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Control and processing of the heritage collection

Inventory of Québec’s documentary heritage

The inventory of the documentary heritage, or, according to more current and specialized terminology, the bibliographic control of national publishing, is one of the distinctive functions of a national library.

As soon as it came into existence, the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec began work in this area: for the year 1968, the Bibliographie du Québec already listed 857 documents received by legal deposit; in 2004, it listed 10,567 documents. The difference between the two figures illustrates not only the development of Québec publishing, but also the library’s adaptation to new technical, and subsequently electronic, means of bibliographic production. First created by hand, the bibliography is now produced by extracting data from Iris, the library’s bibliographic database.

Originally, the Bibliographie du Québec, also called the current bibliography, listed only monographs from the private and public sectors, and serial publications. Sound recordings and music scores were gradually added, followed by certain categories of documents made subject to legal deposit in 1992.

In accordance with its mandate, the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec —a recently created institution in Québec history—has implemented projects aimed at constituting a complete inventory of publications issued in Québec, the history of which reportedly dates back to 1764, beginning with the ordinances printed by Brown & Gilmore. The projects have yielded the following two publications which, together with the current bibliography, form the trilogy of Québec bibliography: the Catalogue collectif des impressions québécoises 1764-1820 and Bibliographie du Québec 1821-1967. The first publication is the fruit of a collaboration with Québec libraries whose holdings include some of the approximately 1,200 documents published in Québec during the period concerned. The second publication, in 26 volumes, lists 48,600 titles that were published between 1821 and 1967 and are in the BNQ’s holdings. More information about this publication can be found in the article by Louise Filion, the main architect of the compilation, published in À rayons ouverts in December 1995: “La Bibliographie du Québec rétrospective : une étape est réalisée” .


TopCataloguing and indexing

Document processing consists of two operations: (1) bibliographic or catalographic description, which determines the elements required to identify an author and a document (author, title, place of publication, publisher, date of publication, etc.); and (2) document analysis, which examines a document’s content in order to classify the document and make it possible to search for it by subject. Cataloguing and indexing staff are organized into teams responsible for the complete processing of each category of documents.

Bibliographic work relating to Québec publishing is done in accordance with international standards for bibliographic control in order to ensure multiple access to documents by author and subject, and to provide for export of records.