Document Description

Vimal Kumar Varun
Scientist 'D'
Department of Scientific & Industrial Research
Technology Bhawan, New Mehrauli Road, New Delhi-110016
Internet: URL:


Describes the websites for International Standard Bibliographic Description for Electronic Resources, International Standard Book Number, International Standard Serial Number, MARC 21 for bibliographic data and MARC 21 format for holding data.



International standards for bibliographic description are evolving since 1970s. So far, standards have been formualated for monographic publication, serials, non-book materias, cartographic materials, pre-1801 monographs, printed music and electronic resources. MARC format has also beem evolving since 1960s. Now, MARC 21 formats are being released covering various types of data. An attempt has been made to describe the websites related to the aforesaid topics.

International Standard Bibliographic Desdcription for Electronic Resources

International Standard Bibliographic Description was prepared by the Working Group on the General International Standard Bibliographic Description set up by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Committee on Cataloguing (London, IFLA International Office for UBC, 1977). The Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (second edition) are based on the ISBD general framework for the description of library materials, including the order of elements in the catalogue entry and prescribed punctuation.

The International Standard Bibliographic Description for Electronic Resources referred to hereafter as the ISBD(ER) specifies the requirements for the description and identification of such items, assigns an order to the elements of the description, and specifies a system of punctuations for the description. Its provisions relate first to the bibliographic records produced by national bibliographic agencies (in issues of the printed national bibliography, in other printed records, and associated computer-readable data resources) and second to bibliographic records of other cataloguing agencies, whether in electronic or printed form.

Electronic resources consist of materials that are computer-controlled, including materials that require the use of a peripheral (e.g. a CD-ROM player) attached to a computer; the items may or may not be used in the interactive mode. Included are two types of resources: data (information in the form of numbers, letters, graphics, images, and sound, or a combination thereof) and programs (instructions or routines for performing certain tasks including the processing of data). In addition, they may be combined to include electronic data and programs (e.g. online services, interactive multimedia).

ISBD(ER) is one of several published ISBDs. The others cover non-book materials - ISBD(NBM), serials - ISBD(S), monographic publications - ISBD(M), cartographic materials - ISBD(CM), pre-1801 monographs - ISBD(A), and printed music - ISBD(PM). Each ISBD is intended to embody a coherent set of provisions for its own type of publication, but there has been no attempt to make any ISBD exclusive.

Other Links:

International Standard Book Number [ISBN]

The details about information standards is available at The history of ISBN is available at and the details of ISBN Group Agencies are avilable at The hyphenation instructions are available at  

The ISBN Users Manual is available at  

The Digital World and ongoing development of ISBN is available at  

Contact: International Standard Book Number Agency,
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, D-10772 Berlin, GERMANY
Tel: (+49 30) 266 23 38
Fax: (+49 30) 266 28 14, 266 23 78

Other Links:

International Standard Serial Number [ISSN]

The ISSN is the standardized international numeric code, which allows the identification of any serial publication independently of its country of publication, of its language or alphabet, of its frequency, medium, etc. The ISSN is defined by ISO 3297 standard.

The ISSN takes the form of the acronym ISSN followed by two groups of four digits, separated by a hyphen. The eighth character is a control digit calculated according to a modulo 11 algorithm on the basis of the 7 preceding digits; this eighth control character may be an "X" if the result of the computing is equal to "10", in order to avoid any ambiguity. The other codes are ISBN, ISMN, and ISRN. The details of various products are available at

ISSN Register: The purpose of the ISSN Register is to provide a comprehensive list of ISSN, key titles and records corresponding to the serials processed by the ISSN network. The ISSN Register is the ISSN authority file. It is kept continually up to date. The Register is a quarterly publication, listing more than 80,000 new and amended records per year. It now counts more than 980,000 records. The Register is available on three different media : on the Web (ISSN Online), on CD-ROM (ISSN Compact) or as raw data through any electronic medium (CD-ROM, DAT...).

This CD-ROM edition contains the ISSN Register as well as the List of Serial Title Word Abbreviations. The Register is thus now available for instant searching and browsing of indexes, according to multiple criteria corresponding to the different "tags" of the records, truncated, combined or not : ISSN, titles (all titles, key title, abbreviated key title, title proper, variant title, linking titles), subject indices (UDC and Dewey), place of publication, country of publication, start date, end date, frequency, publisher name, issuing body, language, status, type of publication... It is also possible to search by keywords, to display or download the records according to different formats,etc. ISSN COMPACT also allows record navigation through related ISSN. ISSN Compact is a Windows compatible product. ISSN COMPACT is distributed by the ISSN International Centre [] and Chadwyck-Healey Espana SL []

The ISSN Register is available as raw data under a licencing agreement. Conditions of use and licencing fees are available upon request at the ISSN International Centre.

List of Serial Title Word Abbreviations: The List of Serial Title Word Abbreviations contains the words of the titles of serials processed by the ISSN network and their abbreviations. The List includes words of about 50 languages. The words are abbreviated in accordance with the ISO 4 standard, for which the ISSN International Centre is the maintenance agency. In conformity with the field of application of this standard, the abbreviations can also be used for the abbreviations of titles of non-serial publications. The List contains over 45,500 words and their abbreviations, processed by the ISSN International Centre since 1974 till 1999. The list is available on ISSN Compact CD-ROM and in Print form. The frequency of printed edition is irregular. The latest cumulated edition was published in 1999.

ISDS Manual: The ISDS Manual describes the functions, policies, procedures, publications, records, standards, etc., of the ISSN network, formerly known as International Serials Data System (ISDS). The Manual is published in two editions: English and French.

ISSN Online: In addition to ISSN Register on the CD-ROM, it is also available on the Web at It is a comprehensive tool used for worldwide bibliographic searches of serial publications; cataloguing (records can be downloaded and re-used for specific purposes); and constitution of controlled authority files based on ISSN (database management)

ISSN Online is available to all Internet users on a free trial basis. The trial period expires after one month, during which up to 40 search requests may be launched, 400 records visualised and 10 records downloaded (in their original ISO 2709 format). Just fill up the trial request form available at and you will receive your temporary password by e-mail.

ISSN Online is available on a subscription basis, either yearly or monthly. The subscription rates for ISSN Online and ISSN Compact 2001 are available at http://www. One can also send an e-mail to or for more information about ISSN Online.

Subscribe to the ISSN Online Mailing List at by entering your email address at The ISSN Online archives is available at

ISSN FAQ is available at and ISSN Check Digit Calculator is available at

The site also provides Web links to Partners of ISSN Network and official documents of ISSN Network are available at

Statistics: The Statistics [1991-2000] of ISSN Register by number, country, language, status and type of publication is available at

Contact: ISSN International Centre, 20 rue Bachaumont, 75002 Paris, FRANCE
TEL: +33 (0)1 FAX: +33 (0)1

Other links:

MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data

MARC is an acronym for MAchine-Readable Cataloguing. The five MARC 21 communication formats, Bibliographic Data, Authority Data, Holdings Data, Classification Data, and Community Information, are widely used standards for the representation and exchange of bibliographic, authority, holdings, classification, and community information data in machine-readable form.

Each MARC format provides detailed field descriptions and guidelines for applying the defined content designation and identifies conventions to be used to insure input consistency. A general introduction to MARC format is available at

A MARC record is composed of three elements: the record structure, the content designation, and the data content of the record. The details are available at

A MARC record consists of three main components: the Leader, the Directory, and the Variable Fields. The following information summarizes the structure of a MARC record. More detail is provided in MARC 21 Specifications for Record Structure, Character Sets, Exchange Media. The details are available at

Five MARC 21 Formats are given below:

MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data

MARC 21 Format for Authority Data

MARC 21 Format for Classification Data

MARC 21 Format for Community Information

The USMARC Format for Community Information was approved in January 1992 by the USMARC Advisory Group as a provisional format. Once the format has undergone sufficient experimentation, it will be reviewed again for possible modifications and final approval.

MARC 21 Format for Holding Data

The MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data: Including Guidelines for Content Designation defines the codes and conventions (tags, indicators, subfield codes, and coded values) that identify the data elements in MARC bibliographic records. This document is intended for the use of personnel involved in the creation and maintenance of bibliographic records, as well as those involved in the design and maintenance of systems for communication and processing of bibliographic records.

Attention ITT Readers

The Internet Edition of ITT, available at, comes out much before the publication of its print version. You may also browse the back issues from 1995 onwards.

Information Today & Tomorrow, Vol. 20, No. 3, September 2001, p.18-p.20