Bibliographic Management


Full Disclosure

This project ran from 1999 to 2004.

During 1999, UKOLN and the National Council on Archives carried out a study to investigate the need for a national strategy for retrospective catalogue conversion. A report, 'Full disclosure: releasing the value of library and archive collections', was submitted to the commissioning group (the British Library, the Library and Information Commission and the Library and Information Co-operation Council) in June 1999. The recommendations were accepted and a Full Disclosure Implementation Group was set up in September 1999 to act as the co-ordinating focus of the programme. This group has representation from the archives and museums domains in addition to representation from national, higher education, public and other non-HE libraries.

Full Disclosure is now a British Library led initiative which extends to all museums, libraries and archives in the UK, with the aim of achieving easy online discovery of all major sources of all freely accessibly UK information by all potential users. In other words, if, as a researcher or a member of the public, you are entitled to consult material in an archive or a museum or a library, you should be able to search the catalogues via the internet, rather than having travel to the institution in person. Full Disclosure supports and encourages the conversion of information currently on index cards to online databases. It also supports the retrospective cataloguing of all uncatalogued collections so that their immense value can be realised. It supports retroconversion and retrospective cataloguing in the following ways:

Since 2004, a number of retrospective conversion projects have been funded by the Jisc and the British Library.


Retro email discussion list

A discussion list for those interested in retrospective cataloguing and retro-conversion of catalogues.

To join the list
Go to the list homepage and follow the instructions for joining the list.

Making the most of our Libraries

The Full Disclosure study drew on previous work, Making the Most of our Libraries, carried out by UKOLN and similar work in the archives domain. Such work identified the likely extent of the problem of unrecorded items and items for which no machine-readable records are available. This means that users often find it difficult to identify items of interest and their locations. Resolving the problem would help users find materials, reduce pressure on collections and the inter-lending system by providind additional locations, and supporting resource sharing.

Two studies carried out by Philip Bryant in the 1990s identified the need for a national strategy regarding retrospective conversion of library catalogues. The text of the combined report on both these studies is available.

An abstract is available for an article about the study
Retrospective catalogue conversion: a national study and a discussion of selected literature
By Ann Chapman
Libri, vol. 46 (1), March 1996, pp. 16-24.

Further Information

UKOLN staff who worked on these studies: Philip Bryant, Ann Chapman and Lorcan Dempsey.

An archive version of the Full Disclosure site is available on the Internet Archive. On 13 March 2013 had been crawled 8 times going back to 6 Nov. 2005.


An archive of the Full Disclosure Web site is available on the Internet Archive. On 5 June 2013 this Web site had been crawled 8 times going back to 6 November 2008. The most recent archive was taken on 9 August 2011.

Note that this Web site is also available on the UK Web archive.

Content by: Ann Chapman of UKOLN.
Page last revised on: 05-Jun-2013
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