Patrick Power Library

Library Glossary

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

ABSTRACT

A brief summary of a book or article.

ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY See: BIBLIOGRAPHY.

APA STYLE

Guidelines, developed by the American Psychological Association, for preparing and formatting research papers and referencing sources in the behavioural sciences. APA is also the preferred citation style for use in commerce courses at Saint Mary's. APA style handouts are available from the Library's website. The Library also has print copies of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed. (call number: BF 76.7 P83 2010). See also: MLA STYLE.

ARCHIVES

Houses the records and historical documents of Saint Mary’s University. Special Collections (materials separated from the main library stacks due to their age, fragility, or size, or because they serve a specific research interest) are also kept here. The University’s University Archives is located on the third floor of the Library.

ARTICLE

A piece of writing on a particular topic. A familiar example would be a newspaper or magazine article.

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BARCODE NUMBER

A 14-digit number that appears below the barcode on Saint Mary’s University identification cards. You can use your SMU barcode number to order materials from other Novanet libraries through the Novanet Express service.

BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION

The content and publication details of a book, article, or other type of document. See also: CITATION, ENTRY.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

A list of citations appearing at the end of a book or article, or an entire book of citations. A bibliography can refer to the sources an author used when writing a book or an article. A bibiliography can also refer to a list of suggested readings, books, articles, etc. on a particular theme or topic. Bibliographies can be annotated. An annotated bibliographyprovides a brief description and/or evaluation of each item listed in the bibliography.

BINDERY

A place where periodicals and books are sent to be bound in hard covers. See also: BOUND, UNBOUND.

BLOG See: WEBLOG.

BOOLEAN OPERATORS

Words used to express the relationship between search terms. Also referred to as Boolean connectors or Boolean logic. Examples of Boolean operators include: AND, OR, and NOT.

BOUND

Refers to a publication that has a hard cover added for its long-term protection. Generally, older issues of journals are bound and shelved on the third floor of the Patrick Power Library. See also: BINDERY, UNBOUND.

BROWSER See: WEB BROWSER

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CALL NUMBER

A combination of numbers and letters used to identify a book or other item in the library collection. This number tells you where to find a book on the library shelf. The call number also represents the subject of the book. This ensures that books covering the same subject will appear near each other on the library shelf. The call number for a book will be found in the library catalogue and printed on the book's spine. Also known as a classification number or LC number. See also: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CLASSIFICATION.

CARRELL

A desk in the Library that has low partitions to provide the user some privacy while working.

CATALOGUE

A list of books, periodicals, or other materials owned by a library. See also: ONLINE CATALOGUE, NOVANET CATALOGUE, UNION CATALOGUE.

CIRCULATING

Books or other library materials that can be taken out of the library.

CIRCULATION DESK

The area in the library where you checkout and return books and other library materials.

CITATION

Bibliographic information about a book, periodical, or other publication. For example, a citation for a book may contain the author or editor's name, title, publisher information, and date. Also known as a bibliographic reference.

CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM

A system by which books and other materials are arranged on library shelves. A system for assigning call numbers. Most academic libraries in North America use the Library of Congress Classification System, while most public and school libraries use the Dewey Decimal Classification System. See also: CALL NUMBER.

CONTROLLED VOCABULARY

Standardized terms used in a library database or catalogue to describe various concepts or topics (sometimes referred to as subject headings or descriptors). The Library of Congress Subject Headings used in the Novanet catalogue are an example of a controlled vocabulary. For example, in Novanet, books about the elderly or aged can be searched using the LC subject heading "Older people." Compare with NATURAL LANGUAGE, KEYWORDS. See also: DESCRIPTOR, SUBJECT HEADING.

COPYRIGHT

The legal right of the owner or creator (e.g., author, composer, playwright, etc.) of an original work (e.g., literary, musical, dramatic, artistic) to publish, reproduce, distribute, sell, or otherwise use the work. The copyright owner can also permit or prevent anyone else from using the work. Compare with PUBLIC DOMAIN. See also: PLAGIARISM.

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DATABASE

A collection of related records stored electronically (i.e., on a computer, CD-ROM, or accessible through the Internet). The Novanet catalogue and EBSCO's Academic Search Premier are examples of databases.

DESCRIPTOR

A word or group of words that is used to describe the contents of an item (such as an article) in a database. Used like a subject heading. See also: SUBJECT HEADING.

DEWEY DECIMAL CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM

A system used for classifying books according to their subject area. This system is commonly used in public and school libraries. See also: LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CLASSIFICATION.

DISSERTATION See: THESIS.

DOCUMENT DELIVERY See: INTERLIBRARY LOANS.

DOI

A Digital Object Identifier is an alphanumeric code that provides a persistant link to articles and other documents available on the Internet.

DOMAIN NAME

The unique name that identifies a website on the Internet. The domain name is part of the URL or web address. For example, in all Saint Mary's websites, including the library, the domain name is: www.smu.ca . Domain name extensions (such as: .edu, .ca) can help you to identify the type of organization or the organization's geographic location (e.g., .edu indicates an educational institution).

DOWNLOAD

Copying and storing data from a computer onto a USB flash drive, CD, or hard drive.

DUE DATE

The date when library material must be returned to the library. 

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ELECTRONIC BOOK

The digital version of a printed book. Also known as e-books or online books.

ELECTRONIC JOURNAL

A journal available in electronic (or computerised) format. Usually accessed via the Internet. Also known as e-journals or online journals. See also: JOURNAL.

ENTRY

The record for a book or other item in a database. Also refers to a bibliographic reference in a bibliography. See also: CITATION.

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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions and their answers.

FIELD

A database record is made up of several parts or pieces of information called fields. Common fields include: title field, author field, source field, and subject field.

FULLTEXT DATABASE

A database containing the complete text of articles or books. For example, EBSCO's Academic Search Premier is considered to be a fulltext database because it contains the text of many articles.

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GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS

Documents, such as books, maps, statistics, or reports published by a government. These can emanate from local, provincial/state, or federal governments. The Patrick Power Library provides acccess to a number of Canadian government publications, including statistical sources

HARD COPY

Information recorded on paper. For example, a hard copy of a magazine article is a printout or photocopy of the article.

HOLD

Placing a "hold" ensures that a library item on loan to another patron will be saved for you when the item is returned.

HOLDINGS

Items owned by a library (e.g., books, journals, newspapers, etc.)

HOMEPAGE

The first or main page of a web site.

HTML

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the basic computer programming language or code used to create web pages.

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IMPRINT

Publication information contained in a book or catalogue record. Includes the name of the publisher or printer, place of publication and date. In a book, it is usually found on the title page or the back of the title page.

IN-TEXT CITATION

Refers to a source that is referenced within the text of a paper, rather than in footnotes or endnotes. Information regarding the source is enclosed in parentheses. In-text citations refer the reader to the full citation for the source. The full citations are listed at the end of the paper. Also known as parenthetical citation or parenthetical reference.

IN PROCESSING

Materials listed as “In processing” in the Novanet catalogue are in the process of being catalogued and are not yet available to be checked-out. In many cases, items can be “rushed”; please inquire at the Research Help Desk.

IN TRANSIT

Items listed as “In transit” in the Novanet catalogue refer to library materials that are en route from one Novanet library to another.

INDEX See: PERIODICAL INDEX.

INFORMATION DESK See: RESEARCH HELP DESK

INFORMATION LITERACY

A set of skills that enable a person to find, access, evaluate, and use information effectively.

ISBN

International Standard Book Number. A unique number assigned by the publisher to a specific book title.

ISSN

International Standard Serial Number. A unique number assigned by the publisher to a specific serial (journal, magazine, etc.) title.

INTERLIBRARY LOANS

A system by which material such as books or articles may be obtained from another library. Loans usually take about 2-3 weeks to complete. Sometimes abbreviated as ILL. See also: NOVANET EXPRESS.

INTERNET

A network of computers that can be accessed all over the world, typically through telecommunication lines, such as a phone line. Users of the Internet can access email, the World Wide Web, and many other types of services and data.

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JOURNAL

A publication, like a magazine, issued at regular intervals containing articles on scholarly research. See also: PERIODICAL.

KEYWORD(S)

Search terms that are selected by the searcher to describe a concept or topic and that are used to locate items in a library catalogue or database. A keyword search will find all database records which contain any occurrence of the keywords that are entered, whether they occur in the title, author or subject fields of a record. Compare with CONTROLLED VOCABULARY. See also: NATURAL LANGUAGE.

LCSH

Library of Congress Subject Heading. See: SUBJECT HEADING.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CLASSIFICATION (LCC)

A system of classifying library items developed by the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress (LC) is designated by the United States government to provide information services to Congress. Cataloguing and classification standards established by this library are followed by most academic libraries in North America, including the library at Saint Mary's University. See also: DEWEY DECIMAL CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM.

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MAGAZINE

A publication containing articles on popular or general subjects.

MICROFICHE

A flat sheet of photographic film containing a series of very small photographs (micro-images) of printed text or graphics. A space saving format often used by libraries for the storage of periodicals, newspapers, etc. A special machine (microfiche reader) is needed to view the information on microfiche. Sometimes referred to as fiche.

MICROFILM

A series of very small photographs (micro-images) of printed text or graphics contained on a continuous reel of film. A space saving format often used by libraries for the storage of periodicals, newspapers, etc. A special machine (microfilm reader) is needed to view the information on microfilm.

MICROFORM

A general term used to describe any material available on microfiche or microfilm. At Saint Mary's, materials on microfiche or microfilm will specify "Saint Mary's University Library Microform" within the item's record in the Novanet catalogue. Microforms are located on the 1st floor of the Saint Mary's University library.

MLA STYLE

A format prescribed by the Modern Language Association for formatting research papers and citing sources in the humanities. MLA style guide handouts are available from the Library's website. The Library also has print copies of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed. (call number: LB 2369 G53 2009). See also: APA STYLE.

MONOGRAPH

A book.

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NATURAL LANGUAGE

Using everyday language when performing a search in a database. Some databases allow you to construct a search in the form of a sentence or question using natural language (e.g., How has terrorism affected the airline industry?). Compare with CONTROLLED VOCABULARY. See also: KEYWORDS.

NESTING

The use of parentheses to group synonyms or related concepts in a database search. Parentheses are used to group similar concepts when you are using two or more Boolean operators. They also specify the order in which a search is to be performed. Concepts in parentheses will be searched first. For example, in the search government and (women OR females) the computer will first find all database records containing the keywords "women" or "females", and then it will limit the results to only those records also containing the word "government".

NON-CIRCULATING

Books or other materials that cannot be taken out of the library (e.g., reference materials do not circulate). Non-circulating items are designated as "In library use only" within the item's record in the Novanet catalogue.

NOVANET CATALOGUE

A computerised listing of books and other library materials owned by the Patrick Power Library and other academic libraries in Nova Scotia. See also: UNION CATALOGUE.

NOVANET EXPRESS

The Novanet Express service (free of charge) allows Novanet library borrowers to request delivery of books and copies of journal articles from one Novanet library to another. Requests are initiated through the Novanet catalogue.

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ON ORDER

Items listed as "On order" within the Novanet catalogue refer to library materials that have been ordered to add to the Library's collection, but have not yet been received.

ONLINE

Information that is accessible via a computer network. For example, when someone is using the Internet, it is said they are "online." Information contained on the Internet could be described as being available online.

ONLINE CATALOGUE

A computerised list of books and other materials held by a library. Novanet is an example of an online catalogue.

OPAC

Online Public Access Catalogue. See: ONLINE CATALOGUE.

OPEN ACCESS

Resources such as books or journals that are freely available through the Internet. For example, many journals are now accessible on the Internet at no cost to the user. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), for example, provides free access to many full-text scholarly journals.

OVERDUE

Library materials are considered "overdue" when they have not been returned on or before the due date. Items can be renewed online in the Novanet catalogue (unless you have already received an overdue notice).

OVERSIZED BOOK

A book that is too large to fit on standard sized library shelves. An oversized book at Saint Mary's will specify "Saint Mary's University Oversized Material" within the item's record in the Novanet catalogue. The oversized books are located on the 3rd floor of the Library.

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PARAPHRASE

To restate in your own words a passage from a text. When paraphrasing, it isn't enough to simply change a few words. You must rewrite the original passage using your own words and your own sentence structure and you must cite the source of your paraphrase. See also: PLAGIARISM.

PARENTHETICAL CITATION See: IN-TEXT CITATION.

PDF

Portable Document Format allows documents to be viewed on any kind of computer. PDF files retain the formatting of the original document (e.g., journal article) including page numbers, images, and graphics. In order to read PDFs, Adobe Acrobat Reader software is required (free to download from the Internet).

PEER-REVIEWED

If a scholarly journal is peer-reviewed, it means that the articles contained within the publication have been anonymously reviewed and evaluated by scholars in the field prior to publication. This process ensures that the quality of the research presented is high. Another way you can establish if a journal is peer-reviewed is to look at the guidelines for article submission (often found in the front or back of the issue), or by consulting the journal's website for this information.

PERIODICAL

A publication issued at regular intervals (e.g., daily, weekly, monthly, annually, etc.) Some types of periodicals:

  1. Popular magazines: often available at a newsstand, containing articles about news, popular information and entertainment.
  2. Journals: usually contain scholarly information and research relating to a particular field.
  3. Trade, Professional or Business magazines: emphasize current information in a particular subject or area of interest, especially fields relating to jobs and industry.

PERIODICAL INDEX

Contains references to articles in journals, magazines, and/or newspapers arranged alphabetically by subject or author. Normally refers to a print source (meaning a paper index rather than a computer index).

PLAGIARISM

Plagiarism involves taking a person's words or ideas and presenting them as your own without crediting the source.

PODCAST

A video or audio recording available from a web site that can be downloaded to a personal computer or a portable media player.

PREPRINT

A work that is issued in a draft or partial form prior to the publication of the complete work. For example, a preprint of a scientific or technical paper is one that is made available prior to being published in an academic journal.

PRIMARY SOURCES

Original research or writing on a particular topic. A firsthand account of events, created by someone who observed or participated in the events. Examples of primary sources may include: theses, journal articles, technical reports, conference literature, patents, original manuscripts, autobiographies, diaries, letters, photographs, etc. See also: SECONDARY SOURCES, TERTIARY SOURCES.

PROCEEDINGS

The abstracts and/or papers emanating from a conference, symposium, or other meeting of an association.

PUBLIC DOMAIN

A work that is not protected by copyright is said to be in the public domain; either because the copyright has expired or because the author has made his or her work freely available to the public to use and copy. Anyone can use a public domain work without having to seek permission of the copyright owner. However, when borrowing words or ideas from any work, including works in the public domain, you must cite the source in order to avoid a charge of plagiarism. See also: COPYRIGHT, PLAGIARISM.

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RECALL

The request of a currently checked-out library item to be returned before the due date, so that someone else, who has requested the item, can access the material. Inquire at the Circulation desk for more details.

RECORD

The entry for a book, journal article or other piece of information in a database. Normally contains bibliographic information such as the title, author, and publisher information for the item.

REFEREED See: PEER- REVIEWED.

REFERENCE See: CITATION.

REFERENCE COLLECTION

Books and other materials located on the first floor of the Patrick Power Library. Here you will find encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, periodical indexes, and other materials that are consulted frequently. Materials shelved in this part of the library are non-circulating. Books shelved in the Reference Collection will have the designation SMREF at the top or bottom of the call number. A reference book at Saint Mary's will specify "Saint Mary's University Reference Collection" within the item's record in the Novanet catalogue.

REFERENCE DESK See: RESEARCH HELP DESK

RESEARCH HELP DESK

Located on the first floor of the Patrick Power Library. It is the place to go when you need help using the library. Also known as the Reference Desk or Information Desk.

REFWORKS

A web-based citation management tool that allows you to collect, edit, and organize your bibliographic citations as you research and lets you create and format bibliographies. Access to RefWorks is provided to the Saint Mary's community via the Patrick Power Library.

REMOTE ACCESS

Ability to access a computer or network from a distant or remote location. For example, many of the Library's journal databases can be accessed from off-campus.

RENEWAL

"Renewing" a library item means extending the loan period. Renewals can be initiated through the Novanet catalogue.

RESEARCH DATABASE See: DATABASE.

RESERVES

Material that is set aside by professors to be used by students taking a particular class. These items are kept at the Library's Circulation desk, located on the first floor of the library. Materials on reserve have shorter loan periods (e.g., from 2 hours to 3 days). A reserve book at Saint Mary's will specify "Saint Mary's University Reserve Readings Collection" within the item's record in the Novanet catalogue.

RSS

Stands for "Really Simple Syndication" or "Rich Site Summary" or "RDF Site Summary." An RSS feed or web feed alerts users to the latest news and regular updates from a variety of web sources including blogs and podcasts.

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SEARCH ENGINE

A computer program used to search the World Wide Web or a database for information.

SECONDARY SOURCES

Materials that have been published about primary sources, or that interpret, analyze, or describe primary sources. Examples of secondary sources may include: reviews, textbooks, encyclopedias, handbooks, etc. See also: PRIMARY SOURCES, TERTIARY SOURCES.

SERIAL See: PERIODICAL.

SERIES

A group of books or other documents that are related in subject matter and that are published separately, usually by the same publisher. Each item in a series will have an individual title, as well as a collective title or series title. For example, the book "Avian Flight" by John Videler is part of a series of bird books called the "Oxford Ornithology Series."

SOCIAL BOOKMARKING

Internet-based programs designed to allow the user to store and share bookmarks (links to favourite web sites) on the Internet. A primary example is the del.icio.us web service.

SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE

A web site that provides a forum for individuals or groups to set up profiles and meet online to chat, socialize, or discuss common interests. Examples include: MySpace, Facebook.

STACKS

Book shelves. Like most North American libraries, the Patrick Power Library has "open stacks," which means that patrons are allowed access to the library shelves. Library shelves that are not accessible to patrons are referred to as "closed stacks."

STEMMING

A search technique used to find words that share a common root or stem. Some databases will automatically search for all the words that contain the same stem. For example, a search of the word employment would also find employ, employer, employee, and any other words containing "employ." See also TRUNCATION, WILDCARD.

STOP WORDS

Common words that a database or search engine does not search, such as "a," "the," "in," or "of."

STYLE GUIDE

A guide that recommends specific guidelines for preparing and writing research papers, including the rules for formatting bibliographies and citing sources. See also: APA STYLE, MLA

STYLE.

SUBHEADING

A subdivision of a subject heading that adds more specific information. For example, in the subject heading "Canada - History", the word "History" is the subheading. See also: SUBJECT HEADING.

SUBJECT HEADING

A word or group of words used to describe the content of a book or other item. Each time a book is added to a library catalogue it is assigned a subject heading. Most academic libraries in North America use Library of Congress subject headings (LCSH). Searching a library catalogue by subject heading enables you to retrieve all the items about a given topic. See also: CONTROLLED VOCABULARY, DESCRIPTOR.

SUBTITLE

The second part of a title that usually follows the semicolon or colon. The subtitle may help to explain or qualify the main title. For example, Accounting: An International Perspective.

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TERTIARY SOURCES

Sources that summarize, condense, index or abstract information from primary and secondary sources. Reference material such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, almanacs, bibliographies, and periodical indexes are examples of tertiary sources. See also: PRIMARY SOURCES, SECONDARY SOURCES.

THESIS

A thesis is an extensive scholarly essay, submitted as part of the requirements of an advanced degree, such as a Master's or a Ph.D.

TRADE JOURNAL

A journal or magazine that contains articles targeted to people working in a particular profession, trade or industry. E.g., Canadian HR Reporter is a publication intended for human resource managers.

TRUNCATION

A search technique used to find variant endings of a word within a database. Some databases will truncate words automatically. In other databases, the searcher must use a symbol to specify the part of the word to be truncated. For example, the asterisk (*) is a truncation symbol used by many databases. Searching for the word employ* will find employ, employee, employees, employment, etc. Truncation symbols can differ from one database to another. See also: STEMMING, WILDCARD.

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UNBOUND

A publication that does not have a binding or a hard cover. The most recent issues of the Library's journals are unbound. See also: BOUND, BINDERY.

UNION CATALOGUE

A catalogue that lists the combined holdings of several libraries. Novanet is a union catalogue. It combines collections from several university and college libraries from across Nova Scotia. See also: NOVANET CATALOGUE.

URL

A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is an address to a web site on the Internet. An example of a URL is: http://www.smu.ca -- the address for Saint Mary's University on the World Wide Web.

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WEB BROWSER

Computer software that allows one to view web pages. Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox are examples of web browsers.

WEBLOG

A weblog (also known as a "blog") is a web page that contains frequently updated information or commentary on a particular topic. An example of a blog is the Library's PowerBlog, which contains the latest news from the Patrick Power Library.

WEB PAGE

A single page on the World Wide Web.

WEB SITE

A collection of documents available on the World Wide Web. A web site consists of one or more web pages.

WIKI

A wiki is a web application that allows anyone to collaboratively create, edit, link, and organize the content of a web site. The best known example is Wikipedia.

WILDCARD

A search technique that permits the searcher to find variant spellings or forms of a word within a database. The searcher inserts a symbol in the middle of a search term, in order to retrieve words containing any character or no character in that location. For example, wom?n will retrieve women or woman. Wildcard symbols can differ among databases. See also: TRUNCATION.

WORLD WIDE WEB

A network of web sites on the Internet that can be accessed using a web browser, such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. Often called "The Web" for short or abbreviated WWW.

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