Library Research Aids

Library Vocabulary: A Glossary

A

Abstract
A brief summary of the main points in a book, article or other work.
Almanac
A publication, usually issued annually, containing facts and statistics.
Annotation
An evaluation or description of an entry in a catalog, bibliography or other work.
Anthology
A compilation of writings or poems from one or more authors focusing on a particular subject or literary form.
Atlas
A collection of maps.
Authentication
Process by which authorized users gain off-campus access to licensed library resources. (See also VPN and ProxyServer)

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B

Bibliographer (See Subject Specialist)
Bibliography
  1. A list of works cited at the end of an article, book, or other information source.
  2. A book-length collection of citations published on a specific subject.
Boolean Operators or Boolean Logic
Refers to the words AND, OR and NOT. Used to formulate complex searches in online resources.
Bound Periodical
Issues of magazines or journals that have been fastened together. Bound periodicals are arranged by call number. (See also Current Periodical)
Browse Search
Reads exact wording from left to right, and displays search results alphabetically. Useful for author, title, subject or call number searching.

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C

Call Number
Unique sequence of letters and numbers assigned to each item in the library to indicate subject content and shelf location. The campus libraries primarily use the Library of Congress system.
Catalog
A list of records that represent the holdings of a library or group of libraries.
CD-ROM
A non-web-based database. CD-ROM databases are accessible only from designated library computer workstations.
Circulation Desk
The place to register for a library card, check out, renew, or return library materials. Staff can also help you track down missing items and place holds and recalls.
Citation
The information needed to track down a book, article, or other work. For books, this includes the author, title, place and year of publication. For articles, it consists of the author, article title, page numbers, periodical title, volume and date. Citing is the act of giving credit to an original source.
Computer Lab
There are two labs located in Shields Library and managed by Information and Educational Technology (IET), in Room 182 and Room 163.
Controlled Vocabulary
A specified list of terms developed by creators of catalogs and databases to ensure precise and comprehensive searching. The terms chosen will vary from database to database. (See also Descriptors and Subject Heading)
Copyright
The legal provision of exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute a book, article, music, or other work.
Course Reserves
Books, articles, lecture notes and other materials faculty require all students enrolled in a class to use. Some items may be electronically accessible via the Course Reserves Catalog (http://harvest.lib.ucdavis.edu/F/?func=file&file_name=find-basic&local_base=reserve); print copies may be checked out for short periods from the Reserves Desk on the 1st floor of Shields Library.
Current Periodical
The most recently published issues of a magazine or journal. Arranged by call number in specially designated areas of the library. (See also Bound Periodical)

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D

Database
An organized, searchable collection of information, often related to a specific subject area. One of the primary tools for locating periodical articles by topic. Most databases available through the library are licensed resources with access restrictions.
Descriptors
The terms that make up the controlled vocabulary used to describe the content of records in databases. (See also Subject Heading)
Directory
A list of names or organizations, including contact information. Usually arranged in alphabetical order.
Dissertation
A work of original research and prerequisite for a doctoral degree. Dissertations from UC Davis are available on microfiche and searchable through the Harvest (http://harvest.lib.ucdavis.edu/) Catalog. An online copy may also be accessible through a database called Dissertations & Theses (http://uclibs.org/PID/11984).
Document Delivery
A fee-based library service that allows UC Davis students and faculty to request the temporary transfer of material (articles, books) between campus libraries to facilitate access.

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E

Electronic Journal
A journal that is distributed online via the Internet. Most electronic journals available through the library are licensed resources with access restrictions.
Encyclopedia
A work containing informational articles on a single subject or multiple subjects, usually arranged alphabetically.

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F

Field
An element of a record in a database where information such as Author, Title, Publication Date, etc. is provided.
Folio
An oversized book. In Shields Library, folios are usually located at the end of a given call number range.

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H

Harvest Catalog
The UC Davis library catalog. Contains records for books, journals, maps, musical scores, government documents and other materials available through the campus libraries. Search the Harvest Catalog here (http://harvest.lib.ucdavis.edu/).
Hold
A request that an item currently checked out be held for another user when it is returned. Holds may be placed at the Circulation Desk.
Holdings
All the items that make up the library collection.

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I

Index
  1. A guide to the contents of a single work.
  2. A print or electronic collection of citations to articles, books and other materials, often searchable by subject or author.
Interlibrary Loan (ILL)
Facilitates the sharing of materials between libraries. A method current UC Davis students, faculty and staff may use to obtain access to books, articles and other materials not available locally. Requests can be submitted online or in-person.
ISBN (International Standard Book Number)
A unique number assigned to a book before publication to identify the publisher, title and edition.
ISSN (International Standard Serial Number)
An identification number assigned to serial publications.
Issue
A uniquely dated and numbered part of a periodical.

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J

Journal
A periodical containing articles on specialized topics, written by researchers or scholars. Articles generally include abstracts and bibliographies.

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K

Keyword Search
A broad approach to online searching that returns occurrences of a term from different parts of a record.
Kerberos Password
An encrypted code that prevents unauthorized access to confidential information. A Kerberos Password is necessary to use the VPN or proxy server.

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L

Library Card
For UC Davis students, Student Identification Cards serve as library cards. Visit the Circulation Desk to register for borrowing privileges or activate your card online.
Library of Congress Classification
Subject-based classification system developed in 1897 by the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. and commonly used by large university libraries to organize their collections.
Licensed Resources
Internet-accessible databases and electronic journals that the library pays fees to access.

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M

Magazine
A periodical aimed at a general audience, containing a variety of articles and advertisements.
Map
A representation, normally to scale, that illustrates the features of the earth's surface.
MELVYL
The library catalog for the 10 University of California campuses and other select California research libraries.
Microfilm
Documents that have been placed on photographic film and reduced in size. A machine called a reader is necessary to view material in this format. (See also Microform)
Microfiche
Flat plastic sheets containing pages from documents that have been reduced in size. A machine called a reader is necessary to view material in this format. (See also Microform)
Microform
General term applied to documents that have been photographed and reduced in size. Common formats include microfilm and microfiche. Microforming helps preserve materials and save storage space.
Monograph
A work on a single subject, frequently a book.

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N

Northern Regional Library Facility (NRLF)
Off-site storage facility for less frequently used library materials. Requests may be submitted using the request service in the Harvest Catalog or in-person at the Circulation Desk. Items are generally available within 1-2 working days.

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P

Peer Review
A process through which manuscripts submitted to a journal are evaluated for quality by one or more subject experts in addition to the editor before being accepted for publication.
Periodical
A publication that appears at regular intervals (weekly, monthly, quarterly). Magazines and journals are examples of periodicals.
PIN (Personal Identification Number)
A four-digit number created when individuals activate their library cards. A PIN is necessary to renew materials online, place holds or recalls, and take advantage of services such as interlibrary loan.
Plagiarism
Copying another's work and passing it off as one's own.
Primary Source
Material that provides a first-hand account of a subject or event. Examples include diaries, photographs, interviews, and original research studies. Sometimes referred to as original sources or source material.
Proxy Server
Enables authorized users to access licensed library resources from off campus. See Connect From Off Campus for instructions and additional information. (See also VPN).

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R

Recall
A request that an item currently checked out be returned immediately. Recalls may be submitted through the request function in the Harvest Catalog or in-person at the Circulation Desk.
Record
The information used to identify and represent books, articles and other material in catalogs and databases. The components of a record are divided into fields.
Refereed Journal
A publication containing articles that have undergone peer review.
Reference Desk
Service location where users can ask questions and get in-depth assistance using library resources and finding information.
Reference Collection
Consists of dictionaries, encyclopedias, indexes, and other print and electronic sources that tend to be consulted for specific facts or bits of information rather than read in their entirety. Print reference materials located in specifically designated Reference areas must typically be used in the library and cannot be checked out.
Renew
To extend the due date of an item beyond the original loan period. May be accomplished online, by phone, or in-person at the Circulation Desk.
Request
Function in the Harvest Catalog that enables UC Davis students, faculty and staff to place recall requests. You need a library card and PIN to log in and use the Request feature.
Reserves (See Course Reserves)

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S

Scholarly Journal (See Refereed Journal)
Secondary Source
Material that interprets or analyzes a subject or event after the fact, often based on information from primary sources. Examples are textbooks, encyclopedias and book reviews.
Serial
A publication issued in successive parts and intended to be continued indefinitely. Includes periodicals, newspapers, annual reports and yearbooks, and proceedings of professional societies.
Special Collections
Department that houses the Library's rare books and manuscripts, the University Archives, and other noncirculating research materials. Located on the 1st floor of Shields Library.
Stacks
Shelves where the books and other library materials are located.
Subject Guides
Compilations of databases and other resources by academic discipline. Provide a good starting point for subject-related article searching. See the complete list of guides.
Subject Heading
A word or phrase assigned to a record to describe its content. Many items in the UC Davis libraries are given Library of Congress Subject Headings. In databases, subject headings are often referred to as descriptors. (See also Controlled Vocabulary)
Subject Specialist Librarian
An information expert with a Master's in Library Science, plus an advanced degree in another academic discipline. Responsible for purchasing and evaluating library materials in a subject area, and providing specialized assistance at the Reference Desk. Sometimes also referred to as a bibliographer.

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T

Thesaurus
A list of the subject headings used in a catalog, index, or database, e.g. the controlled vocabulary.
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.

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U

UCD LoginID
A unique name that users create when they establish their campus computing account. A UCD LoginID is necessary to use the VPN or the proxy server.
UC-eLinks
A feature built in to many databases that provides a bridge between licensed database content and material that is available to UC Davis library users online, in print or through Interlibrary Loan.

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V

Volume
  1. The issues of a periodical that make up the whole of a given publishing period, for example, a year.
  2. All the material contained in a single binding.
VPN
Enables authorized users to access licensed library resources from off campus. See Connect From Off Campus for instructions and additional information. (See also Proxy Server).

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Sources: Heartsill Young, ed., The ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science (Chicago: American Library Association, 1983); Ray Prytherch, Harrod's Librarians' Glossary of Terms Used in Librarianship, Documentation, and the Book Crafts, and Reference Book (Brookfield, VT: Gower, 1987).