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A class of algebraically structured quasi-cyclic (QC) low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes and their convolutional counterparts is presented. The QC codes are described by sparse parity-check matrices comprised of blocks of circulant matrices. The sparse parity-check representation allows for practical graph-based iterative message-passing decoding. Based on the algebraic structure, bounds on the girth and minimum distance of the codes are found, and several possible encoding techniques are described. The performance of the QC LDPC block codes compares favorably with that of randomly constructed LDPC codes for short to moderate block lengths. The performance of the LDPC convolutional codes is superior to that of the QC codes on which they are based; this performance is the limiting performance obtained by increasing the circulant size of the base QC code. Finally, a continuous decoding procedure for the LDPC convolutional codes is described.