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, as users submit videos of record attempts in order to try to receive a world record. The website challengers.guinnessworldrecords.com is similar to RecordSetter, as the record attempts are judged by Guinness World Records adjudicators, but the records to attempt are provided beforehand.
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 not an event where the IAAF tracks the record (e.g. the 150 m run or individual events in a decathlon), or because it does not fulfil other rigorous criteria of an otherwise qualifying event (e.g. the Great North Run half-marathon, which has an excessive downhill gradient). The term is also used in video game speedrunning when someone achieves the fastest possible time for the game and category.
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: world record registrars based in India are Limca Book of Records, Unique World Records, World Records India, and Asia Book of Records.
Some sports have world records recognised by their respective sports governing body:
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- "RecordSetter.com World Records". recordsetter.com. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
- "Guinness World Records Challengers". challengers.guinnessworldrecords.com. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
- "Speedrunslive - Glossary". Retrieved 29 November 2015.
- Boulware, Jack (April 2006). "The World Record-Breaking Capital". Wired Magazine. Retrieved 2008-09-01.
- Paavan Solanki (October 2015). "World Records India - Indian Book of World Records". worldrecordsindia.com. Retrieved 2015-09-01.