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Information Literacy 101 - The Basics of Using the Salmon Library

This guide is a collection of materials on the basic ways to use the library materials, including finding materials, citing materials, and so forth

Terminology and other Jargon

Glossary of Library Terms


 Abstract - A brief summary of the topics covered in an article or book.


Almanac - A publication, usually an annual, containing useful facts and statistical  information.


Annual - An item that is published once a year.


Article - A written essay or report on a subject. Articles appear in magazines, journals,  newspapers, and in encyclopedias, among others.


Author -The writer of a book or article. The author may be one person, several people, or a "corporate body" such as a government agency, professional association, or company.


Bibliographic Record (Bib Record) - A record that describes an item in the collection;  the bib record includes call number, author, title, publication information, paging, subject headings, etc.


Bibliography - A list of publications (books, articles, dissertations, etc.) usually on a subject or by a particular author. A bibliography may be a full book or a brief list in books or journal articles.


Biography/Biographical - An account of a person's life.


Boolean Searching - Uses three basic Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to link concepts in database searching. For more information, see the Search Strategy guide.


Bound Journals - Several issues of a journal that have been sewn together between hard covers like a book.  These can be found on N-1 and C-2.


CD-ROM (Compact Disc - Read Only Memory) - A technology for putting a large amount of information on a small disk that can be accessed by a computer; CD-ROMs in the Libraries contain periodical indexes, abstracts, statistics, directories, and other complete texts. A number of books will contain a CD with them and the CDs are kept at the User Services desk.  Please ask for them when you check out these books.


Call Number - A unique identifying number given to each book acquired by a library.   The call number serves to group books together according to subject in an organizational scheme. The Salmon Library uses the Library of Congress  Classification system. Federal Documents use the Superintendent of Documents  (SuDoc) system.  The E-Books will contain EBOOK as part of the call number.


Citation - Information such as author, title, pagination, and dates which identifies an item  - book, journal article, or other format. Sufficient information is included to locate the original item.


Current Journal - Recent, unbound issues. For titles which are collected in microform, paper issues are retained until the microform is received.  Many of the current journal titles are available only online.


Database - A collection of electronic records having a standardized format and using specific software for computer access.  The library subscribes to more than 350 Licensed databases.


Descriptor - A word or phrase used as a subject heading. It is part of a controlled vocabulary used for a specific database. Compare with Subject Headings, Keyword Searching.


Dictionary - A reference source that provides meanings of words and other information. Specialized dictionaries are available for many subject areas.  Just put the word DICTIONARIES in the subject field and your topic in the WORDS or PHRASE field.  Large unabridged dictionaries can be found on all three floors of the library.


Dissertation - Original research usually required for a Ph.D. degree.


Document Delivery - A service which allows users to order copies of materials, usually journal articles, via an online communications link. The document may be delivered by mail, fax, email, or sent directly to the user's workstation. See also Interlibrary Loan.


Edition - All copies of a title issued by the same publisher on the same date.


Encyclopedia - A reference source containing information on a variety of topics. This   information may be supplied in short paragraphs or in lengthy articles that include citations to other works on the same topic. Encyclopedias can be general - covering all topics, or specialized - focusing on a particular discipline such as art or philosophy.


Government Document - A publication produced by a government agency. These items are often shelved separately and are arranged by an identification number assigned by the issuing agency. Go to the Government Documents LibGuide.


Hold - A borrower may request that a circulating book be held upon its return. The patron will be notified when it becomes available.


Holdings - All the materials in various formats owned by a library.


Hypertext Link - A software pointer pointing to data on another computer through the Internet.


Interlibrary Loan (ILL) - A service which fills patron requests for materials from other libraries.


Index - A list of citations to journal articles and/or books arranged by subject, author, or title; indexes may be in print format, electronic format, or both. Also, a list of  subjects covered in a book, usually published at the end of the book.


Internet- A worldwide electronic network providing access to millions of resources, not  all of which are free.


ISBN - International Standard Book Number; a unique ten or thirteen digit number assigned to every printed book.


ISSN - International Standard Serial Number; a unique eight digit number assigned to every serial publication.


Item Record - An item record represents a physical piece in the library; it consists of fixed and variable fields that are used to describe the item and to record circulation information.


Journal - A type of periodical, often issued by a society or institution, containing news, proceedings, transactions and articles about work carried out in a particular discipline. Intended for a scholarly audience. These are often refereed by a committee of peer reviewers.


Keyword Searching - Using a word or combination of words to search a database.     Keyword looks for words in titles, corporate names, subject headings, and  contents notes. A broader term than descriptor or subject heading.


LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings) - A controlled vocabulary used to describe the contents of works. Materials classified with Library of Congress call  numbers use these subject headings.


Library of Congress Classification System - The call number system used by most academic and research libraries in the United States. It keeps items together by subject (see Call Number) by dividing knowledge into subject areas and assigning corresponding letters and numbers for library materials.


Location - Where the physical item is shelved in the library. In iLink, location is given in  the bottom of the item record.


Magazine - A type of serial publication that is intended for a general reading audience and contains articles of popular interest.  We have popular magazines in the Coffee Shop.


Microforms - A generic term for any medium such as film or fiche that contains images that are too small to be read by the human eye.  These are located on N-1 along the north wall in rows of cabinets.  The readers for the microfilm and microfiche are behind the Reference Desk.


Monograph - A book that is complete in one physical piece.


Non-Circulating - An item which is not allowed to be checked out of the Library.   Reference materials are Non-Circulating but are to be used within the library.


OPAC – This stands for Online Public Access Catalog. In the Salmon Library, iLink is the OPAC.


Online - A general term for when one computer is interacting directly and simultaneously with another computer. Many sources of information are available online.


Online Database – A database of either full-text documents or citations and abstracts which can be searched.  The Salmon Library subscribes to over 350 subscription Databases.


Oversize - Large volumes that are shelved apart from the regular size books in each call number or collection.  These are shelved on N-2 and N-3 by the north walls by their call number.


Patron Record - A record that contains information about the students, staff, faculty, and community borrowers who have borrowing privileges with the M. Louis Salmon Library.


Periodical - A magazine, journal, newsletter, or newspaper produced on a regular basis.


Persistent Links -  Persistent links, also called durable links, are internet addresses or URLs (Uniform Resource Locators) that remain consistent and do not change over time.


Popular Source - Information, especially articles, written to entertain or inform the general public. Some examples of popular magazines include Time, Newsweek, and People Weekly.


Primary Source - Original manuscripts, contemporary records, or documents created at the time an event occurred.  You can search for these in iLink by using your topic and the subject term of SOURCE. 


Recall - When an item that has been checked out, another patron may request that item. The current borrower will be notified, and must return it by the 'Recall' date.


Record - A unit of information in a database identifying a specific item. It usually includes data such as author, title, date, publisher, subject headings.


Refereed Journal - A publication, usually scholarly, in which articles are reviewed by a panel before being accepted for publication. 


Reference Area - A separate location for encyclopedias, handbooks, guides, directories,  etc. These items do not circulate so that they will always be available for use in   the library.  In the Salmon Library, these are shelved on the outside walls of the InfoArcade.  The Ready Reference books are behind the Reference Desk.


Reference - A service provided by the libraries to assist patrons in the retrieval of  information and the use of information resources.


Renew - To extend the due date of the item(s) patrons have checked out.


Reserve(s) - A controlled access collection where items set aside for particular classes are loaned for shorter than usual periods of time from the User Services Desk.


Scholarly Source - Information, especially journal articles, written by and for experts in a particular field of study.


Search - Words that are input to the field to match against information in a database.


Search Strategy - A systematic process used to find the most relevant information on a topic. During this process, one considers all potentially useful reference sources,  selects works appropriate for the research need, locates information, and evaluates  the information found.


Secondary Source - Works that are not original manuscripts or contemporary records or documents associated with an event, but which critique, comment on, or build upon these primary sources.


Serial - A publication that is issued in parts indefinitely over time; includes journals, periodicals, magazines, almanacs, annual reports, etc.


Subject Headings - A controlled vocabulary assigned by an indexer. Subject headings are used in catalogs and indexes to group together items by subject. See also Descriptors, Library of Congress Subject Headings.


Thesaurus - A list of words that are applicable to a specific subject area; usually is a controlled vocabulary list.


Thesis/Theses - Original research often required for a Masters degree.


Truncation - The shortening or cutting off part of a keyword. The keyword is shortened  so that it will match with all terms starting with the same stem, e.g. librar* will  match with library, libraries, librarian, librarianship, etc.  Check the helps in the database that you are using to find the correct truncation symbol.  (Some databases use the asterisk * while others use a dollar sign $.)


User Services – In the Salmon Library this is the desk where you can check out and return materials, pay overdue fees, renew materials, check out and return  ILLs, and apply for a library card or computer privileges (if a guest).


Volume - One physical piece, usually bound with hard covers.