Problems of Bibliographic Control in Nigeria

Bibliographic control simply has to do with the organization of information.

Bibliographic Control helps in properly identifying a source of information, avoid unnecessary repetition, and encourage the easy sharing of information and resources and the re-use of the bibliographic records. The importance of bibliographic control is so that information about sources can be systematically arranged in such a way as to help information seekers know which information is available and where such can be found. This will aid learning and personal development in the nation. When each nation attempts to capture every book under its scheme, it becomes a national bibliography while the collective effort by various nations of the world is called the Universal Bibliographic Control.

It is the responsibility of a National bibliographic agency (NBA) to provide an authoritative bibliographic record of publications in its own country. This record should then be made available to other National bibliographic agencies around the world, libraries, archives, communities, and museums in the country. All for the purpose of increasing access to the bibliographic record.

Problems of Bibliographic control in Nigeria

Problems of Bibliographic Control in Nigeria


Lack of access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

The use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in libraries and information centres in Nigeria is yet to be popular. The use of technology helps to digitize and automate data and records. Many personnel in the Library and Information sector are not equipped for its use and thus lack the education and skill needed to make the library sector more digitalized.

Lack of suitable automation software

Libraries in Nigeria lack access to the appropriate software to be used to automate and manage their database. This is a setback to organization of information in Nigerian libraries. Lack of access to the appropriate software is caused by issues such as lack of funding to invest in the purchase of the needed software, lack of building to house the automation equipment and unavailability of trained personnel.

Publishers and printer’s non-compliance

There are many printing houses littered all over the country. Many of these printing houses are not well equipped. However, these ones keep publishing for many people. This makes it very difficult to know what has been produced and by whom and hence, difficult to compile a national bibliography. The Legal deposit law which requires publishers, distributors and printers to freely provide copies of their publications to the national collection is usually not adhered to. There is also no set agency established to ensure these laws are adhered to. This is a setback to bibliographic control in Nigeria.

Education of librarians and Information Technology Personnel

In order to ensure bibliographic control in Nigeria, all stakeholders, to include agencies and bodies in charge of Bibliography must ensure students of library and information course and all information professionals to be are well taught and equipped to handle the growing are fully prepared for the increasing complexity of the information environment where they will work. The lack of adequate education for information personals in Nigeria has contributed to the problems of national bibliographic control in Nigeria.

 Lack of cooperation

Once, the National Library of Nigeria came up with an initiative to centralize all the catalogue entries for every book acquired by all libraries in the country. The project was not successful because some libraries lacked funds to participate.

Non-reading culture of Nigerians

There is a nonchalant attitude or total neglect of the book industry by the masses in Nigeria. This has hindered the growth of the book and the information sector of the country. This is in turn stands as a major obstacle in the production of national bibliography in Nigeria.

Non- compliance with International standards

The Universal Bibliographic Control is a programme aimed at attaining a standard registration of national bibliographies that are all connected. This is so that anyone can retrieve a document published from anywhere in the world. It is therefore important that Nigeria’s bibliographic standards comply with international standards.

The National Library of Nigeria

The National Library of Nigeria needs to be empowered to perform its functions of Bibliography control. This includes the ability to implement laws and policies in order to achieve national bibliography control.

Ineffective management of the National Library of Nigeria houses

In order for the production of the National Bibliography to be relevant, it must be done regularly and on time. This depends on the employment of skilled manpower, funds, and the availability of the needed technical equipment. The Ineffective management of National libraries, as well as lack of funds, has made it impossible to publish an annual national bibliography.

Poor record-keeping

Many times, old documents are often destroyed quickly and not properly kept by a responsible agency. The poor record-keeping system in Nigeria can be solved through the establishment of technology-controlled systems in storing data.

The problem of cataloguing and Classification schemes adopted in Nigeria

The national bibliography in Nigeria is faced with the problems of cataloguing and classification scheme used by the National Library of Nigeria. The classification schemes adopted are not adaptable to the Nigerian context. The National Library of Nigeria needs to create its own expansion of the classification systems to address the country’s specific needs, in terms of her history, literature and geography. The Nigerian context has its own issues such as ethnic diversities, different languages and requires professional skills and expertise well adapted to the Nigerian context to deal with them.

For example, the Anglo- American Classification Rules Second Edition (AACR2) which is popularly used in Nigeria does not help when with the treatment of non-western and non-Christian names and that of corporate and governmental bodies. Although, this issue is starting to be addressed as rules for the treatment of names in languages other than English have been given to the international body in charge so as to achieve Universal Bibliographic Control. The Anglo-American, British and American cataloguing rules are the main codes followed by catalogues here. However, these codes are applied and interpreted differently by libraries in the country. Although it is important that the cataloguing process conforms to international codes, however, it has to be practicable in the context of Nigeria.

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