A critical issue to be considered by a national bibliographic agency (NBA) as it considers the creation and maintenance of its national bibliography is what it should contain?  To assist this process, a well-grounded set of selection principles is essential. Since such principles are reflective of the characteristics of any given nation, this is inevitably an area where the greatest scope for variation exists among NBAs.

With the recent exponential increase in publishing output judicious selection is even more important in order to prevent the NBA and the national bibliography being overwhelmed.

This section presents an array of selection principles to aid national bibliographic agencies in formulating their specific selection criteria. While no single set of selection principles will be appropriate for every national bibliographic agency, this section aims to provide guidance on the:

  • Various criteria to be considered
  • Rationale to be taken into account
  • Constraints that come into play as each national bibliographic agency tackles the challenge of defining its selection criteria

From this information an NBA can create a framework of selection criteria that:

  • Meets its needs for administering its country’s national bibliography
  • Fulfills any legal mandates that must be met.

Despite the increasing move to digital publication, the fundamental basis of selection, i.e. content not format, remains unchanged. However, new digital formats do bring with them additional and more complicated issues concerning the management and presentation of resources to users. Considering the swift growth of and rapidly changing nature of digital resources, NBAs must be vigilant in ensuring their selection criteria reflect the ongoing needs of their users. However they should also remember that inclusion of digital resources should not negatively impact on the number of listings for traditional resources.