Glossary of Library and Research Terms

| A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

Abstract - the summary of a book, article, or other item. Abstracts may appear in article indexes or bibliographies. They are usually non critical and attempt to help the user make a decision about the importance of the item.

Annotated bibliography - a bibliography which includes citation information and a brief commentary about the book or article which is being cited.
[Find out how to write annotated bibliographies.]

Article Index - a guide to the contents of journals, magazines or newspapers. You would use this kind of index to find article about a certain topic or by a certain author.
[Find out which article indexes you can access as a MUN student.]

B

Bibliography - a list of materials (books, articles, maps, audio-visual items and other materials) relating to a specific subject or author. A bibliography may be a full book, but there are also bibliographies in books and in articles. Most research papers will have a bibliography indicating the materials which were used in writing the paper.
[Find out how to compile a bibliography.]

Boolean operator - provides a way to tell a computer how you want to combine your descriptors or keywords. The most common Boolean operators are: AND, OR.
[Find tips on using Boolean operators.]

C

Call number - a number (usually letters and numbers) used to indicate the location of a book on the shelves. Many libraries also include information to show that an item is in a special location or library.

Catalogue - a compilation of information about books, maps, or other items, arranged in some definite order. A library catalogue will have sufficient information to help you find the items in that collection. [Link to Library Catalogue]

Citation - a reference to an item from which a quotation or information was taken or to which a person is being directed. Includes enough information to locate the original item. For example: a book citation would include author, title, place of publication, publisher and date of publication; an article citation would include author, title, name of periodical, date, and page reference. A citation may be found in a research paper, a periodical index, or in a catalogue.

D

Database - a collection of information in electronic format. Some databases have bibliographical information relating to books, articles, and other published material. Other databases provide numeric or statistical information.

Descriptor/Subject heading - a word, group of words, or phrase used to identify the subject of a book, article, or other item. Descriptors are used to group together items about the same subject under one standard heading. They are controlled vocabulary. Compare with keyword.

Document Delivery - a service in which the library delivers books, articles, or other materials to you. Document delivery includes interlibrary loan, wherein we will get books or articles for you from other libaries if we don't have them.

E

E-journal - short for electronic journal. They are full text journals which are published on the Internet. [You can link to Memorial's e-journals through the Library Catalogue or through the list of e-journals

F

G

H

Holds/Recalls - if a book is out you can ask that it be held for you when it is returned. In some instances, you can ask that the book be returned immediately (i.e., recalled) and held for you.

I

Index -

  1. the list of topics mentioned in a book. It is usually at the end of the book.
  2. a periodical index is a special type of index which can be used to identify articles in journals, magazines, or newspapers.

Internet directory - a type of Internet search engine that organizes and lists Web sites by subject. It is similar to the index at the back of a book. Netscape Search and Yahoo! are examples of Internet directories.
[To learn more about Internet directories, look at the guides to Internet directories and subject guides.]

J

Journal - a type of periodical including ones that are issued by a society or institution and contain news, proceedings, transactions and articles about work carried out in a particular discipline. Intended for a scholarly audience.
[There are ways to tell the difference between a journal and a magazine.]

K

Keyword - a "key word" which describes the subject you are looking for. Keywords are natural language, meaning there is no one standard way to express the subject. Compare with descriptor/subject heading.

L

Login - a process for getting into an electronic resource.
[To have full access to Memorial's electronic resources you will need a User ID & PIN

M

Magazine - a type of especially one that is intended for a general reading audience and contains articles of popular interest.
[There are ways to tell the difference between a journal and a magazine.]

N

O

P

Periodical - a publication which appears at regular, or periodic, intervals such as daily, monthly or annually. The term periodical includes journals, magazines, and newspapers.

Q

R

Record - the information which describes each book or article in an index. The record includes a citation and descriptors. Some records include an abstract.

Recalls/Holds - if a book is out you can ask that it be held for you when it is returned. In some instances, you can ask that the book be returned immediately (i.e., recalled) and held for you.

Reference - a reference to an item from which a quotation or information was taken or to which a person is being directed. Includes enough information to locate the original item. For example: a book citation would include author, title, place of publication, publisher and date of publication; an article citation would include author, title, name of periodical, date, and page reference. A citation may be found in a research paper, a periodical index, or in a catalogue.

Reference collection - the part of a library where you will find dictionaries, encyclopedias, periodical indexes, and other reference books.

Reserves - a collection of articles and books which are in high demand and which can be borrowed for only a short time such as 2 hours, overnight, or a couple of days. [If you know that something has been put in Reserves, you can look for it by clicking on the Reserve Desk button in the Library Catalogue.

S

Search engine - a program that searches for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents, or Web sites, where the keywords were found. Alta Vista, Google, and Northern Lights are examples of search engines which look for documents on the Internet.
[To learn more about search engines, look at the guide to Internet search engines.]

Subject heading - a word, group of words, or phrase used to identify the subject of a book, article, or other item. Subject headings are used to group together items about the same subject under one standard heading. They are controlled vocabulary.

T

Thesaurus - a list of descriptors/subject headings. A thesaurus tells you which words to use in a catalogue, database, or article index. A thesaurus may lead you to other, related topics.

Truncation - the process of shortening or cutting off part of a keyword. The keyword is shortened so that it will match with all terms starting with the same stem, e.g. librar* will match with library, libraries, librarian, librarianship, etc.

U

V

W

X

Y

Z