Library Dictionary



Abstract: An abstract is a short summary describing the main idea or content of a work such as an article, book or dissertation.

Almanac: A compendium of useful data and statistics relating to countries, personalities, events, and subjects.

Annotated bibliography: A list of works with descriptions and a brief summary or critical statement about each.

Anthology: A collection of extracts from the works of various authors, usually in the same genre or about the same subject. (Example: Norton Anthology of African-American Literature). Sometimes a collection from the works of an individual author.

Article: An article is a brief composition on a subject, usually appearing in a magazine or journal.

Attachment: An attachment is a file that is sent along with an e-mail message. When you include a file with an e-mail message, you are said to be attaching the file, or sending it as an attachment.

Audiovisual: Information in a non-print format. Includes films, slides, audiotapes, videocassettes, records, software. Also referred to as media.

Author: Includes compilers, editors, and composers in addition to the main personal and corporate authors who are responsible for a work.





Barcode Number: The 14-digit number appearing beneath the barcode found on the back cover of a book. Barcode numbers for LRC library books begin with the numbers "33824" and are used to charge, discharge, and renew books at the circulation desk.

Bibliography: A bibliography is a list of citations which appear at the end of a paper, article, chapter or book.

Biography: A book about a person written by some other person.

Book Return: A place to return books borrowed from the library. The book return is located near the circulation desk.

Book Review: An evaluation or discussion of a new book by a critic or journalist.

Boolean Operator: Boolean operators are used to construct more complex searches in a database. They help make a search more accurate. There are 3 operators: AND, OR and NOT.

Browser: Software program used to view web pages. Browsers like Microsoft's Internet Explorer or Netscape allow you to click on a link to another document, and get information from a different computer where that resource is stored.





Call Number: A call number is a combination of letters and numbers that is given to each item held in the library. The letters and numbers assigned to the work describe its subject matter and serves as its address on the shelf. The Learning Resources Center uses the Library of Congress Classification system to assign its call numbers.

Check out: The process of borrowing materials from the library. In order to charge out materials the user must present a library card to a staff person at the circulation desk along with the materials to be charged out.

Circulation Desk: The circulation desk is the place to check out, return or renew books. The staff can also help you locate items that you cannot find. You pay overdue fines at this desk too.

Citation: A citation is a reference to a work, such as a book or a journal article. When you look at a bibliography or search an index, you retrieve citations. They provide the author, title, publication place, and year, such as journal title and page numbers.

Copyright: The legal right to control the production, use, and sale of copies of a literary, musical, or artistic work.

Course Reserve: A collection that contains specific materials placed in the library by instructors for course assignments. These may be library owned items or the instructor's personal materials.





Database: A database is an organized collection of computer records. By entering search terms related to your topic, you will be able to retrieve information about articles of interest from the database.

Dictionary: Source that provides word definition and correct grammatical usage. Dictionaries may be either general or subject specific.

Due Date: The date that tells when the book must be returned to the library. >


E-mail: Electronic mail. E-mail refers to messages, usually text, sent from one person to another via computer. You can also send e-mail with file attachments, such as a Word document.

Encyclopedia: General information source that provides articles on various branches of knowledge. Encyclopedias may be general or subject specific.

Essay: A literary composition in which the author analyzes or interprets a subject, often from a personal point of view.

Evaluation: A critical assessment of an information source.


Full text: A full text database is a resource that provides access to the complete text of an item.


Handbooks: General information source providing quick reference on a given subject. Handbooks may be general or subject specific.

Hardware: The physical components of a computer including the keyboard, monitor, disk drive, and internal chips and wiring. Hardware is the counterpart of software.

Hold: A library user may place a hold on a book charged out to another person; this ensures that the person placing the hold will be next in line to receive the book when the book is returned. Holds are placed at the circulation desk.

HTML: Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is programming language used in the creation of Web pages.

HTTP: HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP) defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands.

Hyperlink: A built in connection to another related Web page. This is highlighted blue or when pointer turns to a hand sign.


Index: An index is a guide to the contents of a file, document, or a group of documents. An index is used to point to the contents of something. For example, there are indexes in the back of books that describe and point to the contents of that book.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL): Interlibrary loan is a mechanism for different libraries to share materials. Despite the size and comprehensiveness of the collections, students may require materials that LRC does not own. You may make arrangements to borrow library materials, principally books, from other libraries in North America or to obtain photocopies of journal articles for individual scholarly research.

Interlibrary loan requests can be initiated at the circulation desk on campus.

Internet: The global network of computers linked together, accessible mainly via the World Wide Web. Originally started by government and international scientists to facilitate communication, it is now used by the public at large.




Journal: A type of periodical which contains signed scholarly articles. Journals are usually published by academic or association presses and include bibliographies.



Keyword Searching: A keyword search directs the computer to look for a word or a combination of words from the author, title, or subject fields in a record.


Library of Congress Classification: A classification system developed by the Library of Congress (LC) that is used to organize the collections of many academic and research libraries, including the LRC. This alpha-numeric system arranges materials by subject. Each subject or class is represented by a series of letters and numbers, which are used to create an LC call number. To see the main classes in the LC system, go to Library of Congress Classification.

Loan Period: The amount of time you may borrow a book or other item from the library. The time varies depending on the type of material borrowed and the status of the borrower.


Magazine: A type of periodical containing popular articles which are usually shorter or less authoritative then journal articles on the same subject.

Media: Films, tapes and other audio-visual materials that require the use of special listening or viewing equipment.

Microforms: A term used to describe documents which have been photographed or filmed. Microforms require you to use special reader machines. Common formats for microforms are microfilm and microfiche.


Newspaper: A serial issued at stated, frequent intervals (daily, weekly, or semi-weekly), containing news, opinions, advertisements, and other items of current, often local, interest.


Off-campus Access: The capability to access a library's electronic resources from outside of the library building over the World Wide Web.

Online Catalog: An electronic or digitized version of a library's card catalog. The LRC's online catalog is called CCLINC (Community College Libraries in North Carolina). It is the database that contains records that refer to the many materials held by 44 North Carolina community college libraries.

Overdue: Material which is not returned to the library by its due date is considered overdue.


Periodical: Materials published at regular intervals (at least 3 times a year) and intended to be continued indefinitely.


Recall: To recall a library item means to ask for it to be returned from a patron who currently has it checked out.

Record: A record is what you retrieve when you search a database. It can be made up of various pieces of information. These pieces of information can be separated into fields. In an electronic index, which is a database of article citations, each citation is also called a record. In CCLINC, each reference retrieved for a particular title is also a record.

Reference Desk/Reference Collection: The reference desk is the place where librarians answer questions, give directions and guide patrons through their research. Often, there is a reference collection of books, computers, and other resources located near the reference desk. A few examples of items found in a reference collection are dictionaries, encyclopedias, directories and almanacs.

Reference Librarian: Reference librarians are specialists in the field of information retrieval. Generally they have a Masters degree in library science, and many have other graduate degrees as well. They are available at reference desks to help you find the information you are looking for.

Renewal: An extension of the loan period for charged library materials. Renewals may be handled in person at the circulation desk or by phone.


Serial: Materials issued at regular or irregular intervals and intended to continue indefinitely. Includes periodicals, magazines, journals, and yearbooks.

Software: A computer program or set of instructions. System software operates on the machine itself and is invisible to you. Application software allows you to carry out certain activities, such as word processing, games, and spreadsheets.

Stacks: Stacks or stack area refer to the space in a library where the majority of library materials are shelved. Often the stacks contain many rows of shelving units.


Truncation: Truncation is a symbol put at the end or in the middle of a word in order to catch all variant endings or spellings of that word when searching a database. If you wanted to do research on computers, but also wanted to make sure you picked up any records with the word computer or computing or computerized, you would put a truncation symbol at the point in the word where various endings can begin to occur. (e.g. comput?)

Databases use various symbols to represent truncation such as $, #, +, *, !, ? Some databases truncate automatically. You should check the "Help" of each database to see what symbol to use.


URL: Uniform Resource Locator, or web address. Example:


Web page: A document on the World Wide Web. Every Web page is identified by a unique URL (Uniform Resource Locator).

World Wide Web: A system of Internet servers that support specially formatted documents.


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