STANDARDS FOR RECORD FORMAT
Standardisation of the records format in manually prepared bibliographic lists started to be a matter of international concern from the 1960s. The International Conference on Cataloguing Principles (ICCP) held in Paris 1961 set up the standard for the headings of author and title records in catalogues and bibliographies. The conference was sponsored by IFLA with the intention of evolving a set of basic principles to serve as guidelines in the design of catalogue codes all over the world. However, differences in headings continue to exist in various catalogues and bibliographies and they stood in the way of interchange of information.
The International Meeting of Cataloguing Experts (IMC'E) convened by IFLA in Copenhagen in 1969 was another event of significance in the direction of bibliographic standards. The first standard developed in 1974 was meant for the description of monographs. It was followed by a series of specialised ISBDs for various forms of documents and the final integrated general format for all sorts of documents, called General International Standard Bibliographic Description, ISBD (G) was developed. ISBD (G) lists within its frame all bibliographic elements, which are required to describe and identify all types of materials, which are likely to appear in library collection. It assigns an order to these elements and prescribes a distinct punctuation system to differentiate them from each other. It also serves as the basis for specialised ISBDs. It consists of eight areas of data elements.
Development of ISBD may be termed as the greatest achievement contributing to the standardisation of bibliographic records for the following reasons
The maximum amount of description held within the ISBD frame will be adequate to meet the requirements of a wide range of bibliographic activities. All the elements are not meant for a single agency but all of them are useful to one or other agency. ISBD helps standardisation of cataloguing rules as well as the format of manual and machine readable bibliographic records.