the Incunabula Short Title Catalogue (ISTC) and Short Title Catalogue Netherlands (STCN).

The members of the Working Group (see also dream of a day when these electronic bibliographies together offer a comprehensive overview of European prints before 1830. The Working Group wishes to encourage the inclusion of permanent identifiers from retrospective bibliographies in catalogue records and research projects as a basis for connecting these bibliographies to form a strong and rich data network.

From the start, the Working Group was very much aware of the IFLA Register of national bibliographies, and felt that CERL would be in a position to create a supplement to this valuable list with information about bibliographies that focus on or have a strong component of books printed up to 1830.  A first overview  created by Olga Tkachuk, Ossoliński National Institute, in 2022, primarily gathered information about bibliographies (national, regional, language-specific) in nations in the east of Europe (currently listed are Albania / Belarus / Bosnia and Herzegovina / Bulgaria / Croatia / Cyprus / Czech Republic / Estonia / Greece / Hungary / Latvia / Lithuania / Moldavia / Montenegro / North Macedonia / Poland / Romania / Serbia / Slovakia / Slovenia / Ukraine). The list will gradually be expanded with information from European countries not yet listed.

As a result of the work on this overview, CERL decided to organise a conference on the topic. The title of the conference is Retrospective Bibliographies and European Print Cultures to 1830 – Challenges and perspectives in the digital age, and it will take place on 29 and 30 June 2023 at the Ossolineum Library, in Wrocław, Poland. For the programme and registration details see

The key-note address by Marieke van Delft (now retired, but formerly of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the National Library of the Netherlands) will reflect on the word ‘national’ for these bibliographies, a term  used in established librarianship tradition in accordance with IFLA and bibliographic control standards, but in today’s world and in the historical context of early printing a term that throws up questions regarding content and scope of retrospective (national) bibliographies.

Looking at our European retrospective bibliographies, which today are no longer printed books, but databases, files with records and identifiers, we see that their scope is usually a mix of geographic/territorial and language aspects, according to the cultural impact and context of a given era.  Today, creating such a bibliography, maintaining and developing it, remains a cooperative challenge – as CERL’s and IFLA’s interest in this topic underlines – and a long-term financial commitment of national impact. Creating and maintaining the kind of retrospective bibliographies that are the focus of the CERL WG is often conceived of as a national duty and a commitment to cultural heritage – a national commitment to a national research infrastructure of transnational importance and impact. CERL as a consortium of European research libraries has a unifying role in this huge cooperative undertaking.

During the conference, we will take a closer look at inclusion and exclusion criteria for the bibliographies, as well as issues related to making data accessible and re-usable, the economics of funding the work and how we organise workflows and collaboration. And we would also like to talk about these bibliographies in the CERL context. Certain retrospective bibliographies, such as the Short Title Catalogue Netherlands and the Incunabula Short Title Catalogue are hosted by CERL, while some, such as the German Verzeichnisse der deutschen Drucke and the Short Title Catalogue Flanders, are included in the Heritage of the Printed Book (HPB) database (and some are both in the HPB and hosted by CERL as stand-alone databases). Should CERL differentiate between records from retrospective bibliographies and records from library catalogues in how this data is made available to the user community? And how can we help to make the data more visible and more accessible?

We hope that our conference will put us on the path of defining what makes retrospective (national) bibliographies valuable today, how we can present them in a way that offers the greatest benefit to end users, and what their long-term perspectives and development could be. For this we would be very happy to collaborate with IFLA’s Bibliography Section to encompass the print output from the earliest printed book to today.

Marian Lefferts, Consortium of European Research Libraries

Claudia Fabian, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, München


June 2023


Bibliographic control in the digital ecosystem

The volume The bibliographic control in the digital ecosystem publishes the proceedings of the International Conference which was held remotely from 8 to 12 February 2021, promoted by the University of Florence, Italy, by the IFLA Bibliography Section, the National Central Library of Florence, Casalini Libri, and by other institutions. The book aims to explore the new boundaries of universal bibliographic control with the contributions of more then 30 international experts of many parts of the World. Bibliographic control is radically changing because the bibliographic universe is radically changing: resources, agents, technologies, standards and practices. Among the main topics addressed: library cooperation networks; legal deposit; national bibliographies; new tools and standards (IFLA LRM, RDA, BIBFRAME); authority control and new alliances (Wikidata, Wikibase, Identifiers); new ways of indexing resources (artificial intelligence); institutional repositories; new book supply chain; “discoverability” in the IIIF digital ecosystem; role of thesauri and ontologies in the digital ecosystem; bibliographic control and search engines.

The bibliographic control in the digital ecosystem / edited by Giovanni Bergamin and Mauro Guerrini ; with the assistance of Carlotta Alpigiano. — Roma : Associazione italiana biblioteche ; Macerata : Edizioni Università di Macerata ; Firenze : Firenze University Press, 2022 — XXXV, 393 p. — (Biblioteche & bibliotecari ; 7, ISSN 2612-7709 (print), ISSN 2704-5889 (online)). — Published also:, vol. 13, no. 1 (2022), <>. — ISBN 978-88-5518-542-4 (Print). — ISBN 978-88-5518-544-8 (PDF). — ISBN 978-88-5518-545-5 (XML). — DOI: 10.36253/978-88-5518-544-8. — PDF open access:


  1. PDF open access:;
  2. on sale: Amministrazione Firenze University Press <>


Art of Bibliography: Brazil

2021 edition of the International Seminar The Art of Bibliography was held online in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Seminar was promoted by the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar / Brazil), with the participation of Dr. Luciana de Souza Gracioso and Dr. Zaira Regina Zafalon, in partnership with the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ / Brazil), with Dr. André Vieira de Freitas Araújo, the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Unirio / Brazil) and the Brazilian Institute of Information in Science and Technology (IBICT / Brazil), with Dr. Gustavo Saldanha, and Università di Bologna (Unibo / Italy), in the person of Dr. Giulia Crippa. The previous editions took place in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Vitória, Recife, and Florianópolis, in person, in Brazilian universities, and the last one, remotely, was based in Ravenna (Italy).

The live stream sessions are available on YouTube so the event can be followed by a wider audience. With more than 250 participants, mainly from Brazil, it had participants from Argentina, the United States, Peru, Portugal, and Uruguay.

Keeping in mind historical and contemporary issues of Bibliography approached as art, science, technique, technology, and method. The problematizations proposed a conceptual and technical rethinking of Bibliography as a discipline that supports the process of knowledge construction, mainly in the academic and scientific, focusing on social justice issues, both in terms of bibliographic praxis and its exercise of social transformation.

The Seminar began on December 9th with the Opening Conference entitled “The education of ethnic-racial relations in Science teaching: construction of a field?”, given by Dr. Douglas Verrangia (UFSCar), which was followed by the Thematic Session Transgressions and Insurgencies in the Bibliography, with the participation of Dr. Antón Castro Míguez (UFSCar), who presented “A transgressive look at (making p)art of the bibliography: initial provocations)” and Dr. Fabrício José Nascimento da Silveira (UFMG), with “Representational insurgencies: when subordinate individuals and groups claim the word”. In the afternoon of this day, there were simultaneous sessions for the presentation of papers and discussion of proposals and the Thematic Session The Discourse and Bibliographic Practice and its Relationship with Social Justice, with the presentations: “Bibliography and documentary democracy: horizons of metalinguistic social justice” by Dr. Gustavo Silva Saldanha (IBICT/UNIRIO), “Discourse and bibliographic work in the Annals of the National Library: between documents and institutional commitment” by Dr. Carlos Henrique Juvêncio da Silva (UFF) and “Critical cataloging: a reflection on the potential of cataloging for social justice” by Dr. Lucia Sardo (UNIBO, Italy).

On December 10th, Dr. Giulia Crippa (UNIBO, Italy) delivered the Conference “Telling history and cultural memory: Public History and Bibliography” followed by the Thematic Session Human Migrations and Epistemicides, in which Dr. Bruno Nathansohn (UFRJ) presented “Between the fluidity of human migrations and documental fixity: refugee narratives as bio-bibliographic sources” Johnny Passos (UFSCar), from the Xakriabá ethnic group, commented on the research “Mapping the Brazilian scientific production of theses and dissertations on indigenous issues” and Mrs. Franciéle Carneiro Garcês da Silva, Master on Information Science (UFMG) discussed “(Re)knowing Black Bibliography: from epistemicide to informational justice” . During the afternoon, 8 papers were presented in simultaneous sessions and the Closing Conference Patrimonial and contextual texture of the document, in which Dr. José Augusto Chaves Guimarães (UNESP) presented “The document as context: rethinking the materiality of a content” and Dr. André de Freitas Araujo (UFRJ), “Critical dimensions of bibliographic heritage: meanings, value systems, and cultural rights”.
The Proceedings can be checked here.

— Zaira Regina Zafalon and Andre Vieira de Freitas Araujo

National Bibliographic Register

The Section’s ongoing project, the National Bibliographic Register (NBR), has moved to a new address with IFLA’s website renewal. You can find it directly at:

The Register consists of profiles of national bibliographies, submitted by those responsible for them. Each profile includes information on the scope of the bibliography, the organization of the national bibliographic agency, the format the bibliography and its metadata is available in, and the standards used. The NBR began in 2009. Updated and additional profiles are integrated as they are received.

In addition to making the profiles available in their own words, since 2015 the Section has designed a system for comparison of the responses question by question. The analysis of the 48 entries received up to August 2021 is complete. The full comparative data tables and graphics were posted at the end of August. These graphics provide an overview of the options different bibliographies have taken, and permit a quick visualization. The comparative tables indicate which bibliographies appear in which category.

The NBR analysis has been the subject of recent conference presentations.

  • Insights from IFLA’s Register of National Bibliographies – Pat Riva (7:03) at National Libraries Now on 16 September 2021. Paper available.
  • A perspective on national bibliographies from the IFLA Bibliography section – Mathilde Koskas, prepared with Pat Riva (minutes 15:01-25:04) at the Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH) Bibliographical Data Working Group’s workshop “National Bibliographies and Catalogs: Curation and Research” on 30 September 2021. Slides available.

The recordings of these two presentations (in English) can be viewed through the Bibliography YouTube channel on the playlist: On the National Bibliographic Register.

The whole DARIAH national bibliographies workshop (2 hours) is well worth viewing. The Finnish, German, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, and Swedish national libraries presented on their bibliographic data tools and services, with an emphasis on their national bibliographies.

The IFLA Metadata Newsletter is another source of information on the analysis of the NBR. Consult the series of four articles by Pat Riva, for a tour of all the sections.

  • “National Bibliographic Register”, v.3, no.1 (June 2017), p.18-19. (section 1)
  • “National Bibliographic Register”, v.3, no.2 (December 2017), p.26-28. (section 6)
  • “The National Bibliographic Register, putting national bibliographies in context”, v.7, no.1 (June 2021), p.5-12. (sections 3, 4 (part), and 5)
  • “National Bibliographies revealed in the National Bibliographic Register”, v.7, no.2 (December 2021), [forthcoming]. (sections 2, 4 (remainder))

The NBR analysis has been a fascinating project to coordinate during my term on the Bibliography Section Standing Committee. Each profile gives insight into a national bibliography and the agency behind it. The comparative analysis is sometimes surprising, showing which solutions are common and which are unique. It has given me a lot to think about, and I hope it will for you as well.

Now that my term on the Bibliography Section has come to an end, a new team consisting of Maud Henry (Belgium), Rebecca Higgins (Australia), and Marika Holmblad (Sweden), is taking over coordinating the NBR. Many thanks for taking this on! I’m sure you will find it rewarding.

The NBR will continue being relevant as long as it is kept up to date. We all benefit from the increased information sharing. Send new profiles or updates to existing profiles, to the Section’s Information Coordinator, Monika Szunejko.

Bibliography Section at WLIC 2021

WLIC 2021, held 17-19 August 2021, was IFLA’s first entirely online conference. The Bibliography Section participated in organizing two sessions and members of the Standing Committee were speakers at two more.

Towards entity management : new roles and new service models for libraries (Cataloguing with Bibliography)

Andrew MacEwan (British Library) and Iris Berbain (Bibliothèque nationale de France) spoke about “Using ISNI to manage entity identification in the publishing supply chain”, detailing current work in matching ISNI with pre-publication data right at source with major publishers, and with integrating ISNI further into their libraries’ workflows. This leveraging of ISNI has potential to bring authority work earlier in the workflow for creating national bibliographic descriptions for new materials.

Karina Esman (National Library of Russia) presented on a project to create rich cataloguing descriptions for culturally significant rare materials – the book monuments – in the collection of the National Library. Fascinating examples and tricky to catalogue!

Subject to Change : how to deal with changes in subject information? (Subject Analysis and Access with Bibliography)

Hollie White (Curtin University, Perth, Australia) set the stage with “Subject to flexibility: Theory and history of knowledge organisation systems” where she situated library knowledge organisation systems in the history of western knowledge organisation. She contrasted the grand unified systems with more flexible pluralistic approaches, and situated sociological and critical theories.

Violet Fox (Accessible Book Consortium, USA) used her perspective in the development of classification systems to advocate for adopting open structures in “Transparency & Change in Knowledge Organization”. Maintaining a history of when classes or terms were valid should be part of every KOS. Violet also points to the importance of understanding where the funding for developing our access systems comes from.

F. Tim Knight (Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Canada) in “Using Linked Data to Mitigate Colonial Subject Bias” showed the potential for a linked data implementation of equivalent terms as “term circles” with no single preferred term. SKOS attributes allow for tagging terms by language, and this could be extended to an attribute for “worldview”.

This topic led to a lively discussion!

SC member Maud Henry (Royal Library of Belgium, KBR) presented “Covid as a catalyst: towards dematerialized cataloguing at KBR” at the session National Libraries: Innovating and Transforming for Today and Tomorrow. Remote work during the pandemic provided the impetus to consider new workflows to maintain cataloguing of print materials received through legal deposit and allow the timely publication of the Bibliography of Belgium. Strategies implemented in the short term, once some onsite work was possible, include scanning initial pages for cataloguers to complete bibliographic descriptions from home, and maximizing the reuse of metadata entered through the legal deposit workflow. Their positive experience is an inducement to invest further in transforming data for reuse throughout the workflow. Maud also wrote about this project in the Metadata Newsletter (v.7, no.1, June 2021, pages 12-14).

During the session The role of IFLA Standards in the context of a changing information society organized by the Committee on Standards, Rebecca Lubas and Mathilde Koskas presented on the Section’s major project: the 2021 edition of the Common Practices for National Bibliographies in a Digital Age, which is already available as a pre-publication draft.

Section business meetings were held remotely before and after the Congress and did not require conference registration for attendance.

WLIC 2022 is planned for Dublin, Ireland. Hoping to see you all in person then.

Bibliography Section on YouTube

This year the Bibliography Section launched a new communication method, our own IFLA Bibliography YouTube channel.

You can find it directly at:

The impetus was to make the video of our Metadata Webinar New Horizons: emerging metadata standards and practices in the 21st century (27 May 2021) available. Now that the channel is created, the IFLA metadata sections have a venue to publish video from any future online events. Material uploaded directly to our channel is retained as long as the Section requires.

The IFLA Bibliography YouTube channel also allows us to highlight relevant videos available through other organizations’ channels by adding them to our playlists.

2021 has been a strong year for recorded conference presentations and sessions of particular relevance to bibliography in general and our section in particular. Some of these conferences have been recently described on this blog. Now the playlists allow quick access to these specific sessions.

  • On Universal Bibliographic Control (English) 8 February 2021 (3:27): by Mathilde Koskas, opening remarks at the Bibliographic Control in the Digital Ecosystem (BC2021) Conference (post: 30 April 2021)
  • On National Bibliographies (Panel: English and Russian) 28 April 2021 (2hrs): during the 3rd International Bibliographic Congress (post: 5 May 2021)
  • On the IFLA Bibliography Section (Russian, with English slides) 28 April 2021 (18:00): by Mathilde Koskas, presented during the 3rd International Bibliographic Congress (post: 3 May 2021)
  • Our most recent playlist: National Bibliographies and National Bibliographic Metadata in the Age of Mass Information (English) 29 June 2021 (18:00) features Mathilde Koskas’ most recent presentation, given in English during the 10th Eurasian Academic Libraries Conference (EALC–2021), June 29-30, 2021. (Note that the video file covers the whole first day of the conference. Mathilde’s presentation starts at minute 2:46:15 and ends at 3:02:00, followed by Q&A until 3:11:46, it is in the middle of the recording of the full day.)

The 10th Eurasian Academic Libraries Conference was organized by Nazarbayev University Library and the Association of University Libraries in the Republic of Kazakhstan with the theme Contemporary Trends in Information Organization in the Academic Library Environment. The EALC conference program can be found at: It features several metadata presentations by IFLA colleagues, including Aliya Saidembayeva (Bibliography), Pricilla Pun (Cataloguing), and a keynote by Chris Oliver, Why RDA? Organizing Bibliographic Information in the 21st Century. Worth a look!

Presentation slides are available through the Nazarbayev University’s institutional repository. Mathilde’s 29 June slides are posted (PPTX and PDF):

EALC Proceedings will be published at:

Having a YouTube channel has opened some new opportunities. We hope this new tool will prove useful. The Section is happy to gather and highlight relevant videos by creating playlists in this way. Your suggestions will be gratefully accepted.

Session 8 during the 3rd International Bibliographic Congress, April 30, 2021

The last week of April 2021 was marked by a significant event. It was during these days that the III International Bibliographic Congress Bibliographic Information in Digital Culture was held. The organizers were the Russian Library Association, the State Public Scientific and Technical Library of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Russian National Library, the Russian State Library, and the Russian State Public Scientific and Technical Library. For the first time, the event was held in an online format.

The topics of the Congress were extremely diverse. The strategy for the development of bibliographic activities at the international level was discussed. The problems of formation, distribution and promotion of bibliographic information were considered. Special attention was paid to the development and implementation of new international and domestic standards of bibliographic description. In addition, the Congress participants discussed the linguistic aspects of the presentation of metadata on the web, and models of functional requirements for bibliographic and authoritative records.

On April 30, 9 reports were presented at the session of Section No. 8 devoted to strategies and methods of bibliographic activity in the digital age. Among the speakers were representatives of libraries and universities in Moscow, Kemerovo, Krasnodar, Novosibirsk and Chelyabinsk. The issues of international bibliographic activity, the formation of consortia, the creation of electronic bibliographic manuals and hybrid resources with elements of bibliography, professional competencies of bibliographers, and others were discussed.

Tatiana Likhovid (Moscow State Institute of Culture) in her report highlighted the diverse activities of IFLA to support research in the field of bibliography. Natalia Gendina (Kemerovo State Institute of Culture), together with her colleagues, presented the report Bibliographic products as part of electronic information resources of libraries: transformation of nature and functions in the era of digitalization. Postgraduate student Pavel Prikhozhev (Scientific Library of the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation) spoke about the organizational forms of cooperation in library and bibliographic activities. The participants listened with great interest to the speech of Olga Lavrik (State Public Scientific and Technical Library of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences) on the creation of a system of information resources aimed at supporting scientific research. Natalia Sitnikova (Chelyabinsk Regional Universal Scientific Library) highlighted the features of information and bibliographic activities of regional libraries in the era of digital technologies.

The participants of the meeting unanimously recognized that digital technologies bring with them fantastic opportunities and promise exciting prospects. At the same time, it is important to remember that the pursuit of innovative technologies should not be thoughtless. When using digital technologies in bibliographic activities, it is necessary to realize the limits beyond which the use of digital systems becomes irrational. Digitalization should be based on a solid foundation of classic bibliography, on accumulated theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

Report contributed by:

Marina Neshcheret, moderator of section No. 8

Russian State Library (Moscow)

member of the Standing Committee of the IFLA Bibliography Section

The session recording is available on YouTube (in Russian)