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Library Orientation for BUS 1001: Glossary

Words/Phrases and Definitions

Abstract Summary of an article or a book. Abstracts are used in library databases to give you a quick overview of an article or book.
Article An authored work published in a magazine, journal, or newspaper.
Bibliographic Record The set of information that describes a book or audiovisual work in the library catalog (Encore). It contains information such as author, title, date of publication, subject headings, and call number.
Bibliography The list of sources used or consulted by an author in writing a book or article.  Usually found at the end of the work.
Bookstacks (or stacks) The part of the library in which the books are shelved.  In McFarlin Library the stacks are located in the West Wing.
Boolean Search A powerful way of searching a computer database, using the words AND, OR, and NOT to combine your keywords/search terms to quickly retrieve exactly what you need from the database.  All the library research databases support Boolean Searching.
Call Number The main tool used to locate an item in the stacks, a call number is a unique series of letters and/or numbers assigned to a book to classify it. A call number places a book in the context of the collection according to the subject it discusses. Call numbers are determined depending on the classification system used by the library (i.e. LC or Dewey). McFarlin Library uses the Library of Congress (LC) system.
Chat To chat, or discuss and ask questions, with a librarian through an online application. McFarlin Library does not offer this service.
Check-out The transaction performed to borrow a book from the library. At McFarlin Library, you check out a book at the Circulation Desk on the Plaza Level using your TU ID card.
Circulation Desk Service Desk or station where you borrow and return books. You can pay the fines for overdue materials and check out reserve materials for use in the libary here.
Citation Information describing a book, journal article, magazine article, audiovisual item in a research paper. A citation generally includes the Title, Author, Publisher, Year of Publication, etc. Its main purpose is to offer enough information about an item to enable the reader to find and retrieve it.
Citation Style Citation styles are approved formats for citing sources in the different academic disciplines. The most common styles are MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association). 
Copyright (Copyright Date) Legal authority protecting works of art, literature, music, and computer programs and databases from reproduction or publication without the permission of the creator/copyright holder. Copyright date is the year the copyright was issued.
Database An organized collection of electronic records that can be searched and manipulated through an interface. McFarlin Library provides access to hundreds of databases with articles from magazines, journals, newspapers, and in some cases reference materials and e-books. 
Electronic Book (E-Book) A book in a digital format that is readable on a computer. E-Books are available from McFarlin Library through the EBSCOhost eBook Collection
Electronic Journal/Magazine (E-Journal) An online journal or magazine, found through the library's databases or on the open web, readable on a computer.
Fields In the library’s catalog and databases, fields are the particular sections of an item record identified in the left margin. They include infomation such as the author, title, publication, abstracts and subject headings (LCSH).When searching in a database or catalog, you will be searching these fields. Most will offer an option to only search particular fields such as the title or author.
Full-text The full-text of an online document is the complete printable document, as opposed to an abstract or summary of the document. An article database will provide either full-text or abstract for an article. If the article is available in full-text, the abstract is generally included.
Government Documents Publications sponsored and published by the government of a given country, state, or city.
Holdings The items owned or subscribed to by the library. This term often applies to the issues of a periodical owned by the library, but can also refer to all the materials (books, audiovisual media, electronic databases, etc.) in the library’s collection.
Index 1) List of works on a given topic used to find research material, provided in both paper and electronic formats. 2) An alphabetical list found at the end of a book, containing key terms and their pagination throughout the book.
Information Literacy The skills necessary to determine need for, and locate, access, evaluate, and use information for success in academic, professional, civic, and personal life. Instruction in Information Literacy is provided both through free and assigned classes at McFarlin Library.
Interlibrary Loan (ILL) An exchange of materials among libraries across the United States. Using this service, materials such as books and articles not available from McFarlin Library can be acquired. ILL is provided to all TU students, faculty and staff. 
Issue Volumes of periodical publications such as academic journals may be comprised of issues which cover a calendar year. Example: Volume 22 Issue 1, Volume 22 Issue 2, Volume 22 Issue 3, Volume 23, Issue 1.
Journal A serial publication that contains articles written by experts/professionals on a topic. The material published is generally research or analysis. The language is technical and is meant for an audience of professionals or academics. Journals exist in paper and electronic formats.
Journal Title List A database that allows users to see if McFarlin Library subscribes to a journal, magazine or newspaper (in print, online or microformat) and will also provide the time frames for this subscription. 
Keyword Single words used to perform a search in a library catalog, database, or Internet browser. A keyword search will return records that contain that word anywhere in a record.
LibGuide An online guide to library resources on a topic, or research skill. 
Library Catalog Electronic collection of records identifying all items owned by a particular library including: books (print, audio, & online) as well as videos & DVDs. A library catalog is searchable by author, title, subject heading, and keyword. A library catalog provides only a brief description of each item such as: author, title, publisher information, subject headings, table of contents, summary, and location of item in the physical library or a link to the online item. The catalog does not include the full text of books or articles. Use the library databases to find the full text of books or articles. In the past, library catalogs existed on paper (card catalog). Today most library catalogs are in electronic format and can be searched online. 
Limit/Limiter A search option in a catalog or database that allows a search to be limited by specific elements in the records. Examples of limits include full-text, publication type, publication date, subject heading, language, methodology, etc.
Library of Congress System (LC) The Library of Congress classification system is used by McFarlin and most academic libraries to organize books and other library materials in subject order on the shelves. It is an alphanumeric system that begins with letters.
Loan Period Length of time you are allowed to keep materials you've borrowed from the library.
Magazine A serial publication that contains articles written by its editorial staff/journalists (not by experts). Its purpose is to inform and/or to entertain and it is written in non-technical language for the general public. Magazines exist in paper and electronic formats.
Newspaper A serial publication typically issued daily or weekly, containing news, articles, and advertisements. Newspapers are available in print and electronic formats.
Non-Circulating Materials Library materials which cannot be checked out for use outside of the building. Usually reference books, reserve books, journals, magazines, and newspapers are non-circulating.
PDF (Portable Document Format) Digital image format that presents printable documents identical to the print original.
Peer Reviewed or Refereed This term is applied to journals that publish material previously evaluated by a panel of experts in a subject. For example, a peer reviewed article in medicine has been evaluated by a panel of doctors and researchers before it is accepted for publication within an academic medical journal.
Periodical or Serial Any publication published periodically (once a day, once a month, etc.). Journals, magazines, and newspapers fall into this category.
Plagiarism The act of using the words or ideas of another person and presenting them as your own without giving credit to the original author. Plagiarism is considered academic misconduct and can be grounds for expulsion in higher education institutions.
Record A description of an individual item in a database (includes the catalog). A record for a book contains its title, author, publisher, publication date, length, subject headings, and maybe a table of contents. A database record for a journal article contains article title, author, name of the journal, volume and issue number, pages, subject headings. It might include a summary, and information about the author.
Reference Desk Library service desk where the reference librarian answers questions about research and helps students find information.  The McFarlin Library Reference Desk is located on the Main Level in the West Wing.  
Reference Materials Works that contain basic and concise information about one or many topics (definitions, overviews, quick facts, etc.) They are typically used to quickly extract a small piece of information (as opposed to being read from cover to cover) therefore, they do not circulate. Encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, bibliographies and indexes fall under this category.
Reserve, On Materials on reserve are those that have been set aside (usually by a professor) for use by students. At McFarlin Library, materials on reserve are checked out from Main Level check out desk.

This term is often applied to academic journal articles; however, it can also be applied to other items (books, DVDs, etc.). A scholarly item may be characterized by the following:

  • Authors with credentials or extensive backgrounds in the subject field.
  • Produced for an audience knowledgeable in the subject area
  • Written with terminology and technical jargon associated with the field.
  • Journals that focus only on a particular subject
  • Usually have extensive references and citations
  • May be peer-reviewed.
Search Terms The words or phrases used within the search fields of an online database, catalog, or search engine. Search fields include title (book or journal title), author, keyword, subject heading, etc.
Style manual A publication which presents a specific citation style such as the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 
Subject Heading A standardized list of uniform words or terms assigned by indexers to describe the primary topics or focus of each book, article, or other document record entered in a catalog or database. Subject headings appear in both catalog and database records and can be searched or browsed using the catalog's or database's index or thesaurus. For example, Indians of North America is the subject heading used to describe materials about Native Americans.
Subject search To search by topic in a catalog or database (as opposed to author or title). A subject search implies searching by the use of the uniform subject headings assigned by indexers, as opposed to keyword searching, where the user essentially guesses at words included in titles, abstracts, or the text of relevant items.
Thesaurus A type of dictionary that groups words by identical or similar meaning.
Truncation Adding a symbol to a search term within a database or catalog in order to broaden results by searching for a root word and all its various endings. Truncation symbols may vary depending on a database or catalog, although it is most commonly an asterisk ( * ).  For example, searching for psycholog* will retrieve items with the words psychology, psychologist, psychological, psychologically, etc.

Adapted from Library Terms- Words You Need to Know! from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College Library.  Used with permission.