Category Archives: Organisation & Administration

Bibliography@IFLA WLIC 2016: Opening the National Bibliography: transforming access to data and building connections

Information Coordinator Rebecca Lubas introduces the panel.

Information Coordinator Rebecca Lubas introduces the panel.

Anke Meyer-Hess explains the use of CCo at the DNB

Anke Meyer-Hess explains the use of CCo at the DNB.

Ylva Sommerland talks about the use of Tableau in presenting biographic data

Ylva Sommerland talks about the use of Tableau in presenting biographic data.

Saeedeh Akbari-Daryan shows how Search Engine Optimization is used in Iran

Saeedeh Akbari-Daryan shows how Search Engine Optimization is used in Iran.

The Bibliography Section organized a thought-provoking program in Columbus! We learned about visualizing biographic data in Sweden, using CCo in Germany, and Search Engine Optimization in Iran. Please visit the IFLA Library to read our authors’ papers at


Guidelines For The Future – Sharing Best Practice For National Bibliographies In A Digital Age

The changes brought about by the World Wide Web together with the dramatic growth of digital media have called into question many key assumptions on which national bibliography were founded. At the IFLA Bibliography Standing Committee’s Warsaw satellite meeting to the IFLA 2012 Congress a new web based resource was announced to replace the original printed National Bibliographies in the Digital Age: Guidance and New Directions (2009). After several years of development this new resource will be launched at the IFLA Congress in August 2015.

Why create this new resource?

In an era of disruptive change libraries require authoritative and current best practice guidance on an increasing range of bibliographic issues. The rapidly evolving nature of the subject matter means that a more flexible, open and dynamic solution than traditional printed text is needed. To address this need the IFLA Bibliography Standing Committee has created ‘Best Practice for National Bibliographic Agencies in a Digital Age’ using the new ‘Book Page’ option available on IFLA’s web site.

The new resource is not intended to be prescriptive since bibliographic control inevitably varies widely from country to country and local requirements may be influenced by financial, legal or practical constraints. A number of potential options will therefore be presented to enable their application to be tailored according to individual circumstances, with examples and use cases given to illustrate the possible range of approaches

What topics are covered?

The new resource aims to offer information on a wide range of topics of interest to those involved in the management of bibliographic information. Examples include:

  • Service delivery & lifecycle
  • Resource description & standards
  • Business models & administration
  • How to demonstrate the continuing utility & relevance of services?
  • When to create, develop or cease services?
  • How to decide on appropriate service delivery options
  • What options exist for user support?

How is the resource organised?

In order to ensure the site is easy to use and yet remain flexible for future developments it has been organised by key themes which are further divided by topic. The main themes are:

  1. Background
  2. Organisation
  3. Purpose and value
  4. Scoping and selection
  5. Resource description and standards
  6. Service delivery
  7. Glossary/Useful links
  8. Bibliography

These thematic sections provide links to back up sources to ensure continuing relevance and currency and will be supplemented by ‘real world’ cases that show how libraries are tackling the challenges. It is hoped this sharing of experience will benefit not only new and existing national bibliographic agencies but all who wish to respond to the bibliographic opportunities offered by new technologies and media.

How will the site be kept up to date?

Following the launch, the IFLA Bibliography Standing Committee intends to implement an annual work cycle to maintain and extend the resource as new areas of interest emerge. The SC is also seeking input from experts and other IFLA committees to contribute text or review sections in order to keep it as accurate and relevant as possible.

‘National Bibliographies Transformed: Matters Relating to the Legal Deposit of Electronic Resources’ – The Bibliography Section Open Session at IFLA WLIC 2015

In addition to its section meetings, the Bibliography Section has organised an open session during the 2015 Cape Town conference addressing the legal deposit of electronic resources and the challenges it can pose to national bibliographic agencies.

In many countries the scope of legal deposit is being extended to include electronic resources. However, the legislation and extent of so called ‘e-legal deposit’ varies significantly between countries, as do the methods of collection. Electronic resources pose new challenges to national bibliographic agencies which we wish to explore during this open session

The session (089) will take place from 9.30-11.30 on August 17th in Auditorium 2 of the conference centre and will be chaired by Anders Cato, Chair of the IFLA Bibliography Standing Committee. Papers to be presented will include:

  • Legal Deposit in South Africa: Transformation in a Digital WorldDenise Nicholson (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa)
  • The Czech National Bibliography: New Steps to CompletenessEdita Lichtenbergova (National Library of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic)
  • Ensuring Metadata Quality of e-Legal Deposit in an Ever-Changing Environment – Stina Degerstedt (National Library of Sweden, Stockholm, Sweden)
  • Legal Deposit of Ebooks in France and its Bearings on Cataloguing and the National BibliographyMathilde Koskas (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, France)

We invite colleagues to attend these sessions to find out more about this important topic, ask questions and share experiences.

Bibliography in a Digital Age IFLA Satellite Meeting Warsaw, 9th August 2012

A satellite meeting of the main IFLA Conference in Helsinki took place in Warsaw on 9th August 2012, kindly hosted by the National Library of Poland.

The purpose of the event was to share: experiences, techniques and challenges in the creation and management of national bibliographic services and to begin to identify new themes and best practice for the creation of a new web based resource to replace the current IFLA work ‘National Bibliographies in the Digital Age: Guidance & New Directions (2009)’

Full details of the event together with presentations and films are now available online.

Addendum: Although the conference website is no longer online, view the presentation recordings on the Bibliography Section’s YouTube channel playlist (2021-10-15)


New Register of National Bibliographies Created

The Standing Committee is currently building a register of national bibliographies to provide an up to date resource for those interested in this area of bibliographic activity.

Entries for each national bibliography will cover:

  • History & Background
  • Scope
  • Organisation & Administration
  • Services & Usage
  • Business Models
  • Standards Used

National Bibliographic Agencies wishing to contribute details of their services should complete the form on the Standing Committee website.

Please send completed forms to the Information Co-ordinator, Neil Wilson.

The Spanish Bibliography Online

Since January of 2010 the National Library of Spain (Biblioteca Nacional de España) has renewed the web service of the Spanish Bibliography online:

The implementation of the new Integrated Library Management System has motivated some changes in the search and display interface for bibliographic records and it has delayed the start-up.  Monographs are now available and updated.

This electronic resource provides immediate and universal access to the bibliographic records that are part of the Spanish publishing output  incorporated into the National Library through Legal Deposit.

The Spanish Bibliography online allows a more rapid, punctual and efficient distribution of the information available and makes easier data exchange thanks to the universal access offered by Internet today.

The Spanish Bibliography makes the search and browse process easier by offering multiple access points and a user-friendly interface with three diverse search options:

  • Alphabetical index (by author, title, subject, series, etc.)
  • Search by subject, records are arranged in large CDU groups of CDU in Monographs
  • Search by keyword, combining Booleans and other operators and truncation with specific fields and geographic areas
  • Static web resources –PDF documents – is also included

Additionally, it allows the download and export of records that will be extremely valuable for other national bibliographic agencies, libraries and institutions.

Free of charge access to the bibliographic records

  • Link to the National Library catalogue and download records in ISBD, labelled and MARC 21 (ISO 2709) formats

This new electronic bibliographic service replaces the printed versions that are no longer published. With the new service the National Library fulfils its function to disseminate information on the Spanish bibliographic output using the latest technologies available and we expect this tool will be useful to both professionals and general library users.

Francisca Movilla

Spanish Bibliography Section

The British National Bibliography is 60!

The British National Bibliography (BNB) is 60 years old in January 2010.

The BNB is the national bibliography of the United Kingdom. It lists and describes the books and serials newly published or distributed in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland that are received by the British Library under legal deposit as provided for in various Acts of Parliament. It also includes information on forthcoming titles supplied under the British Library’s Cataloguing-in-Publication Programme.

The BNB was established in 1949 in response to the recommendations of Lionel McColvin who had undertaken a survey of the UK’s public library service in 1942 which resulted in the McColvin Report. McColvin concluded that it was inefficient for libraries to produce their own catalogues and that where catalogues did exist they only provided brief descriptions of library holdings rather than all available books of potential interest to users. McColvin identified a requirement for a detailed weekly list of bibliographic descriptions for new books which could be used by libraries to develop their catalogues by cutting and pasting the printed entries on to their catalogue cards.

The Council of the British National Bibliography was established in March 1949 and the new national bibliography commenced full operations in 1950. It consisted of weekly lists of all books and first issues of new serial titles published in Great Britain catalogued in accordance with the Anglo-American Code and classified according to the Dewey Decimal Classification system. Author/title indexes were provided every four weeks and the lists were cumulated into an annual volume. A pilot issue number 0 was produced in December 1949 and issue Number 1 was published on 4 January 1950. It contained just 25 entries.

The British Library took on the responsibility for the production of the BNB following its foundation in 1973 and still produces a weekly printed version of the BNB together with interim cumulations and annual volumes. However, the average weekly issue now contains around 3,500 entries in line with the huge increase in publication that has occurred over the last 60 years. This period has also seen numerous other developments for the BNB resulting in a database of over 3 million bibliographic records.

Coverage of the BNB has always been selective; the emphasis being on titles available via normal book buying channels.

A weekly BNB data service began in January 1969 using the (then) innovative combination of the new UKMARC bibliographic data and ISO2709 MARC record exchange formats with magnetic computer tape. BNB MARC records were first made available online in 1977 with the introduction of BLAISE, the British Library Automated Information Service. Distribution of BNB records via FTP began in 1998 and eventually replaced the tape service and the Library moved to the MARC21 format in 2004.

Following a pilot CD-ROM produced in co-operation with the Biblothèque Nationale in 1988, BNB on CD-ROM was launched in 1989. It originally consisted of a two-disc backfile covering the period 1950 to 1985 and a single disc current subscription service covering records created from 1986 updated quarterly. A new MS Windows version of the BNB on CD-ROM was produced in 1996 by which time current file discs were updated monthly and the backfile had been compressed on to a single disc. Production of BNB on CD-ROM ceased in December 2008 when the database became available for searching on the British Library’s Integrated Catalogue as a subset search.

The British Library coordinates the UK Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) Programme and has included advance notification publication records in the BNB since the 1980s. Information on new titles appears up to 16 weeks ahead of the announced publication date. Advance information on over 60,000 titles each year is provided in this way via the BNB.

In addition to Dewey Decimal Classification several other forms of subject access to the BNB have been used over the years, ranging from international standards such as Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) to in-house systems such as PRECIS and COMPASS.

BNB development continues and in October 2009 it was added to the British Library’s new Primo based catalogue again as a catalogue sub-set search. A pilot is also under way for a free Z39.50 based BNB MARC record download service for non-commercial use.  However, the final innovation launched in January 2010 is another pilot of a new, weekly, PDF-based BNB e-journal version, initially for existing subscribers to the printed product. This new service will bring the story of the BNB full circle by enabling the British Library to deliver a ‘printed’ BNB to customers with improved currency and greater functionality while also saving paper. Lionel McColvin would surely have approved!