Glossary of Library and Information Lingo

Glossary of Library and Information Lingo


Abstract - A summary of a book or article, soumetimes found in one of our journal article databases with the citation.

Almanac - Annual publication that contains useful data and statistics relating to calendars, countries, personalities, events, subjects, or other miscellaneous information.

Annotated Bibliography - A list of books or other items which includes descriptive or evaluative information about each item.

Annual -Materials that are published once a year.

Anthology - (1) Collection of extracts from the works of various authors, usually in the same genre or about the same subject.
(2) Sometimes refers to a collection from the works of an individual author.

Archives - Collections of items with historical significance.  For instance the Archives for the University contains all of the copies ever printed of the Highlander and photos of the campus from the beginning to the present. 

Article -Written essay or report on a subject usually located in magazines, journals, newspapers, and encyclopedias.

Atlas - Volume of maps, plates, engravings, tables, etc.

Audio-Visual - Information in any form other than words printed on paper. Examples include films, slides, audiotapes, compact discs, videocassettes, and computer software.

Autobiography - Account of one's life, composed by one's self.

Bibliography - A list of items by a certain author, on a certain topic or used in a certain paper.

Bindery - Facility at a remote location where books and periodicals (magazines or journals) are sent to be bound. When materials are at the bindery, it may be necessary to submit an Interlibrary Loan request to get a copy from another library.

Biography - Source that provides a written account of a person's life or a group of literature concerned with people's lives.

Boolean Logic ( Operators / Connectors) - Computer logic that employs the AND/NOT and OR terminology to find items with certain characteristics.  For instance the logical phrase dogs AND cats would  indicateitems which have both elements (dogs and cats), and dogs OR cats would indicate items with either.

Bound Periodical - Issues of a journal or magazine that are gathered and bound within a hard cover to resemble a book. At Lovejoy Library, all bound volumes are located on the second floor and shelved in alphabetical order by the title.

Browse/browsing - Looking through an ordered list of materials. Contrast with search/searching.

California Digital Library (CDL) - A centralized UC organization concerned with identifying, negotiating and making available to all UC campuses resources and tools that will be of use for research and teaching.

Call Number / call numbers - Number given to each book (or journal) acquired by the Library. Every book has letters and/or numbers assigned to place it in a specific location (subject area) within the collection. Most books and journals in the UCR Libraries are assigned Library of Congress call numbers which begin with one or two letters and are followed by a string of numbers. Government Documents are given Superintendent of Documents call numbers (see SuDocs). Some materials are simply given media-related accession numbers.

Call number search - Searching for an item by its call number.  Both Scotty and Melvyl allow Call number searching.

Catalog - A database for finding materials owned by a library or libraries.  The Catalog for UCR is called Scotty.  The Union catalog for all of the UC's is called MELVYL.  WorldCat is a catalog of materials at hundreds  (or more)  of libraries.

Circulating - Items that can be checked out are "circulating." Items that cannot be checked out are called "non-circulating."  Reference books are non-circulating (typically).

Circulation desk - The place to go to check out books or to ask questios about your account.  Each library on the UCR campus has a circulation desk.

Citation / citations - The information given in a periodical index, catalog, or bibliography about a particular book, article or other information resource. The citation may include the article title, periodical title, book title, place of publication, publisher, volume, pages, and date. To format citations for your own bibliographies, refer to a style manual.

Example of a book citation:

Braine, G. (Ed.) (2005). Teaching English to the World: History, Curriculum, and Practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Example of an article citation:

Brutt-Griffler, J. (1998). Conceptual questions in English as a world language: Taking up an issue. World Englishes, 17(3), 381-392.

Conference papers - Papers that were presented at a conference.  They may be collected in a volume of "proceedings" or they might be published in journals.  They are not considered peer-reviewed, though they are often a critical form of research materials due to their timeliness.  Many conference papers go on to be expanded and published in peer-reviewed journals.

Controlled vocabulary - Standardized words that may be used to search an index, abstract, or database. Many reference sources have a listing or thesaurus of preferred terms. An example of controlled vocabulary is the Library of Congress Subject Headings. (See also Thesaurus)

Copyright - Legal right to control the production, use, and sale of copies of a literary, musical, or artistic work in any tangible format.

Cross Reference -Term used in catalogs, thesauruses, and indexes to lead users from one form of entry to another (e.g. American poets see Poets--American).

Current Periodical - Latest or most recent issue of a journal or magazines that has not been bound or obtained on microform.

Database - Collection of information arranged into individual records to be searched by a computer.  Typically databases, as discussed in libraries, refer to collections of journal articles.

Descriptor - Term or symbol used to designate the subject of a work. Descriptors are generally used when searching electronic indexes.

Document delivery (DDS)- A service provided by the Libraries through which one can ordrer copies of journal articles that we own here at UCR.

Download - Transfer electronic information to a floppy disk or hard drive.

Due Date - Date that borrowed materials must be returned to the Library.

Electronic Book (eBook) - Book in electronic form, typically availabe via the Web. Most eBooks that UCR buys are available in Scotty. They can also be found on our eBooks and eJournals page.

Electronic journal (eJournal) - A Journal which is either published entirely electronically or which is an electronic version of a print journal.

Encyclopedia - Compilation of articles on subjects in many areas of study or in a specialized field. Encyclopedias may be in print or electronic formats.

Fiche - Abbreviated term for microfiche. (See Microfiche)

Film - Another term for movie or an abbreviated term for microfilm. (See Microfilm)

Field / fields - A type of information about a resource found in a Catalog or Database.  Most entries of books of journals will have such fields as author, publisher, title etc...

Folio (Oversize)
Book that is too large to fit in the general collection shelves and therefore is placed in a designated area marked "Oversized" or "Folio" Collection.

Full Text - The complete text of the information resource. 

Full-text database - A database which contains the full text of (at least some of) the articles it contains.

Google - A search engine for finding resources on the Internet.

Google Books - An online collection of books of which the full-text is searchable and at least excerpts are made available.

Google Scholar - A Google search engine which concentrates on scholarly resources such as journal articles, conference papers and government reports.

Handbooks - General information sources that provide a quick reference to a given subject. Handbooks may be general or subject specific.

Hold - Status applied to an item being held at the Circulation Desk. A valid borrower may request that a circulating book or other material be held upon its return to the Library. The patron will be notified when the material becomes available.

Materials owned or held by the Library.

Index - List of subjects discussed in a book. List of journal articles arranged by subject.  Also another term sometimes used for article databases, especially in their pre-electronic format.

Intellectual property - A creation such as a literary or artistic work.  The author might own the "intellectual property" until such time as they sell it, give it away or put it into the public domain.

Interlibrary Loan - (sometimes referred to as ILL) Service through which one library lends a resource or provides a photocopy of material from its collection to another library for registered students.

Issue - Single uniquely numbered or dated part of a periodical or newspaper.

Journal - Type of periodical containing scholarly articles that describe research in a particular profession or academic discipline. Articles are based upon research and usually have extensive references. For more information about various types of periodicals, consult the "Identifying Scholarly Journals" research guide.

Keyword - Word or combination of words from the author, title, or subject field of an item. Keyword searching is usually available in online databases and catalogs.

Keyword Searching - Looking for articles or books or other typs of information by entering key words into a catalog, database or internet search engine.  This is a broader way to search than by controlled vocabulary and can be looking for words from the title, subject(s), abstract, authors or even full-text of the information resource.

Library - A collection of information catagorized and organized in a useful, usable fashion.

Library of Congress subject headings - List of standard terms created by the Library of Congress that are used to locate resources on a specific topic.

Literature Review - The search for and synthesis of all the existing articles, books etc. of a topic of research.

Magazine - A non-scholarly periodical, typically identifyable by the inclusion of glossy advertisements.

MARC records - The descriptions of books and journals which we download into the library catalog.  The records are in a special format that the catalog can interpret.

Material type - The format of the information resource. Material types include such categories as periodical, monograph, map, score, film, electronic resource etc... Scotty allows one to limit by material type if one is looking for only a certain type of item.

Microfiche - An archival format which condenses a print document onto a small card which is only readable with a microfiche reader.  Before the ere of digital resources, microfiche was very important for helping libraries cope with space restraints.  If an item in the catelog indicates that it is on microfiche, you will find it in microfiche cabinets located in the periodicals are of the Rivera Library or the microfiche room of the Science Library.  You might also find it in the map collection or in government publications, so look closely at the item location.  The microfiche readers should be nearby.

Microfilm - Like microfiche, this is an archival format of condensed print.  However, it is on film rolls instead of small sheets.  It is also located near the periodicals areas, which is appropriate because it was most often used for magazines, newspapers and journals.

Microform / microforms - The generic term for microfiche, microfilm and the third and nearly obsolete, microcard.

Monograph - Library jargon for book.

Multimedia - Employing more than one format of media such as video, audio, print and image.

Nesting - Using Boolean operators in complicated combinations.

Non-Circulating -Materials that must be used in the Library (e.g. reference books, some periodicals, and other resources designated "Library Use Only").

Online catalog - Today, this is synonymous with catalog, since card catalogs are no longer common.

OPAC - Abbreviated term for the Online Public Access Catalog. See Scotty.

Open access (OA) - Freely available.

Patron - A user of a library or its resources.  Sometimes, even a potential user of a library or its resources.

Peer review / peer reviewed - Examined for factual or methological correctness by a body of knowledgable peers.

Periodical - An information resource that is created "periodically" such as a magazine, journal or newspaper.

Periodical Index - A print or electronic resource created to aid researchers in finding articles on specific topics, with specific titles or by specific authors.

PIN - The Library (Personal Identification Number) is used to display your own library record, renew materials, access electronic reserves, and use the self-checkout machines. 

Plagiarism - Using the words or work of others without crediting them.

Primary sources - Information resources which are "first-hand" rather than digested or synthesized from other information resources. For more information, see the libraries' pages on primary sources for humanities and social sciences and for science, medicine and engineering.

Precision - Ration of useful items found in a search to non-useful items retrieved.

Print - Words on paper, typically in ink.  Contrast with Electronic.

Professional association - An organization of professionals who share a common research or vocational interest.  Professional organizations might have annual (or more often) meetings at which the members present their latest projects.

Proximity searching - A method of looking for information resources by specifying the relations that the words will have to each other in the title, subjects, abstracts or even full-text.  This is frequently done as phrase searching now and is commonly done with quotations around phrases.  "United States" for example in Google, would only pick up documents in which those two words were in that configuration.

Publication cycle - The time and process between the inception of an idea or question to the publication of an article, book or other product.

Publisher - Organization which makes intellectual property widely available.

Recall - (1) Process by which an item that has been checked out may be requested by another person. The current borrower will be notified, and must return it by the Recall date. No renewals are then possible, ensuring that the user placing the request will be next to receive the material.  (2) degree to which a search command succussfully retrieved all of the information reosurces that would have been useful to the searcher.

Record - An item in a database.  In a book catalog, each record typically represents one book or set of books or journal "run".

Refereed journal - See peer-reviewed

Reference - The indication in a research product of the other works that were used in its creation.

Reference Librarian - A librarian specifically trained to assist people in finding information resources. 

Reference Materials - Materials such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs etc... which contain facts formulas definitions or other pieces of discrete information often useful in the completion of a research project.

Research - Gathering information towards a specific purpose, such as informing, persuading or enhancing the store of knowledge in the universe.

Research Process - During this process, a person selects a topic, formulates questions relevant to the topic, considers all potentially useful sources, selects works appropriate for their research need, locates information, evaluates the information found, and synthesizes some sort of a product.

Reserves - A location in the library which contains materials specified as useful for particular classes.  Reserves materials may include study aids (class notes, answers to quizzes, etc.) or required reading material for a class (books and articles). Some Reserves material is available in electronic format and may be accessed through the Library's online catalog.

Review article - An article which synthesizes information found in other articles.

Secondary source - A source which collates, analyzes or synthesizes information, words or data found in primary sources.

Search Strategy - Systematic method or plan used to find the most relevant information on a subject or research topic. The terms entered into a search box with the hopes of retrieving all of the material that will be useful, and no more.

Serial - Any publication issued at intervals or in parts, bearing numerical or chronological order that is intended to be continued indefinitely (e.g. periodicals, yearbooks, annuals, etc.)

SRLF - Southern Regional Library facility.  Storage facility for southern UC materials.  Located at the UCL campus and accessible through ILL or in person.

Stacks - Rows of shelves where books or journals are held. At Lovejoy Library, this refers to materials that circulate from the general collection.

Storage - Facility where infrequently used materials are kept to free up space in the campus Libraries.

Style manual -
A guide to writing research results in a particular format.  Includes guidelines on such matters as abbreviating, grammer and citing sources.

Subject Heading - Term assigned to books or other information resources that descibe the topical coverage of the work. 

Subject search - A search for information resources based on topic.  This can be done as a subject heading search, a keyword search or a full-text search.

SuDocs -Abbreviated term for the Superintendent of Documents. Call number system used to classify government documents

Telnet - A protocol for connecting to catalogs or other databases in a text only environment.

Thesaurus - List of entries outlining the relationship of a subject heading to other related subjects in a catalog, database, or index.

Title search - A search for a book or books with a specific title or specific title words.  Can be  a"known-item" search, or can be done to severly restrict a subject search.

Truncation - Symbol used to represent all possible endings of a search term. Frequently used truncation symbols include the asterisk (*), the pound sign (#), or the question mark (?).

URL - Otherwise known as Internet Address, this is the set of characters which starts with HTTP:// (most of the time) and tells the browser or reader where to go to find a particular Web resource.

Wildcard - A character used to substitute for one or more characters or words  in a search.  This can be used in such cases as wom&n standing for woman or women when the alternate possibilities for a character are not at the end of the word.

Withdrawn -Term used to describe an item that has been removed from the Library's collection.

Z39.50 - A protocol which allows various infomation providers to be accessed through third-part products such as EndNote. 

Last modified: 5/27/2015 10:59 AM by K. Furuta

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