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University of Connecticut University Libraries

Library Terminology

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Abstract - A brief summary of the topics covered in an article or book.

Almanac - A publication, usually an annual, containing useful facts and statistical information.

Annual - An item that is published once a year.

Article - A written essay or report on a subject. Articles appear in magazines, journals, newspapers, and in encyclopedias, among others.

Author -The writer of a book or article. The author may be one person, several people, or a "corporate body" such as a government agency, professional association, or company.

Bibliographic Record (Bib Record) - A record that describes an item in the collection; the bib record includes call number, author, title, publication information, paging, subject headings, etc.

Bibliography - A list of publications (books, articles, dissertations, etc.) usually on a subject or by a particular author. A bibliography may be a full book or a brief list in books or journal articles.

Biography/Biographical - An account of a person's life.

Boolean Searching - Uses three basic Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to link concepts in database searching.

Bound Journals - Several issues of a journal that have been sewn together between hard covers like a book.

CD-ROM (Compact Disc - Read Only Memory) - A technology for putting a large amount of information on a small disk that can be accessed by a computer; CD-ROMs in the Libraries contain periodical indexes, abstracts, statistics, directories, and other complete texts.

Call Number - A unique identifying number given to each book acquired by a library. The call number serves to group books together according to subject in an organizational scheme. The UConn Libraries use primarily the Library of Congress Classification system, with some older items in the Dewey Decimal Classification. In the Homer Babbidge Library, Federal Documents use the Superintendent of Documents (SuDoc) system.

Citation - Information such as author, title, pagination, and dates which identifies an item - book, journal article, or other format. Sufficient information is included to locate the original item.

Current Journal - Recent, unbound issues. For titles which are collected in microform, paper issues are retained until the microform is received.

Database - A collection of electronic records having a standardized format and using specific software for computer access.

Descriptor - A word or phrase used as a subject heading. It is part of a controlled vocabulary used for a specific database. Compare with Subject Headings, Keyword Searching.

Dictionary - A reference source that provides meanings of words and other information. Specialized dictionaries are available for many subject areas.

Dissertation - Original research usually required for a Ph.D. degree.

Document Delivery - A service which allows users to order copies of materials, usually journal articles, via an online communications link. The document may be delivered by mail, fax, email, or sent directly to the user's workstation. See also Interlibrary Loan.

Edition - All copies of a title issued by the same publisher on the same date.

Encyclopedia - A reference source containing information on a variety of topics. This information may be supplied in short paragraphs or in lengthy articles that include citations to other works on the same topic. Encyclopedias can be general - covering all topics, or specialized - focusing on a particular discipline such as art or philosophy.

Government Document - A publication produced by a government agency. These items are often shelved separately and are arranged by an identification number assigned by the issuing agency.

Hold - A borrower may request that a circulating book be held upon its return. The patron will be notified when it becomes available.

Holdings - All the materials in various formats owned by a library.

Hypertext Link - A software pointer pointing to data on another computer through the Internet.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) - A service which fills patron requests for materials from other libraries.

Index - A list of citations to journal articles and/or books arranged by subject, author, or title; indexes may be in print format, electronic format, or both. Also, a list of subjects covered in a book, usually published at the end of the book.

Internet - A worldwide electronic network providing access to millions of resources, not all of which are free.

ISBN - International Standard Book Number; a unique ten digit number assigned to every printed book.

ISSN - International Standard Serial Number; a unique eight digit number assigned to every serial publication.

Item Record - An item record represents a physical piece in the library; it consists of fixed and variable fields that are used to describe the item and to record circulation information.

Journal - A type of periodical, often issued by a society or institution, containing news, proceedings, transactions and articles about work carried out in a particular discipline. Intended for a scholarly audience. These are often refereed (see below) by a committee of peer reviewers.

Keyword Searching - Using a word or combination of words to search an electronic resource (CD-ROM, online catalog, database. Keyword looks for words in titles, corporate names, subject headings, and contents notes. A broader term than descriptor or subject heading.

LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings) - A controlled vocabulary used to describe the contents of works. Materials classified with Library of Congress call numbers use these subject headings.

Library of Congress Classification System - The call number system used by most academic and research libraries in the United States. It keeps items together by subject (see Call Number) by dividing knowledge into subject areas and assigning corresponding letters and numbers for library materials.

Location - Where the physical item is housed. In HOMER UCAT, Location is given in the left-hand column of the item record.

Magazine - A type of serial publication (an item that is published at regular intervals, e.g., daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) that is intended for a general reading audience and contains articles of popular interest.

Microforms - A generic term for any medium, e.g. film or fiche, that contains images that are too small to be read by the human eye.

Monograph - A book that is complete in one physical piece.

Non-Circulating - An item which is not allowed to be checked out of the Library. Reference materials are Non-Circulating.

OPAC - Online Public Access Catalog. In the UConn Libraries, HOMER UCAT is the OPAC.

Online - A general term for when one computer is interacting directly and simultaneously with another computer. Many sources of information are available online.

Online Database: an electronic database of either full-text documents or citations and abstracts which can be searched by telephone or internet connection.

Oversize - Large volumes that are shelved apart from the regular size books in each call number or collection.

Patron Record - A record that contains information about the students, staff, faculty, and community borrowers who have borrowing priviledges with the University Libraries.

Peer Reviewed Journlas - A publication, usually scholarly, in which articles are reviewed by a panel before being accepted for publication. Also sometimes called scholarly or refereed.

Periodical - A magazine, journal, newsletter, or newspaper produced on a regular basis.

Popular Source - Information, especially articles, written to entertain or inform the general public. Some examples of popular magazines include Time, Newsweek, and People Weekly.

Primary Source - Original works in various media formats such as original manuscripts or reprints of orginal manuscripts, letters, diaries, documents, books, films, posters, play scripts, speeches, songs, sheet music, photographs, drawings, and first-person accounts that are created at the time an event occurred.

Recall - When an item that has been checked out, another patron may request that item. The current borrower will be notified, and must return it by the 'Recall' date.

Record - A unit of information in a computer database identifying a specific item. It includes data such as author, title, date, publisher, subject headings. See Bibliographic Record.

Refereed Journal - A publication, usually scholarly, in which articles are reviewed by a panel before being accepted for publication. Also sometimes called scholarly or peer reviewed.

Reference Section - A separate location for encyclopedias, handbooks, guides, directories, etc. These items do not circulate so that they will always be available for use in the library.

Reference - A service provided by the libraries to assist patrons in the retrieval of information and the use of information resources. See also Citation.

Renew - To extend the due date of the item(s) patrons have checked out.

Reserve(s) - A controlled access collection where items set aside for particular classes are loaned for shorter than usual periods of time. If feasible, items are also scanned and made available through Electronic Course Reserves.

Scholarly Source - Information, especially journal articles, written by and for experts in a particular field of study. Also sometimes called refereed or peer reviewed.

Search - Words that are input to a computer program to match against information in a database.

Search Strategy - A systematic process used to find the most relevant information on a topic. During this process, one considers all potentially useful reference sources, selects works appropriate for the research need, locates information, and evaluates the information found.

Secondary Source - Works that are not original manuscripts or contemporary records or documents associated with an event, but which critique, comment on, or build upon these primary sources.

Serial - A publication that is issued in parts indefinitely over time; includes journals, periodicals, magazines, almanacs, annual reports, etc.

Stacks - The area of a library which holds the shelved books, usually arranged in Call Number groupings.

Subject Headings - A controlled vocabulary assigned by an indexer. Subject headings are used in catalogs and indexes to group together items by subject. See also Descriptors, Library of Congress Subject Headings.

Thesaurus - A list of words that are applicable to a specific subject area; usually is a controlled vocabulary list.

Thesis/Theses - Original research often required for a Masters degree.

Truncation - The shortening or cutting off part of a keyword. The keyword is shortened so that it will match with all terms starting with the same stem, e.g. librar* will match with library, libraries, librarian, librarianship, etc.

Volume - One physical piece, usually bound with hard covers.

World Wide Web - The part of the Internet that contains text, graphics, video, or audio format, and is viewed/heard by using a browser such as Netscape.