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Library science terms dictionary

Is there a word you found on the library’s website that doesn’t appear in this glossary? Contact Christal Young for help or to have the term added to this list. All definitions are provided by the Association of College and Research Libraries unless otherwise specified. Words in bold link to another library science terms dictionary which is defined within the glossary.

A summary or brief description of the content of another longer work. An abstract is often provided along with the citation to a work. A collection, usually annual, of statistics and facts, both current and retrospective. May be broad in geographical and subject coverage, or limited to a particular country or state or to a special subject.

Annotation is the end product of making such notes. A space which houses historical or public records. The historical or public records themselves, which are generally non-circulating materials such as collections of personal papers, rare books, ephemera, etc. A brief work—generally between 1 and 35 pages in length—on a topic. Often published as part of a journal, magazine, or newspaper.

A book or bound collection of maps, illustrations, etc. Volume of maps, plates, engravings, tables, etc. A security process that typically employs usernames and passwords to validate the identity of users before allowing them access to certain information. Looking for information under its author’s name is one option in searching.

A list containing citations to the resources used in writing a research paper or other document. A relatively lengthy work, often on a single topic. Shelves in the library where materials—typically books—are stored. A word—such as AND, OR, or NOT—that commands a computer to combine search terms.

A software program that enables users to access Internet resources. Two major types of call numbers are Dewey Decimal Call Numbers and Library of Congress Call Numbers. Various search terms allow you to look for items in the catalog. The ability to communicate with others, computer to computer, via typed messages.

Items are checked out at the circulation desk. The place in the library where you check out, renew, and return library materials. You may also place a hold, report an item missing from the shelves, or pay late fees or fines there. A reference to a book, magazine or journal article, or other work containing all the information necessary to identify and locate that work. A citation to a book thus includes its author’s name, title, publisher and place of publication, and date of publication. Standardized terms used in searching a specific database. A selection of books, articles, videotapes, or other materials that instructors want students to read or view for a particular course.

Print reserve materials are usually kept in one area of the library and circulate for only a short period of time. A collection of information stored in an electronic format that can be searched by a computer. A device using telephone lines that allows a computer to access the Internet or two computers to communicate. A service that retrieves or photocopies information sources for library users. To transfer information from a computer to a program or storage device to be viewed at a later date.

To transfer information from one computer to another computer using a modem. A person or group responsible for compiling the writings of others into a single information source. Looking for information under its editor’s name is one option in searching. An electronic version of a course reserve that is read on a computer display screen. Often has entries or articles arranged alphabetically. A complete electronic copy of a resource, usually an article, viewed on a computer display screen. The term “full-text” is often used to refer to the electronic version of an article or book that is also published in print.