Library Terms

Know it Now!

Library Terms

  • Abstract:  A brief accurate description or summary of an article, report, document, book, and so on, usually without added interpretation or criticism, accompanied by a citation or bibliographic reference to it.

  • Accession Number:  A consecutive number assigned to each document as it is added to a library collection.

  • Advanced Search:  It refers to one of the search modes available in the library catalog. This search mode uses a series of dropdown menus and textboxes to construct a search.

  • Almanac:  An annual publication containing a variety of facts and statistics, often presented in figures, tables, or charts.

  • Annotated Bibliography:  It is a list of books, articles, or other documents on a topic or by a particular author containing a citation of each item, as well as a brief description and/or a critical evaluation of it.

  • Annotation:  A descriptive note added by way of comment or explanation to a bibliography listing, catalog record, reading list, etc.

  • Anthology:  A collection of extracts from the works of various authors, often limited to a specific subject, genre, or time period.

  • APA Style:  A set of rules and guidelines for citing references, as well as preparing and submitting manuscripts to publication from the American Psychological Association. These rules are detailed in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (the most recent version is available at the Reference Desk).

  • Archives:  The organized body of noncurrent records made or received in connection with the function of the institution or the library. Archives are maintained and preserved as a part of the record-keeping process and usually collected in a separate physical location.

  • Article:  A composition on a topic, which is usually found in periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers, etc.) and reference items (encyclopedias, biographical dictionaries, etc.).

  • Ask a Librarian:  The choices of reference services that include the ability to receive help from a librarian online, chat from your office, home, or dorm room.

  • Atlas:  A volume of geographic maps, tables, plates, etc.

  • Audio-visual material:  In libraries, the term is used to describe material in a non-print format, such as slides, video, and music.

  • Barcode:  Data in the form of vertical bars of varying widths representing binary digits and a 14-digit code number appearing on the beginning or end labels of a book. The barcode is used to charge, discharge, and renew books on the online computer system.

  • Bibliography:  A list of works, documents, and/or bibliographic items, usually with some relationship between them, e.g. by a given author, on a given subject. Bibliographies can appear at the end of a book, journal, or encyclopedia article, or as a separate publication.

  • Biography:  A book or an article about a person.

  • Book review:  An evaluation of a literary work and found in a periodical publication.

  • Boolean Operators:  A search modifier used to refine the relationship between your search term(s). The major operators are AND, OR and NOT.

  • Bound periodical:  Formed when consecutives issues of a periodical title are gathered together into a hardback volume.

  • Browser / Web browser:  A computer application that allows navigation of the World Wide Web – www. The major web browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safary, and Opera.

  • Call Number:  A unique combination of letters and numbers assigned to an item in a library’s collection. Items are put on shelves in a call number order.

  • Catalog:  A database of records (usually an online database or a card file) representing books, journals, media, government documents, and other materials held in a particular library or location. Online catalogs can usually be searched by various methods, such as author, title, subject, call number, or keyword.

  • CD-Rom:  It is an acronym of “Compact Disc Read-only memory,” which allows users to access and read information from a database imprinted on a compact disc. CD-ROMS are also used to store music, video, and other audio-visual media.

  • Circulation Desk:  The desk or counter at the entrance to the library where materials are checked out or returned. Materials on Reserve print are stored here as well.

  • Citation:  An entry for a book, a periodical or other item that contains all the information necessary to identify and locate the work. Some disciplines require writers to use a specific style such as APA Style, MLA Style, and Turabian.

  • Collection:  An accumulation of library materials with common characteristics (for example, audiovisual materials, reference materials, etc.).

  • Database:  An organized collection of records containing data (citations, statistics, text, etc.) stored in an electronic format that can be searched and retrieved online. The library catalog and many online periodical indexes are examples of databases.

  • Dewey Decimal Classification system:  A call number system used to classify and organize material in libraries. This system divides knowledge into ten main classes, with further subdivisions, accompanied by decimal notations. The juvenile collections in Bierce Library are organized by the Dewey Decimal System.

  • Dictionary:  A source which provides word or term definitions and correct grammatical usage. Dictionaries may be either general or subject specific.

  • Directory:  A list of persons, organizations, or web sites separated into categories or topical areas.

  • Dissertations:  A long piece of writing about a particular subject that is done to earn an advanced degree at a university.

  • Download:  (1) To transfer information from a computer to a computer disk; (2) To transfer information from one computer to another computer.

  • Edition:  The total number of copies of a book, newspaper, etc., issued at one time.

  • Encyclopedia:  A reference tool containing articles about persons, places or things. General encyclopedias address a wide range of topics (e.g.: Encyclopedia Britannica), whereas subject specific encyclopedias are more specialized (e.g.: Encyclopedia of Mythology).

  • Entry:  An item entered in a list, a reference book, the record of a book in a catalog that describes the item and gives its location.

  • Full text:  The complete work in either print, electronic, or microfilm format.

  • Gazetteer:  A geographical dictionary that includes location, population, and other geographically related information of a given place.

  • Government Document/Publication:  Any document issued by, under the authority of, or at the expense of a recognized government. Government documents include publications from states, the federal government, other national governments, and intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations.

  • Hold:  The act of putting a hold on an item guarantees that the item from the library checked out to another person will be saved for you when it is returned.

  • Holdings:  The materials owned by a library.

  • ILLiad:  This is the name of the University Libraries’ Interlibrary Loan (ILL) software. See also Interlibrary Loan.

  • Index:  (1) An alphabetized list of names or topics usually found at the end of a publication, which directs you to the pages where the people/places or topics are discussed. (2) A printed or electronic publication that lists references to periodical articles or books by subject and/or author (e.g.: Periodical Index).

  • Interlibrary Loan:  (ILL) the process through which a library borrows material from another library or organization. If the item that you are looking for is not owned by University Libraries and OHIOlink, and if you are a current faculty, staff or student at the University of Akron, you may request the item via Interlibrary Loan for free.

  • Internet:  The name for a group of worldwide information resources connected together by a computer network.

  • ISBN:  It stands for the “International Standard Book Number” given to every book or edition of a book to identify the publisher, title, edition, and volume.

  • ISSN:  It stands for the “International Standard Serial Number” given to identify serial publications.

  • Issue:  A specific publication, complete in itself, of a serial or periodical. Usually it is indicated in a citation as “n” (number) or “i” (issue) and issue number.

  • Journal:  A periodical, especially containing scholarly articles and/or disseminating current information on research and development in a particular subject field.

  • Keyword:  A significant or memorable word or term in the title, abstract, or text of an item that indicates its subject.

  • Library catalog:  Is a register of all bibliographic items found in a library or group of libraries, such as a network of libraries at several locations.

  • Library of Congress classification:  A system of organizing material owned by a library, created by the Library of Congress.

  • Magazine:  A periodical containing popular interest or trade articles, which is usually written and illustrated in a less scholarly manner than a journal.

  • Media:  The term used to describe materials such as video and music.

  • Microfiche:  A small card-shaped sheet of photographic film used to store miniaturized text and/or images. See also Microforms.

  • Microfilm:  A continuous roll of photographic film used to store miniaturized text and/or images. See also Microforms.

  • Microforms:  A reduced sized photographic reproduction of printed information on reel to reel film (microfilm) of film card (microfiche) or opaque pages that can be read with a microform reader/printer.

  • MLA style:  A set of rules and guidelines for citing references as well preparing and submitting manuscripts for publication from the Modern Languages Association. These rules are detailed in the MLA Handbook and Mla Style Manual (the most recent versions are available at the Reference Desk).

  • Network:  A communication system made up of computers which are connected. This arrangement allows information transfer from one computer to another.

  • Newspaper:  A periodical issued at frequent intervals (usually daily, semi-weekly, or weekly) containing news, opinions, advertisements and other information of current and often local interest. See also – Periodical.

  • Northeast Regional Depository:  Is a library storage facility located in Rootstown, Ohio, on the campus of NEOMED (formerly known as NEOUCOM). The UA Libraries Catalog or OhioLINK catalog will inform patrons that items are located at the Depository.

  • Online Catalog:  A computerized database which can usually be searched using various search methods such as author, title, subject, or call number to find out what a library owns. The online catalog contains a record for each item in the library, which displays the item’s call number, location, publishing information, etc.

  • PDF:  A portable document format originally developed by Adobe for viewing files.

  • Peer-Reviewed Journal:  A periodical that contains scholarly research, which is published as articles, papers, research reports, or technical reports. Items are reviewed by a panel of experts (peer-review) before being published.

  • Periodical:  Material published regularly such as magazines, journals, and newspapers. See also Serials.

  • Periodical Collection:  Offers current issues of print periodicals (journals, magazines, and newspapers) to which the library subscribes. Older issues of periodicals are housed in a separate collection.

  • Plagiarism:  The practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.

  • Proxy server (computing):  A computer that acts as an intermediary between a client machine and a server, caching information to save access time.

  • Recall:  A request for the return of library material before its due date.

  • Record:  The representation of a particular item in a database. A record is generally divided into various fields, each of which represents a type of information that describes or identifies that item.

  • Reference:  (1) A service that provides assistance to information users to find needed information; (2) sometimes it refers to reference collections, such as encyclopedias, indexes, CD-ROM databases, handbooks, directories, etc.

  • Remote Access:  A phrase used to describe the connection of one computer to another computer located in different places.

  • Renewal:  The process of extending the loan period of library materials.

  • Reserve:  A library service that manages the circulation of course materials selected by instructors or professors.

  • Serial:  A library term for periodicals: items which are published regularly, such as magazines, journals, newspapers, yearbooks, etc. See also Periodical / Magazine

  • Source:  A general term used for library material that provides information. Primary source: An original, fundamental and authoritative document pertaining to an event or subject of inquiry; a firsthand or eyewitness account of an event. Secondary sources: A secondary source interprets and analyzes primary sources. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them.

  • Stacks:  The shelving units where library collections are stored.

  • Subject Heading:  A term or phrase used in indexes and library catalogs to group together materials on the same topic.

  • Thesaurus:  (1) A list of categorized terms, such as synonyms and related words; (2) a listing of subject headings used in a particular database or other resource.

  • Upload:  To transfer information from a computer system or a microcomputer to another computer system or a larger computer system.

  • URL - Uniform Resource Locator:  The string of characters that identifies a particular web site and serves as its address. URLs may be entered in a web browser to retrieve a known site.

  • Volume:  An item which contains the total collection of all sequential periodical issues over a given time period.

  • VPN (Virtual Private Network):  VPN (Virtual Private Network) uses an existing Internet connection to establish a direct link to the campus network.

  • World Wide Web:  A network of information, as part of the Internet that includes text, graphic, sound, and moving images. It is also known as the Web, WWW or W (3). It incorporates a variety of Internet tools into one method of access, such as the Web browsers Netscape or Internet Explorer.