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

Annual Report 1997


1997 was a year of change for the IFLA UBCIM Programme which moved, as did all the staff and services of the Deutsche Bibliothek, into the new building in January 1997. In May, the new building was officially inaugurated by Chancellor Kohl. The President and the Secretary General of IFLA had been invited to attend the ceremony, as well as several Directors of National Libraries. Robert Wedgeworth and Leo Voogt thus had the opportunity to visit the impressive new UBCIM offices.

A decisive move towards worldwide access to information was achieved in the summer when Concise Web UNIMARC Bibliographic and Authorities were made accessible on the IFLANET thanks to the kind cooperation of the UDT Programme.

Medium-Term Programme 1998-2001

The Medium-Term Programme, finalized in 1997, retains the same scope as the former, but special consideration will be given (where appropriate) to developments in electronic and networked environments. Indeed, the Goals refer to the development of bibliographic standards and guidelines, with particular attention to new technology. The promotion of authority control at the international level, the maintenance and promotion of the UNIMARC format, the publication programme and the clearinghouse role, all aspects of the 1997 activities, remain goals for 1998-2001. The role of "clearinghouse" for information on all IFLA endeavors in the field of bibliographic control has considerably increased since the Programme is connected and has a Web Home Page.

UBC Activities in Cooperation with the Division of Bibliographic Control

    International Conference on National Bibliographic Services (ICNBS), Copenhagen, 25-27 November 1998

    Plans moved ahead for the organization of this Conference which will commemorate the 1977 Paris Conference on National Bibliographies. The ICNBS Planning Committee, chaired by Ross Bourne (British Library), former Chair of the Division of Bibliographic Control, is comprised of the new Chair of the Division, Ingrid Parent (National Library of Canada), three members of the Standing Committee on Bibliography, Barbara Bell (College of Wooster, Ohio), Marcelle Beaudiquez, Honorary Adviser and Françoise Bourdon, Secretary/Treasurer of the Section (both at BNF), a member of the SC on Cataloguing, Mona Madsen (Royal School of Librarianship, Copenhagen) and the UBCIM Programme Officer. The Committee met during the IFLA Conference in Copenhagen.

    The Conference, on invitation only, will take place in the Royal School of Librarianship on 25-27 November 1998. Around 200 letters of invitation (to all CDNL members and relevant international organizations) were issued by the IFLA UBCIM Programme. The Director of the Royal Library, Erland Kolding Nielsen, has been most active and successful in approaching sponsors to enable participation by developing countries. Additional funds are being sought by Planning Committee members.

    IFLA Working Group on Minimal Level Authority Record (MLAR) and the ISADN

    This Working Group, created in 1996, produced a matrix of essential elements to be included for internationally accessed/shared data in various formats. The draft was circulated to commentators, subsequently revised and discussed at a meeting of the Working Group held on 28 April in the National and University Library of Helsinki, Finland. The Library funded a great part of the travel expenses of the Chair of the Working Group, Barbara Tillett, (Library of Congress). All other travel expenses, as well as subsistence for the whole WG and the IFLA UBCIM Programme Officer, were funded by the IFLA UBCIM Programme. The new revised document was sent for worldwide review in December.

    Seminars and Workshops

    A Seminar on Bibliographic Control was due to take place in Mexico in November 1997. However, it had to be postponed and is now scheduled for September 1998. Preparations for the Regional Seminar on Bibliographic Control in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia progressed very well. Ross Bourne and Marie-France Plassard met with the Director of the National Library of Malaysia and a member of her staff during the IFLA Conference in Copenhagen. Funding for participation from developing countries at both seminars has been secured by the ALP Programme. The Seminar in Malaysia will take place in Kuala Lumpur on 9-12 March 1998. It is a very good example of cooperation between various entities of IFLA as, apart from UBCIM, Division IV (Ingrid Parent), the ALP Programme (Birgitta Bergdahl) and the UDT Programme (Gary Cleveland) will be represented, as well as the RSCAO.

    During the IFLA Conference, the Programme Officer was asked by the National Library of Lithuania to help organize an International Seminar on "The Function of Bibliographic Control in the Global Information Infrastructure" which will take place in Vilnius on 17-19 June 1998.

    Three workshops were held during the IFLA Conference: one entirely sponsored by UBCIM, titled "EDI and Beyond: Electronic Commerce and Libraries"; one joint with the Division of Bibliographic Control, "Authority Control: Developments and Prospects"; and one joint with the Section on Cataloguing, "Future of Communication Formats".

    Other Projects

    The UBCIM Programme is naturally involved in projects of relevant Sections, circulating drafts for worldwide review or for balloting and publishing reports and studies from various working groups. In addition to the MLAR report, the Programme circulated in the spring "Principles Underlying Subject Headings Languages" (a Section on Classification and Indexing draft) for worldwide review.


The UBCIM Office continued to act as secretariat to the Permanent UNIMARC Committee and as clearing house for all UNIMARC queries. The Programme Officer organizes meetings in collaboration with hosts, takes minutes of all meetings and maintains the file of change and addition proposals from the Users community.

    Permanent UNIMARC Committee (PUC)

    The usual two-year term of members expired and the following experts were elected or re-elected: Elisabeth Freyre, Bibliothèque Nationale de France; Rosa Galvao, Biblioteca Nacional, Portugal; Volker Henze, Die Deutsche Bibliothek; Brian Holt, British Library; Christina Magliano, ICCU, Italy; Sally McCallum, Library of Congress; Yakov Shraiberg, Russian National Public Library for Science and Technology; Kiyoko Tamura, National Diet Library; and Mirna Willer, National & University Library, Zagreb, Croatia.

    Eleven corresponding members represent the National Libraries of Canada, China, Greece, and India, the Royal Libraries of Belgium and the Netherlands, the State Library of South Africa and the following organizations: Book Industry Communication (London), the ISSN International Centre, the Secretariat of ISO TC 46 and OCLC.

    The 8th meeting of the Committee took place on 20- 21 March in the National and University Library in Zagreb. Members elected a new Chair and a new Vice Chair, respectively Mirna Willer and Brian Holt. Items on the agenda included the linking block 4xx, new fields for electronic resources, for the International Standard Music and Report Numbers (ISMN and ISRN) as well as the revision of UNIMARC/Authorities and the creation of a Working Group for a UNIMARC Classification Format. This Group was officially formed at a meeting held during the IFLA Conference in Copenhagen which was followed by an open session of "questions and answers".

    The PUC continues to prepare guidelines for special kinds of materials. Joining the first three Guidelines, Component Parts, Microforms and Antiquarian, Guideline No.4: Minimal Level Record was published in early 1998. Guidelines for Multi-level Description and Electronic resources are in preparation. Guidelines are available free of charge from the UBCIM Office, whereas the UNIMARC Manual and its updates are distributed by Saur. It is planned to make them all accessible on the Web. Guideline 2: Microforms is already available on the IFLANET at:

    UNIMARC on the Web

    The highlight of 1997 was, as already mentioned, a Concise Web UNIMARC Bibliographic (prepared by the main editor of the UNIMARC Manual, Brian Holt) made accessible on the Web just before the IFLA Conference: concise.htm

    It was followed by a Concise Web Authorities: ucaf.htm

    One block of the UNIMARC Manual is currently on a test site for comments from the PUC members. It is planned to make the whole Manual available on the IFLANET by the end of 1998. Meanwhile the second update to the Manual is scheduled to be published in March 1998.

    UNIMARC Consultancy and Seminars in Russia, March

    A UNIMARC consultancy and UNIMARC seminars were organized during the first week of March under the auspices of the UBCIM Programme in collaboration with the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg and the National Public Library for Science and Technology in Moscow. The Permanent UNIMARC Committee was represented by Mirna Willer and Brian Holt as well as Yakov Shraiberg (in Moscow). The Programme Officer represented IFLA UBCIM.

    In St. Petersburg a seminar the first day was attended by some 50 participants from the region, during which PUC members and the UBCIM Officer presented the main activities of the Programme, UNIMARC-based projects of the European Commission, the UNIMARC Manual, latest update and developments to the UNIMARC format, as well as UNIMARC/Authorities and IFLA actions in the field of international exchange of authority records. The second day was entirely devoted to consultations with specialists of the Russian National Library and developers of the Russian national communication format based on UNIMARC.

    In Moscow, the seminar was attended by around 80 participants from major libraries in Moscow but also from institutions in Belarus, Lithuania and the Ukraine. Presentations were the same as in St. Petersburg with the addition of reports from host library specialists on UNIMARC and CDS/ISIS, the development of a USMARC-UNIMARC converter and others.

    List of UNIMARC Users

    The UBCIM Programme is in the process of updating its International List of UNIMARC Users published in International Cataloguing and Bibliographic Control (ICBC) 24(4)(1995). For this purpose respondents to the first inquiries (1993 and 1995) were asked in December to update the information they had provided. Some 20 new institutions were also contacted by the Programme Secretary, Kent Stuart, who also sent a different questionnaire to 53 firms and utilities. The new list will be published and made accessible on the IFLANET in summer 1998.


The publications programme continued to represent an important part of UBCIM activities. More than a third of staff time is devoted to it. The Programme publishes relevant reports and proceedings of meetings, fosters the translation and, therefore, the dissemination of IFLA standards in other languages (although not directly involved in this activity). International Cataloguing and Bibliographic Control (ICBC) continues to be recognized as one of the main professional journals in the field.


    The Programme Officer is editor of the UBCIM Publications-New Series, launched in 1990, and comprising 19 volumes so far.

    The following appeared in 1997:

    • ISBD (ER), International Standard Bibliographic Description for Electronic Resources, revised from ISBD (CF), (volume 17)

    • An Annotated Guide to Current National Bibliographies, 2nd revised edition by Barbara Bell, (volume 18)

    Scheduled for 1998:

    • Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, (already in print at the time of writing)

    • UNIMARC Manual, Update 2

    Those are distributed by K.G.Saur. The UBCIM Office distributes other reports, including publications on demand. The list is available on the IFLANET as well as from the Office.

    Translations of UBCIM Publications

    These are not published by Saur; translations are carried out by coordinating centres in the countries concerned working in liaison with the UBCIM Office. For each translation planned, the centre should apply to UBCIM for permission. All information is available from the Office.

    The following requests for permission were received in 1997:

    • Guidelines for the Applications of the ISBDs to the Description of Component Parts in Latvian

    • Guidelines for Authority and Reference Entries in Macedonian

    • UNIMARC Guideline No.3: Older Monographic Publications in Lithuanian

    • ISBD (ER) in Italian

    • ISBD (G) in Latvian

    • ISBD (NBM) in Macedonian

    • ISBD (S) in Latvian

    The following translations were received in 1997:

    • Guidelines for the Application of the ISBDs to the Description of Component Parts in Czech and in Lithuanian

    • ISBD (A) in Slovenian

    • ISBD (CM) in Czech

    • ISBD (M) in Slovenian

    • ISBD (NBM) in Slovenian

    • UNIMARC Manual: Bibliographic in Czech

    • UNIMARC: An Introduction in Lithuanian

    International Cataloguing and Bibliographic Control (ICBC)

    The journal continued to publish IFLA reports and conference papers, commissioned papers, news and events and book reviews. In 1997 the amount of unsolicited papers increased substantially and the contributions were generally of a very good quality, furthering the scope of the journal.

    As is the case every year, a paper devoted to the country hosting the IFLA Conference appeared in the second 1997 issue, titled "Bibliographic Control in Denmark". A selection of papers presented at the IFLA Conference in Beijing was published. We also published articles on :

    • National Bibliographies and the Book Trade

    • The Role of Character Sets in Library Automation

    • A Comparison Between the Anglo-American Cataloguing Code and Russian Bibliographic Standards

    • Reports on European UNIMARC related projects

    • The Iranian Adaptation of UNIMARC

    • Polish Bibliographies in Electronic Format

    • Retrospective Conversion of Croatian Older Books to quote only a few.

Attendance at other Meetings

Apart from the IFLA Conference, IFLA UBCIM was represented by the Programme Officer at the following meetings (IFLA acts as liaison to some of these organizations):

  • UNIMARC Workshops in St. Petersburg and Moscow, March

  • Permanent UNIMARC Committee, Zagreb, March

  • ISADN Working Group, Helsinki, April

  • CB Division IV, Washington, May

  • ISO TC/46, London, May

  • Seminar on the Future of the National Bibliography, London, June

  • ISBN Panel Meeting, Stockholm, October

  • CERL, Munich, November

  • IFLA Professional Board Meeting, The Hague, December Brian Holt, Vice Chair of the PUC, represented UBCIM at Crimea 97 in June, where a UNIMARC Workshop was held.

Coordination and Clearinghouse Role

UBCIM continued to serve as clearinghouse for information on IFLA activities in the field of bibliographic control and for UNIMARC queries. Since the Programme is covered in the IFLANET, this role increased substantially, and numerous orders for publications were received through e-mail. These are usually handled by the Programme Secretary. The roles of secretariat to the PUC and cooperation with the Division of Bibliographic Control have already been mentioned, as well as liaison with other international organizations.

Promotion is accomplished by advertising on the Web and ICBC, by mailing brochures (e.g., UNIMARC: Aan Introduction) by writing articles or reports, by presenting the Programme at other meetings and by visits to other institutions.

A Look Towards the Future

Apart from the UBC seminars and the ICNBS Conference previously mentioned, the Programme is organizing a workshop on UNIMARC in European projects and applications which will take place during the German Librarians' Conference in Frankfurt in June 1998 and a workshop titled "UNIMARC in Transition" scheduled during the IFLA Conference in Amsterdam.

Cooperation with other entities of IFLA will continue, one of the most important joint projects being the International Conference on National Bibliographic Services (ICNBS). The Division of Bibliographic Control and UBCIM will continue to work very closely. The next meeting of the Coordinating Board of the Division is scheduled in Frankfurt at the end of May. Cooperation will also continue with the Section on Information Technology, which was consulted and asked to recommend speakers for the Seminar in Vilnius and for the Amsterdam UNIMARC Workshop. Cooperation with the ALP and UDT Programmes, which was reinforced in 1997 in view of the Seminar in Malaysia (which both Birgitta Bergdahl, ALP Programme Director and Gary Cleveland, UDT Programme Officer attended), is expected to continue as the same Programmes are involved in the preparation of the Seminar in Mexico.

UNIMARC will continue to be maintained and promoted according to new developments and proposals from users. 1999 is a year of election for the PUC. Countries automating or developing their systems have already asked for assistance in the next two years, e.g., Georgia which is considering holding a regional seminar/consultancy. It is hoped that a new UNIMARC Classification Format will be ready in 1998.

The publications programme will continue to include new publications in the Saur UBCIM series (e.g., if agreed with the publisher the proceedings of the Vilnius Workshop) and publications on demand, e.g., the revision of Anonymous Classics.

To face its numerous activities, the Programme is understaffed: the Programme Officer is the only full time staff member while the Secretary is part time (75%). The Director continues to devote 10% of his time to UBCIM activities, mainly for administrative and financial matters connected with the Deutsche Bibliothek. It is hoped that the Programme Director and Programme Officer, who intend to discuss ways to improve the situation, will come to some solution. Meanwhile grateful acknowledgment is expressed to all colleagues, especially but not exclusively, the members of the PUC and of the CB of Division IV, who generously give their time and expertise to contribute to UBCIM. Their invaluable help is very much appreciated.

Latest Revision: June 14, 1998 Copyright © 1995-2000
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