IFLA Core Activity for Universal Bibliographic Control and International MARC (UBCIM)

Annual Report 2002

by Marie-France Plassard
Programme Director

This was the last year for UBCIM as such after nearly 30 years of existence. As of I March 2003 the UNIMARC Programme will be transferred to the National Library of Portugal, as well as the journal International Cataloguing and Bibliographic Control (ICBC). Other activities will be shared by various institutions. A brief overview of 2002 activities follows.

I. International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD)

In collaboration with the Division and the ISBD Review Committee, further ISBDs have been posted on the IFLANET, as well as additional lists of translations: there are 18 so far.(1) The Office liaised with various coordinating centres and new ones were established recently, e.g., in the Ukraine for translation of the ISBD(G) and in Estonia for translation of the ISBD(ER). IFLA Headquarters will deal with this matters as of 2003.

II. Working Group on Functional Requirements and Numbering of Authority Records (FRANAR)

"Promote the development of authority control at the international level" was one of the main goals of our Medium Term Programme 1998 - 2001.(2) It remained a priority and the joint Working Group Division IV/UBCIM, (a follow up of the Working Group on Minimal Level Authority Records and the ISADN) was charged with:
  • defining functional requirements of authority records
  • studying the feasibility of an international authority data number
  • and liaising with other interested groups.

The WG made much progress on the first goal, thanks to the help of Tom Delsey, formerly of the National Library of Canada, who produced a Strawman Model for Name and Title Authorities which is, according to the author, "a first cut at analyzing functional requirements for name and title authority records". This entity-relationship model was discussed at length during a two-day meeting in London (9 and 10 May) which was made possible by funding provided by the IFLA Professional Committee. As a result of the London discussions, the model was significantly revised by the consultant before the meeting scheduled in Glasgow.

This analysis of functional requirements will result in a publication that meets the first goal of the WG. The second has not been really considered yet, but, now that agreement has been reached on the entity-relationship model, that study can begin in earnest.

Concerning the third one, liaison with other interested groups, there has been a lot of feedback, as members of the WG are involved in various organizations and projects, and reports have been presented at each FRANAR Meeting. One member liaises with ICA, quite a few, including the UBCIM Director, were involved in ISO TC 46 work ( for example, submission of comments on the draft ISTC standard). IFLA was invited in 2001 to join the European INTERPARTY project. The project will be completed in June 2003. IFLA UBCIM was a full member.


The maintenance and promotion of the UNIMARC format continued to represent one of UBCIM major activities. A Strategic Plan 2002-2003 is posted on the IFLANET (3), giving all goals and related actions. UBCIM acted as secretariat of the PUC, maintained the file of addition and change proposals, coordinated the work for updates to the UNIMARC Manual, made documentation accessible on the IFLANET, and organized relevant meetings. The 13th meeting of the PUC took place in St. Petersburg in March 2002 on the kind invitation of the National Library of Russia. Various new proposals related to electronic resources and to developments brought about by the ISBD(CR) were on the agenda, as well as quite a few additions to the format requested by the Subgroup on Music. Update 4 to the UNIMARC Manual, Bibliographic Format, was finalized. A meeting of the Working Group on the UNIMARC format for Holdings also took place in St. Petersburg.

IV. Seminars and Workshops

  1. Electronic Library Workshops, India, 13 - 29 January 2002
  2. This course had been conceived a few years ago in discussions at the IFLA annual conferences with Ms. Kalpana Dasgupta, former Director of the Central Secretariat Library in New Delhi and President of the Indian Library Association (ILA). IFLA was instrumental in securing funding from the US National Commission on Libraries and Information Services (NCLIS) for travel and accommodation of two experts: Alan Hopkinson, from Middlesex University, UK, and Mirna Willer from the National and University Library in Zagreb, Croatia and Chair of the Permanent UNIMARC Committee. Since the choice of a national bibliographic format was the topic under extensive discussion Mirna Willer presented UNIMARC and Alan Hopkinson MARC 21; both concentrated on sources of information available on the WWW. In both venues, Delhi and Mumbai, participants were shown how to develop a website using MARC and Dublin Core, which would act as a gateway to electronic resources. A report was published in ICBC.(4)
  3. Open Forum on UNIMARC
  4. This event took place during the IFLA Conference in Glasgow. Details about the transfer and future plans were presented by Portuguese colleagues. This included a paper on UNIMARC Next Generation, A Technological Road Map which will be published in ICBC 32(1), January-March 2003.
  5. Representation at other meetings
  6. Apart from the meetings already mentioned, the Director attended the following events, in most cases representing IFLA at meetings of organizations UBCIM liaises with:
    • Meeting with IFLA Governing Board, The Hague, 27 March 2002
    • INTERPARTY meetings, London, 8 April and 16 December 2002
    • ISSN Conference of Directors, Zagreb, September 2002
    • EDItEUR, October, Frankfurt
    • ISBN Panel Meeting, October, Berlin
    • Meeting of Core Activities and Regional Offices, The Hague, October

V. Publications

  1. UBCIM New Series
  2. This is published and distributed by K.G. Saur. The following publications were published in 2002:

    • UNIMARC Manual - Bibliographic Format Update 4 (5)
    • International Standard Bibliographic Description for Serials and other Continuing Resources (ISBD(CR)) (6)
    • Manuel UNIMARC. Version française. 4ème edition. (7)
    • Subject Retrieval in a Networked Environment. (8)
  3. Translations of UBCIM publications
  4. Apart from publications mentioned under I, other translations have appeared or are planned, e.g., the UNIMARC Manual - Bibliographic Format in Azeri, the UNIMARC Manual - Authorities Format in Czech, French, Italian and Lithuanian and Functional Requirements of Bibliographic Records in Japanese and Lithuanian.

  5. International Cataloguing and Bibliographic Control (ICBC)
  6. The quarterly journal of UBCIM continued to publish IFLA reports and conference papers, commissioned and unsolicited articles, news and events, and book reviews. Tables of contents are posted on the IFLANET.(9)

    As usual, an article from the country hosting the IFLA Conference appeared in the 2nd issue "Bibliographic Control in Scotland: Providing a Specialized National Bibliography Within a Wider Context" by Cate Newton, from The National Library of Scotland.


  1. isbdtran.htm
  2. 98-2001.htm
  3. spunimarc.htm
  4. International Cataloguing and BibliographicControl (ICBC), 31(2), April-June 2002, pp. 37-38
  5. UNIMARC Manual Bibliographic Format, (UBCIM Publications - New Series, v. 14) Update 4. München:K.G. Saur, 2002
  6. ISBD(CR): International Standard Bibliographic Description for Serials and Other Continuing Resources (UBCIM Publications - New Series, v. 24). München: K.G.Saur, 2002
  7. Manuel UNIMARC, Version française. 4ème edition. Traduit par Marc Chauveinc. München : K.G. Saur 2002.
  8. Subject Retrieval in a Networked Environment. Proceedings of the Pre- IFLA Satellite Conference in Dublin, Ohio, 14-16 August (UBCIM Publications - New Series, v. 25). München: K.G. Saur, 2002.


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