A universal bibliography is one that includes everything that is issued, published, or processed in the field of knowledge from the beginning to the future. Dr. Ranganathan defines a bibliography to be universal when it includes all published materials, whether books or portion of them or periodicals or articles in them or combination of them, on all subjects, in all languages, in all countries, at all times. In other words, a universal bibliography is one that records all documents, produced in all languages in all countries of the world, without restriction of the theme.
The preparation of a universal bibliography of the above nature appears to be a mammoth task almost impossible to achieve. Bibliographers for the last many years have been trying to accomplish it. There are various limitations for preparation of such a bibliography due to the tremendous growth of knowledge and literature in the last 30-40 years. Along with it, language is a main barrier. Another constraint is the way to compile and arrange the entries in the bibliography. Introduction of computers have however reduced some of these problems.
There have been many early attempts for preparation of such bibliographies. One of the few well-known events in the history of universal bibliography is the valiant attempt made by two Belgian Scholars, Paul Otlet and Henri La Fontaine, starting in the year 1895 and into early years of the twentieth century. They attempted to create a universal classified bibliography of books and important periodical articles.
Although millions of entries were accumulated on cards at the headquarters of the scheme, in Brussels, the venture failed through due to lack of international financial support, but out of it came the now well known FID - International Federation for Information and Documentation and the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC).
As mentioned earlier there are no known published universal bibliographies but some possible examples in this directions can be published catalogues of British Library Reference Division,. British Library, WK), Library of Congress of US, and
Bibliotheque Nationale of France.