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A record is a block (usually fixed-length) of associated data, saved on mass storage (e.g. magnetic tape, or in a file). A 'data set' would thus be formed of an array of identical (in format, but not content) records.

Older operating systems often supported 'record-structured' I/O (as opposed to the arbitrary storage access now provided by UNIX and descendant systems, which allow the user to build their own record-based data storage).