A bibliographic record is an entry in a bibliographic index (or a library catalog) which represents and describes a specific resource. A bibliographic record contains the data elements necessary to help users identify and retrieve that resource, as well as additional supporting information, presented in a formalized bibliographic format. 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 indexes (e.g., contemporary bibliographic databases) by author, title, index term, or keyword. Bibliographic records can also be referred to as surrogate records or metadata  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 120 scrolls in a system 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.
The Library of Congress is currently developing BIBFRAME, a new RDF schema for expressing bibliographic data. BIBFRAME is still in draft form, but several libraries are already testing cataloging under the new format. BIBFRAME is particularly noteworthy because it describes resources using a number of different entities and relationships, unlike standard library records, which aggregate many types of information into a single independently understandable record.
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- Miller, Eric; Uche Ogbuji; Victoria Mueller; Kathy MacDougall (21 November 2012). Bibliographic Framework as a Web of Data: Linked Data Model and Supporting Services (PDF) (Report). Library of Congress. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- "BIBFRAME Implementation Register". Retrieved 30 May 2014.
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