The development of a retrospective national bibliography: A case study of El Salvador

Calimano, Ivan E.
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The purpose of this case study was to provide a descriptive account of the development of the retrospective national bibliography of El Salvador. The publishing history of El Salvador is not as lengthy as that of other countries in Central America; it dates from 1824 when the printing press was introduced in the country. Hence, the case study of retrospective Salvadoran imprints was feasible. The researcher used as a platform recommendations of the 1977 International Congress on National Bibliographies (ICNB) organized by Unesco within the framework of its General Information Programme in collaboration with the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and adapts it to the Salvadoran bibliographic situation. The objective was to create guidelines for the compilation of the retrospective national bibliography. The investigator spent approximately seven months in El Salvador examining its bibliographic infrastructure (e.g., identifying information and physical resources, library personnel, etc.). Further steps taken in the development of the guidelines were: the identification of a set of international standards for the retrospective bibliography (e.g., AACR2r, USMARC, etc.); the selection of a national library collection on which to apply the standards (i.e., the Gallardo Library in Nueva San Salvador); the adaptation of the standards to the local situation; the training of staff to use the international standards; the cataloging of a subset of documents (2,000 items were processed following the prescribed guidelines); and recommendations for the actual creation of the bibliography. Research outcomes have implications for cooperation among libraries in the country and the coordination of efforts to share resources. It is up to Salvadoran authorities and the local library community to continue this project--from the compilation of the retrospective bibliography through the eventual publication of a current national bibliography.

Communication and the arts, Social sciences, Publishing