Universal availability of publications
Kemp (1990) lamentably noted that insufficient attention has been given by private organizations, governments or bilateral and international development agencies to the proposal of making document provision a priority in poor countries. Raising the awareness of the importance of reading in particular is very important if they are to assign adequate resources to this vital area of activity.
Line (1990) observed that the battle for availability of publications which has just begun in some countries will hardly be over in this age of information explosion. The concepts of universal availability of publications and universal bibliographic control are attributed to the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions which were part of the core programme. By comparison with the less developed parts of the world, the developed countries like Britain have a near perfect situation.
In Sierra Leone, the picture is a gloomy one. This could be attributed to the absence of union catalogues and the lack of enforcement of the legal deposit legislation. In its literal sense, the aim of the universal availability of publications is very difficult to achieve as students and researchers fail to obtain books, journals or research reports within the time necessary.
Read (1990) re-echoed the fact that many developing countries are under-supplied with textbooks and other reading materials. In order to buttress this assertion, he cited the situation in Zaire, Madagascar and China. He believed the advent of aid-funded text book projects has ameliorated the situation in developing countries. He took a very positive stand based on studies which showed significant increase in availability.
Universal bibliographic control
Ochola (1984) noted that universal bibliographic control is an aspect of development. A major problem identified was the mission of bibliographic compilation from the priorities drawn up by the colonial administration in Kenya. The Kenya National Bibliography could therefore be seen as a creation and it is in an embryonic stage.
Kwei (1988) gave a more specific treatment when he cited the situation in a developing country like Ghana where a lot of constraints are encountered in the attempt to provide excellent bibliographic services. Among problems identified are the lack of money, shortage of professional librarians, and union catalogues, government and public apathy to bibliographical work, lack of transportation facilities and the developing stage of publishing, printing and the book trade. All is not lost. In order to improve the situation, the bibliographic agency could form part of the national bibliography. Ghanaians must be current and should not be left behind in the forward march to take information to those who need it.
Otike (1989) clearly supported the value of currency of information if bibliographic data is to be fully effective. Any national bibliography which is in arrears cannot hope to meet this challenge. Among problems identified in Kenya are the current state of publishing, enforcement of the legal deposit legislation and the production of the Kenya National Bibliography. These problems can only be solved by the co-operative efforts of information workers, publishers, printers …