2010 A changing context – the IFLA Working Group on Guidelines for National Bibliographies in a Digital Age

When examining the history of recommendations relating to the creation and management of national bibliographic services, the Working Group identified a number of ways in which the concept of the national bibliography had evolved since the original recommendations were formulated in 1950. The Working Group also identified a number of persistent themes and shared characteristics of national bibliographies that had remained throughout the period together with a series of new factors arising from the development of digital publishing. The challenge posed by electronic resources is one of the issues that also led to IFLA’s development of Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR); a new conceptual model of the ‘bibliographic universe’. In addition to its analysis, the Working Group made the following recommendations:

  • The responsibility to develop, maintain and promote rules, standards, selection criteria should be assigned to a national bibliographic agency.
  • The national bibliography should include all types of publications but not necessarily all publications. Exhaustiveness need not be an absolute goal.
  • Pragmatic formal selection criteria should be defined and published.
  • The national bibliographic agency should decide on different levels of cataloguing for different kinds of publications, based on the significance of the resource.
  • National bibliographic agencies are encouraged to exploit all available technology to support the creation and maintenance of the national bibliography.
  • National bibliographic agencies should seek opportunities to collaborate with other stakeholders to support and improve the national bibliography.
  • National bibliographic agencies should analyse and periodically review the use (including potential use) of the national bibliography.