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INFORMATION LITERACY TUTORIAL
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Glossary of Library Terms

- What is a call number?
- What is an abstract?


The following glossary should answer those frequently asked questions about library usage.

Abstract - A summary of an article or book.

Bibliographic record - Complete description of a book, document, recording, magazine or journal article or other published item. The bibliographic record may include author, title, publisher, publication date, and other information about the item.

Bibliography - A list of source materials that are used in a preparation of a research paper. The list may be of items by one author or on one subject. A bibliography is a required component of a research paper.

Boolean Operators -- Words (especially AND, OR, NOT) used in electronic databases or catalogs to expand or limit the results of a search.

Call number - A group of letters and numbers, or just numbers, given to each item in the library. Call numbers are used to locate items on the shelves.

Check out - To borrow library materials for a specific period of time. A valid library card is required.

Circulate - To lend for use outside of the library for a specific period of time.

Citation -- The written information about a book or periodical article which you will need in order to locate the item. A citation usually consists of author, title, publisher and date, depending on the type of publication. Also, called a reference.

Classification system - Items grouped together by a category. In most libraries, materials are grouped together by subject. The Library of Congress Classification System is used in this library. However, the Dewey Decimal System is used in the juvenile collection.

Current periodical - Issues of magazines or journals published during the last year.

Current source - Resources published at the contemporary time.

Database - A collection of information that can be accessed and searched through the Internet or CD-ROM.

Discipline-specific source - A source limited to a particular discipline, e.g. Encyclopedia of Psychology.

Field - A specified element of a bibliographic record, such as the "author field" or the "title field."

General source - A source not limited to a particular field or special subject, e.g. Americana Encyclopedia.

Government Documents - Materials published by the U. S. and state governments.

Historical source - Materials related to the past, e.g. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Speech: "I Have a Dream".

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

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) - If the Guarini Library does not own a book or periodical that you need, you may request an Interlibrary Loan form at the Reference Desk or print from the Library home page. The ILL department will try to locate the requested materials and contact you when they come in. Usually, the process takes at least two weeks.

Journal - A magazine published by an institution or professional society. It is more scholarly than a magazine found at a local newsstand or drug store.

Keyword(s) - Word(s) in the title, abstract or other field of a bibliographic record which is used as a search term.

Local source - Library resources that are available in the Guarini Library.

Microforms - The general term used for printed items which have been reduced in size. Microforms refer to both microfilm and microfiche, and these must be read at special designed machines.

Online catalog - A computerized catalog of a library's collections. The online catalog for the Guarini Library is OSCAR.

Online database - Electronic periodical indexes that enable you to locate and retrieve articles in magazines and journals through the Internet. A database's coverage could be multidisciplinary, e.g. Academic Search Premier , or on a particular subject, e.g. ERIC. A database could contain full text articles, or only citations/abstracts. The Guarini Library subscribes to over 60 online databases, which can be accessed from off campus.

OSCAR - The Guarini Library's information system which contains the online catalog, circulation information, location of materials, etc. Users can access OSCAR from offices or homes using computer modems.

Overdue - Material which is not returned to the library by its due date is considered overdue. Fines may be charged $.10 per day.

Periodical - A magazine, journal or newspaper which is published at regular time periods. It may be issued daily, weekly, or monthly.

Periodical index - A periodical index is used to locate articles within magazines, journals and newspapers by subject or author. The majority of periodical indexes now are online or in CD-ROM, while some of them are printed and bound/arranged by year in the library.

Reference book - A book you may use to find information on specific facts rather than to read through. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, and almanacs are all reference books. Reference books do not circulate.

Reference area - The area where reference materials are located. Librarians are on duty at the reference desk to assist you in using online databases, reference books, and finding the materials or information that you need.

Reserve - Library materials may be placed "on reserve" by faculty members. Reserve materials are kept in the Circulation Department at the Guarini Library. These materials have very limited loan periods so everyone in a class has a chance to use them. Reserve books are arranged by the professor's name.

Serial - A publication that is issued at regular intervals, for example, monthly or weekly. This includes periodicals such as magazines, newspapers, and journals, as well as books such as almanacs which is published annually.

Series - A group of related volumes published under a collective title. Each separate part may be numbered and have its own additional title.

Stacks - The shelves where books are located.

Subject Heading - The topic under which an item has been identified. A subject heading can be used as a point of access in print and computerized sources. The Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) is an example of an established list of subject headings.

Thesaurus - An alphabetical list of terms showing synonyms and antonyms; or a set of controlled vocabulary used to indicate the subject matter of an item. An index term from a thesaurus is used as a subject point of access in computerized as well as print indexes.

 

 


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