Bulk data files
While few NBAs currently use physical media (e.g. tape, disc etc.) to regularly disseminate files of bibliographic metadata, most offer some form of online file transfer service (e.g. via FTP). In addition to the use of dedicated FTP servers requiring a user ID and login, NBAs may also make use of the fact that most contemporary web browsers also have built in file transfer capabilities and offer direct access to data files from their national bibliography web pages.
NBAs offering bulk data should ensure that they:
- Provide a regular schedule for when new data is to be made available
- Accompany all data files with a text file describing the contents of the file (or set of files) together with basic statistical information (e.g. file size in bytes, numbers of new records, changes deletions etc.)
- Uniquely name and number the data and accompanying text files in a concise, logical and easily understood manner so users can automate the file downloads if required.
- Regularly maintain the download site (e.g. removing old or outdated files after a suitable period)
- Arrange files for retrieval in a coherent, secure and consistent way to allow the rapid navigation of the download site by users
- Offer some form of technical support for the service