Glossary of Government Information Terms

 

Click on a letter below to find your term. If you do not find the term you need, refer to one of our glossary links.

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A

Abstract
    1. A brief summary of the points in an article.
    2. A source that compiles by subject, author or title articles in a selected group of periodicals and includes a summary of each article.
     UIUC Library Glossary


Agency
   1. An authority of the government of the United States, whether it is within or subject to review by another agency or stand-alone.
   2. Does not include Congress, judiciary, US territory governments, or Washington DC government.
    5 USC 551

Almanac
    1. A compendium of useful data and statistics relating to countries, personalities, events, and subjects.
    UIUC Library Glossary

ASI (American Statistics Index)
    1. Since 1974, indexes and abstracts statistical publications of the executive branch, Congress, the judiciary, independent regulatory agencies, and other federal bodies. Consists of index and abstract paper volumes. Also accessible via ProQuest Statistical Insight.
    Introduction to United States Government Information Sources (6th ed.)

Author
    1. When searching in an online system, such as the UIUC gateway catalog, for government information, the author field refers to the issuing agency's name.
    e.g. AUTHOR: U.S. Geological Survey

 

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B

 

Bibliographic Database
    1. Bibliographic databases provide access by such fields as author, title, and subject to a group of periodicals, books, or proceedings or provide information about books.

Bill
    1.A legislative proposal before Congress.
        a. Bills from the House are stemmed H.R.
        b. Bills from the Senate are stemmed S.
    Congressional Glossary -- further bill definitions

Boolean Search
    1. Referring to logical or algebraic operations, formulated by George Boole, involving variables with two values, such as Value 1 and Value 2; Value 1 or Value 2; and Value 1 but not Value 2.(ALA Glossary)
    Examples of Boolean Search techniques:
        cat AND dog = all things that refer to both cats and dogs
        cat OR dog = all things that refer to either cats or dogs
        cat NOT dog = all things with cats that do not refer also to dogs.
     UIUC Library Glossary

 

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C

 

CIC VEL
    Committee on Institutional Cooperation Virtual Electronic Library
    1. Links the catalogs of the Big 10 libraries and the University of Chicago

CIS Index
    Congressional Information Service Index
    1. From 1970 to present, indexes and abstracts Congressional hearings and offers full text on microfiche. Also contains abstracts for committee prints and reports

Committee Report
    1. The document setting forth a committee's explanation of its action.
    For more detail, see http://www.thecapitol.net/glossary/r.htm#Report

Congressional Session
    1. The period during which Congress assembles and carries on its regular business. Each Congress generally has two regular sessions (a first session and a second session), based on the Constitutional mandate that Congress assemble at least once each year.

Controlled Vocabulary
    1. The standardization of words which may be used to search an index, abstract or information database. There is usually a published listing or thesaurus of preferred terms identifying the system's vocabulary.
     UIUC Library Glossary

 

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D

 

Database
    1. A structured set of information, stored in a book, disk, computer, etc.
    UIUC Library Glossary 

Decennial Census
    1. The census of population and housing, taken in each year ending in zero.
        a. The first census of population was taken in 1790. The Census Bureau first conducted the census of housing in 1940.
    Glossary of Census Terms

Demographic(s)
    1. The statistical characteristics of human populations (as age or income) used especially to identify markets
    Merriam Webster's Online Collegiate Dictionary

Depository
    1. A library which receives the publications of a government or official body.
    2. Provides local, no-fee access to Government information in an impartial environment with professional assistance.
    UIUC Library Glossary

Dewey Decimal System
    1. A highly structured arrangement of all areas of knowledge into numbers ranging from 000 to 999.
    UIUC Library Glossary

Document
    See "Government Information"

 

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E

 

Economic
    1. Of, relating to, or based on the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services having practical or industrial significance or uses : affecting material resources.
    Merriam Webster's Online Collegiate Dictionary

 

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F

 

FDLP (Federal Depository Library Program)
    1. Established by Congress to ensure that the American public has access to its Government's information
    2. Provides Government information at no cost to designated depository libraries throughout the country and territories.

FDsys (Federal Digital System)

    1. A GPO system that provides free online access to official publications of Federal executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

    2. In 2010, FDsys replaced GPO Access.
Fugitive Document
    1. Government documents not submitted to the depository program.

Full-text Database
    1. A database providing access to the full intellectual body of the work, not just a bibliographic representation, as in a bibliographic database.

 

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G

 

Government Information
    Related term: Document
    1. Informational matter which is published as an individual document at government expense, or as required by law.

GPO
    Government Printing Office
    1. An agency of the executive branch of the federal government, GPO produces and distributes Federal Government information products.

GPO Access
    1. Created in 1994 to provided electronic access to federal publications.
    2. In 2010, FDsys replaced GPO Access.

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H

 

Hearing
   1. Committee sessions for taking testimony from witnesses.
    Congressional Glossary

 

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I


IGO
    International Intergovernmental Organization
    e.g. United Nations, European Union, etc.

IIS
    Index to International Statistics
    1. Indexes and abstracts statistical titles published by IGO's

Index
    1. A list arranged usually in alphabetical order of some specified datum (as author, subject, or keyword)
        a. a list of items (as topics or names) in a printed work that gives for each item the page number where it may be found
        b. a bibliographical analysis of groups of publications that is usually published periodically
    Merriam Webster's Online Collegiate Dictionary

IRRC
    Information Resource Retrieval Center
    1. The Interlibrary Loan Department for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
    http://www.library.uiuc.edu/irrc

I-Share
   1. The statewide online catalog used by 75 other academic libraries in Illinois. The UIUC Online Catalog is a subset of I-Share.
    UIUC Library Glossary

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J

 

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K

 

Keyword
   1.A significant word from a title or document used as an index to the document content.
    Merriam Webster's Online Collegiate Dictionary

 

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L

 

Law
    1: a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority: as
        a: a command or provision enacted by a legislature (see also statute § 1)
        b: something (as a judicial decision) authoritatively accorded binding or controlling effect in the administration of justice.
    Example: that case is no longer the law of this circuit
    2 a: a body of laws
    Findlaw Legal Dictionary

LC - Library of Congress
    1. An institution set up to serve the members of Congress.
    1. Its mission is to make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations.

Legislation
    1. The exercise of the power and function of making rules that have the force of authority by virtue of their promulgation by an official organ of the state
    2. The enactments of a legislator or legislative body
    3. A matter of business for or under consideration by a legislative body
    Example: recently proposed legislation
    Findlaw Legal Dictionary

Library Gateway
    1. The online portal to a variety of UIUC library services, including individual library pages, usage guides, reference services, and I-Share.

 

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M

 

Microfiche
    1. A format; photographically reduced images reproduced on a small 4 x 6 sheets of film.
    2. Often used to provide backup for periodicals with missing pages.
    UIUC Library Glossary

Microfilm
    1. A format; photographically reduced images of printed pages on 35mm film. This format also provides backup for periodicals with missing pages. Older issues of newspapers are often microfilmed because newsprint deteriorates so rapidly.  Historical census data is also found in microfilm format.
    UIUC Library Glossary

Monograph
    1. A book. A separate treatise on a single subject or class of subjects, or on one person, usually detailed in treatment but not extensive in scope and often containing bibliographies.
    UIUC Library Glossary

Monthly Catalog
    1. Published monthly by the GPO
    1. A catalog of all US government information products that are submitted to the federal depository library program.

 

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N

 

NGO
    1. International Non-Governmental Organizations associated with the United Nations.

NTIS
    National Technical Information Service
    1. A central resource for government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business related information.
    http://www.ntis.gov/

NOCIR
    1. Non-circulating - the loan period for items which do not circulate outside a library, such as reference works. However, items with this circulation code may still be used within a library.
    UIUC Library Glossary

 

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O

 

OCLC
    1. A bibliographic network based on an online database of approximately 28 million cataloging records from its 5500 members, including those of UIUC Library since 1975. It now serves more than 18,000 libraries in 52 countries. The OCLC database is used for cataloging, for reference work, and for interlibrary loan. It is the world's largest and most comprehensive database of bibliographic information. URL: http://www.oclc.org/
    UIUC Library Glossary

ODS
    Official Documents System
    1. The electronic repository for official documents published by the United Nations

 

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P

 

Patent
    1. The grant of a property right to an inventor.
    2. Grants the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the invention
    http://www.lawnotes.com/patent/glossary.html

Q

 

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R

 

Record
    1. A single document in a database. In an electronic index, a record consists of a citation (with or without an abstract) for a single periodical article.
    UIUC Library Glossary

Regulation
    1. A rule or order issued by a government agency and often having the force of law
    Findlaw Legal Dictionary

 

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S

 

Serial
    1. Materials issued at regular or irregular intervals and intended to continue indefinitely.
    2. Includes periodicals, magazines, journals, and yearbooks.
    UIUC Library Glossary

Serial Set
    1. Serial Set reports include Congressional committee and administrative reports of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Serial Set documents include directories, orations, journals, and many other types of materials.  This collection typically houses historical documents from the legislature and associated agencies.

Series
    1. A group of separate bibliographic items related to one another by the fact that each item bears, in addition to its own title proper, a collective title applying to the group as a whole. The individual items may or may not be numbered. (AACR 2) For example, The Death Penalty is a book in the Opposing Viewpoints series.
    UIUC Library Glossary

SRI
    Statistical Reference Index
    1. Announces statistical publications of state governments, associations, and institutes, business and commercial publishers, and universities.
    Introduction to United States Government Information p.289

Stacks
    1. A structure of bookshelves for compact storage of books -- usually used in plural
    Merriam Webster's Online Collegiate Dictionary

Statistics
    1. A collection of quantitative data
    Merriam Webster's Online Collegiate Dictionary

Stop Word
    1. A commonly used word, such as "the" "and" "it"
        a. when searching a database or online, such words should be left out of the search query.

SuDoc Number
    1. The classification scheme used by the U.S. Superintendent of Documents. Used to create call numbers for most U.S. government documents received at the UIUC Library since 1980.
        a. Publications are grouped by the issuing agency.
        Example: C61.34:992 (Commerce Department publication)

 

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T

 

Tariff
    1. A schedule of duties imposed by a government on imported or in some countries exported goods
        a. a duty or rate of duty imposed in such a schedule
    2: A document filed with the appropriate government agency that sets forth the rates, charges, and other provisions pertaining to services furnished by a business (as a carrier) or public utility
    Findlaw Legal Dictionary

Truncation
    1. In database searching, the addition of a special symbol (*, #, ?, etc.) to the root of a word to match any record in a database that begins with the letters to the left of the symbol. For example, in the online catalog typing forest? as an Expert Keyword search would find records containing the words forest, forestry, forests, forested, etc.
    UIUC Library Glossary

 

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U

 

United Nations (UN)
    1. An IGO that works to maintain international peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations; to cooperate in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems and in promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations in attaining these ends.
        a. Established in 1945 by 26 original member nations
        b. Examples of prominent branches are: General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, Trusteeship Council, International Court of Justice and Secretariat.
    http://www.un.org

URL
    1. The address of a computer or a document on the Internet that consists of a communications protocol followed by a colon and two slashes (as http://), the identifier of a computer (as www.uiuc.edu) and usually a path through a directory to a file -- called also uniform resource locator, universal resource locator
    Merriam Webster's Online Collegiate Dictionary

 

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V

 

Vertical File
    1. A file cabinet or file box containing a collection of pamphlets, newspaper clippings, or other small published items.
        a. The Documents Library maintains a vertical file of largely uncatalogued publications.

 

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W

 

World Cat
    1. Contains all the records cataloged by OCLC member libraries - a bibliographic database

WTO
    World Trade Organization.
    1. The only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations.
        a. Its goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business

X

 

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Y

 

Yearbook
    1. An annual compendium of facts and statistics on a particular subject for the preceding year.

 


Z

 

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GLOSSARY LINKS:

Census:

(including American Community Survey, Decennial Census, Geographic terms, and abbreviations)
http://www.census.gov/main/www/glossary.html

Legislative terms:

http://legis.wisconsin.gov/Pages/glossary.aspx

Congressional terms:

http://www.thecapitol.net/glossary/

Patent terms:

Very general:
http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/doc/general/whatis.htm

Legal terms:

Legal Terms Glossary-Justice 101:
http://www.justice.gov/usao/justice101/glossary.html
Legal Dictionary:
http://dictionary.lp.findlaw.com/

Acronyms and Abbreviations:

http://www.ulib.iupui.edu/subjectareas/gov/docs_abbrev.html

UIUC Library glossary:

http://www.library.illinois.edu/learn/intro/glossary.html

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1408 W. Gregory Dr.
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Phone: (217) 244-4621

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Mary Mallory, Coordinator, Government Information Services, Access and Collections, University Library

Karen Hogenboom, Numeric and Spatial Data Librarian, Scholarly Commons