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
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
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> ENTRY date
<O> CONTACT for the author(s)
<O> DATE of publication
<O> PAGES count
<O> COPYRIGHT, permissions and disclaimers
<O> MONITORING organization(s)
<O> FUNDING organization(s)
<O> CONTRACT number(s)
<O> GRANT number(s)
<O> LANGUAGE name
* 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.
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
COPYRIGHT:: Copyright for the report (c) 1991, by J. A.
Finnegan. All rights reserved. Permission is granted
for any academic use of the report.
RETRIEVAL:: send email to Finnegan@cs.ouks.edu with fax number
KEYWORD:: Scientific Communication
CR-CATEGORY:: C.2.2 Computer Sys Org, Communication nets, Net
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 of Example -------------------
For reference, the above example has about 1,689 characters (184
words) including about 249 characters (36 words) in the abstract.
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
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-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:: XXX//YYY", 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 *****
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
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
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
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
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::
ENTRY:: January 21, 1995
ORGANIZATION:: Oceanview University, Kansas, Computer
TITLE:: The Computerization of Oceanview with
High Speed Fiber Optics Communication
REVISION:: January 21, 1995
WITHDRAW:: Withdrawn, found to be irrelevant
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
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 <Finnegan@cs.ouks.edu>
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 (c) 1991,
by J. A. Finnegan. All rights
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
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
**** NOTE: White space in HANDLE due to line wrap is ignored.
Format: HANDLE:: hdl:<naming authority>/string of
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
**** NOTE: White space in a URL or URN due to line wrap is ignored.
Format: OTHER_ACCESS:: URL:<URL>
Example: OTHER_ACCESS:: URL:http://elib.stanford.edu/Docume
Example: OTHER_ACCESS:: URL:ftp://JUPITER.CS.OUKS.EDU/PUBS/
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 http://www.cnri.reston.va.us.
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>
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Rebecca Lasher (RLASHER@Forsythe.stanford.edu), 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
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 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.
Mathematical and Computer Sciences Library
Stanford, CA, USA 94305
Phone: +1 415 723 0864
325 N. Santa Anita Ave.
Arcadia, CA 91006
Phone: +1 818 821 5555