A world record is usually the best global performance ever recorded and officially verified in a specific skill or sport. The book Guinness World Records collates and publishes notable records of all types, from first and best to worst human achievements, to extremes in the natural world and beyond. The website RecordSetter has begun to take on the same territory, but with a more inclusive policy.
In the United States the form World's Record was formerly more common. The term World Best was also briefly in use. The latter term is still used in athletics events, including track and field and road running) to describe good and bad performances not recognized as an official world record: either because the event is a non-qualifying event (e.g. the 150 m run or individual events in a decathlon), or because it does not fulfil other criteria of an otherwise qualifying event (e.g. the Great North Run half-marathon, which has an excessive downhill gradient).
Malaysia is one country where world record-breaking has become something of a national fad. In India the setting and breaking of records is popular: the country has a local version of the Guinness Book of Records, called the Limca Book of Records, & World Records India.
Some sports have world records recognised by their respective sports governing body:
- Fédération Aéronautique Internationale
- Twin Galaxies - Video Game World Records
- List of vehicle speed records
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- Unique World Records Limited - Registrar of the Records : The Book of World Records
- Guinness World Records
- International Association of Athletics Federations Records
- World Records India - Book of Indian Records