1998 – 2002 International Conference on National Bibliographic Services (ICNBS)

While previous recommendations had concentrated upon printed national bibliographies, ICNBS recommendations acknowledged the dynamic progress of information technology and the new possibilities presented together with the new demands on national filing and registration. The recommendations also promote the use of national bibliographic systems in countries that unable to utilize information technology. However the unique feature of the 1998 recommendations is the emphasis placed on the role and responsibility of national bibliographic agencies and the importance of legal deposit.

In contrast to previous recommendations listing different document types, the 1998 recommendations refer to “current national output.” i.e. all documents published in a country regardless of carrier format, e.g., printed, audio-visual or electronic. A consequence of this could be that all new document types (e.g. Internet documents) should be treated on equal terms with traditional document types.

Key recommendations

  • The key role and responsibility of the national bibliographic agencies and the importance of legal deposit
  • National libraries and national bibliographic agencies may work co-operatively with other agencies but overall responsibility for co-ordination and implementation of standards should rest with the national bibliographic agency
  • The vital importance of legal deposit in ensuring that the cultural and intellectual heritage and linguistic diversity of the nation is preserved and made accessible for current and future users
  • Contemporary legal deposit regulations underpinning national bibliographic services are a matter of urgency i.e.:
  • States should, as a matter of urgency, examine existing deposit legislation and consider its provisions in relation to present and future requirements; and, where necessary, existing legislation should be revised.
  • States currently without legal deposit legislation are urged to introduce it
  • National bibliographies should cover current national output, and where practicable also provide retrospective coverage.
  • When necessary, selection criteria should be defined and published by the national bibliographic agency

The national bibliography should include records for materials in all languages and/or scripts in which publications are produced within a state; and wherever possible such records should include the languages and/or scripts in which the publications originally appeared