Glossary of Library Terms

a b c d e f g h i j k l m o p q r s t u v w z

Letter: A


ABSTRACT: The summary of an article, book, chapter, or other publication.

ACADEMIC ONEFILE: Database with articles covering buisness, agriculture, communication, criminal justice, envionmental studies, fine arts, music, health, hospitality, nursing, psychology, philosophy and religion.

ACCESS TOOL: A tool to help you find information. PrimoSearch is a major access tool in the Avondale College Libraries. It gives you call number and location information for books, journals and other items.

ACCESSION NUMBER: Identifying number for a document used in many DATABASES. Can be used to find the same citation in the DATABASE again, but is otherwise not useful to the user.

ALMANAC: A publication, usually issued annually, containing facts and statistics.

ALUMNI: Refers to students who have graduated from Avondale College. Past students may register as an alumni borrower.

ANTHOLOGY: A compilation of writings or poems from one or more authors focusing on a particular subject or literary form.

ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY: A list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief description, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited and provide a foundation for further research.

ANNOTATION: A note that describes or evaluates an item.

ANNUAL: A serial publication issued once each year.


APA SYSTEM: The American Psychological Association (APA) System of referencing uses the author-date method of citation.

ARCHIVE: A collection of valuable historical records.

ARTICLE: A brief composition written by one or more persons on a subject usually appearing in a magazine or journal.

ATLA: Database with articles covering Bible, archaeology, human culture and society, church history, pastoral ministry, world religions, theology, philosophy and ethics.

AUSTRALIA/NZ REFERENCE CENTRE: Databasewith items from Australasian magazines, newspapers, newswires and reference books to create the largest collection of regional full text content available to libraries in Oceania.


AUTHENTICATION: A site that requires authentication needs to confirm that the user is authorised to enter. You will be required to enter your username and password as authentication when you first log onto the library computers.

AUTHOR SEARCH: An author search will find books by an author, editor, or CORPORATE AUTHOR.

Letter: B


BARCODE: A small label of closely spaced bars that can be read by a computer. Barcodes on books and your Student Card are used to borrow books from the library.

BIANNUAL: A serial publication issued twice a year.

BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD: A description of a book, journal or other library materials. It may include author, title, publication information and subject headings.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Alphabetical list, by author, of the resources used in preparing an essay, paper, article, book, etc.

BIENNIAL: A serial publication issued once every two years.

BIMONTHLY: A serial publication issued once every two months.

TO BIND - (A periodical): To join several issues of a magazine or journal in one volume with a hard cover.

BINDERY: A place where periodicals and books are sent to be bound in hard covers.

BIWEEKLY: A serial publication issued every two weeks.

BOOLEAN SEARCHING: A precise method of searching online indexes and databases, the Library catalogue and the internet using 'Boolean Operators' (the words: 'and', 'or', 'not', 'with', 'near') to link search words and combine them in various ways to narrow or broaden a search as required. See also Wildcards and Truncation.

BOUND PERIODICAL: A set of issues and volumes of a particular journal which have been bound together in a hard cover to look like a book.

BROWSE: To look leisurely through a library collection, book, journal, or other publication. It is also possible to browse online.

Letter: C


CALL NUMBER: A combination of letters and numbers assigned to each book or other library item. A typical call number from Avondale Libraries is 371.58 B84. The numbers "371.58" indicate the subject area. The letter and numbers "B84" refer to the author.

CATALOGUE: A list of library materials held in a searchable database. Avondale Libraries use PrimoSearch as their main catalogue.

CD-ROM: Compact Disk-Read Only Memory. A storage device that holds thousands of pages' worth of information.

CHECK OUT: To borrow library materials for a specified period of time.

CINAHL Plus: Database with articles covering nursing and allied health.

CITATION: The basic information needed to find specific materials. For a book this information includes author, title, place of publication, publisher, and date published. When the book is "cited" by another author, page number(s) may be included. For an article, the citation usually includes author, title, name of journal, date, volume, and pages.

CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM: The method used to group materials by subject. Avondale Libraries uses the Dewey Decimal classification system to assign call numbers to materials. You will find the call number of an item using PrimoSearch. The call number is on the spine of the item.

COLLATION: The description of a book, including number of pages and if it has a bibliography, illustrations, etc.

COPYRIGHT: The right to publish and sell a work. It is granted to an author, composer, artist, and so forth by a government. The date of copyright usually appears on the VERSO or reverse side of the book's title page. A small "c" before a date indicates the book was copyrighted in that year.

CORPORATE AUTHOR: A body, such as a government or governmental department, institution, society, corporation, etc. which authorizes the publication of materials.

CREDO REFERENCE: A giant online reference library of 250+ reference books.

CROSS REFERENCES: Instructions which lead to related information listed under other subject headings. A cross reference may be a "See" reference to the "correct" heading or a "SEE ALSO" reference to a related heading.

CURRENT PERIODICALS: Issues of a magazine or journal which have been published in the last year or two.

Letter: D


DATABASE: A searchable, online library of journal articles and other items, such as book reviews, newspaper clippings etc. Some databases are subject specific, such as ATLA (Religion) or CINAHL (Nursing). Others cover a wide range of topics, such as PROQUEST or SAGE.

DATE OF PUBLICATION: Relates to the year in which the publisher offered the book/journal etc. for sale. Often the publication date will have a copyright symbol before the date. There are occasions when the copyright date and the publication date do not correspond, then you will find two dates showing.

DEWEY DECIMAL CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM (DDC): Used to arrange library materials according to subject, is named after its creator Melvil Dewey.

DISSERTATION: A substantial project submitted as part of a taught Master's Degree or an undergraduate degree (e.g. BA, BSc, BMus, BEd, BEng etc.). In the USA a Dissertation referes to a Doctoral submission.

DOCUMENT DELIVERY: A system by which libraries borrow publications from other libraries

DUE DATE OR DATE DUE: The date by which borrowed materials must be returned to the library.

Letter: E


eBooks: An electronic or digital version of a book that you can read online.

EDITION: All of the identical copies of something offered to the public at the same time. A revised or new edition usually indicates that the text has been changed or new materials added.

EDITOR: Person/s responsible for gathering together the contributions of others, or the person/s overseeing the preparation of the author's text for publication.

eJournals: Electronic versions of printed journals that can be viewed online. eJournals can be accessed through PrimoSearch.

ELECTRONIC RESERVE (E-reserve): Provides access to course materials online. Access is restricted to students currently enrolled in the courses. (see also Reserve)

EMBARGO: The period of time between publication of a journal and the availability of that journal in a particular full-text database.

EMPIRICAL ARTICLES: Constantly refer to original data or statistics. For example, they describe and analyse economic issues, events and conditions based upon original sources or first-hand information.

ENCYCLOPEDIA: A work containing information on all subjects is a general encyclopedia. A subject encyclopedia concentrates on all aspects of one subject or field.

ENDNOTE: Bibliographic software that automatically creates your bibliography. It allows you to store your references in a 'library' and organise them into a reference list or bibliography in a specific referencing style.

ENDNOTES: See Footnotes.

ERIC: Database containing articles covering research and educational information for the USA. Not all full text.

ENTRY: A simple listing of a publication in a catalog or index. Works often have three types of entries: author, title, and subject.

Letter: F


FIELD: Each record in a database is made up of segments of information called fields. For example, an author's name, the book title, and the book's publication date are all fields.

FOLIO: Extra large books are held in a separate collection named Folio. On PrimoSearch this is labelled "F" on the LM Campus and "FOL" on the Sydney Campus.

FOOTNOTES: A note placed at the bottom of a page or end of a chapter of a book, manuscript or journal article that comments on or cites a reference for a designated part of the text. Footnotes located at the end of a chapter are also called endnotes.

FULL TEXT: The complete article or other type of publication.

Letter: G


GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS: Materials published by federal, state, and local government agencies.

Letter: H


HEADING: A word, or phrase placed at the top of a catalog entry or index to indicate some special aspect of the material such as author, subject, title, etc.

HOLDINGS: Materials owned by a library. Usually lists the record of volumes and issues of journals owned by a library. Details of Avondale College holdings are found using PrimoSearch.

HOLD: A hold guarantees that a book checked out to another person will be saved for you when it is returned. Place a hold using PrimoSearch. An email will be sent to you when the item is returned.

Letter: I


INDEX: A systematically arranged list giving enough information for each item to be found. Periodical indexes list articles in magazines, journals, and newspapers. An index of a book lists names and subjects with page references to where they can be found in the book.

INFORMATION DESK: Service desk where users can get assistance in using the library. The Information Desk is beside the Loans Desk.

INFORMATION LITERACY: Knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate and use effectively the needed information. Information literacy classes teach you those skills.

INFORMIT: Database with articles covering the social sciences, public affairs, business, economics, management, law, engineering, information techology, education, culture, politics, history, heritage, health and indigenous studies. Content is largely Australasian.

INTERLIBRARY LOAN: A service that allows users in one library to borrow items from another library. Students undertaking 300 level subjects or above may request items for Inter-Library loan using this form. Students undertaking 100 and 200 level subjects may request items for Inter-Library loan only through their lecturers. Books borrowed from other libraries may only be used in the Avondale Library. They cannot be mailed on to off-campus students.

ISBN: International Standard Book Number; a numerical code given to a book which uniquely identifies it.

ISSN: International Standard Serial Number; a numerical code given to a serial (periodical) which uniquely identifies it.

ISSUE: A single copy of a periodical or journal.

Letter: J


JOANNA BRIGGS INSTITUTE: Database of resources for professionals in nursing midwifery, medicine and allied health.

JOURNAL: A publication which includes scholarly articles and is often published by an institution or professional society. Articles in journals are often peer reviewed and usually contain footnotes and/or bibliographical references.

The writing style in journals is formal, and journals generally have little or no advertising or glossy, catchy graphics and illustrations. Journals often have pages numbered continuously through the several issues of a given volume (for example, v.15 #1 has page 1-223; v.15 #2 runs from p.224-587, and so on to the last issue of the volume).
See also SERIAL.

Letter: K


KEYWORD: A significant word in the title, abstract, or text of a work.

KEYWORD SEARCH: PrimoSearch allows you to search by words from the title or other fields. Keywords do not have to be standardized subject headings, and a keyword search often searches all data fields for the terms (e.g., "winter" as a keyword might retrieve items with Winter in the author field as well as items with "winter" in the text or title).


KIT: An item with multiple parts ie the item may contain a book, DVD and lesson plans.

Letter: L



LITERATURE REVIEW: An essay or part of the introduction to an essay, research report, or thesis. It provides an overview and critical analysis of relevant published scholarly articles, research reports, books, theses etc on the topic.

LOAN: Borrowing a book. "On loan" means the book is not in the library because it has been borrowed.

LOAN DESK: The service desk where you may check out items you wish to borrow.

LOAN PERIOD: The length of time that a book is permitted to be out of the library.

Letter: M


MAGAZINE: A periodical publication aimed at the general public. Articles are not scholarly and include glossy photographs and substantial advertising. See also SERIAL.

MANUSCRIPT: Handwritten or unpublished documents, such as correspondence, notes, and drafts of articles or books.

MEDIA: In libraries, the term is used to describe non-print materials such as video and music.

MENU: A display (in libraries, computerized) where the user is offered a number of options from which to choose. For example, in PrimoSearch the user selects the type of search desired: Author, Title, etc.

MICROFICHE: A sheet of film on which a printed book, journal, newspaper, or other publication has been reduced in size so that it must be read with special equipment.

MICROFILM: A roll of film on which a printed book, journal, newspaper, or other publication has been reduced in size so that it must be read with special equipment.

MICROFORM: A printed book, journal, newspaper, or other publication which has been reduced in size so that it must be read with special equipment. Microforms include MICROFICHE, microcards, and MICROFILM.

MONOGRAPH: A scholarly book or pamphlet on a specific subject. Usually, it is used synonymously for book.

Letter: O


ONLINE: Any capability available or work done directly on a computer. For example, online help or online cataloging.

ONLINE CATALOGUE: Avondale College Libraries' online catalogue (PrimoSearch) is a computerized system for finding out what items are owned by the Libraries and provides the call number, branch library, and whether or not the item is checked out.

ONLINE SEARCHING: Searching a computer database for citations to books or journal articles.

ON ORDER: The item has been ordered from a supplier but has not yet been received by the Library.

OPAC: This is the generic name for an online library catalogue. 'OPAC' stands for 'Online Public Access Catalogue'.

OTHER ENTRIES: Catalog access points other than the main entry. There may be entries for the subject, authors, title, series, editor, illustrator, etc.

OVERDUE: Material that is not returned to the library by its due date is considered overdue.

Letter: P


PATRON: One who uses the library; also referred to as "user" or "reader" or "researcher."

PEER REVIEWED: A publication is considered peer reviewed if it has been reviewed and approved by other experts of similar standing and qualifications in the author's field before it is published. This can also be referred to as refereed. Journals contain articles which are often peer reviewed. See also Scholarly Research.

PERIODICAL: A magazine, journal, newspaper, or annual publication which is published at regular intervals.

PLACE OF PUBLICATION: This is normally the place (city or town) where the publisher is based. It might be "Melbourne" or "London", but not "Australia" or "England".

PLAGIARISM: Copying another's work and passing it off as one's own. Resources you use in preparing an essay or paper must be acknowledged. You may not under any circumstances quote directly from a text or reproduce sections of it without acknowledging the source. To use someone else's material in this way is plagiarism and plagiarism is a serious academic offence.

PRIMAL PICTURES: This online resource covers all a student needs to know for a 2 semester Anatomy & Physiology course. 19 modules with clear 3D images and interactive models, narrated animations and illustrations, dissection slides you can label, clinical case studies, the impact of aging on body systems, pronunciation guide, quizzes, etc.

PRIMARY SOURCE: Original manuscripts, contemporary records, and documents.

PRIMOSEARCH: The name for the online catalogue that lists materials owned by Avondale College Libraries. It includes books, periodicals, DVDs etc.

PROQUEST CENTRAL: Huge database on a viariety of topics including business, health, education, theology and more.

PROXY SERVIER: Enables authorized users to access licensed library resources from off campus.

PUBLISHER: One that is engaged in publishing material. The publisher has traditionally been an established company like "Penguin Books" or a university press like "Melbourne University Press", but may be an individual or an organisation.

Letter: Q


QUARTERLY: A serial publication issued four times a year.

Letter: R


R or REF: This abbreviation is used before a call number to indicate that an item is in the Reference collection and is not for loan.

RECIPROCAL BORROWING: Arrangements have been made with the University of Newcastle to allow students from either institution to borrow from the other's library. An annual fee of $20 is charged.

REFEREED JOURNAL: A journal in which articles have been evaluated by an independent expert(s) in the field of research before acceptance for publication. See also Peer Reviewed.

REFERENCE: Location in the library where frequently used materials are kept. None of these materials can be borrowed because they need to be available for all users. Items such as encyclopedias, commentaries, concordances, dictionaries, etc are located in Reference.

REFERENCE LIST: Alphabetical list, by author, of the resources used in preparing an essay, paper, article, book, etc.
Only the items quoted from or referred to in the work may be included in a reference list.

RECALL: The procedure by which the library can request that items currently checked out be returned to the library so that another person who has requested the items can use them.

REMOTE ACCESS: A term used to describe the connection of one computer to another computer located in different places.

RENEW: To extend the amount of time materials can be borrowed. Renewals can be done electronically on PrimoSearch or by ringing the LOAN DESK.

RESEARCH PAPERS: See Working Papers

RESERVE: Items a faculty member has decided to make available to a class which are placed "on reserve" to be available for a limited period of time from two hours to three days. Reserve is located behind the Loan Desk.

RETURN CHUTE: The place where you return borrowed items.

Letter: S


SAGE: Database with articles covering business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine.

SCHOLARLY JOURNAL: See Journal

SCHOLARLY RESEARCH: A scholarly article or book is based on original research or experimentation and is typically published by an academic association or university press. It is written by a researcher or expert in the field who is often affiliated with a college or university. Most scholarly writing includes footnotes and/or a bibliography. Many scholarly books & journal articles are subject to a peer-review process.

SCIENCEDIRECT: Science database covering physical sciences and engineering, life sciences, health sciences, social sciences and humanities.

SEARCH STRATEGY: Your plan for research - the keywords you will use and where you will search.

SEARCH TERMS: Keywords or phrases that describe the sort of article, book, document, etc., that you want to find. Use reference books to clarify key words and phrases and to find alternative terms and spellings. After compiling a list of search words start searching. See also Boolean Searching and Wildcards and truncation.

SECONDARY SOURCE: Materials which are not original manuscripts, contemporary records, or documents.

"SEE" or "SEE ALSO" REFERENCE: Directions in an index or catalog to look under another term or a related term.

SEMIANNUAL: A serial publication issued twice a year.

SEMIMONTHLY: A serial publication issued twice a month.

SERIAL: A publication issued in successive parts usually at regular intervals. The term includes periodicals such as MAGAZINEs, newspapers, JOURNALs, and annuals.

SHELFLIST: A record of the materials in a library arranged in CALL NUMBER order, the order in which they would stand on the shelves.

STACKS: The book shelves where most books are located.

STATUS: Every Library book or item has a current status displayed in the catalogue. Status tells you whether an item is available for borrowing. Status may indicate that the item is on loan by showing, for example, due 30-07-11.

SUBJECT HEADING: A term or phrase assigned to materials to describe it (e.g. 'Disabled people' is not a subject heading. The specified subject heading is 'People with disabilities'.)

Letter: T


TAYLOR AND FRANCIS: Database with articles covering education, business, social sciences, arts and humanities, behavioural science, geography, media, politics, public health and social care.

THESIS: Papers written by candidates for a Doctoral Degree or for a Master's by Research Degree. In the USA a Thesis referes to a Master's Degree requirement.

TRIENNIAL: A serial publication issued once every three years.

TRUNCATION: A symbol placed after the root of a word in an online search to retrieve variant endings. Frequently used symbols include *, $, ?, and !. Example: librar* will find records that mention library, libraries, librarian, librarians, etc. Useful for expanding search results.

Letter: U


UNILINC: A consortium of Australian libraries, found mainly in NSW. Avondale students are entitled to borrow - in person - from other UNILINC libraries without paying a registration fee. Click here for access to other UNILINC libraries.
Newcastle Univeristy is not a member of UNILINC.

UNIT GUIDES: Unit Guides contain information on searching for books and serials and provide useful subject headings, databases, websites and referencing. There is a Unit Guide for each subject offered at Avondale College.

Letter: V


VOLUME: Physically, a volume is a gathering of pages bound together in the form of a book. Numerically, a volume is a full set of issues (numbers) which comprises a SERIAL volume bound together. CITATIONS to periodicals use the term in the numerical sense to indicate issues published during a given year.

Letter: W


WILDCARDS AND TRUNCATION: Useful searching techniques that are used to broaden a word search when searching an online database. Wildcard symbols can be used to replace letters in words to find all spelling variations of a word. E.g. organi?ation will find 'organisation' and 'organization', and wom?n will find 'woman' and 'women' Truncation enables one to search the stem of a word (usually using a different symbol from that of the wildcard method) and find all the variants of that stem. E.g. pigment* will find pigment, pigments, pigmentation etc.
Many databases use the asterisk (*) symbol for truncation and the question-mark(?) for wildcarding, but this is not always the case. Check the Help function of each database for this information.

WIRELESS ACCESS: A method of connecting to the Internet without wires or cables.

WORKING PAPERS: Also known as research or discussion papers, are draft forms of papers intended for later publication in journals or books.

Letter: Z


ZOTERO: Bibliographic software that automatically creates your bibliography. It allows you to store your references in a 'library' and organise them into a reference list or bibliography in a specific referencing style.