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WLIC 2023 Satellite Meeting – Universal Bibliographic Control at the crossroads: the challenges of unifying IFLA bibliographic standards

The IFLA Satellite Meeting on Universal Bibliographic Control at the crossroads: the challenges of unifying IFLA bibliographic standards took place in Brussels (KBR) on August 18 and 19, 2023.

Universal Bibliographic Control is a fundamental principle for national libraries, formulated over 50 years ago by IFLA and UNESCO. IFLA’s last official document on the subject, the IFLA Professional Statement on Universal Bibliographic Control, dates back to 2012, and the federation had not devoted a general meeting to the subject since the Lyon Congress in 2014. In the meantime, the international normative landscape for the production, sharing and dissemination of metadata has continued to evolve rapidly. The question arose: is the principle of Universal Bibliographic Control still valid? The satellite meeting organized by the Bibliography section with the Cataloguing and Subject Access and Analysis sections at KBR on August 18 and 19 brought together some fifty participants to examine this question. The program, alternating presentations (available here) and workshops, enabled these practitioners and experts from different countries to examine the foundations of UBC, its relationship with IFLA metadata standards (International Cataloguing Principles, IFLA LRM, ISBD, UNIMARC, MulDiCat), and its place in the contemporary context. Artificial intelligence, which was the subject of so many discussions during the congress, also featured prominently.

The conclusion of this day and a half of work is unanimous: yes, the concept of Universal Bibliographic Control is still valid, but the declaration needs to be revised so that it continues to be expressed in a way appropriate to the current context, paying particular attention to its status for IFLA and its place in the universe of IFLA metadata standards. The organizing sections will therefore be working on a framework for the revision in the coming months.

We’d like to thank all the participants, the speakers, KBR, the organizing committee and OCLC for sponsoring this event!

Text written by Mathilde Koskas and edited by Maud Henry