Bibliographic Management | Factfile


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The traditional format held by libraries is that of textual materials. Such materials contain intellectual or cultural information recorded in written forms of language: non-fiction, novels, drama, poetry, biography, dictionaries, instructional texts, etc. Text is contained in a variety of physical formats, or carriers.


While many books contain the text of a single work, some works are spread over more than one physical volume (multi-volume works such as Encyclopedia Britannica or Lord of the Rings), while other books contain more than one work (e.g. a collection of short stories). Multi-volume works can be catalogued in two ways. In the first, a single record is created for the entire work and the physical description indicates the number of volumes. In the second, a record is created for each volume, which includes information that it is only part of a work.

Books are produced in hardback (also referred to as cased bindings), and paperback forms (also known as limp bindings).


These are unbound booklets, sometimes with a card cover. They may be in the form of a leaflet (a single sheet which is folded), or a few pages folded in half and stapled to form a simple book. Such limp bindings of less than 49 pages are usually considered to be pamphlets (unless aimed at children).


In a library context, manuscripts are texts that are written by hand. In book, magazine and music publishing, a manuscript is an original copy of a work written by an author or composer; although in the past this was usually hand-written, nowadays 'manuscripts' may be typed, or printed from a word processor file.


Also known as serials, journals, magazines, and more recently as continuing resources. These items are published on a serial issue basis, which may be regular or irregular and at varying frequencies of publication.


A specific type of continuing resource, newspapers are published at varying frequencies from daily to quarterly. Printed on a thin, somewhat rough paper called newsprint, modern newspapers appear in three sizes: broadsheet, tabloid and Berliner or midi (used by European papers such as Le Monde).

Large print

Items in large print have a font size larger than font size 12. Such items are produced for those who cannot read the smaller font sizes:

  • Young children learning to read
  • Visually impaired people

Text items are also transcribed into tactile text formats such as Braille or Moon.

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Content by: Ann Chapman of UKOLN.
Page last revised on: 26-May-2005
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