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Network Working Group R. Lasher Request For Comments: 1807 Stanford Obsoletes: 1357 D. Cohen Category: Informational Myricom

                                                             June 1995
                 A Format for Bibliographic Records

Status of this Memo

 This memo provides information for the Internet community.  This memo
 does not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of
 this memo is unlimited.


 This RFC defines a format for bibliographic records describing
 technical reports.  This format is used by the Cornell University
 Dienst protocol and the Stanford University SIFT system.  The
 original RFC (RFC 1357) was written by D. Cohen, ISI, July 1992.
 This is a revision of RFC 1357.  New fields include handle,
 other_access, keyword, and withdraw.


 Many universities and other R&D organizations routinely announce new
 technical reports by mailing (via the postal services) the
 bibliographic records of these reports.
 These mailings have non-trivial cost and delay.  In addition, their
 recipients cannot conveniently file them, electronically, for later
 retrieval and searches.
 Publishing organizations that wish to use e-mail or file transfer to
 obtain these announcements can do so by using the following format.
 Organizations may automate to any degree (or not at all) both the
 creation of these records (about their own publications) and the
 handling of the records received from other organizations.
 This format is designed to be simple, for people and for machines, to
 be easy to read ("human readable") and create without any special
 This RFC defines the format of bibliographic records, not how to
 process them.

Lasher & Cohen Informational [Page 1] RFC 1807 A Format for Bibliographic Records June 1995

 This format is a "tagged" format with self-explaining alphabetic
 tags. It should be possible to prepare and to read bibliographic
 records using any text editor, without any special programs.
 This RFC includes the CR-CATEGORY, a field useful for Computer
 Science publications.  It is expected that similar fields will be
 added for other domains.
 This format, as described in RFC 1357, was implemented as part of the
 Dienst system and has been in use by the five ARPA-funded computer
 science institutions to exchange bibliographic records (Cornell, SU,
 UC, MIT, and CMU).  Programs have been written to map between this
 RFC and structured USMARC (format developed at the Library of
 Congress) cataloging records, also from USMARC to the RFC.
 The focus of this ARPA-funded research has been into many aspects of
 digital libraries including searching and accessing techniques that
 do not necessarily use bibliographic records (for example, natural
 language processing, automatic and full-text indexing).  However, the
 continued use of bibliographic records is expected to remain an
 important part of the library system environment of the future and
 its use is an important link between the physical world of scientific
 works and the on-line world of digital objects. The format described
 in this paper allows a link between these two worlds to be created.
 This format was developed with considerable help and involvement of
 Computer Science and Library personnel from several organizations,
 including Carnegie Mellon University, Corporation for National
 Research Initiatives (CNRI), Cornell University, University of
 Southern California/Information Sciences Institute (ISI), Meridian
 (now called DynCorp), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford
 University, and the University of California.  Key contributions were
 provided by Jerry Saltzer of MIT, and Larry Lannom of DynCorp.  The
 initial draft was prepared by Danny Cohen and Larry Miller of ISI.
 The revision was done by Rebecca Lasher from Stanford with assistance
 from the CS-TR participants.
 This RFC does not place any limitations on the dissemination of the
 bibliographic records.  If there are limitations on the dissemination
 of the publication, it should be protected by some means such as
 passwords.  This RFC does not address this protection.
 The use of this format is encouraged.  There are no limitations on
 its use.

Lasher & Cohen Informational [Page 2] RFC 1807 A Format for Bibliographic Records June 1995

The Information Fields

 The various fields should follow the format described below.
 <M> means Mandatory; a record without it is invalid.
 <O> means Optional.
 The tags (aka Field-IDs) are shown in upper case.
         <M>  BIB-VERSION of this bibliographic records format
         <M>  ID
         <M>  ENTRY date
         <O>  ORGANIZATION
         <O>  TITLE
         <O>  TYPE
         <O>  REVISION
         <O>  WITHDRAW
         <O>  AUTHOR
         <O>  CORP-AUTHOR
         <O>  CONTACT for the author(s)
         <O>  DATE of publication
         <O>  PAGES count
         <O>  COPYRIGHT, permissions and disclaimers
         <O>  HANDLE
         <O>  OTHER_ACCESS
         <O>  RETRIEVAL
         <O>  KEYWORD
         <O>  CR-CATEGORY
         <O>  PERIOD
         <O>  SERIES
         <O>  MONITORING organization(s)
         <O>  FUNDING organization(s)
         <O>  CONTRACT number(s)
         <O>  GRANT number(s)
         <O>  LANGUAGE name
         <O>  NOTES
         <O>  ABSTRACT
         <M>  END

Lasher & Cohen Informational [Page 3] RFC 1807 A Format for Bibliographic Records June 1995

Meta Format

  • Keep It Simple.
  • One bibliographic record for each publication, where a

"publication" is whatever the publishing institution

    defines as such.
  • A record contains several fields.
  • Each field starts with its tag (aka the field-ID) which is a

reserved identifier (containing no separators) at the

   beginning of a new line with or without spaces before it),
   followed by two colons ("::"), followed by the field data.
  • Continuation lines: Lines are limited to 79 characters.

When needed, fields may continue over several lines, with an

   implied space in between.  In order to simplify the use no
   special marking is used to indicate continuation line.
   Hence, fields are terminated by a line that starts (apart
   from white space) with a word followed by two colons.  Except
   for the "END::" that is terminated by the end of line.)  For
   improved human readability it is suggested to start
   continuation lines with some spaces.
  • Several fields are mandatory and must appear in the record.

All fields (unless specifically not permitted to) may be in

   any order and may be repeated as needed (e.g., the AUTHOR
   field).  The order of the repeated fields is always
  • Only printable ASCII characters are to be used. The permissible

characters are ASCII codes 040 (Space) through 176(~)

   and line breaks which are \012 (LF) or \012\015 (CRLF).
   Empty lines indicate paragraph break.  \009 (tab) must be
   replaced by spaces.  This specifically forbids tabs, null
   characters, DEL, backspaces, etc.  (i.e., if used, the record is
   However full 8 bit ASCII may be used.  WARNING: some
   electronic mailers cannot handle 8 bit ASCII and these
   records may need to be transported via other mechanisms.
   Throughout this document the word "publisher" means the
   publishing organization of a report (e.g., a university or a
   department thereof), not necessarily an organization authorized
   to issue ISBN numbers.

Lasher & Cohen Informational [Page 4] RFC 1807 A Format for Bibliographic Records June 1995


————————————————————- BIB-VERSION:: CS-TR-v2.1

        ID:: OUKS//CS-TR-91-123
     ENTRY:: January 15, 1992

ORGANIZATION:: Oceanview University, Kansas, Computer Science

      TYPE:: Technical Report
  REVISION:: January 5, 1995; FTP access information added
     TITLE:: Scientific Communication must be timely
    AUTHOR:: Finnegan, James A.
   CONTACT:: Prof. J. A. Finnegan, CS Dept, Oceanview Univ,
             Oceanview, KS 54321  Tel: 913-456-7890
    AUTHOR:: Pooh, Winnie The
   CONTACT:: 100 Aker Wood
      DATE:: December 1991
     PAGES:: 48
 COPYRIGHT:: Copyright for the report (c) 1991, by J. A.
             Finnegan.  All rights reserved.  Permission is granted
             for any academic use of the report.
    HANDLE:: hdl:oceanview.electr/CS-TR-91-123


 RETRIEVAL:: send email to with fax number
   KEYWORD:: Scientific Communication

CR-CATEGORY:: D.0 CR-CATEGORY:: C.2.2 Computer Sys Org, Communication nets, Net

    SERIES:: Communication
  CONTRACT:: FAS-91-C-1234
  LANGUAGE:: English
     NOTES:: This report is the full version of the paper with
             the same title in IEEE Trans ASSP Dec 1976


Many alchemists in the country work on important fusion problems. All of them cooperate and interact with each other through the scientific literature. This scientific communication methodology has many advantages. Timeliness is not one of them.

END:: OUKSCS-TR-91-123 —————————- End of Example ——————- For reference, the above example has about 1,689 characters (184 words) including about 249 characters (36 words) in the abstract. Lasher & Cohen Informational [Page 5] RFC 1807 A Format for Bibliographic Records June 1995 The Actual Format The term "Open Ended Format" in the following means arbitrary text. In the following double-quotes indicate complete strings. They are included only for grouping and are not expected to be used in the actual records. The BIB-VERSION, ID, ENTRY, and END field must appear as the first, second, third, and last fields, and may not be repeated in the record. All other fields may be repeated as needed. BIB-VERSION (M) – This is the first field of any record. It is a mandatory field. It identifies the version of the format used to create this bibliographic record. This RFC defines BIB-Version TR-v2.1 BIB-VERSIONs that start with the letter X (case independent) are considered experimental. Bib-records sent with such a BIB-VERSION should NOT be incorporated in the permanent database of the recipient. Using this version of this format, this field is always: Format: BIB-VERSION:: CS-TR-v2.1 ID (M) – This is the second field of any record. It is also a mandatory field. The ID field identifies the bibliographic record and is used in management of these records. Its format is "ID:: XXXYYY", where XXX is the

      publisher-ID (the controlled symbol of the publisher)
      and YYY is the ID (e.g., report number) of the
      publication as assigned by the publisher.  This ID is
      typically printed on the cover, and may contain slashes.
      The organization symbols "DUMMY" and "TEST" (case
      independent) are reserved for test records that should NOT
      be incorporated in the permanent database of the
      Format:   ID:: <publisher-ID>//<free-text>
              Example:  ID:: OUKS//CS-TR-91-123
  • * See the note at the end regarding the controlled symbols of the publishers * Lasher & Cohen Informational [Page 6] RFC 1807 A Format for Bibliographic Records June 1995 ENTRY (M) – This is a mandatory field. It is the date of creating this bibliographic record. The format for ENTRY date is "Month Day, Year". The month must be alphabetic (spelled out). The "Day" is a 1- or 2-digit number. The "Year" is a 4-digit number. Format: ENTRY:: <date> Example: ENTRY:: January 15, 1992 ORGANIZATION (O) – It is the full name spelled out (no acronyms, please) of the publishing organization. The use of this name is controlled together with the controlled symbol of the publisher (as discussed above for the ID field). Avoid acronyms because there are many common acronyms, such as ISI and USC. Please provide it in ascending order, such as "X University, Y Department" (not "Y Department, X University"). Format: ORGANIZATION:: <free-text> Example: ORGANIZATION:: Stanford University, Department of Computer Science TITLE (O) – This is the title of the work as assigned by the author. This field should include the complete title with all the subtitles, if any. Format: TITLE:: <free-text> Example: TITLE:: The Computerization of Oceanview with High Speed Fiber Optics Communication TYPE (O) – Indicates the type of publication (summary, final project report, etc.) as assigned by the issuing organization. Format: TYPE:: <free-text> Example: TYPE:: Technical Report REVISION (O) – Indicates that the current bibliographic record is a revision of a previously issued record and is intended Lasher & Cohen Informational [Page 7] RFC 1807 A Format for Bibliographic Records June 1995 to replace it. Revision information consists of a date and/or followed by a semicolon and by text in an open ended format. The revised bibliographic record should contain a complete record for the publication, not just a list of changes to the old record. If revision is omitted, the record is assumed to be a new record and not a revision. If the revision date is specified as 0, this is assumed to be January 1, 1900 (the previous RFC, used revision data of 0, 1, 2, 3, etc. this specification is for programs that might process records from RFC1357). The text before the semicolon in this field is a date of the form month day, year. Any record with a more recent revision date replaces completely any record with an earlier revision date (supplied either explicitly or by default). Use the text to describe the revision. Reasons to send out a revised record include an error in the original, or change in the access information. Format: REVISION:: January 1, 1995; <free-text> Example: REVISION:: January 1, 1995; FTP information added WITHDRAW (O) Withdraw means the document is no longer available. Some Institutions choose to delete the record others remove some of the fields. It is up to each institution to decide how to process withdraw records. A withdraw record has all of the mandatory fields plus the withdraw field and a mandatory revision field. The Withdraw field should indicate the reason for the withdraw in free text. Example for withdrawing a bibliographic record:: BIB-VERSION:: CS-TR-v2.1 ID:: OUKSCS-TR-91-123 ENTRY:: January 21, 1995 ORGANIZATION:: Oceanview University, Kansas, Computer Science TITLE:: The Computerization of Oceanview with High Speed Fiber Optics Communication REVISION:: January 21, 1995 WITHDRAW:: Withdrawn, found to be irrelevant END:: OUKSCS-TR-91-123 Lasher & Cohen Informational [Page 8] RFC 1807 A Format for Bibliographic Records June 1995 AUTHOR (O) – Personal names only. Normal last name first inversion. Editors should be listed here as well, identified with the usual "(ed.)" as shown below in the last example. If the report was not authored by a person (e.g., it was authored by a committee or a panel) use CORP-AUTHOR (see below) instead of AUTHOR. Multiple authors are entered by using multiple lines, each in the form of "AUTHOR:: <free-text>". The system preserves the order of the authors. Format: AUTHOR:: <free-text> Example: AUTHOR:: Finnegan, James A. AUTHOR:: Pooh, Winnie The AUTHOR:: Lastname, Firstname (ed.) CORP-AUTHOR (O) – The corporate author (e.g., a committee or a panel) that authored the report, which may be different from the ORGANIZATION issuing the report. In entering the corporate name please omit initial "the" or "a". If it is really part of the name, please invert it. Format: CORP-AUTHOR:: <free-text> Example: CORP-AUTHOR:: Committee on long-range computing CONTACT (O) – The contact for the author(s). Open-ended, most likely E-mail and postal addresses. A CONTACT field for each author should be provided, separately, or for all the AUTHOR fields. E-mail addresses should always be in "pointy brackets" (as in the example below). Format: CONTACT:: <free-text> Example: CONTACT:: Prof. J. A. Finnegan, CS Dept, Oceanview Univ., Oceanview, Kansas, 54321 Tel: 913-456-7890 Lasher & Cohen Informational [Page 9] RFC 1807 A Format for Bibliographic Records June 1995 DATE (O) – The publication date. The formats are "Month Year" and "Month Day, Year". The month must be alphabetic (spelled out). The "Day" is a 1- or 2-digit number. The "Year" is a 4- digit number. Format: DATE:: <date> Example: DATE:: January 1992 Example: DATE:: January 15, 1992 PAGES (O) – Total number of pages, without being too picky about it. Final numbered page is actually preferred, if it is a reasonable approximation to the total number of pages. Format: PAGES:: <number> Example: PAGES:: 48 COPYRIGHT (O) – Copyright information. Open ended format. The COPYRIGHT field applies to the cited report, rather than to the current bibliographic record. Format: COPYRIGHT:: <free-text> Example: COPYRIGHT:: Copyright for the report © 1991, by J. A. Finnegan. All rights reserved. Permission is granted for any academic use of the report. HANDLE (O) – Handles are unique permanent identifiers that are used in the Handle Management System to retrieve location data. A handle is a printable string which when given to a handle server returns the location of the data. Handles are used to identify digital objects stored within a digital library. If the technical report is available in electronic form, the Handle MUST be supplied in the bibliographic record. Format is "HANDLE:: hdl:<naming authority>/string of characters". The string of characters can be the report number of the technical report as assigned by the publisher. For more information on handles and handle servers see the CNRI WEB page at Lasher & Cohen Informational [Page 10] RFC 1807 A Format for Bibliographic Records June 1995 NOTE: White space in HANDLE due to line wrap is ignored. Format: HANDLE:: hdl:<naming authority>/string of characters Example: HANDLE:: hdl:oceanview.electr/CS-TR-91-123 OTHER_ACCESS (O) – For URLs, URNs, and other yet to be invented formatted retrieval systems. Only one URL or URN per occurrence of the field. URL and URN information is available in the internet drafts from the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force). The most recent drafts can be found on the CNRI WEB page at ** NOTE: White space in a URL or URN due to line wrap is ignored.
      Format:  OTHER_ACCESS:: URL:<URL>
               OTHER_ACCESS:: URN:<URN>
      Example: OTHER_ACCESS:: URL:
      When the URN standard is finalized naming authorities will
      be registered and URNs will be viable unique identifiers.
      Until then this is a place holder.  For the latest URN
      drafts see CNRI WEB page at

RETRIEVAL (O) – Open-ended format describing how to get

      a copy of the full text.  This is an optional, repeatable
      No limitations are placed on the dissemination of the
      bibliographic records.  If there are limitations on the
      dissemination of the publication, it should be protected
      by some means such as passwords.  This format does not
      address this protection.
      Format:  RETRIEVAL:: <free-text>

Lasher & Cohen Informational [Page 11] RFC 1807 A Format for Bibliographic Records June 1995

               RETRIEVAL:: for full text with color pictures
                         send a self-addressed stamped envelope to
                         Prof. J.A.  Finnegan, CS Dept,
                         Oceanview University, Oceanview, KS 54321

KEYWORD (O) – Specify any keywords, controlled or uncontrolled.

      This is an optional, repeatable field.  Multiple keywords
      are entered using multiple lines in the form of
      "KEYWORD::  <free-text>.
      Format:   KEYWORD:: <free-text>
      Example:  KEYWORD:: Scientific Communication
                KEYWORD:: Communication Theory

CR-CATEGORY (O) – Specify the CR-category. The CR-category (the

      Computer Reviews Category) index (e.g., "B.3") should
      always be included, optionally followed by the name of that
      category.  If the name is specified it should be fully
      specified with parent levels as needed to clarify it, as in
      the second example below.  Use multiple lines for multiple
      Every year, the January issue of CR has the full list
      of these categories, with a detailed discussion of the
      CR Classification System, and a full index.  Typically the
      full index appears in every January issue, and the top two
      levels in every issue.
      Format:   CR-CATEGORY:: <free-text>
      Example:  CR-CATEGORY:: D.1
      Example:  CR-CATEGORY:: B.3 Hardware, Memory Structures

PERIOD (O) – Time period covered (date range). Applicable

      primarily to progress reports, etc.  Any format is
      acceptable, as long as the two dates are separated with
      " to " (the word "to" surrounded by spaces) and each date
      is in the format allowed for dates, as described above for
      the date field.
      Format:   PERIOD:: <date> to <date>
      Example:  PERIOD:: January 1990 to March 1990

Lasher & Cohen Informational [Page 12] RFC 1807 A Format for Bibliographic Records June 1995

SERIES (O) – Series title, including volume number within series.

      Open-ended format, with producing institution strongly
      encouraged to be internally consistent.
      Format:   SERIES:: <free-text>
      Example:  SERIES:: Communication

FUNDING (O) – The name(s) of the funding organization(s).

      Format:   FUNDING:: <free-text>
      Example:  FUNDING:: ARPA

MONITORING (O) – The name(s) of the monitoring organization(s).

      Format:   MONITORING:: <free-text>
      Example:  MONITORING:: ONR

CONTRACT (O) – The contract number(s).

      Format:   CONTRACT:: <free-text>
      Example:  CONTRACT:: MMA-90-23-456

GRANT (O) – The grant number(s).

      Format:   GRANT:: <free-text>
      Example:  GRANT:: NASA-91-2345

LANGUAGE (O) – The language in which the report is written.

      Please use the full English name of that language.
      Please include the Abstract in English, if possible.
      If the language is not specified, English is assumed.
      Format:   LANGUAGE:: <free-text>
      Example:  LANGUAGE:: English
      Example:  LANGUAGE:: French

Lasher & Cohen Informational [Page 13] RFC 1807 A Format for Bibliographic Records June 1995

NOTES (O) – Miscellaneous free text.

      Format:   NOTES:: <free-text>
      Example:  NOTES:: This report is the full version of the
                      paper with the same title in IEEE Trans ASSP
                      Dec 1976

ABSTRACT (O) – Highly recommended, but not mandatory. Even

      though no limit is defined for its length, it is suggested
      not to expect applications to be able to handle more than
      10,000 characters.
      The ABSTRACT is expected to be used for subject searching
      since titles are not enough.  Even if the report is not in
      English, an English ABSTRACT is preferable.  If no formal
      abstract appears on document, the producers of the
      bibliographic records are encouraged to use pieces of the
      introduction, first paragraph, etc.
      Format:  ABSTRACT:: xxxx .............. xxxxxxxx
                          xxxx .............. xxxxxxxx
                          xxxx .............. xxxxxxxx
                          xxxx .............. xxxxxxxx

END (M) – This is a mandatory field. It must be the last entry

      of a record, identifying the record that it ends, by stating
      the same ID that was used at the beginning of the records,
      in its "ID::".
      Format:   END:: XXX//YYY
      Example:  END:: OUKS//CS-TR-91-123
           >>>>>>>   [END OF FORMAT DEFINITION]   <<<<<<<

A Note Regarding the Controlled Symbols of the Publishers

 In order to avoid conflicts among the symbols of the publishing
 organizations (the XXX part of the "ID:: XXX//YYY") it is suggested
 that the various organizations that publish reports (such as
 universities, departments, and laboratories) register their
 <publisher-ID> symbols and names, in a way similar to the
 registration of other key parameters and names in the Internet.

Lasher & Cohen Informational [Page 14] RFC 1807 A Format for Bibliographic Records June 1995

 Rebecca Lasher (, of Stanford working
 with CNRI has agreed to coordinate this registration with the IANA
 for the publishers of Computer Science technical reports.  It is
 suggested that before using this format the publishing organizations
 would coordinate with her (by e-mail) their symbols and the names of
 their organizations.
 In order to help automated handling of the received bibliographic
 records, it is expected that the producers of bibliographic records
 will always use the same name, exactly, in the ORGANIZATION field.

Security Considerations

 Security issues are not discussed in this memo.


 This work was supported by the Advanced Research Projects Agency
 under Grant No. MDA-972-92-J-1029 with the Corporation for National
 Research Initiatives (CNRI).   Its content does not necessarily
 reflect the position or the policy of the Government or CNRI, and no
 official endorsement should be inferred.

Authors' Addresses

 Rebecca Lasher
 Mathematical and Computer Sciences Library
 M.S. 2125
 Stanford University
 Stanford, CA, USA 94305
 Phone: +1 415 723 0864
 Danny Cohen
 325 N. Santa Anita Ave.
 Arcadia, CA 91006
 Phone: +1 818 821 5555

Lasher & Cohen Informational [Page 15]

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