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Glossary of Terms

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Abstract The summary of the contents of a journal or magazine article, a book or portion of a book, or other bibliographic material.
Bibliography A bibliography is a list of citations for books, periodical articles or other materials. Bibliographies are published on specific subjects are often found in reference collections. Bibliographies are also used to list all of the material used to complete a research paper—these are often referred to as Works Cited pages.
Bookmark If you are using an Internet browser, you can bookmark or save certain sites on the Internet which you can return to by simply clicking on it from the browser's bookmark pull down menu.
Browser A program for navigating the World Wide Web. Most browsers display graphics and formatted pages and let you click on hyperlinks to jump from one web page to another. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari are all browsers.
Call Numbers Each item in a library collection is classified by subject area, based on a classification system. Rosenthal Library, like most academic libraries, uses the Library of Congress system. Call numbers are like house and apartment addresses, each location has a specific identifier. Call numbers are placed on the spine of the book to locate it in the stacks.
Circulation A department within the library where books and other materials are loaned or charged out to library users. The term “circulate” refers to whether or not an item may be checked out of the library, for example, Reference material does not circulate.
Citation Information which fully identifies a publication; a complete citation usually includes author, title, name of journal (if the citation describes an article) or publisher, and date. Usually, pages, volumes and other descriptive information will be included in a citation. When you perform searches using a database, such as Nursing and Allied Health, you will retrieve citations which describe a book chapter or journal article.
Cross Reference A term used in catalogs, and indexes to lead you from one search term to another. For example: Cancer—Search also under individual organs and regions of the body, e.g. Foot cancer.
Database A common term for a collection of information arranged into individual records to be searched by computer. Online databases are different from search engines because they only search the records contained within them, rather than whatever is available on the Web.
Dialog Box A window on your computer screen that prompts you to type something, make choices, or confirm a command before the program can continue.
Field A record or citation of a book (or library material) or article is made up of fields. A field is a part of a record used for a particular category of data. For instance, the title, author and abstract of one citation or record are all fields.
Hold A library user may place a hold on a book charged 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.
Holdings Holdings information will tell you exactly which periodicals and which issues of that periodical are available in the library. Books which have multiple volumes will also have holdings information in their record.
HTML Hypertext markup language—A computer code that allows you to create pages on the Internet. HTML “tags” electronic text to indicate how it should be displayed onscreen by browsers. If a file is in HTML, it will look like a website on the Internet.
Hyperlink Often referred to as “links.” A link within the document that connects to another place on the web. Hyperlinks are represented by highlighted icons or text. Selecting a hyperlink makes your browser “jump” form one place to another.
Indexes and Abstracts 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 content of the article. Both indexes and abstracts are found in the reference room and online in databases.
Interlibrary Loan Services (ILL) Interlibrary Loan services provide access to materials that cannot be found in the Queens College or CUNY systems. You can request books, journal articles, theses, musical scores, etc. through ILL.
Internet A vast network of computers offering many types of services, including email and access to the World Wide Web. As a “network of networks”, the Internet links computers around the world.
Internet Service Provider (ISP) A person or company providing access to the Internet.
Keyword Searching Allows a user to construct a search by looking for a word or combination of words from the author, title, or subject fields of the library online catalog.
Listserv An ongoing email discussion about a specific issue. Participants subscribe via a central service, and listservs may have a moderator who manages information flow.
Menu Options and corresponding commands are displayed on a computer screen and can be selected by the user to navigate the database.
Microforms—Microfilm and microfiche For reasons of preservation and space libraries often keep non-current periodicals and newspapers on microfilm and microfiche. These documents have been photographed and reduced in size. Microfilm is on a reel and microfiche is on a small (4" × 5") piece of plastic. There are specific machines for viewing the microforms that enlarge and allow you to photocopy.
Operators Words such as AND, OR and NOT are operators which allow you to combine search terms to broaden or narrow search results. Combining search terms using these operators is called Boolean Searching.
Periodicals Also referred to as serials. Periodicals are publications which are issued more than once a year—daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, biennially. This includes journals, magazines and newspapers. Once periodicals are no longer current they are either bound like books and shelved in call number order, or retained as microform. Most of our periodicals are available in electronic format.
Record A collection of descriptive data arranged in fields that describes one item (book, article, etc). For example a record is made up of author, title, journal name, date, volume, page numbers and summary (abstract) of the article, each of these are called fields.
Reference A section of the library where materials such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, directories, or statistical compilations. In Rosenthal Library, the Reference Collection is on the third floor of the library
Reserve Reading A selection of specific books, periodical articles and other material, often required course readings, which have been set aside from the main collection and given a short loan period, so that they will be available to more patrons. In Rosenthal Library, reserve books can be requested at the desk on Level 3.
Search Engine Programs that work with your browser to find information on the Web. After you type a keyword or select a given topic, a search engine looks for Web pages containing you keyword(s) and produces a menu of available documents. There are many search engines available and each is slightly different in its scope, search protocols and appearance. Common search engines are Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Server A computer that handles requests from client computers for data, email, file transfer and other network services.
Stacks The stacks are the part of the library which houses its collection. This term often refers specifically to the library's circulating collection. Books and periodicals are arranged systematically on shelves.
Subject Headings Descriptive and specific words or phrases assigned to library material which are used to organize the library's collection. The descriptive words are a “controlled language” developed by the Library of Congress which helps to clarify certain topics and words and create a uniform classification system. Determining correct subject headings is an important and useful part of conducting research.
Truncation Typing a specific symbol at the end of a word to retrieve all possible endings of that word. In many databases, an asterisk (*) is used. For example, nurs* would retrieve nurse, nurses, nursing.
URL Uniform Resource Locator. A string of characters that uniquely identifies each page of information on the WWW; a web address.
Username The information that, combined with your password, lets you access your computer account.
World Wide Web (WWW) A global Internet service connecting hypertext data and resouces. Using a browser, you can move quickly from one Web site to another in search of information, graphics and data.

These definitions were adapted from Nova Southeastern University's Glossary of Library and Internet Terms.


For more information contact:

Prof. Nancy Foasberg
Coordinator of Instructional Services

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