Library Vocabulary


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Abstract - A brief summary of the text of a journal article, book, etc.

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

Annual - An item that is published once a year.

Bibliography - A list of citations for books, periodical articles or other materials. A bibliography may be a full book or a brief list in books or journal articles. An annotated bibliography also includes a short summary of the work listed.

Bound Journals - Several issues of a journal that have been brought together to form a book.

Boolean Operators - Words, such as AND, OR, and NOT which are used to combine search terms to either broaden or narrow the results of a search.

Browser - An application program that provides a way to view and interact with the World Wide Web. Examples: Netscape, Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla, etc.

Call number - A combination of letters and numbers assigned to a book that gives it a unique location in the library and is arranged on the shelf near other books on the same subject. Call numbers are placed on the spines of the books, which are shelved in call number order in the stacks. Example: ND 237 S47 F74 1975.

Circulation Desk - A service desk where you can receive your library card, check out, renew, and return library materials, pay fines, pick up holds, and inquire about general library functions.

Citation - Specific information (for example, author, title, place of publication and year of publication) that describes an information source. Citations are components of a bibliography or footnote. The purpose of a citation is to give a cited work credit and give the reader the necessary information to locate that resource. Examples of the information given would be author, title, journal name, place of publication and publishing date among others.

Controlled Vocabulary - Specific pre-defined words and phrases, known as subject headings or descriptors, to classify books, articles, etc. for an index or database. Using controlled vocabulary helps arrange resources on a similar subject under a specific term.

Database - A collection of records stored electronically usually accessed through a computer connected to the Internet or using a CD-ROM. Searching a database enables advanced search techniques to be used, as in keyword searching or searching particular fields (title, abstract, author, etc.) of a record. You have access to many databases through Atlantic Cape's William Spangler Library, in-house or remotely HERE.

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

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.

Field - A part of a record used to identify a particular category of data. For example, the title (ti) field displays the title for each record in the database. Some other fields are author (au), journal (jn), abstract (ab), etc.

Footnote - A reference or citation to a source of information that appears within the body of the text, usually at the bottom of the page.

Hold - A request for library materials to be held for you at the circulation desk. A hold will also guarantee that a book checked out to another person will be saved for you when it is returned.

Index - 1. A list of names or topics usually found at the end of a publication, which directs you to the pages where the names or topics are discussed. 2. A printed or electronic publication which lists references to periodical articles or books by subject and/or author.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) - Items not owned by Atlantic Cape or the Atlantic County Library System may be requested using ILL. This service is available to faculty, staff and students.

Internet - A system of computer networks that connects computers all over the world. This worldwide network enables computer users to communicate through e-mail, find information on the World Wide Web, and access remote computer systems such as library catalogs.

Keyword Search - A search using any free associated word or series of words in a chosen field of a database. For example searching "podcasting" in the abstract field of a particular database will yield all records with the word "podcasting" found in the abstract field. This particular type of search can be handy when searching on newer ideas, such as "podcasting" that may not have a Controlled Vocabulary term yet.

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. Atlantic Cape's William Spangler Library is arranged by the LCSH system, as are most academic libraries.

Library Catalog - A searchable online database, which provides a listing of the materials (such as books, periodicals, films, recordings) owned by a library. It provides the location and the loan status of the materials. Atlantic Cape's William Spangler Library is apart of the Atlantic County Library System. The whole system's holdings are searchable HERE.

Media - Films, tapes and other audio-visual materials that require the use of special listening or viewing equipment.

Pathfinder - A library pathfinder is a document that serves as a map and guide to bibliographic resources on a specific topic.

PDF (Portable Document Format) - A file format that allows files to be viewed as an images, maintaining the original look of the document. An Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view PDF files. You may come across many full-text articles found in EBSCOHost and other databases as PDF files.

Periodical - A publication issued at regular intervals. Examples of periodicals are journals, magazines and newspapers.

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

Reference Collection - Collection of books, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and almanacs that provide factual information and leads to other information resources.

Reserves - Materials that have been set aside by a professor for a class to use. These materials are kept behind the Circulation Desk and cannot leave the library.

Scholarly Journal - A periodical devoted to a specific field of scholarly knowledge. Articles appearing in scholarly journals are peer reviewed (reviewed by an authorizing board). Please note the difference between this resource and a magazine which is not peer reviewed and is not usually considered scholarly.

Search Engine - On the internet, a program that finds Web resources and indexes them. Users perform searches and are returned results that match their request. All the Web, Google and Alta Vista are examples of search engines.

Stacks - The area of the library where the circulating collection of books and bound periodicals are shelved. These materials are arranged in call number order.

Subject Heading - Standardized words or phrases assigned to books, articles, or other materials. Subject headings are used to describe materials as well as to bring together materials that are similar in subject matter. These terms are found by using a thesaurus.

Thesaurus - A list of the specific words or phrases used as subject headings or descriptors in a particular database, catalog, or index.

Truncation - A special character added to the end of a word to retrieve the root word and all possible endings of that word. For example, typing comput* will retrieve compute, computes, computing, computer, computers, etc. Certain databases and search engines are capable of this although they often use different characters.