Universal Bibliographic Control and International MARC (UBCIM)

Annual Report 1998

by Marie-France Plassard, Programme Officer


The highlights of the UBCIM Programme were the International Conference on National Bibliographic Services (ICNBS) and worldwide UBCIM seminars, as well as posting the major part of UNIMARC documentation on the Web, including the full Bibliographic and Authorities manuals.

I. UBC Activities in Cooperation with the Division of Bibliographic Control.

  1. International Conference on National Bibliographic Services (ICNBS), Copenhagen, 25-27 November
  2. This was a major event to commemorate the 1977 Unesco International Congress on National Bibliographies, the recommendations of which influenced the development of national bibliographies over the last twenty years. ICNBS had for aim to review and update the 1977 recommendations. It was held under the auspices of IFLA, the Danish Royal Library, the Royal School of Library and Information Science and the Danish Library Centre.

    There were 117 participants from 71 countries. The generous support from Danida and NCLIS (as well as an OCLC grant) enabled to fund a significant number of representatives from developing countries and Eastern Europe. Papers are accessible at:
    icnbs.htm. The new recommendations are posted at: fina.htm and will be translated into the five official languages of IFLA.

    This conference is referred to in the MTP Action Plan 1.2.

  3. IFLA Working Group on Minimal Level Authority Records and the ISADN
  4. The Working Group, created in 1996, produced a matrix of essential elements to be included for internationally accessed / shared data in various formats. The final version, revised according to comments received during a worldwide review and titled "Mandatory Data Elements for Internationally Shared Resource Authority Records", is available electronically at:
    mlar.htm and distributed by UBCIM as publication on demand. The WG, disbanded in February 1999, had postponed consideration of the ISADN, deciding to wait "to see how emerging electronic environment and advances in developing technologies impact the linking of records". The creation of a new WG, under the umbrella of Division IV and UBCIM, will be discussed by the CB of the Division at its next meeting in April. This project was within the framework of the MTP Action Plan 2.1.

  5. Seminars
    1. IFLA UBCIM Regional Seminar on Bibliographic Control, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 9-12 March
      This seminar was organized and hosted by the National Library of Malaysia in cooperation with the IFLA ALP Programme (which funded participation from delegates from all countries in Southeast Asia), the IFLA UBCIM Programme, Division IV, and the IFLA UDT Programme, all represented at this event. IFLA UBCIM contributed to administrative expenses.

      The objectives of the seminar included providing information on current developments in bibliographic control and on IFLA activities in the field, as well as promoting cooperation in the region. A report is available at:

      During the last session a Plan of Action (http://archive.ifla.org/VI/3/p1996-3/malpoa.htm) was developed, including priorities to be given to certain areas. The proceedings have been published by the National Library of Malaysia. While seminars in general are related to the MTP Goal 1, this particular one is in fulfilment of Action Plan 1.3.

    2. The Function of Bibliographic Control in the Global Information Infrastructure, Vilnius, Lithuania, 17-19 June
      This seminar was organized by the National Library of Lithuania in cooperation with the Permanent UNIMARC Committee and UBCIM, and sponsored by various organizations, including the Open Fund Society, the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture and the Council of Europe. Seventy participants came mostly from the Baltic States but also from Belarus, Croatia, Finland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. Most papers were published in International Cataloguing and Bibliographic Control (ICBC), 1999, 28(1). Electronic versions are available at: http://www.lnb.lrs.lt/angl/events/ifla/ifla.html

      In the Plan of Action, included in the report posted at viln.htm, two recommendations are specifically addressed to the PUC and UBCIM, namely the drafting of a UNIMARC for Holdings and the revision of UNIMARC/Authorities. These are being acted upon (see under II).

    3. International Seminar on Universal Bibliographic Control. Bibliographic Control in Latin America and the Caribbean on the Eve of the Third Millenium, Mexico, 21-23 September
      This seminar was held under the auspices of IFLA at the University Centre for Library Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, with the assistance of the General Office for Academic Exchange and the Mexican Association of Librarians (AMBAC). The IFLA ALP Programme was the main sponsor, funding participation of representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

      IFLA UBCIM was one of the co-organizers and funded the simultaneous translation English - Spanish. Division IV, the UDT Programme and the Permanent UNIMARC Committee were also represented. The aims were similar to those of previous regional seminars and recommendations included cooperation in development of authority files and sharing conversion software, as well as a discussion list on the use of bibliographic fields and cataloguing levels. Continuing education also ranked as priority, e.g. brushed up courses in the design of bibliographic databases and the organization of electronic documents.

      Reports in English and Spanish are available at: mex.htm and mex-s.htm

      At all these meetings exhibitions of IFLA documents were arranged in cooperation with IFLA Headquarters and UBCIM publications donated.


The UBCIM Office continues 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, with the help of the Programme Assistant, the file of addition and change proposals submitted by UNIMARC users. All UNIMARC activities correspond to the MTP Goal 3 and the relevant Action Plan (3.1 through 3.5).

  1. Permanent UNIMARC Committee

    The current term of members expires in 1999. The following experts were nominated for election or re-election as standing members:

    • Mirna Willer, National and University Library, Croatia, Chair
    • Brian Holt, The British Library, Vice Chair
    • Elisabeth Freyre, Bibliothèque nationale de France
    • Rosa Galvao, Biblioteca Nacional, Portugal
    • Cristina Magliano, Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico, Italy
    • Zhou Sheng Heng, National Library of China
    • Vladimir Skvortsov, National Library of Russia
    • Regina Varniene, National Library of Lithuania
    • Jay Weitz, OCLC, USA

    Corresponding members include representatives from the Library of Congress and from the national libraries of Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, India, Japan, Namibia, the Netherlands and Slovakia. ISO/TC 46 and the ISSN International Centre are also represented.

    The 9th meeting of the PUC took place in Moscow, hosted by the National Public Library for Science and Technology. Items on the agenda included the revision of UNIMARC/A, a report from the Working Group on the UNIMARC Classification Format, and consideration of a UNIMARC for Holdings. The latter was definitely approved at an informal meeting held during the IFLA Conference in Amsterdam. The revision of UNIMARC/Authorities was discussed at the same meeting with the Working Groups on MLAR and on the revision of GARE.

    Update 2 to the UNIMARC Manual/Bibliographic was published just before the meeting in Moscow. Guidelines 4 (Minimal Level Record) and 5 (Multi-Level Description: Encoding Options for UNIMARC) were finalized. Guidelines on Electronic Resources and on Patents are in preparation.

  2. UNIMARC on the Web

    In 1997 Concise UNIMARC Bibliographic and Authorities were made accessible on the IFLANET. In 1998 a major step forward was accomplished when both the full Bibliographic and Authorities manuals were made available at

    thanks to the valuable efforts and cooperation of the main editor of the UNIMARC Manual, Brian Holt, Vice Chair of the PUC, and of Louise Lantaigne, from the UDT Programme. Most of the UNIMARC Guidelines are also accessible on the UBCIM homepage.

  3. UNIMARC Workshops

    1. UNIMARC Applications in European Projects, Frankfurt, 4 June
      About 50 participants attended the workshop held (in German) at the Deutsche Bibliothek during the German Librarians' Conference. UBCIM funded the speakers who presented EROMM (European Register of Microform Masters), CERL (Consortium of European Research Libraries) and UseMARCON (the MARC converter). The papers were published in ICBC, 1998, 27(4).

    2. UNIMARC in Transition, Amsterdam, 20 August
      Presentations included UNIMARC on the Web and UNIMARC/ Authorities, UNIMARC applications and users experiences in the Czech Republic, France and Russia, as well as UNIMARC mapping: Metadata and Dublin Core. They were published in ICBC, 1998, 28(2).

  4. List of UNIMARC Users

    The UBCIM International List of UNIMARC Users published in ICBC, 1995, 24(4) was updated by Kent Stuart, Programme Secretary and subsequently by Stephanie Ratthei, Programme Assistant. For this purpose respondents to the first inquiries were asked to check the information they had provided while around 20 new institutions were contacted. A different questionnaire was sent to around 50 utilities. The new list was published in ICBC, 1999, 28(2) and is posted on the UBCIM homepage.

III. Publications

The Programme devotes over a third of its staff time to its publication programme. Relevant reports and studies from IFLA professional groups, mostly from Division IV and the PUC, are published by K.G. Saur or distributed as publications on demand by UBCIM (http://archive.ifla.org/VI/3/nd1/publist.htm).

Translation (and therefore dissemination of IFLA standards in various languages) is fostered, although UBCIM is not directly involved in this activity but liaises with coordinating centres appointed in the countries concerned.

International Cataloguing and Bibliographic Control (ICBC) continues to be recognized as one of the leading journals in the field.

This is to fulfill the MTP Goal 4 and corresponding sections of the Action Plan.

  1. Monographs
    The Programme Officer is editor of the UBCIM Publications - New Series (K.G. Saur) in which the following appeared in 1998:
    • Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, volume 19
    • Update 2 to volume 14: UNIMARC Manual Scheduled for 1999:
    • Manuel UNIMARC, 3e édition
    • Principles Underlying Subject Heading Languages (SHLs)
    • Application of UNIMARC to Multinational Databases: Feasibility Report
    • Update 3 to volume 14: UNIMARC Manual

    Publications on demand included the already mentioned report from the WG on MLAR and the ISADN (see under I.B) and UNIMARC Guidelines (II.A).

  2. Translations
    For each planned translation coordinating centres should apply to UBCIM for permission. Requests for translation were received for the following:
    • Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records
      in Italian
    • ISBD(A), (CM), (M), (NBM), (PM)
      in Latvian
    • ISBD(ER)
      in Czech and Latvian
    • UNIMARC Manual Update 2
      in Czech, Italian and Slovene

    The following publications were received:

    • Form and Structure of Corporate Headings
      in Slovene
    • Guidelines for Authority and Reference Entries
      in Slovene
    • Guidelines for Subject Authority and Reference Entries
      in Russian
    • ISBD(A)
      in Czech
    • ISBD(G)
      in Latvian and Slovene
    • ISBD(NBM)
      in Slovak
    • ISBD(PM)
      in Lithuanian
    • ISBD(S)
      in Slovene
    • Requirements for a Format for Classification Data
      in Russian

  3. International Cataloguing and Bibliographic Control (ICBC)
    The journal continues to publish IFLA conference papers, reports from various IFLA groups but also from other international organizations, commissioned papers and book reviews. The editor is the Programme Officer, who welcomes unsolicited papers. Officers of Division IV act as editorial board. ICBC published in 1998 papers presented at the open sessions of the sections on Bibliography, Cataloguing, Classification and Indexing during the IFLA Conference in Copenhagen, as well as presentations at various seminars and workshops listed above. An article of the country hosting the 64th IFLA Conference was written by a colleague from the Royal Library in the Hague. Other papers included the following:

    • Bibliographic Control in Uganda
    • National Bibliography of Pakistan
    • National Bibliography of Swaziland
    • Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

IV. Attendance at other Meetings

Apart from the IFLA Conference and the various seminars and workshops already mentioned the IFLA UBCIM Programme was represented by the Programme Officer at the following meetings:
  • ICNBS Planning Committee, February, London
  • International ISMN Meeting, April, Paris
  • ISBN Panel Meeting, October, Berlin
  • DDC Workshop, October, Frankfurt
  • Meeting of German members of the Library Association, December, Frankfurt (attended by all UBCIM staff).

V. Visitors

  • Barbara Bell, the College of Wooster, Ohio, USA (Member of the SC on Bibliography)
  • Coordinating Board of Division IV: Françoise Bourdon, Ia C. McIlwaine, Ingrid Parent, Werner Stephan, Edward Swanson, Maria Witt
  • Sjoerd Koopman, IFLA Professional Coordinator
  • Bob Usherwood, President of the Library Association
  • Tigran Zarganayan, Medical Scientific Library of the Republic of Armenia, Yerevan

VI. Personnel and communication

The UBCIM Programme remains understaffed for financial reasons. Neither the Deutsche Bibliothek nor IFLA can afford the salary of a third staff member. The Programme Secretary, Kent Stuart, left in August for personal reasons. He was replaced in October by a Programme Assistant, Stephanie Ratthei. The Programme Director, Kurt Nowak, will retire from the Deutsche Bibliothek in June 1999.

Communication is increasingly achieved by e-mail. The general address of the Programme is iflaubcim@dbf.ddb.de while the Web page can be accessed at ubcim.htm

VII. Future projects

1999 promises to be another busy year. Work on authority control will continue as already mentioned under I.B. The follow up of the ICNBS Conference will be assumed by Division IV and UBCIM.

An IFLA Conference on Cataloguing Rules is scheduled in Moscow in April. It is hoped to hold a UBCIM Seminar for Transcaucasian Republics in Tbilisi, Georgia in October. The 10th meeting of the PUC will take place in Rome in March. Future UNIMARC projects have already been discussed under III and future publications have been listed under IV.

Latest Revision: September 30, 1999 Copyright © 1995-2000
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