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Glossary of Library Terminology

Library Terminology by Category

 

The terms in this part of the glossary are organized or categorized as they relate to researching information or using the Library.  Note: Pop-up feature needs to be enabled for some links to work.

  1. General Terms
  2. Types of Sources
  3. Searching: Tools & Strategies
  4. Catalog & Database Records
  5. Evaluating Sources
  6. Citing Sources 

1. General Terms

Information Literacy

Involves finding sources, analyzing the material, evaluating the credibility of the sources, and using and citing sources ethically and legally. See also Information Fluency

Information Fluency

The ability to critically think while engaging with, creating, and utilizing information and technology regardless of format and platform. Learn more about Information Fluency. See also Information Literacy

Library Card

At BCC we use Student and Staff IDs.  The Library barcode is used by faculty and staff to borrow books, but students can use their Student ID number and DOB.  Library cards are no longer used to access databases..  The Library barcode is used by everyone to check out a books, but students can also use their Student ID and DOB.   That said, having a Student ID is a good idea because you can use it to get discounts at many museums and retail establishment in Berkshire County.  Student or Staff ID's are created right in the Library, so if you have any questions about how to use them, we are here to help you!  Just remember to bring a photo ID when you come to have your card made, so we can process your card application. 

Library of Congress

A classification system using a combination letters and/or numbers developed by the Library of Congress. This is the system used in most academic libraries including Jonathan EdwardsLibrary. Learn more on the Understanding Call Numbers guide. See also Call Number, See also Call Number: Library Congress

Library Research

Using sources such as books and articles to collect information on a topic. This is different from primary research, which uses original experiments or tests. Learn more about the Research Process.

2. Types of Sources

Peer-Reviewed

A scholarly article from a journal that has been approved by a panel of experts in the same field of study before it is accepted for publication. Also could be called a refereed or scholarly source. See also Scholarly Journal, Video: Peer Reviewed, Tutorial: Source Types

Popular Magazine

A publication containing articles on a variety of topics, written by various authors in a non-scholarly or general interest style. Most magazines are heavily illustrated, contain advertising, and are printed on glossy paper. The articles are usually short (less than five pages long), frequently unsigned, and tend not to include a bibliography or list of references. Tutorial: Source Types

Examples: Psychology Today. Time, Newsweek, Popular Mechanic

Periodical

A magazine, journal or newspaper that is issued at regularly recurring intervals.  Of or relating to periodicals. 

Primary Source

Items or original works that are a firsthand record of a topic, historical events, practices, conditions, or original research. They have not been filtered through interpretation or evaluation. Learn more: Video: Primary Sources. Video: Primary and Secondary Research, Tutorial: Source Types See also Secondary Sources, Tertiary Sources

Reference Materials/Works
These are sources that provide background information.  The Jonathan Edwards Library houses a reference collection that includes handbooks, encyclopedias, dictionaries and guides.  We also have online Reference resources  such as Encyclopedia Britannica, Biography In-Context and Literary Resource Center.  The Library also has the Credo Reference Online, which contains hundreds of online versions of encyclopedias, dictionaries and other reference materials.  Credo, like many of our databases, is accessible off-campus but you must use your library barcode and password to get into it

Secondary Source

Items that interpret, critique, or analyze information, content, or findings of primary sources about a specific topic. Learn more: Video: Secondary Sources. Video: Primary and Secondary Research, Tutorial: Source Types See also Primary Sources, Tertiary Sources

Scholarly Journal

A publication comprised of articles and devoted to research and scholarship in a specific discipline or field of knowledge. Articles undergo a rigorous review process before acceptance.  Video: How To Read Scholarly SourcesTutorial: How To Read Scholarly Sources See also  Video: Peer Reviewed,

Examples: The College Mathematics Journal, Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care, Modern Fiction Studies

Tertiary Source

Items that compile information from secondary and primary sources to provide a broad overview or representation of a topic or related topics. Reference materials are tertiary sources. Learn more: Video: Tertiary Sources, Tutorial: Source Types  See also Primary Source, Secondary Source, Reference Materials

3. Searching: Tools & Strategies

Author Search

A search method that only searches the author field within a database, catalog, or search engine. See also Field(s), Keyword Search, Search, Subject Search, Title Search

Deep web
Parts of the internet (typically databases) unavailable through conventional search engines, like Google or Yahoo. One must pay, subscribe, login, or know the direct URL to visit these sites and databases.  Learn more with this Deep Web video.

Examples: University of Massachusetts Labor Center, Library Databases, PayPal

Open Web

The parts of the internet that is available for free and can be accessed by anyone. This also where anyone can publish on the web. Free web search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo...) search only this portion of online items.

Catalog

A type of database, searchable online, used by libraries that includes information about the items they own or subscribe to it is often referred to as a Public Access Catalog or PAC. The PAC is searchable online, as well as in the Library.   Each item’s record in the catalog provides information like title, author, a unique call number, and floor location.  The call number on the record corresponds to the same number that is included on the spine of the physical book/resource.   Learn more about Using the Catalog.

BCC uses the HELM academic library catalog system.  (We are NO LONGER using CW/Mars).  You can search our catalog or that of any of the other HELM member libraries.  Books and materials in other libraries can be ordered by patrons directly by placing a Hold. Students can use their Student ID/Library card to borrow a book, or their Student ID number and DOB.  Faculty and staff need to have the actual ID still yet.  If you don't have a student or staff ID card, come to the library and we will make one up for you. 

Concept Map

Concept maps are visual representations of information. Most concept maps depict ideas as boxes or circles (also called nodes), which are  connected with lines or arrows to show how different concepts are related to one another.  This is an easy way to organize ideas visually and to better understanding a concept or idea and its relationship to other concepts.  For instance, a concept map can be created to show the pros and cons of a concept, or attributes of that concept.

Database

A searchable set of records. The set of records could be for articles, books, images, etc. Each record includes specific information about an item comprised of fields. See also Catalog, Field(s), Search Engine

Examples of databases: HELM academic Catalog, Amazon, Yellowpages.com, Zappos, Apple Store, Google Play

Examples of article databases: Academic Search Premier, ERIC, Web of Science

Because most of the Jonathan Edwards Library databases are licensed, you will need to authenticate (get into a database).  Authentication is easy.  Simply use your MyBCC login and password. 

Keyword Search

A specific type of search method within a database, catalog, or search engine that uses minimal limits or parameters. The search term(s) (word or phrase) may be located anywhere in the record (title, abstract, full text, subject heading, etc.) See Tutorial: Choosing and Using Keywords See also Author Search, Field(s), Search, Subject Search, Title Search

Search

In library research, using structured mechanisms such as a catalog, search engine, database, etc., either online or print-based, to find information relevant to a topic or project. Learn more about the Search Process.

Search Engine

Software and programming created to retrieve information from a database, computer, or the Internet.

Examples: Google, Yahoo, Bing, CW/Mars Catalog, Academic Search Premier. See also Database

Search Statement

A combination of search terms and commands entered into a search engine's or database's search boxes. The combination you enter influences your results. Learn more about Search Terms, Search Strategy, Video: Refining Search Results. See also Search Terms, Search Strategy

Examples:

media and body image
"wind power" and bird mortality
(drink* or alcohol*) and college

Search Strategy

A plan or set of steps for conducting a search. Learn more about the Search Process and Videos and Tutorials: Searching As An Exploration. See also Search Statement, Search Term

Example: 1) Selecting search terms that represent the main concepts of a research question or thesis statement. 2) Select appropriate search engines or databases for the topic. 3) Identify subject heading(s) from search results.

Example:

  1. Selecting search terms that represent the main concepts of a research question or thesis statement.
  2. Select appropriate search engines or databases for the topic.
  3. Identify subject heading(s) from search results.

Search Term

A word or phrase typed into an online catalog, database, or search engine to retrieve relevant information. Learn more about, Search Strategy page, Tutorial: Choosing and Using Keywords. See also Search Statement, Search Strategy

Subject Search

A search method that only searches the subject field within a database, catalog, or search engine. See also Author Search, Field(s), Keyword Search, Search, Title Search

Title Search

A search method that only searches the title field within a database, catalog, or search engine. See also Author Search, Field(s), Keyword Search, Search, Subject Search

Truncation

A search strategy used to retrieve all different endings of the word by placing special symbol or wildcard at the end of a word. Databases and search engines all use different symbols or wildcards, but the asterisk ( * ) is the most commonly used. See also Wildcard

Examples:

  • stress* - searches stress, stresses, stressed, stressing, stressful, stress-induced, etc.
  • automo* - searches automotive, automobile, automobiles, automobility, etc.

Wildcard

A symbol put anywhere in a search term to have a database or search engine search for any letter(s) in that designated position. See also Truncation

Examples:

  • wom?n (searches for women and woman)
  • automo* (searches for automotive, automobile, automobiles, automobility, etc.)

4. Online Library Records & Citations

Abstract

A short summary or overview explaining the general focus of a book, article, or other source. A time saving strategy is to read the abstract to check the source’s relevancy to your project.  Example of Abstract

Call Number

A unique identifier (like a street address) given to library items so they can be easily found. Items about the same subject often have similar call numbers. Major call number systems include Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress. Learn more on the Understanding Call Numbers guide. See also Call Number: Library Congress, Catalog

Examples:

  • Library of Congress: HQ792.U5 R57 2014
  • Dewey Decimal: 595.78 HOG

Call Number: Library of Congress

A classification system using a combination letters and/or numbers developed by the Library of Congress. This is the system used in most academic libraries including Jonathan Edwards Library. Learn more on the Understanding Call Numbers guide. See also Call Number, Catalog

Field(s)

A specific component of a database record that includes unique information. In search engines, fields can be used to limit or focus a search. See also Record(s)

Examples: Author (e.g. George Orwell), Title (e.g. 1984), Subject (e.g. Dystopia)

Full-text

When an entire item is available online.

Record

Information about an item within a database comprised of fields. Example of Fields in a retrieved article. See also Database, Field(s)

Subject Heading

A specific field within a database record that describes the content of the items such as a book or article. See also Database, Record(s)

5. Evaluating Sources

Credible

Worthy of belief or confidence; trustworthy; reliable. Learn how to check for Credibility See also Accuracy, Authority, Currency, Purpose, Relevancy

Current / Currency

  • A source that has been recently published, generally in the last 5 years. Different disciplines use various year ranges to determine what is current.
  • An evaluation criteria used to determine if the date of publication of the information is suitable for your paper, speech, presentation, project, etc. Learn how to check for Currency

See also Accuracy, Authority, Purpose, Relevancy

Relevant / Relevancy

An evaluation criteria used to determine how applicable the information is for the purpose of your paper, speech, presentation, etc. See also Accuracy, Authority, Currency, Purpose Learn how to check for Relevancy

Authoritative / Authority

  1. An evaluation criteria used to determine if the source's author, creator, or publisher is the most knowledgeable about the information provided. Learn how to check for Authority
  2. A source that provides both wide scope and in-depth information about a specific topic, field of study, or discipline.
  3. An individual who is a recognized by their peers as an expert in a specific topic, field of study, or discipline.

See also Accuracy, Currency, Purpose, Relevancy

Accuracy

An evaluation criteria to determine the reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content. See also Authority, Currency, Purpose, Relevancy Learn how to check for Accuracy

Purpose

An evaluation criteria used to determine the reason why the information exists. See also Accuracy, Authority, Currency, Relevancy Learn how to check for Purpose.

Objective / Objectivity

Not influenced by personal feelings or opinions when representing facts; impartial. Learn how to check for Objectivity.

6. Citing & Managing Sources

Annotated Bibliography

A list of sources, formatted in a specific style that includes a description or evaluation for each item. See also Bibliography, In-text Citation

Example of APA Annotated Bibliography (APA style):       Example from: Purdue University OWL

Example of an MLA Annotated Bibliography (MLA style):   Example from: Cornell University Libraries

APA Style

Short title for the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association for scholars in the social and behavioral sciences. The manual provides guidelines for writing such as document structure, writing style, tone, and formatting for in-text citations and reference list. (Sample paper) Learn more about APA Style. See also Chicago Style, MLA style

Bibliography

  • A list of sources that stands alone or is found at the end of a paper, article, chapter, or book. It provides information about the sources so another person can find and use the source.
  • In Chicago Style, the title used for the bibliography and a way to refer to the list of sources in the bibliography.

See also Annotated Bibliography, Reference(s), Source(s), Works Cited

Example of APA Bibliography (APA style):

Example of Chicago Bibliography  (Chicago Style):

Example of MLA Bibliography  (MLA style):

Chicago Style

Short title for The Chicago Manual of Style created and written by the University of Chicago Press for scholars in a variety of disciplines. The manual provides guidelines for writing such as document structure, writing style, tone, and formatting for in-text citations and reference list. (Sample paper) Learn more about Chicago Style. See also APA style, MLA style

Citation
A quotation or excerpt to a book, paper, or author, especially from a scholarly work that is noted in your research. By "citing" your sources you let the readers of your work know where the ideas and facts you are using come from.  See In-text Citation, BCC Citation page  See Also  OWL page on APA in-text Citations, OWL page on MLA  in-text Citations   

Citation Style

A specific format for an in-text citation or a note citation within a paper, presentation, article, etc. Different professional organizations include this information in the different style manuals they create. Learn more on the Citing Sources guide. See also MLA style; APA style, Chicago Style

Copyright

Protection and legal rights provided by United States law [title 17, U.S. Code] to the authors of “original works.” These include literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and other intellectual works. This can affect how students and faculty access and use information for their research.Learn more about Copyright.

In-text Citations

A specific method to clearly identify a source within the body of a research or scholarly document (e.g. paper, book, article, report, etc.) Learn more on the BCC Citation page guide.  See Also:.  OWL page on APA in-text Citations, OWL page on MLA  in-text Citations,  See also Citation, Citation Style

Example of an APA In-text Citation (APA style):

Example of a Chicago In-text Citation (Chicago Style):

Example of an MLA In-text Citation  (MLA style):

Plagiarism

Using or closely imitating another person’s ideas, text, or work and presenting it as your own without proper acknowledgement of the original source. Learn how to avoid plagiarism. See also:  BCC's Plagiarism Policy

  • A source or sources cited within a paper, presentation, article, etc. and listed in a bibliography.
  • In APA style, the title used for the bibliography and a way to refer to the list of sources in the bibliography.

Reference(s)

  • A source or sources cited within a paper, presentation, article, etc. and listed in a bibliography.
  • In APA style, the title used for the bibliography and a way to refer to the list of sources in the bibliography.

See also Annotated Bibliography, Bibliography, Works Cited

Source(s)

  1. Any item used to glean or expand knowledge about a topic or discipline.
  2. During library research, these are used to support one's thesis statement or answer a research question.
  3. A specific item cited or listed in a bibliography of a paper, speech, presentation, project, etc.

Learn more about Types of Sources. See also Primary Source, Secondary Source

Style Manual / Guide

A publication which specifies the guidelines to writers for styling their paper, speech, etc. such as paper structure, writing style, tone, and formatting for in-text citations and reference list. Learn more about Citation Styles. See also APA style, Chicago Style, MLA style, Style Manual  Examples -BCC

Works Cited

In MLA style, the title used for the bibliography and a way to refer to the list of sources in the bibliography. See also Annotated Bibliography; Bibliography, References

 Created Based On A Guide By Illinois State University Library

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