Collaborative and distributed agencies

Responsibility for national bibliographic control is often distributed among agencies responsible for different types of material e.g. texts may be the responsibility of the national library, while film and television are the responsibility of the national film archive. Responsibilities within these different domains may be centralized, further delegated or distributed. In many countries several libraries receive legal deposit copies and these organisations may also share responsibility for creating the national bibliography.

A collaborative or distributed structure can mobilise scattered resources and direct them toward the common purpose of bibliographic control. Sharing responsibility spreads the burden of managing the legal deposit system but it may be difficult to maintain consistency and standardisation in a distributed system

Despite the challenges involved, collaborative models are becoming increasingly important as resources diminish and no single institution can collect everything. In such cases it is recommended that an editorial board with representatives from the institutions involved should be established to oversee the management and development of the national bibliography. This board should have expertise in legal deposit issues as well as bibliography to ensure a comprehensive approach to bibliographic control.

Strong leadership and good communication will be necessary to involve partners in contributing towards the common goals and to manage change. Management structures must ensure that, even in a distributed model, responsibilities are clearly defined and performance levels are closely monitored via establishing appropriate benchmarks.

Bibliography, Best practice

Last update: 5 December 2017


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