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Glossary of Library Terms (lingo/jargon)

Use this glossary to find definitions, examples, and context for library and/or research-related terms.

Alphabetical List of Library Terms

 

The terms in this part of the glossary are organized alphabetically.

 

A | B | C | D-F | G-I | J-O | P-Q | R | S | T-Z

 

Abstract

A short summary or overview explaining the general focus of a book, article, or other source. A time saving strategy is to read the abstract to check the source’s relevancy to your project.

abstract example

Accuracy

An evaluation criteria to determine the reliability, truthfulness and correctness of the content. See also Authority, Currency, Purpose, Relevancy Learn how to check for Accuracy

Annotated Bibliography

A list of sources, formatted in a specific style that includes a description or evaluation for each item. See also Bibliography, In-text Citation

Example (APA style):

annotated bibliography example

Example from: Purdue University OWL

Example (MLA style):

annotated bibliography example

Example from: Cornell University Libraries

APA Style

Short title for the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association for scholars in the social and behavioral sciences. The manual provides guidelines for writing such as document structure, writing style, tone, and formatting for in-text citations and reference list. (Sample paper) Learn more about APA Style. See also Chicago Style, MLA style

Author Search

A search method that only searches the author field within a database, catalog, or search engine. See also Field(s), Keyword Search, Search, Subject Search, Title Search

Authoritative / Authority

  1. An evaluation criteria used to determine if the source's author, creator, or publisher is the most knowledgeable about the information provided. Learn how to check for Authority
  2. A source that provides both wide scope and in-depth information about a specific topic, field of study, or discipline.
  3. An individual who is a recognized by their peers as an expert in a specific topic, field of study, or discipline.

See also Accuracy, Currency, Purpose, Relevancy

 

A | B | C | D-F | G-I | J-O | P-Q | R | S | T-Z

 

Bibliography

  • A list of sources that stands alone or is found at the end of a paper, article, chapter, or book. It provides information about the sources so another person can find and use the source.
  • In Chicago Style, the title used for the bibliography and a way to refer to the list of sources in the bibliography.

See also Annotated Bibliography, Reference(s), Source(s), Works Cited

Example (APA style):

references example

 

Example (Chicago Style):

references example

 

Example (MLA style):

references example

 

A | B | C | D-F | G-I | J-O | P-Q | R | S | T-Z

 

Call Number

A unique identifier (like a street address) given to library items so they can be easily found. Items about the same subject often have similar call numbers. Major call number systems include Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress. Learn more on the Understanding Call Numbers guide. See also Call Number: Library Congress

Examples:

  • Library of Congress: HQ792.U5 R57 2014
  • Dewey Decimal: 595.78 HOG

Call Number: Library of Congress

A classification system using a combination letters and/or numbers developed by the Library of Congress. This is the system used in most academic libraries including Milner Library. Learn more on the Understanding Call Numbers guide. See also Call Number

Example of a Library of Congress call number
callnumberimage

Catalog

A type of database, searchable online, used by libraries that includes information about the items they own or subscribe to. Each item’s record in the catalog provides information like title, author, call number, and floor location. Learn more about Using the Catalog.

Chicago Style

Short title for The Chicago Manual of Style created and written by the University of Chicago Press for scholars in a variety of disciplines. The manual provides guidelines for writing such as document structure, writing style, tone, and formatting for in-text citations and reference list. (Sample paper) Learn more about Chicago Style. See also APA style, MLA style

Citation
See In-text Citation

Citation Style

A specific format for an in-text citation or a note citation within a paper, presentation, article, etc. Different professional organizations include this information in the different style manuals they create. Learn more on the Citing Sources guide. See also MLA style; APA style, Chicago Style

Copyright

Protection and legal rights provided by United States law [title 17, U.S. Code] to the authors of “original works.” These include literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and other intellectual works. This can affect how students and faculty access and use information for their research. Learn more about Copyright.

Credible

Worthy of belief or confidence; trustworthy; reliable. Learn how to check for Credibility See also Accuracy, Authority, Currency, Purpose, Relevancy

Current / Currency

  • A source that has been recently published, generally in the last 5 years. Different disciplines use various year ranges to determine what is current.
  • An evaluation criteria used to determine if the date of publication of the information is suitable for your paper, speech, presentation, project, etc. Learn how to check for Currency

See also Accuracy, Authority, Purpose, Relevancy

 

A | B | C | D-F | G-I | J-O | P-Q | R | S | T-Z

 

Database

A searchable set of records. The set of records could be for articles, books, images, etc. Each record includes specific information about an item comprised of fields. See also Catalog, Field(s), Search Engine

Examples of databases: Milner Library Catalog, Amazon, Yellowpages.com, Zappos, Apple Store, Google Play

Examples of article databases: Academic Search Premier, ERIC, Web of Science

Deep web
Parts of the internet (typically databases) unavailable through conventional search engines, like Google or Yahoo. One must pay, subscribe, login, or know the direct URL to visit these sites and databases. Learn more with this Deep Web video.

Examples: My Illinois State, Library Databases, PayPal

Field(s)

A specific component of a database record that includes unique information. In search engines, fields can be used to limit or focus a search. See also Record(s)

Examples: Author (e.g. George Orwell), Title (e.g. 1984), Subject (e.g. Dystopia)

Full-text

When an entire item is available online.

Free Web
See Open Web

 

A | B | C | D-F | G-I | J-O | P-Q | R | S | T-Z

 

Hidden Web
See Deep Web

Information Literacy

Involves finding sources, analyzing the material, evaluating the credibility of the sources, and using and citing sources ethically and legally. See also Information Fluency

Information Fluency

The ability to critically think while engaging with, creating, and utilizing information and technology regardless of format and platform. Learn more about Information Fluency at ISU. See also Information Literacy

In-text Citations

A specific method to clearly identify a source within the body of a research or scholarly document (e.g. paper, book, article, report, etc.) Learn more on the Citing Sources guide. See also Citation, Citation Style

Example (APA style):

mla citation example

Example (Chicago Style):

mla citation example

Example (MLA style):

mla citation example

 

A | B | C | D-F | G-I | J-O | P-Q | R | S | T-Z

 

Keyword Search

A specific type of search method within a database, catalog, or search engine that uses minimal limits or parameters. The search term(s) (word or phrase) may be located anywhere in the record (title, abstract, full text, subject heading, etc.) See also Author Search, Field(s), Search, Subject Search, Title Search

Library of Congress

A classification system developed by the Library of Congress used to assign subject headings and a call number. This process often groups items about a similar topic together. This system is used by most academic libraries including Milner Library. See also Call numbers, Call Numbers: Library of Congress, Subject Heading

Library Research

Using sources such as books and articles to collect information on a topic. This is different from primary research, which uses original experiments or tests. Learn more about the Research Process.

MLA Style

Short title for the MLA Handbook created and written by The Modern Language Association for scholars in the Humanities. The handbook provides guidelines for writing such as paper structure, writing style, tone, and formatting for in-text citations and reference list. (Sample paper) Learn more about MLA Style. See also APA style, Chicago Style.

Objective / Objectivity

Not influenced by personal feelings or opinions when representing facts; impartial. Learn how to check for Objectivity

Open Web

The parts of the internet that is available for free and can be accessed by anyone. This also where anyone can publish on the web. Free web search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo...) search only this portion of online items.

 

A | B | C | D-F | G-I | J-O | P-Q | R | S | T-Z

 

Peer-Reviewed

Has been approved by a panel of experts in the same field of study before it is accepted for publication. Also could be called a refereed or scholarly source. See also Scholarly Journal

Plagiarism

Using or closely imitating another person’s ideas, text, or work and presenting it as your own without proper acknowledgement of the original source. Learn how to avoid plagiarism.

Popular Magazine

A publication containing articles on a variety of topics, written by various authors in a non-scholarly or general interest style. Most magazines are heavily illustrated, contain advertising, and are printed on glossy paper. The articles are usually short (less than five pages long), frequently unsigned, and tend not to include a bibliography or list of references.

Examples: Psychology Today. Time, Newsweek, Popular Mechanic

Primary Source

Items or original works that are a firsthand record of a topic, historical events, practices, conditions, or original research. They have not been filtered through interpretation or evaluation. Learn more about Primary Sources. See also Secondary Sources, Tertiary Sources.

Purpose

An evaluation criteria used to determine the reason why the information exists. See also Accuracy, Authority, Currency, Relevancy Learn how to check for Purpose.

 

A | B | C | D-F | G-I | J-O | P-Q | R | S | T-Z

 

Record

Information about an item within a database comprised of fields. See also Database, Field(s)

record example

Reference(s)

  • A source or sources cited within a paper, presentation, article, etc. and listed in a bibliography.
  • In APA style, the title used for the bibliography and a way to refer to the list of sources in the bibliography.

See also Annotated Bibliography, Bibliography, Works Cited

Relevant / Relevancy

An evaluation criteria used to determine how applicable the information is for the purpose of your paper, speech, presentation, etc. See also Accuracy, Authority, Currency, Purpose Learn how to check for Relevancy

 

A | B | C | D-F | G-I | J-O | P-Q | R | S | T-Z

 

Scholarly Journal

A publication comprised of articles and devoted to research and scholarship in a specific discipline or field of knowledge. Articles undergo a rigorous review process before acceptance. See also Peer-reviewed

Examples: The College Mathematics Journal, Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care, Modern Fiction Studies

Search

In library research, using structured mechanisms such as a catalog, search engine, database, etc., either online or print-based, to find information relevant to a topic or project. Learn more about the Search Process.

Search Engine

Software and programming created to retrieve information from a database, computer, or the Internet.

Examples: Google, Yahoo, Bing, Milner Catalog, Academic Search Premier. See also Database

Search Statement

A combination of search terms and commands entered into a search engine's or database's search boxes. The combination you enter influences your results. Learn more about Searching and Refining Results. See also Search Terms, Search Strategy

Examples:

media and body image

"wind power" and bird mortality

(drink* or alcohol*) and college

Search Strategy

A plan or set of steps for conducting a search. Learn more about the Search Process. See also Search Statement, Search Term

Example: 1) Selecting search terms that represent the main concepts of a research question or thesis statement. 2) Select appropriate search engines or databases for the topic. 3) Identify subject heading(s) from search results.

Example:

  1. Selecting search terms that represent the main concepts of a research question or thesis statement.
  2. Select appropriate search engines or databases for the topic.
  3. Identify subject heading(s) from search results.

Search Term

A word or phrase typed into an online catalog, database, or search engine to retrieve relevant information. Learn more about picking search terms. See also Search Statement, Search Strategy

Secondary Source

Items that interpret, critique, or analyze information, content, or findings of primary sources about a specific topic. Learn more about Secondary Sources. See also Primary Sources, Tertiary Sources

Source(s)

  1. Any item used to glean or expand knowledge about a topic or discipline.
  2. During library research, these are used to support one's thesis statement or answer a research question.
  3. A specific item cited or listed in a bibliography of a paper, speech, presentation, project, etc.

Learn more about Types of Sources. See also Primary Source, Secondary Source

Style Manual / Guide

A publication which specifies the guidelines to writers for styling their paper, speech, etc. such as paper structure, writing style, tone, and formatting for in-text citations and reference list. Learn more about Styles. See also APA style, Chicago Style, MLA style

Examples:

apa style guide
APA
mla style guide image
MLA
chicago style guide image
Chicago

Subject Heading

A specific field within a database record that describes the content of the items such as a book or article. See also Database, Record(s)

Subject Search

A search method that only searches the subject field within a database, catalog, or search engine. See also Author Search, Field(s), Keyword Search, Search, Title Search

 

A | B | C | D-F | G-I | J-O | P-Q | R | S | T-Z

 

Tertiary Source

Items that compile information from secondary and primary sources to provide a broad overview or representation of a topic or related topics. Learn more about Tertiary Sources. See also Primary Source, Secondary Source

Title Search

A search method that only searches the title field within a database, catalog, or search engine. See also Author Search, Field(s), Keyword Search, Search, Subject Search

Truncation

A search strategy used to retrieve all different endings of the word by placing special symbol or wildcard at the end of a word. Databases and search engines all use different symbols or wildcards, but the asterisk ( * ) is the most commonly used. See also Wildcard

Examples:

  • stress* - searches stress, stresses, stressed, stressing, stressful, stress-induced, etc.
  • automo* - searches automotive, automobile, automobiles, automobility, etc.

Wildcard

A symbol put anywhere in a search term to have a database or search engine search for any letter(s) in that designated position. See also Truncation

Examples:

  • wom?n (searches for women and woman)
  • automo* (searches for automotive, automobile, automobiles, automobility, etc.)

Works Cited

In MLA style, the title used for the bibliography and a way to refer to the list of sources in the bibliography. See also Annotated Bibliography; Bibliography; Reference(s)

 

 

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