Romanian national bibliography study (NATBIB): Final Study Report. European Commission DG XIII Study Team

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1 Romanian national bibliography study (NATBIB): Final Study Report European Commission DG XIII Study Team Funded by INCO in conjunction with the Telematics for Libraries Programme Education for Change December 1998

2 Contents Page Executive Summary 6 1 Study remit 12 2 Background to bibliographic service provision ISBN Cataloguing-in-Publication (CiP) Legal Deposit The Romanian National Bibliography (RNB) 2.5 Other bibliographioc services 24 3 Bibliographic information for library acquisitions 25 4 Bibliographic information for cataloguing libraries Authority control Automated catalogues 37 5 Bibliographic services to support publishing and bookselling 39 6 Technical infrastructure for a bibliographic services market Equipment Connectivity 44 Recommendations 45 R1 Establish a Romanian Books in Print service on a commercial basis 45 R2 Develop Romanian National Library bibliographic services 48 R3 Develop the CiP programme 49 R4 Develop cross-sectoral working in the book trade 50 R5 Build international alliances in the bibliographic sector 51 R6 Support the development of Internet access and develop staff 52 skills in libraries and bookselling organisations Bibliography 53 2

3 Annexes I Full terms of reference II Draft survey questionnaire III List of survey respondents IV List of participants in stakeholder workshop 5 May 1998 and Bucharest Book Fair workshop 15 June V Fieldwork meetings VI Heads of tender for a contract to provide a range of bibliographic services, including a Romanian Books in Print (RBIP) VII Factsheet on Romanian National Library Bibliographic Products VIII Web access to RNL catalogue IX Legal deposit statistics 1996 and 1997 X Legal deposit Law 1996 XI CiP form XII CiP record 3

4 List of Tables Table 1 Table 2 Table 3 Table 4. Table 5 Table 6 Table 7 Table 8 Table 9 Table 10 Table 11 Table 12 Table 13 Table 14 Table 15 Table 16 Record holdings of the RNL 'TINLIB catalogue' Series of the Romanian National Bibliography How libraries usually choose the books they buy. How effective at present do publishers find specific marketing tools in selling books? Which improvements in service would help libraries choose the books they want to buy? Which improvements in service would help booksellers choose the books they want to buy? How much would libraries pay per year for a bibliographic publication or service which provided specific features? How much would booksellers pay per year for a bibliographic publication or service which provided specific features? Forms in which library catalogues are maintained How are library catalogues currently produced? Which improvements in catalogue record provision would help libraries? Bibliographic Products of the Romanian Academy of Science Which aids would be effective in improving publishers marketing and increasing sales of books in the medium-term future? How do booksellers usually choose the books they buy What IT equipment do libraries have available? What IT equipment do booksellers have available? 4

5 Exchange rate note: The value of the Romanian currency is subject to considerable fluctuation. At the time of writing I ECU/EURO is equivalent to approximately 10,000 Lei. Note on the survey results The survey questionnaire was sent to a total of 100 organisations. Responses were received from 35 libraries, 12 booksellers and 10 publishers (57%). Whilst inferences and analyses based on these returns can be seen as drawing upon a statistically significant proportion of major Romanian libraries, in the case of booksellers and publishers they are treated as indicative evidence to substantiate findings from other sources (literature survey, meetings, workshops, reportage etc). 5

6 Executive Summary The broad terms of reference for the study were: to assess the extent of provision of bibliographic information products and services to libraries, booksellers and distributors, academic institutions and other key consumers of published material in Romania; to evaluate the quality of bibliographic provision and identify major organisational, market and technical factors which inhibit effective acquisitions by libraries and the development of the publications market; to identify one or more development paths for more effective bibliographic information supply mechanisms in line with market needs. Findings. Books in Romania are expensive in relation to incomes. New market mechanisms for selling and distributing books have developed only gradually to replace those which existed before Libraries retain a very significant role to play in making information, education and cultural publications available, although their current acquisitions budgets are low by European standards. Marketing and distribution of books is relatively underdeveloped with serious consequences for all concerned from publishers through to book buyers. There is no Romanian books-in-print service in existence at present. Bookshops are supplied unevenly: in some cases Romanian publishers have a monopolistic supply relationship with bookshops. The distribution of books published in one part of the country to other parts is frequently restricted Many books are published in small print runs which soon sell out, in order to maximise publishers' cash flow. 6

7 A high proportion of Romanian library book acquisitions are currently selected and purchased by means of personal visits to bookshops or from publishers catalogues. Library book acquisition budgets are not seen as sufficient to stimulate the book market, therefore many publishers do not value the distribution of catalogues to libraries greatly as a means of marketing their books The market for bibliographic information remains relatively narrow. The Romanian National Library (RNL) currently finds itself in a state of nearmonopoly. There is little serious competition from other private or public actors in this market, although a number of initiatives have from been discussed or planned. The use of an ISBN number is compulsory and 95% of Romanian publishers comply with this rule. Cataloguing-in-Publication (CiP) is the responsibility of the ISBN Agency, housed within RNL. The current Legal Deposit law was passed in A new law is in preparation by the Ministry of Culture in consultation with the RNL. The Romanian National Bibliography (RNB) is currently distributed mainly in paper formats although testing of its distribution in machine-readable format (disk) to a number of regional public libraries, which also use the TINLIB system, has been underway for some time. The RNB, which combines information about books of all kinds, is not currently produced to a timescale which matches the availability of books. The planned availability of the RNL OPAC on the Internet is a factor that should stimulate access and re-use of bibliographic information. 7

8 Low purchasing power of library budgets and worsening exchange rates have meant that only major academic and research libraries are able to purchase foreign books and periodicals (e.g. those published in the European Union) in significant quantities. There is a high level of demand amongst librarians for a bibliographic service which will provide information about books: before they are published or soon after publication covering most or all of the books published in Romania and providing a single point of access to this information. Many librarians would also like an indication through such a service of whether a book is available for purchase, together with more accurate and informative information about its subject coverage, content and price. Booksellers also express a requirement for a product with these features The lack of an organisation willing to take on the task and the commercial risk in uncertain market conditions is seen by many as the only reason why a Books-in-Print service does not exist at present. Some existing ventures may have potential to be transformed into such a service. Most publishers spoken to expressed willingness to supply data to such a service Although the relatively small national book production means that libraries acquire many of the same books, there has hitherto been no effective sharing of the effort involved in cataloguing the same book. A development plan in support of bibliographic service provision to libraries would require the collaboration of the leading systems vendors in Romania A large majority of Romania s major libraries now has a PC with a CD-ROM drive (about 80% of those surveyed). This suggests that a CD-ROM based product could be used relatively widely. 8

9 Half of the libraries surveyed also now have an Internet connection and a majority of the rest plan to become connected in the near future. Half of the booksellers surveyed also have an Internet connection. Dial-up connectivity is now adequate from most parts of Romania via a range of local and national Internet Service Providers, although affordability remains an issue. Some libraries have developed their own web pages and others access the Internet for staff and user information. The extent of use in most libraries is however limited and its type somewhat superficial. The stimulation of a market among libraries and booksellers for Internet-based bibliographic and other information services (and an ability to repackage such information for users) requires a considerable effort. Recommendation 1 Establish a Romanian Books in Print service on a commercial basis Costs could be met through three sources of income: Fees paid by publishers per title for an RBIP listing Subscriptions from all customers, especially publishers, book sellers and libraries. Advertising from publishers, printers, wholesalers etc A bibliographic services operation centred on an RBIP publication would benefit from a single injection of start-up capital to cover equipment, training and support for first year cash flow. The aim would be to establish a breakeven position by the second year of operation. Intervention by the donor community and/or government to meet first year costs could have an enormously beneficial impact on the viability of new bibliographic services in Romania. This could enable a tender to be launched to identify the best-placed agency to provide bibliographic services in the commercial marketplace. Several bodies have indicated willingness to support 9

10 such an initiative in various ways. Terms of Reference for such a tender, which could be administered by a committee drawn from the donor agencies involved. Recommendation 2 Develop Romanian National Library bibliographic services RNL needs to adapt its procedures in a number of ways to meet the needs of the potential users. The issue to be addressed is perhaps more a management issue that "bibliographic" one. Invited inputs of external advice from elsewhere in Europe (e.g. Bibliothèque nationale de France) could certainly assist RNL in reaching these goals. Recommendation 3 Develop the CiP programme In the absence of a shared cataloguing system at national level, CiP is an economical way of helping libraries tackle cataloguing. In the future, it may be possible for publishers to use the same form of bibliographic description for participation in the CiP-programme and for RBIP, saving them work. Recommendation 4 Develop cross-sectoral working in the book trade There is no national policy on bibliographic information and no organization responsible for national coordination. There is a need to promote the benefits of "working together" between libraries, publishers and booksellers A working group or other body should be created to enable this kind of discussion and to facilitate consensus building and joint decision-making processes. Recommendation 5 Build international alliances in the bibliographic sector There could be considerable benefits to be gained in various ways through establishing collaborating with a major commercial bibliographic supplier elsewhere in Europe. A joint service which offered information from one source about foreign and Romanian books could also have a perceived added 10

11 value. An evaluation of the experiences of these books in print services established elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe could be of benefit to Romania and other countries seeking to establish bibliographic services. Recommendation 6- Support the development of Internet access and develop staff skills in libraries and bookselling organisations A planned programme of support should be initiated by the Ministries of Culture and Education to ensure that all Judet libraries and those of major higher education institutions have Internet access by the year This should be accompanied by a programme of training in Internet access skills which should aim to reach all library staff within these libraries with professional qualifications and/or working in acquisitions, cataloguing or at public service points. 11

12 1 Study remit A European Commission study of the provision of bibliographic services in Romania took place between during Its broad terms of reference were: to assess the extent of provision of bibliographic information products and services to libraries, booksellers and distributors, academic institutions and other key consumers of published material in Romania; to evaluate the quality of bibliographic provision and identify major organisational, market and technical factors which inhibit effective acquisitions by libraries and the development of the publications market; to identify one or more development paths for more effective bibliographic information supply mechanisms in line with market needs. More detailed Terms of Reference are provided at Annex 1. The team leader was Robert Davies (Education for Change, UK); its other members were Viorica Bob (Club Europa, Romania), Christopher Clarke (Cardinal 2000, Romania), David Fuegi (UK), Mihail Penescu (ALL publishers, Romania), Silvia Nestorescu (Romanian National Library) and Sonia Zillhardt (Bibliothèque nationale de France). Support and survey administration was provided by the staff of Club Europa, Bucharest, and in particular Titus Dumitrescu. The programme of work on the Study has included: Desk research Fieldwork meetings and interviews 12

13 A stakeholder workshop and follow-up meeting at Bucharest Book Fair Specialist reports A survey of 100 major libraries, publishers and booksellers Analysis and synthesis of findings 2 Background to bibliographic service provision There are about 9000 books a year published in Romania. The number of publishers is estimated by the ISBN agency and the Romanian National Library to be about The Romanian ISBN agency estimates that there are 400 to 500 publishers active in book publishing. A few big publishers produce titles a year: perhaps 100 publishers account for the majority of mainstream publishing in Romania. Books in Romania are expensive in relation to incomes. New market mechanisms for selling and distributing books have developed only gradually to replace those which existed before Libraries retain a very significant role to play in making information, education and cultural publications available, although their current acquisitions budgets are low by European standards. Major libraries remain reliant to a significant extent upon legal deposit copies for collection development. Marketing and distribution of books is relatively underdeveloped with serious consequences for all concerned from publishers through to book buyers. There is no Romanian books-in-print service in existence at present. Deficiencies in this area lead some bigger publishers to vertical integration solutions [owning bookshops or book clubs], which potentially raise issues of fair competition. The market for bibliographic information remains relatively narrow. The Romanian National Library currently finds itself in a state of near-monopoly. There is little serious competition from other private or public actors in this 13

14 market, although a number of initiatives have from been discussed or planned. There are few initiatives which involve cross-sectoral working between the various elements of the book industry (e.g. publishers, retail or wholesale booksellers and librarians), although there are in existence: two Library Associations: - ABBPR - Asociatia Bibliotecarilor din Bibliotecile Publice din Romania (public librarians) - ABIR - Asociatia Bibiotecarilor din Invatamant (education librarians) two publishers associations: - AER : Asociatia Editorilor din Romania (Romanian Publishers' Association) - Societatea Patronilor de Edituri (The Association of Publishers in Education) and a booksellers association: - AGORA : Asociatia Librarilor/Difuaorilor de Carte (booksellers). Although the problems affecting the Romanian book trade are recognisable as those afflicting other European countries to one extent or another, some problems and distortions, such as the fragmentation of distribution system and lack of reliable information on books published are unusually severe. Discussions are underway, following a series of meetings involving the Ministry of Culture and the Council of Europe, regarding the potential for developing overarching legislation to govern the book supply chain. A conference on Book Law is being organised by the Ministry of Culture in February

15 The Romanian National Library (RNL) and the ISBN agency, now located within it, perform bibliographic activities in the following broad sequence: I. allocate ISBN numbers II. establish a Cataloguing-in-Publication (CiP) record III. send CiP records to publishers IV. collect books by legal deposit V. establish a temporary record (in RNL s Legal Deposit Department) on the TINLIB automated library system VI. establish a definitive record (in RNL s National Bibliography Department) also on TINLIB VII. produce the Romanian National Bibliography (RNB) This sequencing of tasks is not dissimilar to that found in many national bibliographic agencies in Europe 2.1 ISBN The use of an ISBN number is compulsory and 95% of Romanian publishers comply with this rule. In 1997, some 10,000 numbers were allocated. The ISBN Agency charges 10,000 Lei per title registered. Publishers buy ISBN numbers in batches in advance of publication. The number of ISBN numbers does not therefore equal the number if books published. 2.2 Cataloguing-in-Publication (CiP) CiP is the responsibility of the ISBN Agency. It was launched in 1997 at the initiative of this service. The first paper edition compiling CiP records was issued in When a publisher applies for ISBN numbers, the service informs him about the CiP procedure and asks the publisher to complete a specific form (see Annex XI). The publisher returns the form to the CiP service and the service then creates a CiP record, with a CiP number in the catalogue (see Annex 15

16 XII). CiP records are sent out by fax from RNL to the publisher within 72 hours for inclusion inside the publication. Since January 1998, about 120 titles per month have been processed under the CiP programme. The total number of CiP records created has reached % of the publishers contacted by the Romanian National Library in this period returned the CiP form. CiP data is available in a paper edition printed on a monthly basis and as automated records held on TINLIB. Although the coverage and use of CiP remains limited and its spin-off products currently have a low perceived value for librarians and booksellers as an acquisition tool of for publishers as a marketing device [see Tables 3 and 4]. However, librarians are strongly in support of the strengthening of the programme for its core cataloguing purpose - or of some other system which provides bibliographic information soon after they receive books (See Table 11 below). Given an appropriate organisational context and higher coverage of publishing output, it is conceivable that data collection activities for CiP could be harmonised and standardised with those for other bibliographic services [such as announcements of forthcoming books, Romanian Books in Print etc] 2.3 Legal Deposit The current Legal Deposit law was passed in A new law is in preparation by the Ministry of Culture in consultation with RNL. Its intention is to reduce the number of legal deposit copies required from nine to seven [it was at one time 22]. Another objective is to widen the coverage to include other documents including electronic documents. 16

17 The current attribution of legal deposit copies is one copy each to: Legal Deposit Department in the Romanian National Library (RNL) Bibliographic Services and collection Academy of Sciences Library Iasi University Library Cluj University Library Timisoara University Library Craiova university Library Maison Memoriale Michael Eminescu (if relevant to the domain). Army Library (if relevant to the domain). Library in Moldova (if relevant to the domain) "Reserve nationale des livres" (national book repository). When a book is being re-edited in the same year, copies are sent to this service which is distinct from the legal deposit service. The Legal deposit service at RNL has a complement of 14 members of staff who: despatch copies received by RNL to recipient libraries; manually file cards containing the legal deposit number, author, title, publisher, date of publication, number of pages and price; update the CiP record (when it exists) or enter a new record on the computer; record theses etc; maintain a Directory of Publishers. There are only 2 computers available to the Legal deposit service and no printer. This means that most processes remain manual and leads to some inefficiencies. However, there appears to be no backlog of work at the Legal deposit service. 17

18 Legal deposit control is managed by consulting several sources: lists sent by the ISBN office every month publishers' catalogues the file maintained by the Legal deposit service CiP lists This control process is conducted on a random basis and it is difficult to evaluate accurately the coverage of Legal deposit in terms of the books and periodicals published in Romania. Moreover there are reports of pirate copies which are impossible to track. A figure of 80% is estimated for the coverage of Legal deposit, although it is reported that considerable delays in obtaining books from publishers are a frequent occurrence. Approximately 7000 books are deposited each year. Before 1990, annual production was about 3000 titles. Legal deposit statistics are sent regularly to the Central Statistics Service which is responsible for the National Directory for Statistics. Legal deposit statistics for 1996 and 1997 form Annex IX. There are 42 Judet (County or Departmental) public libraries in the country, of which 10 currently produce local bibliographies including books, articles and leaflets. RNL does not currently cross-check between what is received at the RNL through legal deposit and what appears in these local bibliographies. Such a procedure could be worth creating to obtain a more accurate picture of the quantity and range of publishing in Romania and to check the "real" coverage of the Legal deposit system. The perceived development priorities of the Legal deposit service are: space for book storage (since 1952, the copy sent to Legal deposit has been stored for conservation) improved conservation more computer equipment. 18

19 2.4 The Romanian National Bibliography (RNB) The RNB for books and serials has been issued in print form since The source material for the RNB is what is received through Legal deposit. The 20-strong Department for bibliographic systems/automated cataloguing catalogues all the entries to the RNB. The automation of the RNL catalogue started in 1983 on home-grown software. 70,000 records (from 1983 to 1992) are now stored on tapes and wait for a specific conversion to TINLIB. From 1992 to 1994, records were created using CDS-ISIS software. Those records were successfully converted from CDS-ISIS to TINLIB and are now available in the catalogue. The following table summarises development since then. 1 Record holdings of the RNL 'TINLIB catalogue' 100,000 records since 1994 [increase of 20,000 titles per year 9,000 from Legal deposit plus other holdings of the library] National bibliography Union catalogue for foreign books and periodicals Official publications Abstracts in library and information science 2000 periodical titles All entries (whether acquired through legal deposit, donations, exchanges, or purchases) are entered in a single catalogue. A network (NOVELL) has been installed in the RNL to enable other services to have access to the main database. Records are entered in the catalogue in the TINLIB format. There is an option for converting to UNIMARC format but no records displayed in the latter format were seen during the study. There are eight computers in this 19

20 department (with three available in the reading rooms). Perhaps 12 to 15 more computers would be necessary to make a significant impact on improved the service quality in the reading rooms alone. The RNB service itself has 3 staff. They work on 3 computers (2 of which are old equipment). To the record issued by the cataloguing service, this service adds a code to structure the RNB (there are different codes for the different series into which RNB is divided): 20

21 Table 2 Series of the Romanian National Bibliography Series Periodici ty Date Subscriptio ns Free distributio Exchange s n Books Albums and Maps 2 months Official publications 2/year 1991 Serials 1/year Scores + records + audio 4/year material Thesis 1/year Romanica 1/year Other bibliographic products produced by RNL include: Aniversari Culturale: bibliographies on personalities based on a Unesco list. Cultura in Romania : bibliography on Culture in Romania There is also a Union Catalogue of Foreign Books and Periodicals held in Romanian libraries. It is managed by RNL. Some libraries reported that they send cards regularly to the RNL for this purpose and that they would like to send them on diskette. This would enable the RNL (if the format is compatible) to upload the records directly into the catalogue. Except for the identification of relevant records/documents to produce the Romanica, the NL does not re-use foreign records. For the Romanica, the following titles are consulted: Livres Disponibles (France) and Books in Print (UK) on CD-ROM. The staff member responsible has to visit other libraries in Bucharest to consult these products. National bibliographies from UK, Germany, France, Spain, in printed 21

22 versions only (no CD-ROM versions are available in Romania). One person is responsible for distribution of the RNB. The RNB is currently distributed mainly in paper formats - see Table 2 above, although testing of its distribution in machine-readable format (disk) to a number of regional public libraries which also use TINLIB has been underway for some time. There are considerable delays (estimated average 6 weeks) between receipt of a book at RNL and distribution of its bibliographic record. This problem has multiple causes. However, two identified by the study team were: an average lapse of two weeks between the book arriving in the library and its availability in the catalogue long delays in the transfer of work between the National bibliographic service and the body responsible for printing of its products. RNL also offers catalogue cards for sale to customers (mainly libraries). The bibliographic products are distributed by the RNL and by an organisation called RODIPET, which is also responsible for national distribution of periodicals. RNL provides current bibliographic records on diskettes. Until now they have been distributed free to libraries. In the near future, the Romanian National Library plans to sell them on the same subscription basis as the card-based service. In 1996, an initiative was taken by a private firm ROMDIDAC, to publish a CD- ROM on books published in Romania between The records were provided by RNL, extracted from TINLIB. Before final release of the first 22

23 version of the CD-ROM, RNL has requested modifications relating to character sets and indexing problems. The contract signed with ROMDIDAC foresees: a quarterly publication of the CD-ROM an average price of 30$ a contract until 2002 At the time of the study the catalogue was not yet accessible online despite the announcement made by IME (http://ime.deltanet.roknet.ro) on the Internet (see Annex VIII). It was planned to be accessible on the Web before the end of The availability of the Romanian National Library OPAC on the Internet is a factor that should stimulate access and re-use of bibliographic information. A campaign to market this service to all libraries will be required many are not aware currently of RNL's intentions in this respect. Serials and abstracts A study has been made to evaluate under what conditions a serials abstracting service, interrupted in 1990, could be started again. The figures show that before 1990 there were 450 periodical titles published in Romania, increasing to 1300 titles in It is estimated that about 600 would be worth analyzing for an abstracting publication or publications. This proposed outcome is based on the idea of sharing subject coverage between different libraries. The main priorities for the catalogue as defined by the Head of the Department are: retroconversion of records creation of authority files. 23

24 These priorities are difficult to address because of lack of personnel and computer equipment. 2.5 Other bibliographic services Universul Cartii is a monthly journal published by the Ministry of Culture which publishes information about the book industry (news and events); reviews from publishers; and a short monthly list of books under the title Bibliografia lunii (Books of the Month). This section is about two pages long, giving details of author, title, publisher, the number of pages and ISBN for each book. Titles are grouped together under broad subject. About titles per month are announced in this way. Updates on publisher contact addresses are also provided. Universul Cartii costs is 2000 lei per issue and can be bought through bookshops. Libraries also buy it. A new directory of Romanian publishers - Pinocchio - has been issued recently. The ISBN service contributed to this publication by providing the names of publishers maintained for ISBN registration purposes. ROMDIDAC (see above) also maintains a database of some 2000 publishers, sourced with information from the ISBN Agency and Pinnochio 24

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