Over the past several years, the ISBD Review Group has been attempting to provide improved guidance regarding use of the ISBD for bibliographic description of publications in multiple formats, for example, an e-book or serially issued maps. Recognizing the increasing incidence of resources published in more than one physical medium and the challenges that these publications pose for bibliographic control, the Review Group appointed a task force to investigate three topics in particular:

  1. use of multiple ISBDs and use of multiple general material designations (GMDs),
  2. the order in which elements for multiple formats should be treated, and
  3. the number of bibliographic records to be created for multiple versions.

The task force reached the conclusion that the ISBD should urge national bibliographic agencies and libraries participating in networks to create separate bibliographic descriptions for works issued in multiple formats. This practice would facilitate record exchange, one of the basic purposes of the ISBD. Other libraries may select a single-record approach if they wish.

The MDSG was charged to develop an outline of problems and issues:

  • placement of the general material designation (GMD)
  • identification, clarification, and definition of content and nomenclature of the GMD, area 3, area 5, and area 7


August 2007


Lynne Howarth, chair
Françoise Leresche   
Glenn Patton
Mirna Willer
Elena Escolano (ex-officio)