There are many words used to describe library resources and searching techniques. Even though we try to avoid these as much as possible when we are assisting you, sometimes this may not happen. The alphabetical listing below provides you with an alphabetical listing of some of the terms you may encounter and their definitions.
Audiovisual : Information in a non-print format. Includes films, slides, audiotapes, videocassettes, records, software. Also called media.
Bibliography : A list of citations or references to books or articles on a particular topic. Bibliographies can appear at the end of a book, journal or encyclopedia article, or as a separate publication.
Boolean Searching : A method of searching in which search sets are combined using the boolean algebra operators AND, OR, and NOT to broaden or narrow search results.
Call Number : A combination of numbers and letters that provide a unique description of each item in a library collection. Items are arranged on the bookshelves by call number, so the call number is the "address" of materials on the shelf. Call numbers are determined by the classification scheme used by the library.
Card Catalog : A card file, arranged by author, title, and subject, listing all items owned by a library. The Main Card Catalog, located on the Second Floor of the Main Library Building, contains cards for every item in the Univeristy Library System purchased between 1868 and 1975. Most departmental libraries have a card catalog for its own collection.
CD-ROM : (Compact Disc Read-Only-Memory). An information technology which is used to store large databases and provides access to them via computer. These discs look like the compact discs you'd see in a music store. Instead of storing music, they store text.
Circulate : Materials which can be charged are said to circulate.
Citation : A reference to an item (such a book or article). A citation contains the author, title, date of publication and any other information needed to locate the item.
Citation Tracing : A method of locating additional sources by looking at the citations found in a source you already have.
Classification Scheme : A system used to organize library materials. The classification scheme a library uses determines the type of call number you will see. The University of Illinois Library uses primarily the Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme; some departmental libraries use the Library of Congress or the U.S. Government's Superintendent of Documents Classification systems.
Controlled Vocabulary : A set of preferred terms used by an index or database. There is usually a published listing or thesaurus which identifies the system's vocabulary. Example: Library of Congress Subject Headings
Departmental Libraries : Subject libraries located in either the Main Library or in other buildings on campus that provide materials and services in a specialized area such as history, engineering, agriculture, music, art, etc.
Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme : A method developed in the nineteenth century by Melville Dewey to classify and shelve items by using numbers to represent subject content. Dewey divides knowledge into ten main classes, with further subdivisions, accompanied by decimal notation. This classification scheme is used in most University of Illinois libraries. Dewey call numbers look like this: 808.02B212c
Encyclopedia : General information source containing information on all branches of knowledge (Example: Encyclopaedia Britannica) or a specific subject (Example: Encyclopedia of Psychology). Encyclopedias may be in one volume or several volumes.
Field : 1) A part of a database record that contains one piece of information. For example, the author field would contain the name of an author. 2) an area of study. Example: law, business, education, etc.
Handbook : A general information source that provides concise information on a given subject.
Hits : The number of records that are returned from a search in a database.
ILLINET Online : The statewide online catalog used by 45 academic libraries in Illinois. The University of Illinois' Online Catalog is a subset of ILLINET Online.
Index : Points to where information can be found. 1) A finding aid that arranges (by author, title, or subject) citations to articles from a selected group of periodicals. 2) A listing at the end of books, encyclopedias, etc. that indicates by author, title and/or subject the location of information within the book or encyclopedia.
Internet : The largest computer network in the world which links local networks operated by universities, governments, non-profit organizations, commerical organizations and other research institutions.
Issue : A single, discrete unit of a periodical title formed when several articles are combined for publication. Usually uniquely numbered or dated. Example: Newsweek, July 14, 1997 represents a particular issue of the magazine Newsweek.
Keyword : 1) A way of searching a database using your vocabulary instead of the system's controlled vocabulary. 2) The most important word(s) in a title. Example: in the title Passage to India, the keywords are Passage and India.
Library of Congress Classification Scheme (LC) : A classification scheme developed and used at the Library of Congress since 1897. It divides the field of knowledge into twenty large classes with an additional class on general works. This system has been adopted by many academic libraries, and at the U of I, the Law Library, Music Library and Asian Library use LC classification schemes for all or part of their collections. LC call numbers look like this: R726.A741995
Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) : List of accepted subject headings used in the Library's catalogs. Copies of LCSH are usually located near the catalogs. Also known as the "big red books".
Microfiche : A type of format; photographically reduced images of printed pages reproduced on small 5" x 8" sheets of film.
Microfilm : A type of format; photographically reduced images of printed pages on 35mm film.
Operator : Words such as AND, OR, and NOT that are used to combine search sets to broaden or narrow the results of a search.
Opinion Sources : Sources that express the opinion of the author. They may not be authoritative sources.
Primary Sources : Original manuscripts, contemporary records, or documents which are used by an author in writing a book or other literary compilation. Also called "source material" and sometimes "original sources".
Recall : To request that a library item that is currently checked out be returned to the library for use by another person. A patron may request a recall of an item from a staff member.
Record : A collection of related data fields. For example, a record for an article in a database might have information from the article's author, title, journal title, volume, and pages numbers fields. In most databases you have the ability to decide which fields of a record you would like to view.
Reference : An indication of where specific information can be found. Used interchangeably with citation. Example: a reference for an article provides information (journal name, issue, and page number) about how to locate the article.
Serial : Materials issued at regular or irregular intervals and intended to continue indefinitely. Includes periodicals, magazines, journals, and yearbooks. Might be used interchangeably with "periodical".
Set : A group of related items. When conducting a search in a database, the results of a search form a set.
Subject Heading : A term or phrase used in indexes and library catalogs to identify material on a given topic.
Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) Classification Scheme : The U.S. Superintendent of Documents developed this system (also called SuDocs) for the arrangement of federal government publications. Arrangement is by issuing agency. The Documents Library uses this classification system. SuDocs call numbers look like this: Doc.C3.2:P69/4
Volume : Contains the total collection of all sequential issues of a serial over a given time period.
World Wide Web : A client-server information system that uses the Internet to access computers containing hypertext documents. Also just called "the Web."
Yearbook : An annual compendium of facts and statistics on a particular subject for the preceding year.