Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Library Research @ Williamson Library: Library and Research Terms

Start your research, access library resources, and more.

Common Library & Research Terms

Annotated bibliography - bibliographic citation thta includes commentary on the cited material

APA Style - guide for typing research papers in the social sciences; developed by the American Psychological Association and includes the proper format for typing bibliographic entries

Article index - guide to the content of journals, magazines, or newspapers

Bibliographic instruction - presentation or instruction by a librarian on library research and resources;  usually requested by a faculty member in support of a class assignment or project

Booelan search - search method which combines terms for a more specific, advanced search; common operators for Boolean searches include:  AND, OR, NOT

Call number - a number (usually a combination of numbers and letters) that indicates the location or position of a material on a library shelf;  The Williamson Library uses the Library of Congress Classification System

Database - a collection of information in electronic form (i.e. Academic Search Premier, JSTOR)

Domain name - address identifying a specific site on the Internet; consists of three parts separated by a period (i.e., .com, .edu, .gov, .net)

eJournal - short for electronic journal

Hold - function in library catalog, when placed, indicates a patron's desire for the library to reserve an item under his or her name

Information literacy - the ability to effectively locate, evaluate, and use information

Interlibrary loan - process through which libraries and other lending institutions borrow and loan materials from other institutions

Journal - a scholarly periodical issues by a society or instiution; may contain news, proceedings, articles, and/or transactions for a particular discipline

Keyword - word(s) that describe one's search subject:  Keywords are natural, meaning there is no standard method for composing them.

Microform - documents which have been photographed or reduced in size for preservation and storage;  Common forms include:  microfiche and microfilm.

MLA Style - format for typing research papers and citing sources in the humanities; developed by the Modern Language Association of America

Periodical - a publication that occurs at regular intervals, such as daily, weekly, monthly, or annually

Reference Collection - section of the library which houses most dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference materials (usually intended for research)

Search engine - program that search for keywords in Web sites (i.e. Google, Yahoo)

Serials - publications that appear more or less regularly--daily, weekly monthly, quarterly, annually, or biennially (i.e. newspapers, journals, magazines, and almanacs)

Subject Guide/Research Guide/LibGuide - a list of selected reference materials related to a particular subject; used to launch library research

Subject Headings - word(s) or phrases(s) used to identify the subject of an item; Subject headings are used to group together items of the same subject under one standard heading; They are considered controlled vocabulary.

Truncated search - the process of shortening or "cutting off" part of a keyword for quicker, more exhaustive searches (i.e. librar* matches with library, libraries, librarian, and librarianship)

 

Reference Materials

Abstract - summary of a book, article, or other publication

Almanac - one-volume book containing statistical data for a given year (Ex:  The World Alamanac, Book of Facts)

Atlas - bound collectin of maps; often includes illustrations, tables, and text (Ex: Compact Atlas of the World)

Bibliography - list of materials (books, articles, maps, etc.) related to a specific subject or author (Ex:  Oxford Companion to English Literature)

Chronology - list of events in order of occurence

Concordance - alphabetical index of the principal words in a book or collection of works for a given author (Ex: Webster's Collegiate Dictionary)

Dictionary - defines words and terms; used to confirm origins, spellings, punctuations, and sometimes synonyms and acronyms (Ex: Webster's Collegiate Dictionary)

Directory - alphabetical or classified lists of names, titles, and/or addressed of individuals, companies, organizations, and institutions (Ex:  World Book Encyclopedia)

Encyclopedia - work that contains information on all branches of knowledge or comprehensively covers a particular branch of knowledge in articles; arranged alphabetically by subject (Ex:  World Book Encyclopedia)

Gazetteer - dictionary of geographic places, usually providing the absolute and relative locations of regions, countries, cities, and even landforms (Ex: Chamber's Concise Gazetteer of the World)

Guidebook - book of informaton, intended primarily for travelers; provices geographical facts and maps (Ex:  Fodor's the Complete Guide to the National Parks of the West)

Handbook - concise reference book covering a particular subject, usually gives a brief survey of the a subject (Ex:  Southeastern Community College Handbook)

Index - list of items (or citations) covering a particular subject; includes information on where to locate the item (Ex:  Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature)

Manual - specific work that tells how to do something or provides descriptions of the inner workings of an organization (Ex:  MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers)

Yearbook - book published yearly as a report or summary of statistics and facts (Ex:  U.S. Statistical Rankings)