Universal Bibliographic Control and International MARC (UBCIM)

Annual Report 1999

by Marie-France Plassard, Programme Director
and Stephanie Ratthei, Programme Assistant  



The Director of the UBCIM Programme, Kurt Nowak, Deputy Director of the Deutsche Bibliothek, retired on 1 June 1999. Marie-France Plassard was appointed Programme Director. Stephanie Ratthei has been Programme Assistant since 1 October 1998.


The Medium Term Programme 1998-2001 includes the development and promotion of bibliographic standards and guidelines with particular attention to new technologies as well as the promotion of the development of authority control at the international level. These goals are reflected in the activities listed below under I. A goal is related to the development and promotion of the UNIMARC format which is treated under IV. and another concerns publications which represent a large part of UBCIM activities and are listed under VI.


I. Working Group on Functional Requirements And Numbering of Authority Records (FRANAR)

As a follow-up to the IFLA Working Group on Minimal Level Authority Records and the ISADN, which had completed its task in 1998, a new Working Group was created in June 1999 under the auspices of the Division of Bibliographic Control and the IFLA UBCIM Programme: FRANAR (Functional Requirements And Numbering of Authority Records). The Working Group comprises ten members representing various interests and institutions and is chaired by Ms. Françoise Bourdon (Bibliothèque nationale de France). At the first meeting, held during the IFLA Conference in Bangkok in August 1999, the following terms of reference were endorsed:
  1. to define functional requirements of authority records: continuing the work that the "Functional Requirements of Bibliographic Records" for bibliographic systems initiated

  2. to study the feasibility of an International Standard Authority Data Number (ISADN): to define possible use and users, to determine for what types of authority records such an ISADN is necessary, to examine the possible structure of the number and the type of management that would be necessary

  3. to serve as the official IFLA liaison to, and work with, other interested groups concerning authority files: INDECS (Interoperability of Data in E-Commerce Systems), ICA/CDS (International Council on Archives/Committee on Descriptive Standards), ISO/TC46 for international numbering and descriptive standards, CERL (Consortium of European Research Libraries), etc.

The WG is currently focusing its attention on the entity-relationship model for authorities. The ISO drafts for an International Standard Work Code (ISWC) and the International Standard Audiovisual Number (ISAN) have been considered.


II. Follow up to the International Conference on National Bibliographic Services (ICNBS), Copenhagen, November 1998

The Programme started work on the follow up of the International Conference on National Bibliographic Services (in close cooperation with the Section on Bibliography). The recommendations issued at the end of the ICNBS were endorsed by Unesco in November 1999. They have been translated into the following languages so far: Croatian, Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, and Slovak.


III. Other projects (in cooperation with the Division of Bibliographic Control)

  1. Metadata

    The Programme Director is a member of the Working Group on Metadata created under the auspices of the Section on Cataloguing. This WG will not create standards as such but rather provide guidance, and, as appropriate, guidelines to libraries as to when and/or how best to use metadata records and bibliographic records. The WG is currently making a survey of various developments and applications of metadata schemes in various countries. It will hold a Workshop during the IFLA Conference in Jerusalem.

  2. ISBDs

    It is planned to post all electronic versions of the ISBDs on the IFLANET. The ISBD(ER) is already available. The Programme will also monitor the availability of the electronic versions of the translations of ISBDs in several languages. In addition, revised versions of ISBDs, e.g. ISBD(S), will be published.



The UBCIM Office continued to act as secretariat to the Permanent UNIMARC Committee (PUC) and as clearing house for all UNIMARC queries. The Office prepared meetings and maintained the file of addition and change proposals submitted by UNIMARC users. It also coordinated the work for Update 3 of the UNIMARC Manual and for making the Manual, as well as other UNIMARC documents, including the guidelines, accessible on IFLANET.

  1. Permanent UNIMARC Committee (PUC)

    1999 was a year of election for the PUC, as the two-year term of members had expired. At the 10th meeting of the PUC, held in Rome on 4-5 March and hosted by the Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico (ICCU), the following standing members were elected (or re-elected):

    • Mirna Willer, National and University Library, Croatia, Chair
    • Brian Holt, The British Library, Vice Chair (till his retirement in February 2000)
    • 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 (Vice Chair since February 2000)

    Representatives from the Library of Congress and from the national libraries of Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, India, Japan, Namibia, the Netherlands and Slovakia as well as from ISO/TC 46 and the ISSN International Centre form the group of corresponding members.

    Items on the agenda included, apart from the UNIMARC addition and change proposals, the revision of UNIMARC/Authorities, a report on the work of the WG on a UNIMARC Classification Format, the drafting of a UNIMARC Holdings Format, and the status and progress of various UNIMARC Guidelines and their revisions.

    In view of proposals for UNIMARC additions and changes concerning music documents a new Working Group on Music was formed in June.

  2. UNIMARC on the Web

    The Programme continued to maintain and update (in cooperation with the PUC and the UDT Programme) the UNIMARC documentation already posted on the IFLANET, e.g. UNIMARC Bibliographic and Authorities (both the full and concise versions) and most of the guidelines. But a major achievement was to complete the posting of guidelines, so that the whole UNIMARC documentation is now accessible on the Web.

  3. International List of UNIMARC Users and Experts

    The International List of UNIMARC Users and Experts, first published in 1995 in International Cataloguing and Bibliographic Control (ICBC), 24(4), October-December, was updated in 1999. The scope was widened this time by contacting further institutions (119 altogether) and by contacting various utilities (54). The results of the 1999 survey were published in International Cataloguing and Bibliographic Control (ICBC), 28(2), April-June and posted on the IFLANET at iluue.htm


    In June 1999 a new listserv discussion list was set up: UNIMARC-DIS. This list is intended to promote international cooperation among librarians and other professionals using or interested in the UNIMARC formats. It provides a medium for exchanging information and experiences, seeking assistance with difficult questions, promoting common professional interests and concerns, and encouraging cooperation. The PUC and UBCIM also use it to advertise new developments and ask for comments on proposed changes.

V. Conferences, Seminars and Workshops

  1. International Conference on Cataloguing Principles, Moscow,20-24 April 1999

    This international conference was organized and hosted by the Russian State Library in cooperation with the Russian Library Association, the IFLA Section on Cataloguing and the UBCIM Programme. The main sponsor was the Open Society Institute (Soros). The aims of the conference were to bring together experts involved in national and international projects related to revision and further development of cataloguing rules, to survey current trends, and to issue recommendations for national cataloguing agencies and international organizations.

    The conference was attended by about 60 participants from the main institutions in Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as from 13 countries. Papers covered international principles of cataloguing, international projects, electronic resources, as well as national cataloguing development in several countries and new trends in Russian cataloguing rules. The UBCIM Programme Director presented new IFLA relevant projects. Several recommendations were addressed to the IFLA Section on Cataloguing, the Working Group on Authorities, metadata developers and providers as well as to UBCIM which was charged with "Continue to work towards compatibility of the UNIMARC and the MARC 21 communication formats". A conference report and the papers presented are available at: apr99.htm

  2. Transcaucasian Workshop: Universal Bibliographic Control and UNIMARC, Tbilisi, Georgia, 3-5 October 1999

    This regional workshop for the three Transcaucasian republics - Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia was organized jointly by the Library Automation Association of Georgia (LAAG) and the IFLA UBCIM Programme and its PUC. Sponsors were the Soros Open Society, NCLIS and UBCIM. The venue was the Central Scientific Library of the Georgian Academy of Sciences. The workshop was thought the first important international professional meeting in the region since the split of the USSR. The meeting was preceded by local preliminary workshops.

    The aims of the workshop were to become familiar with the trends in Universal Bibliographic Control, in the area of cooperation and the use of information and communication technologies, and to gain further experience in the UNIMARC format. A further goal was to examine the situation of bibliographic control in the region and to identify problems and barriers to bibliographic control and possible solutions, and to formulate proposals for strengthening bibliographic control and promoting cooperation in the region.

    About 60 participants came from various institutions and organizations in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The UBCIM Programme Director reported on Universal Bibliographic Control and IFLA standards. During the closing session UBCIM publications (including the ISBDs and UNIMARC documentation) were donated to each of the three republics.

    The report on this workshop is accessible at: geor99.htm

    Further seminars of this kind are planned in the region.


VI. Publications

The publication programme represents an important part of the Office activities. Relevant reports and studies from IFLA professional groups and proceedings of meetings are either published by K.G. Saur or distributed as publications on demand by UBCIM (publist.htm). The Programme also fosters the translation and, therefore, the dissemination of IFLA standards in other languages. International Cataloguing and Bibliographic Control (ICBC) continues to be recognized as one of the leading journals in the field.
  1. Monographs

    21 titles have already appeared in the UBCIM Publications - New Series, launched in 1990, edited by the Programme Director and distributed by K.G. Saur. The following were published in 1999:

    • Application of UNIMARC to Multinational Databases: Feasibility Report
    • Principles Underlying Subject Heading Languages (SHLs)
    • Manuel UNIMARC, 3e édition

    In 1999, two volumes of the UBCIM Publications - New Series were made available electronically:

    • Volume 17, ISBD (ER)
    • Volume 19, Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records

    The following are scheduled for 2000-2001:

    • Anonymous Classics (revised edition)
    • Form and Structure of Corporate Headings (revised edition)
    • GARE (revised edition)
    • Guidelines for OPAC Displays
    • UNIMARC Manual Update 3 (published in March 2000)
    • UNIMARC/Authorities (revised edition)
    • UNIMARC Classification Format
    • UNIMARC Holdings Format

  2. Translations of UBCIM publications

    These are carried out by coordinating centres in the countries concerned, which should obtain permission from UBCIM for each translation planned. In 1999, requests for translation were received for the following:

    - Application of UNIMARC to Multinational Databases in Russian
    - Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records in French and Slovene
    - Guidelines for Subject Authority and Reference Entries in Croatian
    - ISBD (A), (G), (M) in Georgian
    - ISBD (ER) in Catalan, French and Georgian
    - ISBD (NBM) in Catalan and Georgian
    - Mandatory Data Elements for
    Internationally Shared Authority Records
    in Croatian
    - Principles Underlying Subject Heading Languages (SHLs) in Russian
    - UNIMARC: an Introduction in Slovene
    - UNIMARC/Authorities in Croatian and Georgian
    - UNIMARC Guideline Nos. 1, 2, 4, and 5 in Slovene
    - UNIMARC Guideline Nos. 3 and 6 in Croatian

    The following translations were received in 1999:

    - Guidelines for Authority and Reference Entries in Macedonian
    - Guidelines for the Application of the ISBDs
    to the Description of Component Parts
    in Slovene
    - ISBD (CM) in Lithuanian and Slovene
    - ISBD (ER) in Catalan
    - ISBD (NBM) in Catalan and Macedonian
    - ISBD (PM) in Slovene
    - UNIMARC Manual - Bibliographic Format in Slovene
    - UNIMARC: an Introduction in Slovene

  3. International Cataloguing and Bibliographic Control (ICBC)

    The quarterly journal - edited by the Programme Director with the Coordinating Board of Division IV as advisory board - continued to publish IFLA reports and conference papers, commissioned or unsolicited articles, news and events as well as book reviews. As usual, a paper devoted to the country hosting the IFLA Conference appeared in the second 1999 issue, titled "Bibliographic Control in Thailand". Other articles published in 1999 treated, among others, cataloguing and traditional formats versus metadata, authority control in the new environment, and various European projects.


VII. Attendance at other meetings

Apart from the IFLA Conference in Bangkok and the seminars and workshops already mentioned, the Programme Director represented the IFLA UBCIM Programme at the following meetings:
  • Meeting of the Professional Board with Core Programmes, March, The Hague
  • ISMN Meeting, March, London
  • CB Division IV, April, Paris
  • ISO TC 46, May, Paris
  • Bibliothekartag, May, Freiburg
  • INDECS partners and affiliates meeting, September, London
  • ISBN Panel Advisory Meeting, October, London
  • CERL, November, Brussels
  • INDECS partners and affiliates meeting, November, London
  • Seminar on Machine-Readable Cataloguing, December, St. Petersburg


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