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

The Commencement and Advancement of China's Cataloging in Publication

Hao Zhiping, Associate Research Librarian
Archives Library of Chinese Publications


The last decade has witnessed great changes in the Chinese publication products , among which one significant advance is the appearance of the Cataloging in Publication (CIP) data which could be found on the verso of the title pages of books published in several cities in recent years. The CIP program in China represents a cooperative effort between the Information Center of the Press and Publication Administration of PRC (PPA) and the Archives Library of Chinese Publications ( ALCP)and is ensured by the implementation of a Chinese national standard “Cataloging in Publication Data in Books” (GB12451-90). By the end of 1995, ALCP had produced CIP data for over 45000 books published by more than 250 publishers in Beijing, Liaoning, Hubei and Guangdong areas. CIP which has been expected by the Chinese library and information professionals for many years is finally on its way.

The history of the CIP in China could be traced back to 16 years ago when the concept was introduced from the Western world. This paper will review the Chinese CIP program according to its progresses at three stages: first, the introduction of the CIP; second, the preparation and issuing of the CIP related national standards; and third, the implementation of national standards.

1. The Introduction of the CIP

Cataloging in Publication (CIP) produces bibliographic data for books to be published. The objective is to put cataloging data for a publication inside the publication itself. Cataloging data of a book is provided to the publishers before a book is published. When a book is available on the market, the cataloging data which is printed on the verso of a title page could be used by l ibraries, publishers, and other services. CIP enables a synchronous transforming for both bibliographic information and book publishing information. It is also a necessary step towards standardization and normalization of bibliographic description and bibliographic control. The concept of CIP was introduced to the Chinese library and information professionals at t he end of the 1970s. Having suffered the lack of a standardized and generally accepted measurement and control of the quality in bibliographic work for a long time, many researchers and experts wrote articles to call attentions to the importance, functions, and the feasibility of employing CIP in China. Historical background and programs of CIP in other countries were thoroughly reviewed and discussed.

Immediately CIP attracted great attention among Chinese professionals. It was also noted that China should have her own CIP version since the CIP programs in different countries had illustrated different approaches and resulted different characteristics. A group of pioneers explored Chinese CIP opportunities in their valuable works, among them were: “Cataloging in Publication” by Yan Lizhong, “Viewing China's centralized cataloging and realizing the immediacy of our need in cataloging in publication” by Shen Hao and Ying Ende, “CIP is the direction for further development of cataloging services” by Tu Xuan, “Discussing about China's cataloging in publication” by Bai Yang and Sha Hongye, etc.

Most of the papers discussed potential impacts of CIP on Chinese library and information services, while some of them also discussed its potential impacts on Chinese publishing services. Such concerns were demonstrated by several articles like Jiang Ji's “Integrated cataloging and publication process” ,etc. Through the extensive discussion, a general agreement seemed to be reached regarding the importance and functions of CIP in China. Most opinions tended to agree that a commitment to CIP in China would largely reduce duplicate efforts in cataloging routine so that a higher efficiency and productivity could be achieved while much human resources and time could be saved. Other advantages of CIP would include increasing speed of document processing, facilitating standardization and normalization of bibliographic work, improving the overall quality of cataloging in China, and finally achieving bibliographic control at national and international levels to benefit resource sharing. On the other hand, publishers could use CIP data to produce various kinds of trade catalogs and to expand market through advertising. These would help publishers to gain heavier trade meanwhile push the normalization of publication products. Quite a few experimental CIP projects were reported, including some short time and small range projects conducted by the National Library of China, Bibliography and Document Publishing House, Peking University Library, Peking University Press, Qinghai Province Library, and Qinghai People's Publishing House. However this whole stage tended to have the characteristics of “discussing on papers”. Nevertheless, it was a necessary preliminary preparation and pre-testing for further development of China's CIP.

2. The Preparation and Issuing of the National Standards

As the discussion on theories of CIP deepened, the objective conditions of putting CIP in practice in China became gradually matured. Entering the 1980s, the then China National Standardization Bureau issued in succession a series of standards regarding documentation, namely GB3792.1- 83 “General Bibliographical Description”, GB3792.2- 85 “Bibliographical Description for Monographs”, GB3860-83 “Documentation Guidelines for Determining the Subject and Subject Indexing”, etc. These standards laid a sound foundation for China's CIP program.

An agenda for establishing needed national standards for CIP was set up. On July 6 of 1987, PPA organized a meeting to officially form a task force of Chinese CIP. Attendants of the meeting included key figures from the then China National Standardization Bureau, Library Bureau of the Ministry of Culture, etc. The meeting suggested that the commitment of CIP in China would be an important event in the Chinese publishing and librarianship history; that technical guidelines and regulations regarding CIP should be well prepared; that two national standards, “Cataloging in Publication Data in Books”, and “Title Pages of Books” should be drafted by a committee.

The committee was formed with members representing the Standard Office of PPA ,the National Library of China, the Library of China Academy of Sciences, Peking University Library, People's Publishing House, etc. The Committee prepared the draft for the standard “ Cataloging in Publication Data in Books” based on what had been reported on CIP at home and abroad. It followed the principles proposed by the UNESCO and IFLA at an international conference of CIP in 1982. In this draft, the national standard “ Bibliographical Description for Monographs” (GB3792.2-85)was used as a reference standard. Another draft for the standard “Title Pages of Books” was prepared based on ISO1086 and the practice of book printing in China. After the drafts of the standards were released for comments, the committ ee received a great feedback from publishers and libraries all over the country.

Based on the recommendations and comments, the version of the two standards were worked out in January, 1989. The standards were approved in a meeting organized by the PPA in March of 1989. As a results of the meeting, the two standards were submitted to the State Bureau of Technological Supervision for further approval. On July 30 1990, the Bureau officially issued the two standards: “Cataloging in Publication Data in Books” (GB12451-90) and “Title Pages of Books” (GB12450-90). It was required that the implementation of the standards start from March, 1991. The GB12450-90 standard “Title Pages of Books” states rules about contents and format of data to be printed on title pages, including cataloging in publication data. The GB12451-90 standard “Cataloging in Publication Data in Books” provides rules regarding sources of data, selection of contents for CIP, and format of printing the data on the verso of a title page. The two standards are complementary to each other and have established a unique foundation for the CIP technical processing. The promulgation of the standards marks the substantial progress of China's CIP.

3. The Implementation of the National Standards

In order to implement the standards and have the publishers cooperate and participate in the CIP program, PPA issued an announcement in June 1993. Administrative offices of publications and publishers all over the country were requested to apply the standards to their publications in a regular base. Since then, the Information Center of the PPA has been in charge of the implementation of the standards while the ALCP has been responsible for assisting in the whole CIP technical processing. The implementation involved following steps:


In general, after 16 years' preparation, testing, and implementation, CIP program in China has made great achievements. The reasons that the CIP program has been making great progress in recent years could be summarized into the followings: first of all, the publishing of the related national standards has provided a sound foundation and reliable technical guidelines for the CIP in both theories and practice. Meanwhile the issuing of the national standards has made it possible to conduct and control CIP program under a legal and regulation mechanism. Second, related government agencies have provided powerful and successful policies in implementing the national standards through their leadership. Third, we have employed an efficient and doable way to process CIP in China. Our CIP has been processed through regular mails of CIP workforms, which is a different approach from other countries. Although there are still some space in which the CIP program could be improved, the program has been running successfully in the current communication condition. In addition to the reasons mentioned above, we could never forget the great contributions and cooperation of the professionals in the publishing industry.

However the situation has not yet been perfect. Many problems remain. The next major task of the CIP program is to extend CIP to those who have not participated in CIP. It is estimated that there are over 50% of the publishers in the country have not involved in the CIP program. Quality control is another major concern which is accompanied by the shortage of human and financial supports. Nevertheless, as the nationwide expansion of the CIP program, as the improvement of CIP data quality, CIP will have tremendous impacts on the development of Chinese library and information services as well as the publishing services.


  1. Xu, Mian. A Handbook of Cataloging in Publication. Beijing: People's Publishing House, 1994

  2. Chen, Yuanzheng. Cataloging in Publication, Bibliographical Data Standardization and Authorization. Beijing: Peking University press, 1994

  3. Bai, Yang, and Sha, Hongye. Discussing about China's Cataloging in Publication. Publishing Work, 1989(4)

  4. Yan, Lizhong. Cataloging in Publication. The Library Journal, 1979(4)

  5. Shen, Nai-wen. CIP in China. Journal of Academic Libraries, 1989(4)

About the Author:

Hao, Zhiping. B.A., 1982. School of Library and Information Science, Wuhan University. Associate Research Librarian of the Archives Library of Chinese Publications.