Reference and Instructional Services Department

Library Terminology

Abstract - a brief summary that gives the essential points of a book or article.

Annotation - a note describing an item in a bibliography.

Anthology - a collection of literary pieces by more than one author.

Bibliographic Citation - a reference to a publication, book, or article, etc.

Bibliographic Form - placing these references in correct format, according to a particular style such as APA, MLA, or Turabian (see Style Manual).

Bibliographic Information - the information given in each citation. For a book, the entries consist of 1) author; 2) title; 3) place of publication; and 5) date of publication.

Bibliography - a list of books or other materials on a particular subject or by a particular author. Accompanies a research paper. Also called "References list."

Biography - written account of a person's life, actions, and character.

Boolean Operators - sometimes called Logical Operators, used in computer searching of online databases to combine similar or different concepts. The standard boolean operators are usually AND, OR, NOT, SAME, WITH.

Call Number - letters, numbers, or symbols assigned to a book to indicate its location on shelves.

Card Catalog - a catalog in which entries on separate cards are arranged in order, listing library materials by author, title, and subject.

Catalog - a list of books or other materials located in a particular library or collection. Catalogs can be in book or card form or be in computer readable form. DELCAT is the catalog of the University of Delaware Libarary.

Circulation Transaction - the act of charging an item from the library collection to a member of the library's user group for use outside or within the library and discharging the item upon its return. Library materials are charged out (checked out) at the Circulation Desk.

Classification - the system by which a collection of materials is organized or arranged either by subject or form. Call Numbers are assigned for location. The University of Delaware Library uses the Library of Congress Classification System.

Compact Disc (CD-ROM) Database - compact discs are capable of storing large amounts of information in digital form. The discs, which usually provide access to periodical indexes also available in printed form, are read using a computer with a CD player. Several compact disc databases are available in the Student Multimedia Design Center.

Database - an organized collection of computer records, standardized in format and content, that is stored in computer-readable mode. The term "database" is commonly used to describe a searchable electronic resource.

Depository Library - a library which has been designated by a government to receive and keep a selection or all of that government's published documents.

Entry - record of an item in a catalog or list.

Handbook - a reference book which collects information from various sources and presents it in a simple, useful format.

Holdings - the books, periodicals, and other materials owned by the library.

Index - 1) to list or indicate; 2) in a book, an alphabetical list of all topics or names in the book; 3) a tool which lists the topics or locations of articles in magazines or books.

ISBN (International Standard Book Number) - a four-part, ten-character code given a book before publication as a means of identifying it concisely, uniquely, and unambiguously. The four parts are: group identifier (national, geographic, language, etc.); publisher identifier; title identifier; and check digit.

Journal - a periodical, usually issued by an institution or learned society, containing reports of research and other activities in a particular field. The Library has subscriptions to many Electronic Journals.

Library of Congress Classification System - a system developed to classify books in the Library of Congress. This system uses both letters and numbers.

Loose-Leaf Service - a publication updated frequently by removing obsolete pages and replacing them with new pages.

Manuscript - a hand-written document. When typed, called a typescript.

Microform - a reproduction of printed materials on a roll of film. Microfilm in card format is called microfiche. These materials must be viewed on special readers and may be printed on special printers in the Microforms Area.

Monograph - a systematic and comprehensive work on a particular subject.

Periodical - a publication issued at regular intervals, usually in unbound form and more frequently than once a year. Magazines, journals, and newspapers are all periodicals.

Recall - a request by the library to a borrower requesting the return of a borrowed item before the due date. Requests for recalls are made at the Circulation Desk or by using the Recall a Book form.

Refereed Journal - a journal is said to be refereed (or peer reviewed) if the editors of the publication require that articles be evaluated by experts in the field prior to their publication.

Reference Sources - books, electronic databases, and microforms designed to be consulted for specific facts rather than to be read through. Assistance in the use of these sources is provided by members of the Reference staff.

Reserve Material - material that has been temporarily shelved in the Reserve Room for use by a specific class.

Serial - a publication appearing at intervals, usually under the same series title, intended to be continued indefinitely, e.g., periodicals, newspapers, annuals, etc.

Special Collections - a collection of library materials separated from the general collection because of their rarity, monetary value, age, fragility, or research value.

Stacks - a series of bookcases in which the principle portion of the library's book collection is housed.

Style Manual - a work designed to guide authors, editors, and printers in the preparation of formal papers and reports - e.g., term papers, theses or articles.

Technical Processing - the activities involved in ordering, cataloging, and physically preparing materials for addition to library collections.

Thesaurus - a compilation of terms showing synonymous, hierarchical, and other relationships, the function of which is to provide a standardized, controlled vocabulary for information storage and retrieval. Also, a compilation of synonyms and antonyms.

Union List, Union Catalog - a listing in books or card form, of the holdings of a group of libraries. Union lists are usually of serials; union catalogs of books. Example: WorldCat Local is a union catalog that lists the collections of the University of Delaware Library and of libraries around the world.

More Information

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