Comprehensive integration of the National Bibliography in library infrastructure

The vast majority of the Danish National Bibliography is produced by the Danish Bibliographic Centre (DBC). DBC also provides metadata as well as national infrastructure to the Danish library community. Thus, all Danish public libraries use metadata produced by DBC. The national infrastructure includes a true union catalog for library professionals, DanBib, as well as a union catalog for citizens, (

For many years the national bibliography records have constituted the core data elements of the records that DBC provides to all public libraries. This core data is enriched by DBC with further metadata to accommodate library needs. This approach means that:

  • all public libraries share records produced by DBC, thus minimizing total cataloguing efforts
  • national bibliography data is truly reused in local library systems as the core of library metadata
  • national bibliographic data and library specific data are truly integrated and produced in the same process at DBC

Records produced by DBC go into the union catalog. From here, complete records as well as filtered records containing only national bibliographic data are distributed in various ways:

  • batch files provided for download at a weekly basis
  • downloadable result sets after searching the union catalog DanBib web interface
  • downloadable result sets after searching the union catalog DanBib Z39.50 interface
  • online single record transfer to a cataloguing client for shared cataloguing

Up until recently, reuse of national bibliography data has been based on replication of records to various systems. Now, the principle of replication is substituted by the principle of genuinely sharing the same physical record ingested into a common national repository.

DBC has migrated the national infrastructure into a service oriented architecture centered round a common metadata repository referred to as the Danish National Data well. The data well contains the union catalog records, as well as harvested datasets corresponding library digital resources and enrichments from library sites, publishers and others. All data sets are interrelated using linked data principles, which means that national bibliography data is not only connected to enhancing library specific data stored in the same record, but also to heterogeneous, enriching data in other data sets.

On top of the data well reside a number of national web services, which can be looked upon as Lego blocks. This means, that instead of building an entire discovery application with database, functionality and user interface with data ingests and updates, new applications can be built simply by building a new user interface on top of the national data well and web services. The user interface can restrict search and retrieval to specified subsets of data in the data well. Current applications built on top of the national infrastructure Lego bricks and the national data well comprise:

  • public library discovery interfaces
  •, a library consortia platform for patrons to search and stream audiobooks on the internet
  •, a library consortia platform for patrons to search and stream e-books on the internet
  •, the union catalog for citizens
  •, a national discovery interface for children

Currently, the professional union catalog application DanBib is being migrated to the new data well and web service infrastructure.

The integration of national bibliography data in library infrastructure is still evolving. The national data well and web services serves now serve as a discovery platform. Next step is to serve as a common catalogue in the broadest sense.  Approx. 90% of the Danish public and school libraries have tendered for a common ILS. The national data well will serve as the catalogue in this new ILS. A sophisticated data model ensures that libraries, if so wanted, can add to or create alternative data elements to the national bibliographic record without disrupting the National Bibliography. But mostly, libraries just have to add holdings. Any changes, that DBC makes in the national bibliographic record, will automatically be reflected in the ILS context. The days of initial and updating imports and exports of bibliographic records are over.