IFLA Universal Bibliographic Control and International MARC Core Programme (UBCIM)

The Function of Bibliographic Control in the Global Information Infrastructure

Vilnius, Lithuania, 17-19 June, 1998

An international seminar on bibliographic control organized and hosted by the National Library of Lithuania in cooperation with the IFLA UBCIM Core Programme and the IFLA Permanent UNIMARC Committee.

The papers from the Seminar in Vilnius are now available on the National Library of Lithuania web site


Given the superabundance of information on the Internet, how can the lessons of traditional bibliographic control be applied to digital documents and files? In what ways can cataloging and indexing assist in making electronic information more accessible? Is there room in the Internet for the organizational strategies of librarianship, nourished for over a century with print and other materials? These questions formed the background for an International Seminar at the National Library of Lithuania in Vilnius, June 17-19, 1998. Entitled "The Function of Bibliographic Control in the Global Information Infrastructure," the seminar drew nearly 70 participants to Vilnius from Belarus, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Great Britain, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United States. Sponsored by the IFLA Core Programme on Universal Bibliographic Control and International MARC (UBCIM), IFLA Permanent UNIMARC Committee, National Library of Lithuania, Lithuanian Ministry of Culture, Open Society Fund in Lithuania, the Information and Documentation Centre of the Council of Europe, the Open Society Institute, British Council, and the American Embassy in Lithuania, participants heard thirteen papers address the fundamental issues related to bibliographic control of electronic information and took part in four different workshops. Marie-France Plassard of IFLA UBCIM and Edward Valauskas of the IFLA Professional Board and Division of Special Libraries acted as moderators for the Seminar and its deliberations. The generous hospitality of the host library, the National Library of Lithuania - and especially its Director, Dr. Vladas Bulavas, Deputy Director Regina Varniene, and their staff - was very much appreciated by all participants.

The tone for the Seminar was set by the keynote paper by Stuart Ede of the British Library, "Digital Indigestion: Is There a Cure?" The future for libraries will include an abundance of information in a rich variety for forms, including paper, digital, video, and audio. How will libraries make all of this diverse information accessible, asked Mr. Ede, given the current state of bibliographic standards? Review papers by Olivia Madison of the Library of Iowa State University on functional requirements for bibliographic records and Liv Holm of Olso College on authority control provided the bibliographic boundary conditions for issues surrounding electronic information. Gordon Dunsire of the Library of Napier University and Edward Valauskas of Internet Mechanics examined the special problems of Internet-based files and documents.

Technical sessions examined in detail metadata, UNIMARC, and experiments to bring some degree of control to the chaos of digital information. Alan Hopkinson of the Library at Middlesex University and Juha Hakala of the Library of Helsinki University discussed MARC and metadata. Brian Phillip Holt of the British Library provided a lively analysis of UNIMARC on the World Wide Web and Project UseMARCON while Mirna Willer of the Croatian National and University Library analyzed current work on the revision of UNIMARC's Authorities. Trudi Noordermeer of the National Library of the Netherlands examined Project BIBLINK, an effort to link publishers of electronic information and bibliographic agencies. Liv Holm looked at the results of the ONE Project, a means to link bibliographic services in Europe via Z39.50. Regina Varniene of the National Library of Lithuania gave an overview of bibliographic control in the Baltic states in the context of various integrated library systems. On the final day of the Seminar, workshops treated SGML, metadata, UNIMARC/Authorities, and the Internet.

Plan of Action

  1. Holdings Information in UNIMARC There is a need for strengthening UNIMARC with holding information for all of the various kinds of documents and materials now found in many libraries. This diversity of formats brings special problems that will need to be addressed in holdings records.

  2. revision of UNIMARC/Authorities A revision of UNIMARC/Authorities should be undertaken in light of various projects described at this Seminar. There should also be an improvement of authority control within national bibliographic agencies and the development of consistent and persistent vehicles for the international exhange of authority data and a reconsideration of a numbering system such as the ISADN.

  3. Metadata Standards IFLA should become involved in general discussions on metadata standards and work to coordinate national initiatives for metadata creation. IFLA can also assist in the sharing of experiences in metadata management, by assisting national agencies on practical priorities for metadata creation.

  4. Preservation and Conservation of Electronic Information IFLA needs to encourage the preservation of electronic information and to participate in the activities of standard-setting organizations like the World Wide Web Consortium.


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