File formats for citation storage and distribution

We’ve been investigating options for storage and distribution of citation data in the Biodiversity Heritage Library. In particular, we are searching for an appropriate “core” format. The thought is that with an appropriately verbose, open, standard core format for our citations, we can transform that format into whatever other format we might want to support. By “verbose”, we mean a format that can support all of the information that we need to preserve. By “open”, we’re looking for a format that’s not tied exclusively to one system or vendor. And by “standard”, we’re hoping to identify a format that is widely recognized by the library community.

Some of the information found in this Wikipedia article has guided the research: Specifically, the information found there about which formats are supported in each of the various applications is useful.

Following is a brief description of the format candidates we’ve investigated, as well as our preliminary conclusions.

If you have experience with one or more of these formats and would like to help us make our decision, please post your comments below.

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Mike Lichtenberg is the Lead Developer for the Biodiversity Heritage Library.