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Library Glossary

Abstract: A brief summary of a book or article

Annotation: A short description or evaluation of a document

Archives: A repository of documents and other materials of public or historical value

Article:  a contribution written by one or more persons and published in a periodical or as part of a book, usually non-fiction

Bibliographic record: a bibliographic record refers to all the information necessary to identify one item. This information usually includes at least the title, author, call number, publisher, and date of publication, sometimes more

Bibliography: A list of sources of information (articles, books, and other materials) on a specific topic. Bibliographies can be found at an end of a book or article to refer to the resources used in writing the book or article, or to refer researchers to recommended further reading. Bibliographies can also be independent works that are annotated

Boolean operators (terms): The words “and”, “or”, “not” used in keyword searching to broaden, narrow, or limit a search

Bound periodical: Several issues of a periodical (magazine or journal) are often bound together as a single book for storage. Bound periodicals usually contain a full volume, or one year’s worth of issues, of the title

Call number: An identification code assigned to a library collection item (book, video or audio recording, manuscript, periodical, musical score, etc.) that distinguishes one item from another and indicates its location in the library. The collection is arranged using the Library of Congress Classification System

Citation: A citation is a standardized description of an item (book, article, video or audio recording, etc.) containing sufficient information necessary to locate the item

Citation style: A standardized system for citing materials used when writing books or papers. Citation styles are often created by professional organizations such the Modern Language Association (MLA) or publishers such as the University of Chicago Press (Chicago Manual of Style)

Cite: The act of indicating the source of information. Authors cite their sources for two important reasons: 1. To give credit to the originator of an idea or research they wish to discuss, and 2. to allow readers to locate the source of the information and read it in context

Copyright: the exclusive legal right to control the production, use, and sale of copies of a literary, musical, or artistic work

Database: an organized collection of information. Commonly, the term “databases” refers to electronic or computer databases

Full-text: “A complete electronic copy of a resource, usually an article, viewed on a computer screen. The term “full-text” is often used to refer to the electronic version of an article or book that is also published in print.” -ACRL

Interlibrary Loan (ILL): Interlibrary loan is a service provided by libraries to give patrons access to materials available in other libraries

Issue: a specific publication, complete in itself, of a serial or periodical. Usually indicated in a citation as “n” (number) or “i” (issue) and an issue number

Journal: A professional or academic periodical usually issued monthly or quarterly which contains scholarly articles, reports, research, and/or papers

Keywords: Keywords are significant words that appear anywhere in the bibliographic record for an item. Selecting terms for a “keyword search” can be challenging. Good choices for keyword searches are the topic words or synonyms of the topic, major elements of the topic and can be combined using in a search query using boolean terms

Keyword searching: A search made up of keywords and boolean terms. When used in context of searching, the researcher chooses keywords rather than using the controlled vocabulary of the system

Limits/limiters: “Options used in (electronic) searching that restrict your results to only information resources meeting certain other, non-subject-related, criteria.” -ACRL

Literature Review: a written survey of progress in a particular field over a given period of time

Literature Search: a systematic and exhaustive search for published material on a specific problem or subject

Microform/microfilm: a means of archiving printed documents, especially periodicals. A printed document is photographed and the image is reduced and printed on a transparent film, which can then be read by a machine

Periodical: A publication that appears on a continuous and predictable schedule. Examples include newspapers (daily or weekly), magazines, and journals

Peer reviewed: A level of scholarship. Peer reviewed articles have been evaluated by several researchers or subject specialist in the academic community prior to accepting it for publication

Plagiarism: The use of another person’s words, ideas, or research without crediting the source. Passing off another person’s work as one’s own.

Popular sources: primary or secondary sources which are not academic and meant to sell or entertain, such as some websites, magazines, or blogs

Primary sources are original works. These sources represent original thinking, report on discoveries or events, or share new information. Usually these represent the first formal appearance of original research. Primary sources include statistical data, manuscripts, surveys, speeches, biographies/autobiographies, diaries, oral histories, interviews, works or art and literature, research reports, theses/dissertations, government documents, computer programs, or other original documents( birth certificates, trial transcripts…) etc.

Reference collection: books in the library which provide facts or summaries of topics (such as encyclopedias) or provide a list of resources on a topic (such as indexes or bibliographies)

Refereed: A level of scholarship. Refereed articles have been evaluated by at least one area specialist prior to acceptance for publication.

Request: to place a hold on an item means to reserve it. An item that is checked out may have a hold placed on it by another patron who wishes to use it. When the item is returned, the library will contact the patron who is waiting so they may check that item out.

Reserve: A selection of specific books, articles or other material set aside by professors for use by students in particular classes

Scope: The range or content of a specific work, which indicates what information is included and what is excluded

Search statement/Search string: “Words entered into the search box of a database or search engine when looking for information.” -ACRL

Secondary sources are usually studies by other researchers. They describe, analyze, and/or evaluate information found in primary sources. By repackaging information, secondary sources make information more accessible. A few examples of secondary sources are books, journal and magazine articles, literature reviews, dictionaries, handbooks, periodical indexes, etc.

Stacks: “Stacks” is a colloquial term used to refer to the areas of the library where materials are shelved.

Subject headings/Subject Terms: a standardized word or phrase describing a topic or concept. Also called descriptors or controlled vocabulary

SWITCH: the Southeastern Wisconsin Information Technology Exchange, a group of libraries which shares physical materials and other resources. CUW Library is a member

Tertiary Sources: sources that identify and locate primary and secondary sources. Examples include bibliographies, indexes, abstracts, encyclopedias, and other reference resources.

Thesaurus: A tool for finding all the subject heading or descriptors used in a database, catalog, or index. A thesaurus will indicate the correct controlled vocabulary to use for a given term.

Trade magazine/journal: periodical with articles, news, trends, and information targeted toward a particular profession or trade.

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