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International Standard Bibliographic Description
Abbreviation: ISBD
Scope: Specification for the description and identification of the published resources
Topic: Metadata
Standard body: IFLA
Keywords: bibliographic description, metadata

ISBD stands for International Standards Bibliographic Description. The standard was developed by IFLA. Its first preliminary version was published in 1971 and its lastest version in 2011.

ISBD specifies the requirements for description and identification of single-part resources and multipart resources. Generally, it coveres the following types of resources:

  • cartographic resources
  • electronic resources
  • moving images
  • multimedia resources
  • notated music resources
  • printed texts
  • sound recordings
  • still images

The ISBD specification has 8 areas of descriptions:

  • Title and statement of responsibility area
  • Edition area
  • Material or type of resource specific area
  • Publication, production, distribution, etc., area
  • Physical description area
  • Series and multipart monographic resource area
  • Note area
  • Resource identifier and terms of availability area

Each area contains a number of elements for describing a bibliographic resource, for example its content, its carrier, its medium, its mode of issuance and so on. Not all areas and elements are mandatory. Some descriptions may provide the information for all the eight areas, while some others only need some of them. There are three kinds of elements: mandatory, conditional or optional elements. The description includes information to identify and select basic information in any type of catalogue, such as author catalogue, title catalogue and keyword catalogue.

Other standards in the same topic(s):

Abbreviation: ISBD-2011 [not official, only for reference in this website]
Release Date: 2011
  1. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)