The evolving concept of a national bibliography

  • In 1950 the emphasis was on a detailed description of what kinds of documents should be registered in the national bibliography, but there was little direction on:

    • Levels of cataloguing
    • Publishing the national bibliography
    • Legal deposit
    • Relationship to holdings of the publications at the relevant national library.
  • Since 1977:

    • It has been assumed that the national bibliography is a complete registration of all publications in a country regardless of format and at the same level of cataloguing. This was often interpreted to mean the highest existing level.
    • Agency managers with budgetary responsibilities consequently view cataloguing as very expensive with some managers prematurely concluding there is no need for a national bibliography to cover Web documents at all.
  • The 1998 recommendations specified general principles, but:

    • Did not offer guidance on how the ‘current national output’ should be defined.

Omitted instructions on the inclusion of electronic information resources in the national bibliography.