The Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control has released
its draft report on the future of bibliographic description in light of
advances in search engine technology, the popularity of the Internet and
the influx of electronic information resources.

In November 2006, Deanna Marcum, associate librarian for Library
Services at the Library of Congress, convened a group made up of
representatives of several organizations-American Association of Law
Libraries, American Library Association (ALA), Association of Research
Libraries (ARL), Coalition for Networked Information, Medical Library
Association, National Federation of Abstracting & Indexing Services,
Program for Cooperative Cataloging and Special Libraries Association-and
vendors (Google, OCLC and Microsoft)- to examine the role of
bibliographic control and other descriptive practices in the evolving
information and technology environment, and to make recommendations to
the Library and to the larger library community.

The group's recommendations, available at its Web site at , emphasized the role of the
Library of Congress not as a sole supplier, but rather as an important
leader in the cataloging world. "We recognize that you do not have the
resources to do everything," said Olivia Madison, representing ARL.
"These recommendations are not for the Library of Congress alone but are
intended for the entire library and library vendor communities."

The report highlights five general recommendations:

Increase the efficiency of bibliographic production for all libraries
through cooperation and sharing of bibliographic records and through use
of data produced in the overall supply chain. 
Transfer effort into high-value activity. In particular, provide
greater value for knowledge creation by leveraging access for unique
materials held by libraries that are currently hidden and underused. 
Position technology by recognizing that the World Wide Web is
libraries* technology platform as well as the appropriate platform for
standards. Recognize that users are not only people but also
applications that interact with library data. 
Position the library community for the future by adding evaluative,
qualitative and quantitative analyses of resources. Work to realize the
potential of the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records
(FRBR) framework. 
Strengthen the library and information science profession through
education and through development of metrics that will inform
decision-making now and in the future. 
*I am very pleased with the approach taken by the working group,"
Marcum said. "Instead of focusing solely on the Library of Congress, the
members of the group looked at the bibliographic ecosystem and thought
deeply about the contributions that can and should be made by all of its
parts. We are already doing in an experimental way many of the things
suggested by the Working Group in its presentation. Once the final
report is received, our challenge will be to analyze the
recommendations, decide on which ones should be implemented and move
beyond pilot projects and tests.*

The report is available for public comment through Dec. 15. The final
report will be released by Jan. 9, 2008, in time for the midwinter
meeting of the American Library Association.