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62nd IFLA General Conference - Conference Proceedings - August 25-31, 1996

Bibliographic Control in China

FU Ping


The author starts with a brief history and the present status of bibliographic control in China, including the compilation of China National Bibliography, the creating of some large-scale bibliographic databases, standardization of bibliographic control, researches and practices and automation of bibliographic control. Then, the author analyses some problems and their contributing factors, and fu rthermore, makes some comments on the future directions.


Bibliographic control is developed according to the increase of information quantity and needs for information. The aim of bibliographic control is to manage information more efficiently, to promote information interchange and to realize global information resources sharing.

It is in the last 20 years that people began to consider bibliographic control seriously. 1974 IFLA Conference proposed the definition, aim and plan of bibliographic control, and the concepts of NBC (National Bibliographic Control) and UBC (Universal Bibliographic Control). Since then, people all over the world have been making efforts to realize UBC and NBC and to compile national bibliographies .

Though theories on bibliographic control reached China comparatively late, the Chinese librarians began to practise it very early, because they had been pregnant with ideas of bibliographic control throughout the bibliographic studies in ancient China. In 1980’s, the Chinese librarians and information workers began to practise bibliographic control on a popular basis. Since then, they have acquir ed good achievements. By now in China, there have already been systems of national bibliographic registration, national cataloguing, union catalogue announcement, periodical indexing, and international standardization in techniques and methodologies of bibliographic compilation.


China is a country with an age-old history and ancient civilization and has abundant literature. Governments of most dynasties put sufficient emphasis on the compilation of bibliographies. There are such kinds of national bibliographies as Bie lu and Qi lue in Han Dynasty, first of its kind in China, Jin zhong jing xin bu in Wei, Jin, Southern & Northern Dynasties, Sui shu : Jing ji zhi in Sui Dynasty, Xin tang shu: Yi wen zhi in Tang Dynasty, Tong zhi: Yi wen lue in Song Dynasty, Wen xian tong kao: Jing ji kao in Yuan Dynasty, Si ku quan shu zong mu ti yao in Qing Dynasty. In view of these facts, our conclusions could be described as follows:

Affected by Western culture in modern times, Chinese people began to assimilate new ideology and new culture. We can see Riben shu mu zhi (Japan Bibliography) and Xi xue shu mu biao (Bibliography of Western culture), which introduced overseas culture, and Hangzhou cang shu lou shu mu and Gu yue cang shu lou shu mu, in which Western classification concepts were used. In this period, there were some large-scale bibliographies, such as Tu shu zong mu (General bibliography of books), Quan guo chu ban wu hui bian (A complete list of publications in China), Quan guo chu ban wu zong mu lu (A general bibliography of publications in China), Zhongguo za zhi zong mu ti yao (The Chinese national bibliography of journals with annotations), Beiping ge tu shu guan suo can g zhong wen qi kan lian he mu lu (An union catalogue of Chinese journals in libraries in Beiping), Zhongguo di fang zhi zong lu (A comprehensive catalogue of local gazetteers in China), and some monographs, such as Shu mu ju yao (An introduction to bibliography) and Zhongguo mu lu kao (A study of bibliography in China). The main characteristics in this period are as follows:

Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the government has been putting more and more emphasis on the development of book industry, and the work of bibliographic control and cataloguing are becoming standardized day by day.

The main characteristics of this period are as follows:


The establishment of China National Technical Committee for Standardization of Information and Documentation in 1979 is a milestone for bibliographic control in China, which marks its internationalization. In this period, there is a trend of automation of bibliographic control and resources sharing of bibliographic data in the international library community. There are national bibliographic data bases in many developed countries. In the same time, Chinese librarians are learning new technology and experiences from developed countries and have made great developments in bibliographic control.


Bibliographic control is a kind of system engineering. To fully implement a national bibliographic control, we need various kinds of conditions. Only if society, politics, economy, culture develop more rapidly, the total quantity of document information increases, and people have more knowledge about information, can bibliographic control make greater progress. China is now a developing country a nd has gaps from developed countries both in socialization of bibliography and in bibliographic control. The main problems are summarized as follows:

To realize bibliographic control in China, we need support from various circles. Firstly, we should have more knowledge about information technology, put more emphasis on work and studies in bibliographic control, learn advanced technologies, experiences and methodologies from foreign countries. Secondly, we should establish a center of bibliographic control based on the National Library of China , spend more human and material resources to compile national bibliography and establish databases of CNB, Chinese TOCs, union catalogues, database of Chinese ancient books and retrospective database of CNB. Thirdly, we should manage to get other funds than budgets from the government. We should also mobilize various libraries under a centralized control and concentrate all resources to establish large-scale bibliographic databases, including full-text databases, thus realizing bibliographic control. Fourthly, we should improve quality of bibliography, promote its standardization and realize its automation.

It has been a long way for the development of bibliographic control in China. There is no doubt that it occupies an important position in UBC. It’s development will meet social needs and make contributions to the transformation of Chinese society into an information society and to the resource sharing of all human being. BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCES

  1. QIN Yimin: “ Wo guo shu mu kong zhi yan jiu shu ping (A review of studies in bibliographic control in China)”, Tu shu guan (Library) , 3 (1992), pp. 17-23; 4 (1992), pp. 22-26.

  2. LU Lin: “ Wo guo shu mu qing bao de fa zhan qian jing (Perspective of bibliographic information in China)”, Tu shu guan xue tong xun (Bulletin of Library Science) , 3 (1990), pp. 39-43.

  3. CHEN Chuanfu: “ Qiang hua wo guo wen xian zi yuan kong zhi xi tong gong neng de ji dian jian yi yu she xiang (Some recommendations on the bibliographic control in China)”, Gao xiao tu shu guan xue kan (University Library Journal) , 1 (1989), pp. 38-41.

  4. NI Bo & HUANG Jungui (ed.): Shu mu gong zuo gai lun (An introduction to bibliographic work) , Bibliography & Document Publishing House, 1989, pp. 15-45.

  5. CHEN Yuanzhen: Hong guan tu shu guan xue (Macroscopic Library Science) , Peking University Press, 1989, pp. 106-131.

  6. NI Xiaojian (ed.): Shu mu kong zhi gai lun (An introduction to bibliographic control) , Peking University Press, pp. 174-182.

  7. LI Jiyou et al.: Tu shu guan mu lu (Library Catalogues) , 1982, pp. 22-36.

  8. CHENG Guohong: “ Wo guo shu mu kong zhi lun yan jiu shu lue (A review of studies in bibliographic control in China)”, Tu shu guan xue yan jiu (Studies in Library Science) , 1 (1993), pp. 21-24.