A bibliographic record is an entry in a bibliographic database (or a library catalog) which serves as a uniform representation and description of a specific content item, containing data elements required for the item's identification and retrieval, as well as additional supporting information, presented in a formalized bibliographic format. The additional information may support particular database functions such as search, or browse (e.g., by keywords), or may provide fuller presentation of the content item (e.g., the article's abstract). Bibliographic records are usually retrievable from bibliographic databases by author, title, index term, or keyword. Bibliographic records can represent a wide variety of published contents, including traditional paper, digitized or born-digital publications. The process of creation, exchange, and preservation of bibliographic records are parts of a larger process, called bibliographic control.
The earliest known bibliographic records come from the catalogues (written in cuneiform script on clay tablets) of religious texts from 2000 B.C., that were identified by what appear to be key words in Sumerian. In ancient Greece, bibliographic records were recorded on wooden tablets called pinakes.
Today's bibliographic record formats originate from the times of the traditional paper-based isolated libraries, their self-contained collections and their corresponding library cataloguing systems. The modern formats, while reflecting this heritage in their structure, are machine-readable and most commonly conform to the MARC standards. The subject bibliography databases (such as Chemical Abstracts, Medline, PsycInfo, or Web of Science) do not use the same kinds of bibliographical standards as does the library community. In this context the Common Communication Format is the best known standard.
- Reitz, Joan (2004). "bibliographic database". Dictionary for Library and Information Science. Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited. p. 70. ISBN 1-59158-075-7. Unknown parameter
- Carpenter, Michael (1994). "Catalogs and Cataloging". In Wiegand, Wayne A.; Davis, Jr., Donald G. Encyclopedia of Library History. New York: Garland. pp. 107–108. ISBN 0-8240-5787-2.
- Hagler, Ronald (1997). The Bibliographic Record and Information Technology (Third ed.). American Library Association. p. 17. ISBN 0-8389-0707-5.
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