The NBA’s responsibility to create extensive records of its national imprint as recommended by the 1977 Paris conference and affirmed by the 1998 Copenhagen International Conference on National Bibliographic Services was predicated on predominantly print resources and is no longer sustainable.

The national output now includes an increasing proportion of electronic resources which may soon become the predominant form of publication. The expansion of the national output may therefore exceed the capacity of the NBA to comprehensively process resources. A graduated approach will therefore be required in which the level of descriptive cataloguing appropriate to different types of resource will be determined in relation to:

  • The level of metadata already associated with the resource
  • The significance of the resource for the national bibliography
  • Its content, not its carrier

The first recommendation represents a significant change of approach to the creation of the national bibliography and implementation of cataloguing levels will have a direct impact on users which NBAs must therefore consider. In addition processes must be simplified and, where possible, automated. Additional efficiencies should also be gained via cross sector collaboration and by elimination of barriers to data exchange.

The IFLA Bibliography Standing Committee Working Group recommended four potential levels of description:

  • Authoritative
  • Comprehensive
  • Enhanced
  • Basic