Do you sometimes feel
that the library staff is using a different language than you are?
Here are the definitions of some common library terms.
A | B | C
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F | G
| H | I
| M | N
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| V | W
Archives - Documents
created by a person or organization in the course of the conduct of
affairs and preserved for their historical value. Also the location
where archival materials are kept. At IUP, the Special Collections and
Archives department manages the archives, which is located in Stapleton
Library in Special Collections on the third floor. Archives Web Page –
Abstract - A
brief summary of the contents of a periodical article or book.
Anthology - A
collection of works (poems, stories, articles) by various authors and
collected in a single volume.
Acquisitions - Department
within the library responsible for ordering and purchasing new
Almanac - An
annual publication containing astronomical data, weather forecasts,
maps, dates and other useful information. In the library, the current
edition of The World Almanac, R 031 W89 is kept on the
shelf behind the Reference Desk. Older editions can be found in the
Reference stacks under the call number.
- An individual record in a database,
which describes and identifies a specific item (such as a book or
journal) by fields (e.g., title, author, publication date, etc.).
Bibliography - A
list of citations to journal articles, books and other materials on a
particular subject or by a particular author. A list of references given
at the end of research reports and books.
Boolean operators (logical operators)
- Terms such as "and,"
"or," and "not" used to express the relationship of
one term to another when searching databases.
Browser - Software
program used to view and interact with various types of Internet
resources available on the World Wide Web. Netscape and Internet
Explorer are two common examples.
Biography - Account
of a person’s life, written by another. The person who writes a
biography is the "biographer". The person written about is
known as the "biographee".
Call Number - The
unique combination of numbers and letters on the spine of each book in
the library to group materials by similar subjects which enable the
material to be found on the shelves.
Cataloging - The
department in the library responsible for entering all the information
necessary about library materials in the online catalog.
CD-ROM (Compact Disk-Read Only Memory)
- An index or reference work that is
stored on a compact disc and accessed and searched through a computer.
In Stapleton Library, there are CD-ROM’s for special databases located
in the Reference Department.
Charged = Checked out - A
term indicating that a particular item is on loan to a patron with a
date of return.
Circulation Desk - The
large counter to the left of the main door where patrons check out and
return most library materials. Renewals, recalls, holds, and search
forms are also handled here.
Citation - A
reference or footnote to a book, article, or other material that
contains all the information necessary to identify and locate the work.
A book citation includes author, title, publisher and year of
publication; a journal citation includes author, article title and
periodical title, date, volume and page numbers of the particular
Controlled Vocabulary - Assigned
standardized terms used in searching a specific database or catalog.
These terms will differ for each database. Our online catalog uses the
Library of Congress Subject Headings as controlled vocabulary for
Copyright - Legal
privilege granted to an author, editor, composer, playwright, publisher,
or distributor for exclusive rights of publication, production, sale, or
distribution of a literary, musical, dramatic, or artistic work.
Libraries have a special interest in fair use of copyrighted material.
Database - An
organized collection of information, data, or citations stored in
electronic format that can be searched for specific information or
records by techniques specific to each database.
Default Operator - The
specific relations between words (and, or, phrase) that is assumed by a
database if none is specified. This can have a major impact on how the
words you enter are searched.
Dissertation - A
text written by a candidate for a doctoral degree at a university in
completion of requirements for a Ph.D.
Dissertation Abstracts International
(DAI) - An index which
lists summaries of dissertations. The DAI database is available from the
IUP Libraries Web Page. The paper index
is in the reference collection, under the call number – R082 D632
Documents - Usually
refers to government documents or publications.
Recently returned - If the date provided for the
return of an item is the current date or within one day of the current
date, check at the circulation desk for the item as well as the
Dewey Decimal Classification
- A classification system that uses a
notation based on decimal numbers. The classification system by Melvil
Dewey, first published in 1876, divides Knowledge into ten main classes,
with further subdivisions, accompanied by decimal notation.
Directory - Book,
which lists the names, addresses, and phone/FAX numbers of a specific
group of persons, companies, organizations, or publications. In the
Library, most directories are shelved in the Reference collection.
Display Rack - Located
in the Reference Area near the desk, the flyers on the display rack
explain how to use library resources and services. They are free to
students, faculty, and staff.
Edition - Some
books (particularly reference books) are revised and republished. The
new version is often called the "revised" or
"second" edition. Subsequent revisions are numbered
sequentially. The latest edition is the most current, but older editions
may contain useful information deleted from later editions.
Encyclopedia - A
book or set of books of informative articles usually arranged in
Essay - A
short literary composition on a single subject expressing a personal
ERIC - Stands
for Educational Resource Information Center, a
federally-funded clearinghouse which publishes an index with abstracts
to journal articles and unpublished research reports in education and
Etymology - The
origin and development of a word, traced back as far as possible in
time, usually by the methods of comparative linguistics. Some
dictionaries specialize in etymology, ex. The Oxford English
Fields (Electronic databases) - A
particular section of a bibliographic record, containing specific
information such as the author, title, or publication date of an item.
Folio - Refers
to oversized books and materials. At IUP, these are shelved in separate
sections from regular size materials.
Format - The
physical form of information as opposed to the content. Examples of
formats include books, journals, newspapers, electronic, and microforms.
Full Text Database - A
database where the entire text of an article can be viewed, printed or
downloaded directly from the computer terminal.
Fiction - Literary
works which portray imaginary characters and events (especially novels
and stories). The fiction collection is located on the second floor of
Dictionary or index of geographical
names with locations.
Glossary - Short
list of words related to a specific topic, with brief definitions, often
placed at the end of a book, or at the beginning of a long entry in an
Government Documents - Materials
published by local, state, federal, and international government
organizations. The Libraries of Indiana University of Pennsylvania are
designated United States Government Documents Depository Library Program
participants. As participants in this program, The Libraries of IUP
receive a selected number of government publications on a continuing
Handbook - Compact
reference book that provides useful information on a specific subject.
Statistical information is often provided in handbooks.
Hold - A
service provided by the Library where a patron can put a
"hold" on an item, which is checked out to another patron.
When it's returned it will be held at the Circulation Desk.
Holdings - The
materials - books, journals, videos - that the Library actually owns.
For a journal, this is the list of particular issues or years owned.
This term is used in Voyager, IUP Library's online catalog.
HTML - An
acronym which stands for "HyperText Markup
Language." Most documents available on the World Wide
Web are written in HTML. To see the HTML code for the document you are
presently reading, click on "View" in the toolbar of your web
browser and then select "Document Source" from the drop-down
http:// - An
internet address prefix which stands for "HyperText
Transfer Protocol." HTTP is the
language used by the Internet to access information available
electronically on the World Wide Web.
Index - A
printed or electronic publication which lists citations to periodical
articles or books.
Interlibrary Loan (ILL) - A
service which allows current students, faculty and staff to request
books and periodical articles from other libraries if the material is
not owned by IUP. The ILL office is located on the first floor of the
Internet - A
group of interconnected worldwide computers using an agreed on set of
standards and protocols to request information from, and send
information to, each other.
I-Card - Your
I-Card is your library card at Stapleton Library. All circulating
material requires your I-card for borrowing.
Journal - A
publication containing scholarly articles written by experts on current
research in a given field. An abstract and bibliography usually
- A search method in Voyager and in
most databases, which allows the search for the occurrence of a word
anywhere in a record. The system will retrieve all the records
containing the WORDS typed.
A professional especially educated and
trained to assist you in finding and using information.
Logical Operators - See
Library Instruction - Individual
or group instruction provided by Librarians for teaching library
Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH)
- Word or phrase assigned by the Library of
Congress to a book or media item to indicate what it is about.
In a Subject search in the online catalog, you must type an official
Library of Congress subject heading for your topic. The complete list of
Library of Congress Subject headings is published in a multi-volume set
of large red books available at the Reference Desk.
Magazine - A
periodical published primarily for the general public rather than for
Microfiche - Flat,
plastic sheets containing micro-images of pages and read using a special
Microfilm - A
film containing reduced images of printed matter and stored on a reel.
Readable on a special machine.
Microform - Printed
material that has been photographed and reduced to a film format to help
preserve the material and decrease the space needed for storage. Special
equipment is needed to read stored information. Typical formats include
microfilm and microfiche.
Monograph - Library
term for a book on a single topic.
Media Services/Circulation -
Located on the first floor across from the reference desk. Media
tems include VHS tapes, DVDs and CDs. Services include equipment
for student use and production items including laminating and
http://libs0400.acadlib.iup.edu/depts/lts/index.shtml for more information or
to make a request.
Memoirs - A
report or record of important events based on the writer's own personal
observation or special knowledge.
= Here - Term that tells you the book or media
item is available for borrowing.
Non-circulating - Some
library materials may not be checked out. Non-circulating materials in
Stapleton Library include reference books, special collection materials,
Nonfiction - Works
portraying events which actually occurred and/or characters who actually
existed. Shelved by Dewey number.
OPAC - An
acronym which stands for "Online Public Access
Catalog." It is a searchable, computerized database of
materials owned by the Library and displaying the call number and
location of the material. The current IUP system is called Voyager.
Online - Accessible
via a computer or computer network. Generally synonymous with the words
"automated," "computerized," and
Overdue - An
item from the circulating collection which has been kept by the borrower
past its due date. The library charges fines for the overdue materials.
- A publication with a unique title
that is issued at an established interval (weekly, monthly, quarterly).
Examples include journals, magazines, and newspapers.
Periodical Index - Cumulative
listing of periodical articles, alphabetically by subject and by
author's last name. Most periodical indexes are devoted to a specific
field (i.e. psychology) or type of periodical (i.e. newspapers).
Libraries Online Catalog
Plagiarism - Using
another person's work as your own and without attributing to the
Preface - Preliminary or
introductory statement at the beginning a book or article which
discusses its scope, purpose, plan, background, etc. Sometimes written
by a person other than the author.
Pseudonym - A
fictitious name, especially one assumed by an author. Also called a pen
Publisher - Company,
or person, which prepares and issues print or nonprint materials for
public distribution and/or sale.
Published four times a year, usually in
spring, summer, fall, and winter. Many scholarly journals are published
Recall - A
request for the return of checked out library material before the due
date. This is done at the Circulation Desk.
Record - See
Refereed Journal - A
journal where articles are reviewed and selected by professional
colleagues for publication. Check Ulrich's International Periodicals
Directory to determine if a publication is refereed.
Reference Desk - Area
where patrons can get help from library faculty not only using the
library but also locating library materials and searching library
Ready Reference - Non-circulating,
frequently used materials, usually kept at the reference desk. These
include style manuals, statistics, almanacs, college guides, etc.
Renewal - Extending
the loan period or due date of materials. Ask at Circulation.
Reserves - A
library service that manages the circulation of certain required course
materials selected by instructors and made available for short-term
loans. Located next to the Serial desk in the basement.
Review - A
critical discussion or article, published in a newspaper or magazine,
dealing with a recent book, play, concert, etc.
Journal - See Journal
Serial - Library
term for publications issued at regular intervals. This can be a
periodical, journal, magazine, newspaper, annual report or a conference
Subject Heading - A
standard search term assigned to an item record to identify its primary
content. Finding and using the appropriate subject terms is an important
part of an effective search. (Compare to Keyword.)
Subject Search - A
search technique which requires using the database's own exact,
pre-determined vocabulary. See also Subject
SuDocs Number -
Government Documents are classified by
following a system of letters and numbers as required by the
Superintendent of Documents. SuDoc numbers begin with letters of the
alphabet representing the particular department of the government that
issued the document. In Stapleton Library, government documents can be
found on the first floor.
- One station that is part of a
computer system; an individual computer station.
Thesaurus - A
list of synonyms, sometimes including contrasting words, assigned in a
particular database, index, or online catalog that can be used to search
Truncation - In
a keyword search, a word root followed by a truncation symbol to
retrieve variant endings. Example:
comput? to retrieve computer or computers or computing
or computation. Some databases may use the * instead of a ? as
the truncation symbol.
- An acronym that stands for Uniform
Resource Locator, the unique address of
every item on the Internet used to locate and retrieve a particular
page. Example: http://libs0400.acadlib.iup.edu
Videos - See media
World Wide Web (WWW)
- An information system using the
Internet to access information stored on computers worldwide.
Web Browser - A
sophisticated software program which allows the user to search for
information available electronically on the World Wide Web.
Yearbook - An
annual documentary, historical, or memorial publication containing
information about the previous year. Yearbooks are usually shelved in
the reference collection.