The predecessor of the National Library of China is 京师图书馆 (Metropolitan Library) founded in 1909. In 1912, the library opened to the public. In 1916, the library began to receive legal deposit copies of Chinese publications, thus functioning as a national library. In 1928, the library was renamed 国立北平图书馆 (National Library of Peiping). In 1931, new premises were built for the library on Wenjin Street.
Upon the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the Library was renamed the 国立北京图书馆 (National Library of Peking) and 北京图书馆 (Beijing Library), while the English name is always the National Library of China. In 1975, Premier Zhou Enlai approved the plan of the new building. In September 1983, Deng Xiaoping wrote the calligraphy for the name of the library. The new building was completed on July 1, 1987, and was inaugurated on October 6 of the same year. On the authorization of the State Council, the library was renamed 中国国家图书馆 (National Library of China) on December 12, 1998.
In China, there isn't any legal deposit law, but there are some regulations promulgated by the State Council and the General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP, 新闻出版总署) under the State Council. According to these regulations, legal deposit copies of books, journals, newspapers and A/V materials should be sent to the GAPP (1 copy), the National Depository Library (NDL, 中国版本图书馆) under GAPP (1 copy) and the National Library of China (NLC, 中国国家图书馆) (3 copies). Sometimes, however, these regulations are not very effective.
Because NLC is not responsible for the ISBN registration and there is no legal deposit law, NLC is very hard to acquire all the new publications of China. Publishers give their top priority to the legal deposit copies to GAPP and then to NLC. Acquisitions librarians have to contact publishers every year to remind them to send legal deposit copies and prepare reports to GAPP, so that GAPP can pay more attention to the NLC legal deposit issues in their management of publications. The legal deposit rate of books is about 70%, not including children's books, juvenile books, school textbooks and teacher's manuals. To make the collection and the bibliographical databases as complete as possible, NLC has to pay extra money to purchase books without legal deposit copies.
In recent years, NLC discusses the legal deposit issues regularly with GAPP to ask them to implement related regulations more strictly. We expect to see a higher legal deposit rates in the future. We are also appealing to draft a national library law, which should include legal deposit issues.
Because GAPP is the ISBN registration authority in China, the National Depository Library (NDL) under GAPP publishes National Register of Books (全国总书目) annually. It is a kind of national bibliography partly based on CIP information, but it is mainly used by acquisitions librarians. Since there isn't any "books in print" in China, acquisitions librarians sometimes use it to find new book information. The National Register of Books has also CD-ROM version, but without any output functions. It is almost impossible for library catalogers to use such kind of information.
The National Library of China edited and published China National Bibliography (中国国家书目) during 1985-1993. Because of the financial problem, the printed version of the China National Bibliography ceased to be published in 1994, and the National Library of China still distributes MARC records of the National Bibliography, which include the books collected in the National Library of China and some other libraries, via CD-ROM or online (Z39.50).
Now, the Online Library Cataloging Center (OLCC, 全国图书馆联合编目中心), which is a part of the Acquisitions & Cataloging Department (图书采选编目部) of NLC, is responsible for the distribution of CNMARC records of the National Bibliography based on the bibliographical records of NLC and records from other participating libraries.
There are about 1.2 million bibliographical records for monographs and about 100,000 records for new monographs every year.
The NDL under GAPP is responsible for the compilation and release of CIP data. However, there are some problems in CIP:
In China, some companies are considering to incorporate CIP with BIP (books in print) or national bibliographies. Now, the private bookseller Rentian Bookstore (人天书店) is trying to establish a "Chinese Books in Print" system.
It is said that the Information Center of GAPP is also considering a kind of BIP. However, we haven't seen any results yet.
In October 27, 2005, China Publishing Group established a new company to develop "Chinese Books in Print" to compete with Rentian Bookstore in this market. As the largest publishing group in China, CPG is ambitious and plans to realize its objective in about five years. We hope to see some good results in the future.
Since the ending of the publishing of printed China National Bibliography, there have been some problems of the National Library of China as a national bibliography agency in the last few years.
First, the low legal deposit rate doesn't allow NLC's catalog to cover all publications in China.
Second, since NLC doesn't collect children's books and school textbooks, the coverage is even narrower.
Third, because of the lack of cataloging cooperation between NLC and other Chinese libraries, NLC cannot include some titles not collected in the library and other OLCC participating libraries.
We are considering a new way to provide electronic national bibliographical services. Shall we solve the problem by negotiating with GAPP to use their CIP records? Or, shall we promote the cooperation with other libraries to form a real national union catalog? The Online Library Cataloging Center of NLC is discussing with Ex Libris to make an online cataloging module in its Aleph500 system. If we receive bibliographical and holding records from other libraries, we will form a real national bibliography.
At present, we regularly collect records from other libraries to make the National Bibliography database as complete as possible.
The National Library of China plays important roles in library cataloging in China in the following aspects:
In China, libraries use two MARC formats, i.e. MARC21 and CNMARC. Most small-sized libraries use UNIMARC-based CNMARC for all materials. For large-sized libraries that have sizable collections in foreign languages, they prefer USMARC/MARC21 to CNMARC with the consideration of international compatibility and easy record downloading.
In the National Library of China, we use CNMARC, Chinese Library Classification and Classified Chinese Thesaurus for Chinese publications, and we use MACR21 for foreign publications, including Western languages, Japanese and Russian. For publications in Western languages, we use AACR2, LC Subject Headings and LC Name Authority File.
The Aleph500 system allows us to maintain two separate databases respectively in CNMARC and MARC21 formats. There isn't any relationship between the two databases now. We are considering the possibility to establish the relationship of the two authority databases respectively in CNMARC and MARC21.
In China, there are some online cataloging consortia, including the Online Library Cataloging Center (OLCC) hosted by the National Library of China and the CALIS (China Academic Library and Information System, 中国高等教育文献保障系统) hosted by Peking University Library. OLCC has about 900 users mainly from public libraries, and CALIS has more than 500 users mainly from university libraries. CALIS has holding records and forms a kind of union catalogs, while OLCC just provides a kind of shared cataloging with downloading and uploading functions and without holding records. As a part of the National Digital Library Project, the National Library of China is considering to develop its online cataloging service to include holding records. Then, we will develop a real electronic national union catalog.
Because both NLC and CALIS have strong teams in cataloging and researches, and are developing their services independently, some of their rules and regulations are not compatible, although both have participated in the drafting of important national standards and rules.
The National Library of China began to create a name authority file in 1995 and is now maintaining a name authority database with about 600,000 records. NLC drafted a rule for the description of name authority records according to GARR (Guidelines for Authority Records and References). However, the rule is not so complete and has not been revised for many years. Besides, there are controversies over the name authority control and the selection of name headings in bibliographical databases among various libraries in China, especially between the National Library of China and CALIS based in Peking University Library. The controversies are mainly focused on the internationalization and Chinese characteristics.
NLC plans to modify records in its name authority database and the corresponding headings in bibliographical records in the near future. However, financial and human resources are required for such a job.
In the future, we will consider the drafting of a national name authority standard.
The National Library of China uses Classified Chinese Thesaurus to build a subject authority database.
The above-mentioned practices are limited to Chinese cataloging. For publications in Western languages, we use MARC21, LC Name Authority File, LCSH and Chinese Library Classifications. For publications in other languages, especially Japanese, Russian and Korean, we would like to use the name authority files created by related countries if they exist, although they are in the same database in MARC21 format.
I hope I can learn some experiences from the Japanese and Korean colleagues here on name authority control.
If we realize the authority control, how can we manage different authority files (LC, Japanese, Korean, etc.) in the same database? There is no answer now.
We are still faced with some problems.
The China National Bibliography is at the crossroad of its development. Will it develop in its own way, or in the direction of internationalization? Will Chinese bibliographical records be used by more libraries? How to realize a complete authority control in China?
hope you can help me to solve these problems, or give me some advices.
(Revised on November 19, 2005)
21st century cataloging and national bibliography policy : [proceedings of the] Symposium on 21st Century Cataloging and National Bibliography Policy, October 18, 2005, held at The National Library of Korea. -- [Seoul] : The National Library of Korea, 2005.
439 p. : ill. ; 26 cm.
Title from cover.
Parallel texts of presentations in English and Korean.
Some texts translated from English.
Includes bibliographical references.
I. Kungnip Chungang Tosŏgwan (Seoul, Korea)
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