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The final recommendations of the ICNBS


In 1977 Unesco sponsored the International Congress on National Bibliographies. From this conference arose recommendations that have influenced the development of national bibliographies over the last 20 years and which are responsible for a significant improvement in the quality of bibliographic exchange among libraries throughout the world. However, the bibliographic landscape has undergone dramatic changes, not only with the format of published bibliographies, which are increasingly available online rather than in print, but also with the format of the publications which national bibliographies are recording for posterity, especially through the Internet. It is therefore timely to re-examine the 1977 guidelines and for this purpose IFLA sponsored a new conference.


The aim of the International Conference was to review and update the recommendations of the 1977 International Congress on National Bibliographies in the light of new developments.


The Conference, which was held at the Royal School of Library and Information Science, Copenhagen, on 25-27 November 1998 under the auspices of IFLA, the Danish Royal Library, the Royal School of Library and Information Science and the Danish Library Centre, comprised five papers on the following topics:


  • Coverage
    Grethe Jacobsen (Head, Danish Department, Royal Library, Denmark)

Following the papers and a panel discussion, participants broke into discussion groups, which reported back to a plenary session; recommendations were discussed and agreed upon.


The major outcome of the conference has been a revision of the original Unesco recommendations (Guidelines for the national bibliographic agency and the national bibliography / prepared by the IFLA International Office for UBC. Paris : Unesco, 1979). Less tangibly, it is hoped that the conference was able to reaffirm the role of the national bibliography in recording national published output and will therefore be influential in persuading governments to make adequate resources available to their national bibliographic agencies.

ICNBS Pre-Conference Booklet