A Model for Adoption and Application of ISBD in Book Publishing in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

Schuman (1995) posits that the publishers are beginning to realize that although they create books, librarians have tremendous power to influence readers. This statement may not totally apply to the situation in Nigeria. This is because the intellectual and commercial processes through which books are written, published and distributed, sold and used have become systematically and rigorously distorted by the unwholesome activities of some of the publishers, government officials and their agencies. The librarians have slim chances to influence readers through a professionally planned collection development policy in Nigeria.

The paths of the publishers and librarians hardly across in Nigeria. The opportunity for interaction between the librarians and publishers are slim at professional and business levels. This is due to greed, ignorance or sheer inertia on the part of the publishers and governments in Nigeria--federal, state and local. Book business is big business in Nigeria. Book purchase by government officials and their agencies is big business smacking of corruption and fraudulent practices. It involves heavy bulks ranging into billion of Naira (country currency) and cutting across the three levels of government in Nigeria.

This implies that books are purchased at the Federal, State and Local Government levels. The librarians at all the levels and institutions of service are not often involved in book acquisition policies, planning and strategies. Book are purchased directly from the publishers (home and abroad) by government agents and politically appointed contractors. The contractors could be cement or building materials dealers but who have some persons in government and had turned book vendors over night because of the opportunity the corrupt setting has provided. Therefore, in Nigeria book are created by the same system that ensures that books are purchased (at home and abroad) whether relevant or not, and forced up onto the shelves of the librarians who characteristically ensures that the books are passed to the users in their professional ways. The professional relationship between the librarians and the publishers in Nigeria could best be described as loose or tenuous. The Librarian, however, has the professional mandate to give library and information services. In this wise, the librarian must create and make ISBD available for use by the society. Certainly, the International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) is a creation of librarianship profession which duty it is to ensure that ISBD is developed, adopted or adapted by the library community for universal bibliographic control. According to IFLA (2010):

   The International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) is
   intended to serve as a principal standard to promote universal
   bibliographic control, that is, to make universally and promptly
   available, in a form that is internationally acceptable, basic
   bibliographic data for all published resources in all countries.
   The main goal of the ISBD is, and has been since the beginning to
   provide consistency when sharing bibliographic information.

The ISBD is the standard that determines the data elements to be recorded or transcribed in a specific sequence as the basis of the description of the resources being catalogued. In addition, it employs prescribed punctuation as a means of recognizing and displaying data elements and making them understandable independently of the language of the description.

The Nigeria National Library is saddled with the difficult task of getting the publishers to adopt the ISBD and apply it in their publishing practices. The National Library does this by organising national workshops, seminars and conferences. Also, the state branches of the National Library organise similar and complementary interactional meetings periodically in Nigeria.

The International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) phenomenon raises the issue of professional practices in the book publishing industry and librarianship. …