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ISO 2709 is an ISO standard for bibliographic descriptions, titled Information and documentation—Format for information exchange.[1]

It is maintained by the Technical Committee for Information and Documentation (TC 9846).


In the late 1960s the MARC format was developed under the direction of Henriette Avram at the Library of Congress to encode the information printed on library cards.[2] It standardized in the early 1970s as ANSI/NISO Standard Z39.2-1971 and ISO 2709-1973. This was one of the first standards for information technology, and called Information Interchange Format. The 1981 version of the standard was titled Documentation—Format for bibliographic information interchange on magnetic tape.[3] The latest edition of that standard is ANSI/NISO Z39.2-1994 (R2016)[4] (ISSN 1041-5653). The ISO standard supersedes Z39.2. As of December 2008 the current standard is ISO 2709:2008.[1]

Basic structure

An ISO 2709 record has four sections:

Note that although tags are often displayed as labels on bibliographic fields and each bibliographic field has an associated tag, the tags are stored in the directory not in the bibliographic field.


There are three kinds of fields in the ISO 2709 record:


MARC21 is an instance of ISO 2709 that has the following characteristics:

See also