- A paragraph or two that
summarizes an article, book, website or other information source.
Online periodical indexes often provide abstracts of articles that are
not available full-text. The authors of research articles in scholarly
journals write their own abstracts in which they provide important
keywords and results of their research.
- The online catalog
is a database
that contains information about materials in a library's collection.
Each item has its own record. The information about the item in the
record is referred to as the bibliographic record. Often used
synonymously with record,
but the bibliographic record refers specifically to the information
that describes the item.
of an information source, like books, articles, videos, and government
documents. For a book, the minimum information is: author, title, city
of publication, publisher, and date of publication. For an article, the
basic information is: author of article, title of article, title of
publication, volume/issue, date, page number.
Information about the source should be arranged consistently, following
an established style found in Style Manuals.
- The list
of works cited by
an author at the end of an article, paper, book, or other
research-based writing. There are also specialized subject
bibliographies, published separately as books.
Many types, here are two
Written by scholars, cover academic/scholarly topics, published by an
academic/scholarly press. Always include a bibliography, and frequently
include other features such as a chronology or glossary. College
and university libraries purchase primarily academic books. As a rule,
for college-level work, students should use academic books.
Popular Press Books:
know what these are! May focus on a specific topic but in a lighter
manner than academic books. Author may or may not have academic
credentials. There may or may not be a list of sources. Popular press
books may or may not be appropriate for college-level work; it really
depends on your topic.
- Search modifiers
connect keywords in a database search. The most common Boolean
operators are and,
databases use and not
instead of not;
some databases use a +
sign instead of and.
Read database search tips to get the most out of your searching.
you to view web pages. Internet
are examples of browsers.
letters and numbers
assigned to a book to give it a unique location in the library. Two
common systems for call numbers are the Dewey Decimal
System, which is used by
public libraries and some colleges, and the Library
Classification System, which
is the system used by most college and university libraries.
(Library Catalogs) Also
called Catalogs, Book Catalogs, OPACs, Online Catalogs.
database that contains
records for items that a library owns, such as books, videos, reserve
materials, reference books, and government documents. The catalog is
searchable by a variety of fields, including keyword, author, title and
Library of Congress Subject Heading. Online Library catalogs usually
include a "Your Record" feature that allows users to log in and see
they have checked out, renew their materials, etc.
- This means that the item
be checked out. Some Reserve items and videos circulate only within the
just inside the
library's main door, the Circulation Desk is where you go to check out
and return books, videos, and reserve materials; pick up items borrowed
from interlibrary loan; look for lost-and-found items; reserve
the study rooms; and
Information given in an
index or catalog that provides specific and unique information about an
item. The citation may include the article title, periodical title,
book title, place of publication, publisher, volume, pages, and date.
Citations are formatted following a specific set of rules or styles,
such as MLA, APA, or Chicago.
- A hallmark of using
information ethically, citing sources refers to giving credit to
authors whose work you use. Citations are usually written following
standard format from a style
manual, such as MLA.
- In computing terms,
is a computer requesting something from another computer. For example,
your PC, connected to the internet, is a client. Your client PC
requests things -- login, web pages, images, files -- from servers
on the internet.
architecture in which
one computer can get information from another. The client is the
computer that asks for access to data, software, or services. The
server, which can be anything from a personal computer to a mainframe,
supplies the requested data or services for the client."
language useful for
performing more specific searches in online databases. The Library of Congress Subject Headings
is an example of the controlled vocabulary used specifically for library book catalogs.
Compare with natural
copyright establishes ownership of information. Copyrighted information
is often stamped with the copyright symbol, but not always. Always
assume that information belongs to someone and give credit to the
original author by citing
- A searchable collection of
information, usually in electronic format. Each unique item in a
database is stored in a record, which has one or more searchable
fields. For example: a library book catalog is a database of records
describing items that are owned and located at a specific
Library, a periodical index,
is a ProQuest database containing
records describing articles in certain newspapers, magazines and
- Deep Web
- See invisible
- Dewey Decimal
- A system for
organizing materials, used mostly in public school libraries, public
libraries and some college
libraries. Dewey Decimal Classification System call numbers start with
this: 658.409 F862g 2004
- The number before
decimal point represents the main
subject area of the item, with trailing digits representing subject
Another organization system used in university and college libraries is
of Congress Classification System.
- A resource
that defines words. Dictionaries are usually located in the reference
collection. Dictionaries may be general (Webster's New Collegiate
Dictionary) or focused on a specific subject (Dictionary of Economics).
Some dictionaries are available in online databases: Merriam Webster's Online
is an example of a free web-based encyclopedia.
compendium, or collection,
of information. Like dictionaries, encyclopedias can be general
(Encyclopedia Britannica) or focused on a specific subject
(Encyclopedia of Life Sciences). Some encyclopedias are available
online in online databases: Encyclopedia
Britannica is a subscription
database often available from through your library's web site; The
Encyclopedia is an example of a
free web-based encyclopedia.
- In a database,
information in records
is organized into individual sections, or fields. In the online catalog,
fields include author, title, subject headings, and contents.
to tools commonly
used to locate information sources. Common types of finding tools are:
Catalogs, Periodical Indexes, and Web Search Tools.
- Floppy disk
- Hard-cased 3.5"
for storing and carrying digital information. The disk goes into the
"A:" drive of desktop computers. See also USB
- Acronym for HyperText
the set of "rules" used by the internet to move
files from web servers and make them readable in a web browser
(such as Internet Explorer). Web page addresses begin with http or
identify which set of rules to use in sending data back and forth
client computers and servers. Most browsers put in the http://
will be treated the same as library.whatcom.ctc.edu.
- A secure version of
which stands for HyperText
- Index, Periodical Index
- An index can be a
things. An index in the back of a book gives you access to the contents
of a book. Similarly, a Periodical
Index provides access to
the contents (articles) in magazines, journals and newspapers.
A periodical index usually provides access to several hundred or
thousands of different titles of periodicals.
Some periodical indexes are general, meaning they provide access to
periodicals on a variety of topics. EBSCO's Academic Search Premier
and ProQuest's Research Library are
examples of general
periodical indexes. Other periodical indexes are subject-specific,
meaning they focus on a single subject. MEDLINE
(medicine) and ERIC
(education) are examples of subject-specific periodical indexes.
All periodical indexes provide the bibliographic
for articles; some also include the abstracts. Other indexes provide
the full-text of some (but usually not all) of the
articles. EBSCO's Academic
and ProQuest's Research Library
are examples of full-text
- There are several
definitions of information literacy, but they all basically mean the
same thing: the ability to identify, access, and evaluate various types
of information sources, and be familiar with the issues involved in
using information in an ethical manner.
- Interlibrary Loan
- A service provided by
libraries for borrowing books and articles from other libraries.
- The term used
the look and feel of a search tool, such as a library catalog or
periodicals index. Interface features include navigation aids, search
boxes, placement and size of text, color, and overall ease of use.
- The world-wide
computers, linked through networks, that provides information transfer
through a common set of protocol and standards. The internet provides
data transfer for services such as email, file transfer, World Wide
Web, and newsgroups.
- Invisible Web
- Information that resides on
the Internet but which cannot be found by search engines because of
of protocol or passwords. Most information in the invisible web is
contained in databases, such as EBSCO's Academic Search Premier
and ProQuest's Research Library.
Some estimates say there may be as
much as 500 times as much information in the invisible web as in the
- see Scholarly
- Major words in the title,
abstract or text of an information source. In databases,
keyword is also a search feature that searches all the fields in a record.
Keywords are also associated with natural language.
- Library of Congress
- The system of letters and
numbers used by many college and university libraries to organize
materials by assigning call
numbers. The leading
letters of a call number represent the main subject of the
item. To see a
list of the letters and what they mean, check out this LC
- Library of Congress Subject Headings
- A thesaurus, LCSH collects
keywords and designates specific terms to use for searching by Subject
in the online catalog. You can also use LCSH to find broader terms,
narrower terms, and related terms for your subject.
- see Popular
- Refers to
rectangular sheets) and microfilm (roll) formats whereby the contents
of print material is
transferred onto film for preservation, and is shrunk in the process.
Usually, older issues of
periodicals are transferred to microform. Requires magnification to
read, usually via a microform reader.
- Natural Language
- Often used interchangeably
Natural language are words you'd think of to use to search for
information in databases. Compare natural language with controlled vocabulary,
which are the "official" words designated by a thesaurus for searching
subject fields in a database. For example, the Library
of Congress Subject Headings
designate specific words to use in the Subject search of the online catalog.
(But you can also use the controlled vocabulary terms as keywords in
- Refers to accessing
information, often a database, from a remote computer using a PC and
an internet connection.
- Oversize Books
- Books that are
too tall or long to fit on the "regular" shelves. You will often see
designation in library book catalogs.
- Pearl Growing
- The concept of using
source to lead you to many sources. For example, say you find an
article in a journal that's right on your topic. Scan the references at
the end of the article (might also be called the Bibliography, Works
Cited, Sources, etc.). If you find interesting books or articles in the
list, you can use the library's resources to locate those books or
articles. If your library doesn't have the source, you can use Interlibrary Loan
to obtain it.
- Peer-Reviewed Journal
- See Scholarly
- Information published on a
regular basis, such as daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Scholarly Journals,
Magazines, and Newspapers are
all periodicals. The term periodicals
is often used interchangeably with the word serials.
This image shows the relationship between all these terms:
Law Dictionary defines
plagiarism as the "act of presenting another's works or ideas as your
own." Put simply, plagiarism occurs when you use information and fail
to provide information about the source of the information.
- Popular Magazine
- A periodical
written for a broad audience. Articles are on a variety of
subjects. Articles are usually short, are written by journalists, and
rarely (if ever) include a bibliography. Popular magazines include lots
of advertisements and color photos. Examples include Time,
Newsweek, Psychology Today, and
Mother Earth News.
Contrast with scholarly
- Primary Source
- A first-hand account, or the
first appearance of information in print. For example, personal
letters, diaries, and interviews are primary sources. Also, an article
appearing in a scholarly
journal reporting on the results
of a research project or study is also a primary research study.
Compare with secondary
- Ink on paper; not
electronic. A book is a print resource. The Reader’s
Guide to Periodical Literature
in book form is a print index.
in searching online databases, proximity
searching lets you search for words that are near each other. For
and deforestation will
retrieve records where both those words appear anywhere in the record
searched; chocolate w/5
of deforestation literally
means "find records with the word 'chocolate' within 5 words of the
'deforestation'." The number can be any number: w/1, w/20, etc. Syntax
changes from database to database, so check the Search Help for the
- A formatted collection of information
about a single item. A record is made up of fields.
Groups of records stored together are called a database.
For example, the library catalog
provides information (records) about each item in the library. Library
catalog records typically
include such fields as an author field, a title field, and a
subject headings field.
- See Scholarly
- The process of
questions of library patrons about research or finding information; the
section of the library in which this interaction takes place.
- Reference Book
encyclopedias, handbooks, statistics sources, etc. Reference books may
be general, which means they cover a variety of topics, like the World
Book Encyclopedia; or they may
be focused on a specific subject, such as the Dictionary
of American History, or the CQ
Researcher. Some reference
books are also available in online databases; CQ
Researcher Online is an
example. Reference books cannot be checked out. See also books.
- A faculty member
studied the field of library science at the graduate level. A librarian
is skilled in using print and electronic resources and is the person to
ask for research assistance in the library.
- Diligent and
inquiry and investigation into a subject. Research is a process that
includes grasping the scope of the topic, using appropriate print and
electronic sources, asking the reference librarian for help, and making
use of bibliographies given by other authors.
systematic method for
locating information in a variety of sources. The research process
includes defining your purpose, collecting background information,
locating and evaluating resources, and properly citing your sources.
- Reserve Materials
- A collection of
for use by all students in a class. Any type of material that a
professor deems appropriate may be put on reserve. Use the Library
Catalog to find out what is on
reserve and to get the call number.
- Scholarly Journal
- A periodical
in which the articles are written by scholars, for other scholars.
Articles are often lengthy,
report on original research,
and include a list of works
cited. Scholarly journals are
devoted to a specific subject,
such as Journal of the
American Medical Association,
or Political Science Review.
Usually there are no or few advertisements because journals are usually
sponsored by a non-profit agency, such as a university or a
organization (such as the American Medical Association), but some
journals do have many ads targeted to their
audience. Because the decision about what gets published is made by
other scholars in the field, scholarly journals are often referred to
common usage, a search tool used to find web pages and other
internet content. Data about internet content is added to the
search engine's database by spiders, or search bots (programs) that
search the internet for new web pages. There is no interaction or
evaluation of sites by people.
combination of keywords
operators designed to get the
best results from a database.
- Secondary Source
- As compared to primary
a secondary source does not include a
first-hand account. For example, a
diary is a primary source. A biography based on information in the
diary is a secondary source.
- A synonym for periodicals.
- Computers connected
that provide information requested by other computers. For example, if
you follow a web link on your PC, your PC is a client,
and a computer
on the internet serves -- or sends -- the files for that web page
to your PC. One computer asking for files and another computer
providing them is also known as a client/server relationship.
- Style Manual
- A book that provides
instructions for formatting a paper, with regard to footnotes,
bibliographies, pagination, citing sources,
etc. Ask your instructor which style manual you are to use. The most
commonly used style manuals are the following:
* MLA Handbook for Writers of
Research Papers (also called MLA)
* Publication Manual of the
American Psychological Association
(also called APA)
* A Manual for Writers of
Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations
- A database of web
usually sharing a common theme, compiled (and sometimes evaluated) by
- Used to
in a database, truncation refers to locating the root, or stem, or a
word, and adding a symbol, such as an * . For example, genetic*
will look for genetic, genetically,
Truncating is often used interchangeably with the words stemming
but in many databases these three things perform different functions.
Check the Search Help screen in each database to determine what symbol
to use and how to use it effectively.
- URL (Uniform Resource
the World Wide Web, a
is the "address" of a web page. In the example below, the URL for the
WCC Library is shown in the address box of a browser
- Small, portable memory
device for storing and carrying digital information. The device is
inserted in a USB port of a PC tower, keyboard, or monitor. Flash
drives are also known as thumb drives, jump drives, memory sticks, and
many other names.
- Web Search
- Include search
directories, meta-search tools, web portals and specialty searches.
- World Wide Web
- Information accessed over
internet that is based on Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) to provide a
common protocol and interface. One of the defining features of WWW is
the use of hyperlinks to navigate between pages and information
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