December 1, 2006 Working Group Established To Discuss Future of Bibliographic Control

Newly Formed Group To Make Recommendations by November 2007

Press Contact: John Sayers (202) 707-9216
Public Contact: Beth Davis-Brown (202) 707-3301

Advances in search-engine technology, the popularity of the Internet and the influx of electronic information resources have greatly changed the way libraries do their work. To address those changes, the Library of Congress has convened a Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control to examine the future of bibliographic description in the 21st century.

Libraries are looking at ways to catalog the avalanche of both print and digital materials that come to them for classification and control, and library managers worldwide recognize the need to examine critically the role of the catalog and its relationship to other methods of finding information. Building on the work and results of the Library's Bicentennial Conference on Bibliographic Control for the New Millennium (2001), the new group will:

  • Present findings on how bibliographic control and other descriptive practices can effectively support management of and access to library materials in the evolving information and technology environment,
  • Recommend ways in which the library community can collectively move toward achieving this vision, and
  • Advise the Library of Congress on its role and priorities.

José-Marie Griffiths of the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill serves as chair of the group.

“I agreed to chair this group because these issues are facing all libraries. It is an important opportunity for different sectors of the information profession to examine a common problem and recommend solutions that will benefit librarians and users,” she said.

Deanna Marcum, associate librarian for Library Services, hosted the first meeting and thanked the Working Group members for volunteering their time and expertise. Marcum is the convener of the group and will receive its recommendations.

“The Working Group will provide extremely valuable insight and guidance to the Library of Congress and the entire library community in an area critical to the future of librarianship and the continuing role of libraries in American society,” Marcum said.

During its inaugural meeting at the Library of Congress Nov. 2-3, Working Group members concluded that, rather than planning a single summit meeting on the future of bibliographic control, it would schedule three regional meetings during 2007. The venues will be in or near large airports in different regions of the United States to make it easier for a broad range of participants to travel to the meetings.

The Working Group also organized issues and affected parties into three broad categories: Uses and Users, Structures and Standards, and Economics and Organization. Each category will be the focus of one regional meeting in 2007. The meetings will be preceded by distribution of a background paper that gives an overview of the current environment in which bibliographic control operates.

In July or August, after the three meetings have taken place, the Working Group will meet again to draft a report and recommendations by Sept. 1 for public comments, which will be taken into account in the group’s final report, to be issued by Nov. 1, 2007.

Members of the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control

  • José-Marie Griffiths of the School of Information and Library Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (chair)
  • Richard Amelung for the American Association of Law Libraries
  • Diane Dates Casey, Janet Swan Hill, and Sally G. Smith for the American Library Association
  • Brian E.C. Schottlaender, Olivia M.A. Madison, and Judith Nadler representing the Association of Research Libraries
  • Gary Price for the Special Libraries Association
  • Robert Wolven for the Program for Cooperative Cataloging
  • Daniel Clancy for the Google Company
  • Jay Girotto for the Microsoft Corporation
  • Clifford A. Lynch of the Coalition for Networked Information
  • Lorcan Dempsey of OCLC

Assisting the Working Group from the Library of Congress is Library Services Executive Secretariat Beth Davis-Brown.

More information on the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control will be available beginning Dec. 11, 2006, at a special public Web site,


PR 06-222
ISSN 0731-3527