Who uses a national bibliography?

While there is good evidence and understanding of the use of national bibliographies in libraries, there is a lack of substantial data on other users. In some countries (e.g. Czech Republic &Norway) national libraries have investigated who the users are together with the contexts in which they work. However, further studies by all national bibliographic agencies are recommended. In addition to current users we also need to understand future or potential user requirements, not only to justify the continued production of the national bibliography, but also to develop and implement the required services in a timely manner.

An interesting view of users and uses was proposed by the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control. According to the report of the March 15, 2007 meeting, "there are two main information user and use environments for bibliographic data: a consumer environment and a management environment. The consumer environment relates to the end-user of the bibliographic data, the information consumer, and services that are designed to assist the end-user in finding relevant information, from search engines to specialised catalogue interfaces. The management environment pertains to resource collection management. Although these two environments represent different perspectives of bibliographic data, they are interrelated, for example, in that data recorded primarily for one environment may also be of use to the other. The creation of authoritative bibliographic data still is necessary to support both environments; however, current bibliographic data do not fully meet the needs of either environment."

The Bibliography Section Working Group analysed current information requests and typical uses of national bibliographies recorded by European national bibliographic agencies. The situation varies from country to country, but there are some common traits among certain groups of users. Such groups work in different contexts and therefore have differing information needs. These needs must be taken into account when defining access points for search and essential metadata elements for display or export of national bibliographic data.

Clearly defined user groups for national bibliographies include: