If for any distinctive body of printed literature of subject, or a physical or literary form - we can easily find complete and accurate information on all the items which may be asked for we say that the bibliographic control for that group of documents is good. But in actual practice, bibliographical control is seldom perfect, even when it is exerted over a subject of narrow extension range.
Bibliographical control would also be difficult enough if it were concerned only with writings printed as different entities. But it is concerned with those published also as parts of separate publications - articles in periodicals and chapters or sections in books with multiple contributors. These concealed contributions to knowledge therefore may be of great value but might be overlooked when they would be of particular use were it not for the initiative and industry of bibliographers.
Bibliographical control can be defined to mean the mastery over written or published records, which is and for the provided by purpose bibliography. Bibliographical synonymous with effective access through bibliographies.
The purpose of bibliographical control is location of information source or of materials and the speed with which it can be located. Therefore, the librarians should have access to complete records of human civilization and culture and then the ability to organise them effectively for use.
Bibliographical control comprises of four aspects:
- Complete recording of all kinds of printed and other types of library materials;
- Systematic acquisition of such materials in libraries and other information organizations;
- Location of materials through union catalogue, union lists and similar devices; and
- Provision of subject bibliography in all areas.
For any distinctive body of printed materials, i.e., of a country, a subject or of a physical or literary form, we can discover full and entire information which is required, one can say that the bibliographical control of that set of documents is very
good. But in reality the bibliographical control of all types of materials is very difficult, as we are concerned with not only published materials or printed materials but also parts of materials, articles in journals, and any other type of material
published or not published.
The bibliographical control actually became efficient or visible only after the World War II due to the efforts of UNESCO which lay emphasis on publication of national bibliographies by all the countries of the world. But the formal event which is considered to be a landmark was in 1974 when IFLA announced `Universal Bibliographic Control as one of its core programmes. In the last one decade or so some of the limitations of the bibliographical control have been overcome due to the use of on-line computerised bibliographic records.
The key factors in bibliographic control are subject, form (physical and literary), place, time, scope (a bibliography may be selective or exhaustive) and the amount of details given in the individual entries. The number of bibliographies therefore is going to be very large if all the subject areas are to be taken into consideration. But in actual practice this has to have some limitations as otherwise their use will be impossible. Therefore, for usage purposes, small bibliographies on a large a variety of topics are prepared so that the publications are convenient to use.