The purpose of this section is to introduce the key issues and decisions required when establishing or restructuring an agency with responsibility for exercising national bibliographic control. The key issues are described in general terms and illustrated with examples from real life national bibliographic agencies. Every context is unique and the intention is not to present an inflexible list of instructions. Instead the emphasis is on offering options and identifying the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches.

Every country has some unique requirements for which provision has to be made and these should be the focus of local activity. However, countries without current experience of national bibliographic work should actively seek advice from existing practitioners since many useful lessons can be learned from their experience.

  • Attending or hosting a regional workshop bringing together expert practitioners and providing a context for local knowledge can be a good starting point.
  • If possible, select an experienced partner for long-term cooperation. The choice of partner should reflect the specific requirements and national context of the agency.
  • Hiring or requesting technical assistance from a local, regional or international community may be a good way of advancing rapidly from planning to implementation. This conforms with ICNBS recommendation 19, "Where needed, IFLA should assist national bibliographic agencies to develop their national bibliographic activities – for example: establishing pilot schemes to develop national bibliographies, establishing guidelines for producing national bibliographies, and organizing national, regional or international seminars and training workshops."