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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)