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Glossary of Library Terminology

Alphabetical List of Library Terminology

 

The terms in this part of the glossary are organized alphabetically.   Note: Pop-up feature needs to be enabled for some links to work.

 

A | B | C | D-F | G-I | J-O | P-Q | R | S | T-Z

 

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.

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

Annotated Bibliography

A list of sources, formatted in a specific style that includes a description or evaluation for each item. See also BibliographyIn-text Citation,  OWL page on in-text Citations

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

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

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)  The APA has just updated it's format in October, 2019.  You can consult this basic guide for citation formulas. Learn more about APA Style. See also Chicago Style, MLA style

Author Search

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

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

 

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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), Works Cited, In-text Citation, BCC Citation page

Example of a Bibliography in APA

Example of a Bibliography in Chicago Style

Example of a Bibliography in MLA Style

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

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 the Jonathan Edwards Library. Learn more on the Understanding Call Numbers guide. See also Call Number

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 CW/Mars Evergreen catalog system which is shared by many Libraries in Central and Western Massachusetts.  You can search our catalog or that of any of the other member libraries.  Books and materials in other libraries can be ordered by patrons directly by placing a Hold.  Remember, you will need your Staff or Student ID card to borrow and/or place a Hold on a book.  Your Staff or Student ID is also your Library Card.  If you don't have a student or staff ID card, come to the library and we will make one up for you. For further information on searching the online catalog to find books, use these CW/Mars tutorials:  The Online Catalog: General FAQsCWMars Catalog Help How to Place Holds, and Managing Your AccountSee PAC

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  BCC Citation page, Citation Style, In-text CitationOWL 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.

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

 

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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. The Jonathan Edwards Library subscribes to over 70 article databases which you can find on our database page.  Each database contains a search box that allows you to search for articles about a subject you are interested in.  Because most of these are licensed, you will need to authenticate by using your library barcode on the back of you student or staff ID card (your username) and password, (your last name in capital letters) to access these. Your Staff or Student ID is also your Library Card.   If you don't have a student or staff ID card, come to the library and we will make one up for you.  Each database See also Catalog, Field(s), Search Engine, Video: Choosing a Database

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

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

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

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 records

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

Full-text

When an entire item is available online.  For example, the entire review of a Broadway play in the New York Times database or  an entire article on surgical nursing care for children who have had a tonsillectomy in the Ovid Database's American Journal of Nursing. .

Free Web
See Open Web

 

A | B | C | D-F | G-I | J-O | P-Q | R | S | T-Z

 

Hidden Web
See Deep Web

Holds
Holds are items that you have requested through the Public Access Catalog or PAC. You place holds on items that you request from other libraries so that they will be sent to you at your home library. This is done free of charge.  You can also  place holds on items that you would like to receive but which are not currently available because they are checked out. See How to Place Holds

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 at BCC

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 at ISU. See also Information Literacy, Information Fluency at BCC

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.)  See also Citation, OWL page on APA in-text Citations, OWL page on MLA  in-text Citations, BCC Citation page, Citation Style,

APA Example (APA style):

Chicago Example (Chicago Style):

MLA Example (MLA style):

 

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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 also Author Search, Field(s), Search, Subject Search, Title Search, Tutorial: Choosing and Using Keywords

Library of Congress

A classification system developed by the Library of Congress used to assign subject headings and a call number. This process often groups items about a similar topic together. This system is used by most academic libraries including the Jonathan Edwards Library. See also Call numbers, Call Numbers: Library of CongressLibrary of Congress site, Subject Heading, BCC LC Page

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.

Library Card

At BCC we use Student and Staff IDs.  The Library barcode, which is used to check out a book, and access article databases from off-campus,  is printed on the back of the Student or Staff ID card.  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!

MLA Style

Short title for the MLA Handbook created and written by The Modern Language Association for scholars in the Humanities. The handbook provides guidelines for writing such as paper structure, writing style, tone, and formatting for in-text citations and reference list. (Sample paper) Learn more about MLA Style. See also APA style, Chicago Style.

Objective / Objectivity

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

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.

 

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PAC - The Public Access Catalog, a database of all the books and other works in the Library's collection.  The PAC is an online catalog that allows you to search the collection to located items.   See Catalog.

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.   Video: Peer Reviewed, Tutorial: Source Types See also Scholarly Journal

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 plagiarismBCC's Plagiarism Policy.

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.

Examples: Psychology Today. Time, Newsweek, Popular Mechanic

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 about Primary Sources.  Video: Primary and Secondary Research, Tutorial: Source Types  See also Secondary Sources, Tertiary Sources,Types of Sources

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.

 

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Record

Information about an item within a database comprised of fields. See also Database, Field(s)

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

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.

           

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

 

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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. See also Peer-reviewed

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

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, Video: Choosing a Database, Tutorial: Video: Choosing the Best Web Source, Video: Beginning Research with Wikipedia/Google

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 Searching and Refining Results. See also Search Terms, Search Strategy, Video: Refining Search ResultsTutorial: Choosing and Using Keywords

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. See also Search Statement, Search Term, Videos and Tutorials: Searching As An Exploration

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 terms. See also Search Statement, Search Strategy

Secondary Source

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

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

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)

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, Tutorial: Choosing and Using Keywords

 

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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 about Tertiary Sources.  Video: Tertiary Sources, Tutorial: Source Types See also Primary Source, Secondary Source, Reference Materials/Works

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.)

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; Reference(s), Works Cited, In-text Citation, BCC Citation page

 

Created Based On A Guide By Illinois State University Library

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