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national bibliography a category of material a scholar will find useful? Is it
not a type of resource of interest to the librarian or bibliophile alone? In order
to answer this question it is important to have a clear understanding of what
a national bibliography is and how it has changed over time.
Bell, who has published extensively on the topic, describes the purpose of the
national bibliography as follows:
"A current national
bibliography is a mirror that reflects the culture, character and current interest
of a country by listing its publishing output. Not only does it serve as an historical
recorder, but when distributed to other coutnries, it serves as a 'window' to
that country" (Barbara Bell, "Progress, problems and prospects in current
national bibliographies: implementation for the ICNB recommendations." In
Proceedings of the National Seminar. Brighton, 18 August 1987 / Ed. by
Winston D. Roberts. London: IFLA Universal Bibliographic Control and International
MARC Programme, 1988. p. 29).
a few years ago, there were numerous articles in the library literature about
the uncertainty of the future of national bibliography (see Ross Bourne, "National
bibliographies - do they have a future? in Alexandria, 5(2), 1993:99-110).
These have been replaced with articles about the necessity of standards for national
bibliographies (see for example "National bibliographies and the International
Conference on National Bibliographic Services Recommendations" in International
Cataloguing and Bibliographic Control, v.31, no.4(October/December, 2002),
pp.60-63). It is important to understand that the national bibliography has evolved
as each nation has evolved; that the motivation behind its compilation often greatly
influences the content and accessibility of the resource. National bibliographies
compiled as a response to censorship laws in a nation rarely are concerned with
accessibility for the general public. Further, the importance of national bibliograhy
has also changed with changing technologies.
purposes of this site, national bibliography will be defined as a source that
attempts to list, as comprehensively as possible, the publications of a particular
country during a specific period. "Publications" here, can refer to
most any kind of intellectual output, regardless of its format. One other definition
that will be useful as it will be mentioned frequently in the links below is one
for depository law. A depository law is legislation requiring publishers to provide
a copy of each piece of published material for a designated repository. Such legislation
varies from country to country from a voluntary deposit by publisher to a mandatory
deposit often associated with countries with extreme censorship.
history of national bibliography varies greatly from country to country. While
the Poles have had a national bibliography since the 19th century, Romania's published
resources in this area are rather sparse. The definition of the term varies as
well. In some cases it refers only to those publications issued within the borders
of a specific country, in others to everything published in a particular language.
In all cases, until recently, national bibliographies were rather cumbersome to
use. The Russian national bibliography of the 19th century was rarely indexed
and only occasionally organized by subject. While Estreicher's Bibliografia
Polska was organized by main entry, there was no subject index. For most of
the 20th century, and particularly in the second half of the century, the national
bibliographies of Eastern Europe were modeled on the Soviet national bibliography,
Knizhnaia Letopis'. Indexes were issued quarterly for that publication.
The East European publications were indexed with varying frequencies.
the advent of electronic databases, national bibliography has been undergoing
a tremendous amount of change. Difficulties related to access have been all but
eliminated in many cases. A variety of different formats are appearing. In some
countries, such as the Czech Republic, the national bibliography no longer is
issued in paper form at all, but is published as a DVD. Others still have only
their paper edition. Online catalogs
for national libraries now serve the function of a national bibliography. Many
countries have online versions of their national bibliographies. All of these
new formats are giving a new significance to the national bibliography as a resource
for scholars. It is often possible to search many years of a national bibliography
with a single subject search.
matter what the circumstances of their publication, national bibliographic resources
can be an invaluable resource. For those time periods in which there are no compiled
subject bibliographies, they are frequently the only resource for identifying
materials in a particular discipline. They provide the clearest picture of publishing
patterns for a country. There are a number of resources for identifying national
bibliographic resources, published and electronic. Below we describe several resources
in this vein and also provide links for each country in our area to pages on which
national bibliographic resources are annotated.
Library Catalogs - UNESCO
This site is rich in
library information in general. For purposes of the discussion here, it is a good
list of links to national library catalogs all over the world. For a more detailed
description of the UNESCO site see the discussion on library
der Nationalen Bibliographien.
Domay, Freidrich. Stuttgart: Anton
UIUC Call Number: General Slavic Reference
016.015 D711b c.2
The table below
has links to pages on the national bibliographic sources for all countries. All
have been recently revised and
the Slavic Reference Service invites your comments and additions.