Fort Belknap College Library
Orientation to the Fort Belknap College Library
A Glossary of Library and Electronic Research Terms
This glossary has definitions and other information about terms and
concepts that will help you understand and complete successful library and
electronic research. Browse through the glossary now, noting unfamiliar terms, and
refer to it as needed for your various research projects.
If any of the definitions in this glossary are confusing to you, or if
there are other terms you'd like to add, please let us know. There is a
link to an email contact at the end of the glossary.
- 1. a brief summary of a book or article 2. an index which includes
abstracts SEE ALSO periodical indexes and
- a collection of selected musical or literary works or excerpts
- a repository of documents or other material, usually of historical
- a brief self-contained essay on a topic, usually found in periodicals
- a recording of sound; LP or phonorecords, compact discs, and tapes are
all audiorecording formats
- bibliographic record
- the unit of information fields (e.g. title, author, publication date,
etc.) which describe and identify a specific item in a bibliographic database
- bibliographic database
- a database which contains information pertaining to publications such
as books, periodical articles, essays, and government documents
- a list of books, articles, electronic sources, scores, etc. on a
- Boolean searching
- named for mathematician George Boole, Boolean searching uses
mathematical set logic to combine search terms. Boolean operators AND, OR, and
NOT are used in Boolean search statements to specify the logical relations
- browse searching
- in browse searching, one is limited to a particular index in a
database, such as the title index in Catalyst, for example. The search
results in one's being placed in the index list at the point nearest to
the terms searched for. One can scroll through the list from that point
either forward or backward, as far as one wishes, through all the entries
in the index, such as all the titles in Catalyst. In brows earching, the
computer matches the search statement exactly, so word order is important.
- browser (web)
- a software program which accesses, reads and displays information from the
World Wide Web; also called "web browser" or "client." e.g. Netscape,
Internet Explorer, or Lynx (a text only browser)
- call number
- an identification number assigned to a library collection item
(e.g. book, periodical, manuscript, videorecording, musical score, etc.)
which allow patrons to locate the item in the collection or to request
("Call") the item from a closed stack area. FBC Library uses the Dewey Decimal
- Circulation Desk
- a public service desk where books and other materials are checked out
to library users. Reserve material for classes is also at the
Circulation Desk, as are video recordings.
- information which fully identifies a publication; a complete
citation usually includes author, title, name of journal (if the citation
is to an article) or publisher (if to a book), and date. Often pages,
volumes and other information will be included in a citation.
- conference report
- papers generated at or for a conference; may include minutes,
transcripts, papers, and presentations
- an organized collection of information.
- descriptors see subject headings
- a list of audiorecordings on a particular subject, similar to a
- document delivery see interlibrary
- a compilation of individual articles by authorities giving a broad
overview and background information. Articles typically include references
to authoritative books and articles on a subject. General encyclopedias
cover all areas of knowledge; there are also specialized encyclopedias
that cover more limited subjects in greater depth
- a collection of articles by scholars published on a special occasion,
or in someone's honor
- the part of a record used for a particular category of data. For
example, the title field in a database record displays the title for
- fulltext database
- a database which includes the complete text of items (such as
periodical articles) which are indexed in the database
- a computer program developed at the University of Minnesota
to allow computer users to find information on other computers. Gopher
was a predecessor of the World Wide Web.
- an FBC student, faculty, or staff member may place a hold on a library
item checked out to another person; this ensures that the person placing the
hold will be next in line to receive the item when it is returned. Place
holds at the Circulation desk.
- the materials owned by a library are sometimes referred to as its
- home page
- the entry point or introductory page to a website. It can also be a
web page designed by an individual to present personal or professional
- a document format which includes the use of specially coded, terms or
images which, when selected or "clicked", connect to a linked location or
file, or carry out a command to run an application or program
- a list of terms (such as subject headings or descriptors, author names
or title words) describing journal articles, books, etc., and giving
information needed to locate the articles, etc.
- Information Desk
- a public service desk where all library patrons can obtain assistance
with research and other library or campus related information. In some
libraries, this is called the reference desk
- Interlibrary Loan
- FBC students, faculty, and staff may obtain materials not owned by our
Library through this service. There is usually no charge. For more
information about Interlibrary Loan, please go to the Information Desk.
- a worldwide network of millions of computers.
- Internet service provider
- an agency or company that assigns an Internet address to
individual users, enabling them to access the internet
- a periodical containing scholarly articles written by authorities or
experts in a given field of study.
- any word or phrase associated with a record in a database that is
indexed for searching
- keyword searching
- keyword searching results in a list of database records that contain
all the keywords entered as search terms, according to the logic of the
search. A keyword search may be performed in one index, or it may be
performed in more than one index combined.
- films, tapes and other audio-visual materials that require the use of
special listening or viewing equipment
- a publication format in which documents are produced in reduced size
on transparent or opaque thin plastic. Microfilm is in reels, microfiche
in on cards ("fiche" is a French word for "card"), and microcards are
opaque cards. Microform was a popular storage medium before there was
digital storage, which allows much greater compression of data, but
microform has never been popular with those who must use it to retrieve
- mono = one, graph = writing, so a monograph is "one writing," or a
- items published regularly at least twice a year. Daily and weekly
newspapers, weekly news magazines, monthly hobby magazines, quarterly and
semi-annual scholarly journals are common types of periodicals. See also
- periodical indexes and abstracts
- periodical indexes list articles which have appeared in journals,
magazines, or newspapers. They list author, title, name of periodical,
volume, pages and date of publication. Abstracts are indexes that also contain
summaries of the article. (These summaries are also called abstracts.) Both
indexes and abstracts may be in print or electronic form.
- primary source
- 1. an account by an eyewitness or the first recorder of an event, in
written or other form, including microform and electronic reproduction (e.g.
diaries, letters, minutes of meetings, news footage, newspaper
2. data obtained from original research, statistical compilations or legal
documents (e.g. reports of scientific experiments, U.S. Census records,
3. creative works such as poetry, music, or art
4. physical artifacts such as stone points, pottery, furniture, and
- the entity (person, company, non-profit organization, or other group)
that selects the content, produces, promotes, and distributes a book,
periodical, or other item
- a collection of related data, arranged in fields and treated as a
unit. The data for each item in an electronic database makes up a record.
- Reference Collection
- reference materials either provide specific information such as an
address, a date, or a definition, or they have overview information on a
subject, or they indicate sources for more information. The Reference
Collection, on the first floor of the Library, is often a good place to
begin academic research.
- Reference Desk see Information
- an extension of the loan period for checked out library materials.
- materials which a professor has placed on reserve for a class to use.
These materials may be checked out at the Circulation Desk in the Library
lobby; checkout periods vary. See also ONCORES
- items which are published, regularly or not, on a repeating basis.
Serials published at least once every five years are considered regular.
If more than five years goes by between volumes, they are considered
irregular. Periodicals are serials. Other examples are annual publications
like the phone book. See
- serial publications that have a common theme or subject, usually
issued in the same format by the same publisher
- a computer connected to others which is used to share (serve) file
resources (web or network files or both) among the connected computers
- areas where large amounts of library material is shelved. One can
speak of the reference stacks, the periodical stacks, the main book
stacks, the documents stacks, etc.
- stop words
- common words that have no subject content, such as articles (a, an,
the) and prepositions (at, by, of, on, with, etc.) and which are usually
not needed in an electronic search statement.
- subject headings
- words or phrases assigned to books and articles and used to index these
items by topic. Subject headings are also called descriptors. Determining
the correct subject headings for a specific database or
catalog is an important part of effective research. See also thesaurus.
- a word or a phrase, may be a subject heading, title, or name of a
person or group
- a book written specifically for an academic course, often containing
valuable summary information on a topic
- list of all the subject headings or descriptors used in a particular
database, catalog, or index, showing relationships among them
- using a special symbol instead of the end of a word in an electronic
search to retrieve all possible endings of that word. Sometimes truncation
can be used within a word to retrieve variant spellings or at the
beginning of a word to retrieve all prefixes.
- Uniform Resource Locator
- also referred to as URL; a unique address for a specific file
available on the Internet.
Send comments and suggestions about this page to: Eva English
Last Updated: October 6, 2002