Not sure what librarians are talking about when they talk library-ese? Fret not! We’ve put together a guide to library jargon and what it means in plain English.
At the Wallace Library, the library department that deals with circulation, reserves, interlibrary loan, the Information Desk, and building access and security. The Access Services Offices are located behind the Information Desk in the atrium.
Anthology / Edited Collection
A collection of extracts or complete works by various authors, selected by an editor for publication in a single volume or multivolume set. Anthologies are often limited to a specific literary form or genre (short stories, poetry, plays) or to a national literature, theme, time period, or category of author.
The American Psychological Association (APA) citation style is used by many Social and Natural Science fields. For more information, see Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.
An image database featuring a range of images or art, architecture, photography, and manuscripts from some of the world’s leading museums, photo archives, scholars, and artists. All images are accompanied by comprehensive bibliographic information, and are rights-cleared for educational use. These high quality images can be downloaded for use in papers and presentations.
Historical records, such as collections of personal papers, manuscripts, photographs, account books, etc., as well as the buildings and spaces where they are kept. Wheaton’s archives, the Marion B. Gebbie ’01 Archives and Special Collections, are located on the Archives Level of the Wallace Library (accessible from the stair tower).
A short piece of non-fiction writing on a topic, usually ranging from 1-40 pages and published in a journal, magazine, or newspaper. (Chapters in edited collections or anthologies may sometimes also be referred to as articles.)
The person(s) or organization(s) that wrote or compiled a document. Looking for information under its author’s name is one option in searching.
A database consisting of electronic entries called records, each containing a uniform description of a specific document or bibliographic item (e.g. print book, e-book, article, video), usually retrievable by author, title, subject heading (descriptor), or keyword(s). Some bibliographic databases are general in scope and coverage; others provide access to the literature of a specific discipline or group of disciplines. An increasing number provide the full-text of at least a portion of the sources indexed. See also: Library Database. In a library context, bibliographic databases are often simply referred to as “databases.”
A list of citations or references to both primary and secondary sources cited in the text of an article or book, or suggested by the author for further reading. It usually appears at the end of the work. Sometimes a bibliography will be annotated, meaning that each citation also contains a brief summary, similar to an abstract, of the contents of the work cited and why it is relevant to the topic of the bibliography or paper.
A relatively lengthy work, often on a single topic. Not to be confused with a novel. A non-fiction/scholarly book written by a single author or team of authors is often called a monograph, while a book consisting of articles or chapters put together by an editor is known as an anthology or edited collection. Books can be researched in the library catalog (in Wheaton’s case, the HELIN catalog) and accessed either in print (located in the stacks) or as e-books.
A short article that evaluates and critiques a published literary or scholarly work, usually written by an expert in the same field of study. Many library databases allow searching specifically for book reviews, including reviews of a particular book. Book Review Digest Plus is a database that exclusively covers book reviews.
A word—such as AND, OR, or NOT—that tells a computer how to combine search terms in a query and helps to narrow (AND, NOT) or broaden (OR) searches.
A group of letters and/or numbers that identifies a specific item in a library and provides a way for organizing a library’s collections. A call number label is attached to each item in the collection and the call number is included in the entry for that item in the catalog. A call number tells users where to find the item in the library. Wallace Library uses the Library of Congress Classification for call numbers.
A database listing and describing the books, journals, government documents, audiovisual and other materials held by a library. At Wallace Library, it is known as the HELIN Catalog and can be searched from both the library homepage and directly.
To borrow an item from the library. Check-out periods vary by item type. Items are checked out at the Information Desk on the Main Level of Wallace Library. For more information on checking out items from Wallace Library, see our policy page.
The citation style used by many Humanities and Social Science fields, including History, Anthropology, Political Science and Art History. There are two variants of this style, the author-date variant, which uses parenthetical in-text citations, and the note variant, which uses footnoted in-text citations. For more information, see Chicago Manual of Style.
The process of checking library materials in and out. The library collects statistics about how many times and how frequently items circulate to help determine usage trends and future collection development needs.
A reference to a specific book, article, chapter, or other material (both scholarly and non-scholarly) that clearly identifies that item and allows readers to trace back the information the author used and referred to in their writing. The citation style used to format these citations differs from one field of study to another. A list of multiple citations is called a bibliography. To manage multiple citations efficiently, many scholars now use citation management software such as Zotero.
Citation Management Software
Software that helps users keep track of citations found during the research process, create bibliographies, and insert footnotes or endnotes into documents and format them according to a specific style guide. Examples include Zotero and RefWorks.
Rules for formatting citations as defined in a style guide. Citation styles often differ from one field of scholarship to another: many but not all social sciences, for example, use APA style, while literature and other humanities disciplines use MLA style and fields such as history or anthropology prefer Chicago style.
Located on the first mezzanine of Wallace Library, at the top of the marble stairs, the Clark Room houses part of the fine arts collection. During the day, the Clark Room is available for group study. It turns into a quiet study area after 6pm. For more information, see the library’s floorplan.
Located on Wallace Library’s first mezzanine level, the Cole Room houses the Cole Collection, part of the Rare Book Collection, and is reserved for quiet study. For more information, see the library’s floorplan.
A room designed for group work. Wallace Library has 13 collaboration rooms equipped with a variety of technology (e.g. flat screens, computers, DVD/VHS players). For more information about the collaboration rooms in Wallace Library, see our website.
A meeting with a liaison where a student or group of students can get assistance with using library tools, finding sources, creating bibliographies and citing sources, and using a variety of software packages. For more information, check our website.
A list of specific, standardized terms, called preferred terms, used to catalog or index entries in the library catalog and library databases. These terms are used as subject headings and ensure that all materials on a topic can be found even if the author does not use the same terminology as the researcher.
Course Management System (CMS) / Learning Management System / Moodle / onCourse
An integrated set of online applications providing access to course assignments and materials, tests and test results, e-discussion and chat space, and other features in support of education, particularly in colleges and universities. Wheaton’s CMS, onCourse is based on the Moodle platform.
Digital library of over 700 cross-searchable reference books in a wide variety of disciplines. A great starting point for your research.
An online archive for collecting, preserving, and disseminating digital copies of the intellectual output of an institution, particularly a research institution. Wheaton’s Digital Repository includes digitized works from our Archives and Special Collections, Honors Theses, and other works created by members of the Wheaton community.
An extended written treatment of a subject (like a book) submitted by a graduate student as a requirement for a doctorate.
Acronym for Digital Object Identifier. It is a unique alphanumeric string assigned by the publisher to a digital object that permanently identifies a document and links to it on the web. In a published article, the DOI is usually found on the first page along with other citation information and is often an active link. To locate DOIs that are not an active link, enter http://dx.doi.org/ your browser’s address box, then the DOI.
E-Book (Electronic Book)
An electronic version of a book that can be read on a computer or mobile device.
E-Reserves or Electronic Reserves
An electronic version of a course reserve that is read on a computer display screen.
A publisher of library databases. The EBSCO platform, EBSCOhost, is the home of such databases as America History & Life, Historical Abstracts, Art Full Text, Humanities Full Text, and Social Sciences Full Text.
A person or group responsible for compiling the writings of others into a single information source. Looking for information under the editor’s name is one option in searching.
A book or numbered set of books containing authoritative summary information about a variety of topics in the form of short essays, usually arranged alphabetically by headword or classified in some manner. An entry may or may not identify the author, and may include illustrations or a list of references for further reading. Headwords and text are usually revised periodically for publication in a new edition. Encyclopedias may be general (example: Encyclopedia Britannica) or specialized, usually by subject (Encyclopedia of International Games) or discipline (The Encyclopedia Gale Encyclopedia of Public Health).
A statement printed at the end of a chapter, book or essay to explain a point in the text, indicate the basis of an assertion, or cite the source of a concept, idea, quotation, or piece of factual information. Like footnotes, endnotes are numbered, usually in superscript, and listed in the sequence in which they appear in the text. See also in-text citation.
A short literary composition written in expository prose addressed to the general reader, usually dealing thoughtfully and in some depth with a single theme, seen from the personal point of view of the essayist who does not necessarily attempt the systematic or comprehensive analysis one would expect in a dissertation or treatise.
A computer program designed to allow only selected data to pass through to the user, for example, an e-mail system that alerts the recipient to selected incoming messages or software that blocks access to Web sites containing certain types of content, usually violent or sexually explicit material considered unsuitable for young children.
To save space, libraries shelve oversized books (those over 10.5 inches tall) separately from regular sized books. Oversized books are divided into two categories: quarto (10.5 to 12.25 inches) and folio (over 12.25 inches). In Wallace Library, folio books are located on the Stacks Level, next to the door to the Science Center.
A brief note at the bottom of a page explaining or expanding upon a point in the text or indicating the source of a quotation or idea attributed by the author to another person. Footnotes are indicated in the text by an arabic numeral in superscript, or a reference mark, and are usually printed in a smaller size of the font used for the text. When numbered, the sequence usually starts with 1 at the beginning of each chapter but may occasionally start with 1 at the beginning of each page. Compare with endnote and in-text citation.
An electronic resource that provides the entire text of a single work (example: Britannica Online) or of articles published in one or more journals, magazines, and/or newspapers. For example, a bibliographic database that provides the complete text of a significant proportion of the works indexed, in addition to the bibliographic citation and (in many cases) an abstract of the content (example: JSTOR). Also spelled full-text and fulltext.
A word or phrase used as a main entry in a dictionary or encyclopedia, usually printed in boldface or some other distinctive type at the beginning of a definition or other entry. In most dictionaries, headwords are arranged in a single alphabetic sequence. In classified reference works, headwords may be listed alphabetically within each section, usually with a subject or keyword index to the entire work at the end of the last volume.
The library consortium of which Wheaton College is a member. HELIN libraries share a joint catalog, which enables users to borrow materials from both their home libraries and all other member libraries. In other words, Wheaton users can request books from other HELIN libraries that Wheaton does not own; they are usually delivered to Wheaton within one or two business days.
1. A list of names or topics—usually found at the end of a publication—that directs you to the pages where those names or topics are discussed within the
publication. 2. A printed or electronic publication that provides references to periodical articles or books by their subject, author, or other search terms.
Here you can check-out and return library materials, pick-up interlibrary loan materials, request course reserves, get help with computers, MFPs, and finding things in the library. The Info Desk is located in the Wallace Library atrium.
The set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.
InterLibrary Loan (ILL)
A service that allows you to borrow materials from other libraries through your own library. For more information on ILL at Wallace Library, check our website.
A reference to an outside source made by the writer within the text of a paper or publication, usually by enclosing the name of the author and the page number(s) in parentheses immediately following the portion of text to which the citation refers, as opposed to indicating the source in a footnote or endnote. Proper form can be found in a suitable style manual.
1. To produce books or other printed materials for public sale or distribution, usually in quantity. 2. All the copies of a newspaper or periodical published on the same date and bearing the same issue number and including the same font. Purchase of a subscription entitles the subscriber to receive one copy of each successive issue for a prescribed period of time. In libraries, all the issues for the same publication year may be bound in one or more physical volumes, with the bibliographic volume number stamped on the spine(s), to create a back file.
Located on one of the tabs on the search box in the center of Wallace Library’s homepage, this option allows you to search for journals by title to see if the library subscribes to a certain journal, the years covered in our collection, and where you can access it.
Wallace Library’s team of liaison librarians are responsible for information literacy instruction through research consultations, in-class instruction, and faculty collaboration. They also work with individual departments and the library’s Collections and Resources group to maintain the library’s collections. Each liaison is responsible for a set of departments related to their educational background. Form more information, see our website.
Also know as WorldCat, this bibliographic database allows you to search the catalogs of libraries around the world. In the HELIN Catalog, click the “Libraries Worldwide” box on the left of the results screen to expand your search to include these libraries. This can help you discover sources beyond what is held at Wallace Library and in the HELIN libraries. To submit an interlibrary loan request for a source in the Libraries Worldwide catalog, click the “Request Item” button.
See: Bibliographic Database.
Library of Congress Classification (LCC)
A system of classifying books and other library materials developed and maintained over the last 200 years by the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In LCC, human knowledge is divided into 20 broad categories indicated by single letters of the Roman alphabet, with major subdivisions indicated by a second letter, and narrower subdivisions by decimal numbers and further alphabetic notation.
For example, in the call number PE 3727.N4 M34 1994 (assigned to the book Juba to Jive: A Dictionary of African-American Slang, edited by Clarence Major), P represents the main class “Language and literature,” PE the class “English language,” 3727 the subclass “English slang,” and N4 African Americans as a special group. M34 is the Cutter number for the editor’s surname and 1994 is the year of publication.
In the United States, most research libraries and academic libraries use LCC. An outline of LCC is available at the Library of Congress website.
Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH)
A descriptive word or phrase selected by a subject specialist at the Library of Congress from the list of Library of Congress Subject Headings and assigned to a book or other item when first published to indicate its subject. Multiple subject headings are assigned when necessary or desirable. See also: controlled vocabulary, subject heading, descriptor.
Limits / Limiters
Options used in searching that restrict your results to only information resources meeting certain criteria. Limiting options vary by database, but common options include limiting results to materials available full-text in the database, to scholarly or peer-reviewed publications, to materials written in a particular language, to materials available in a particular location, or to materials published at a specific time.
A comprehensive survey of the works published in a particular field of study or line of research, usually over a specific period of time, in the form of an in-depth, critical bibliographic essay or annotated list in which attention is drawn to the most significant works. Click here for tips on writing a literature review, courtesy of UC Santa Cruz. An annual review is a type of serial devoted to the publication of literature reviews. Synonymous with literature survey and review of the literature.
In scholarly journals, particularly those publishing original research in the physical and social sciences, the second section of each article, devoted to a review of the previously published literature on the subject, with references in the text to footnotes or a list of works cited at the end.
Multi-Function Printers (MFPs) are office machines that combine several functions that usually require several machines into one single machine. The MFPs in the library can print, copy and scan. The MFPs in the Library atrium can print and copy in color in addition to black and white. All other MFPs are black and white only. For students, color printing costs $0.10 a side.
A reduced sized photographic reproduction of printed information on reel to reel film (microfilm) or film cards (microfiche) or opaque pages that can be read with a microform reader/printer.
The Modern Language Association (MLA) citation style is the standard citation style in many Humanities fields, including English, Film and New Media Studies, and Cultural Studies. For more information, see MLA Handbook.
Any information resource that presents information using more than one media (print, picture, audio, or video).
New Book Area
Located between Wallace Library’s front door and atrium, it is a seating area in which the newest books in the library’s collection are displayed. These books can be checked-out by any member of the Wheaton community.
A serial publication, often issued daily, on certain days of the week, or weekly, containing news, editorial comment, regular columns, letters to the editor, cartoons, advertising, and other items of current and often local interest to a general readership. Traditionally printed on newsprint, may newspapers are additionally or exclusively published digitally. Some newspapers focus on specific subject matter (e.g. education, culture, business).
A fictional prose narrative involving people and events, usually with some degree of realism.
A non-profit cooperative organization with library members from across the world. Maintains WorldCat (aka Libraries Worldwide,) a catalog that itemizes the holdings of its member libraries. Also administers WorldShare Management Service (WMS).
OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog)
Information content (including articles, books and data sets) made freely and universally available via the Internet in easy to read formal. Open access is a new model of scholarly publishing developed to free researchers and libraries from the limitations imposed by excessive subscription price increases for peer-reviewed journals. By breaking the monopoly of publishers over the distribution of scholarly research, open access makes access to scholarly information more equitable and has the added advantage of allowing the author to retain copyright.
A complete rewording of a thought, idea or opinion expressed in a previously spoken statement or written work, usually to make the meaning clearer by substituting shorter, simpler words for difficult vocabulary. Also, the use of rewording as a literary device or educational technique. Compare with quotation and summarize. See also: plagiarism.
Peer-Reviewed Journal / Refereed Journal
Peer-reviewed or refereed journals have a panel of experts in a field review all the articles submitted for publication to ensure that each article reflects the best research practices of the field, is logically argued, and is clearly written. Peer review helps to ensure the quality of an information source.
A link that will return you to the same page every time you click the link.
The theft of ideas or of written passages or works, where these are passed off as one’s own work without acknowledgement of their true origin. Plagiarism is not always easily separable from imitation, adaptation, or pastiche, but is usually distinguished by its dishonest intention. Paraphrasing, summarizing and proper citation are essential tools for avoiding plagiarism.
An original record of events, such as a diary, a newspaper article, a public record, or scientific documentation.
A bibliographic database of 660+ scholarly journals from major university presses covering literature and criticism, history, performing arts, cultural studies, education, philosophy, political science, gender studies, and more. The Library’s subscription also includes over 7,000 e-books. This is a good database for researching interdisciplinary topics within the Humanities.
A company that creates a variety of bibliographic databases that Wallace Library subscribes to, including EconLit, MLA International Biography, Social Sciences Abstracts, and Biological Sciences.
An Internet server that acts as a “go-between” for a computer on a local network (secure system) and the open Web. Often checks to determine “right of access” to the secure environment and speeds up requests by caching frequently accessed Web pages. Can also act as a firewall.
A bibliographic database that includes journals covering medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, health care, biology, biochemistry, and molecular evolution. Compiled by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and covers works from 1950 to the present.
Libraries shelve oversized books (those over 10.6 inches tall) separately from regular-sized books to save space. Oversized books are divided into two categories: quarto (10.5 to 12.25 inches) and folio (over 12.25 inches). Quarto books are located on the Stacks Level, next to the door to the Science Center.
Words or passages reproduced from a written work or repeated verbatim from an oral statement. Because words and phrases taken out of context may give a misleading impression of the whole, care must be taken in selecting quotations. A passage quoted incorrectly is a misquotation. In writing, quotations should be surrounded by quotation marks (“”) and should always be properly cited.
Research & Instruction (R & I)
Made up of the Library’s technologists and liaison librarians, this department is responsible for library and technology instruction, providing support for onCourse, and, most importantly, for helping students and faculty with research projects.
A request for the return of library material before the due date. This happens when a library user needs access to a library item that has been checked-out by another user, and cannot wait until the due date. To recall an item at Wallace Library, make a request at the Information Desk in the atrium.
Reference: 1. A service that helps people find needed information (see: liaison). 2. Sometimes “reference” refers to reference collections, such as encyclopedias, indexes, handbooks, directories, etc. 3. A citation to a work is also known as a reference.
Reference Reading Room
The room off the Wallace Library atrium where the reference collection is kept. Equipped with a variety of workspaces and seating options, this room is also a quiet study area.
RefWorks is a web-based citation management software that helps you organize your references and use them to create bibliographies and format citations in papers. You can import the bibliographic information of a book, chapter or article from library catalogs and databases; create correctly styled in-text citations in the citation style of your choice; and insert bibliographies from your list of references in a variety of citation styles. For more information, see our Citation Management guide.
Users who want to use library tools while off-campus will have to login using their WID and password or use VPN.
An extension of the loan period for library materials.
Reserves / Course Reserves
A journal geared towards a scholarly audience (faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, professionals). Articles are written by scholars with expertise in the field and expect that the reader has some knowledge of the field. Many, but not all, scholarly journals are peer-reviewed.
A book, article, video or other source created by scholars or others with authority and experience in the topic. These works often include subject-specific language and are intended for a scholarly audience with a level of familiarity with the subject.
Conference room on the first floor of the library, to the left of the front entrance. Equipped with two large screens, this room is used for in-class library instruction, workshops, and meetings. When not in use, it is open to students.
A bibliographic database of over 2,500 journals and 11 encyclopedias in the sciences and social sciences. Coverage for most titles is from the mid-90s to the present. This is a good place to begin your science and social science research.
A bibliographic database covering scientific, technical, medical, social sciences and some humanities journals and web resources. Coverage for some titles is 1900’s to the present, for others, is from 1996 to the present. This is a good place to begin your science and social science research.
Computer software designed to help the user locate information available at sites on the World Wide Web by selecting categories from a hierarchical directory of subjects (e.g. Yahoo!) or by entering appropriate keywords or phrases (e.g.Google, Hotbot, etc.). Results may be ranked according to relevance or some other criterion.
Search Statement / Search Query
Words entered into the search box of a database or search engine when looking for information. Words relating to an information source’s author, editor, title, subject heading or keyword serve as search terms. Search terms can be combined by using Boolean operators and can also be used with limits/limiters.
A word or phrase representing one of the main concepts in a research topic, used alone or in combination with other terms in a search statement, to query an online catalog, bibliographic database, or search engine and retrieve relevant information. A search term can be a keyword or phrase supplied by the user, an authorized subject heading or descriptor selected from a prescribed list, or a word or phrase found in a thesaurus.
Materials such as books and journal articles that analyze primary sources. Secondary sources usually provide evaluation or interpretation of data or evidence found in original research or documents such as historical manuscripts or memoirs.
The Stacks Level Electronic Classroom (SLEC) is used for library instruction. It is located on the Stacks (basement) Level of the library behind the behind the Information Desk. It is equipped with 12 PCs, two of which have SPSS, and is open for student use when not being used for a class.
An information source providing guidelines for people who are writing research papers. A style manual outlines specific formats for arranging research papers and citing the sources that are used in writing the paper.
To give a brief overview of the main points of something.
A citation style commonly used in the humanities and social sciences. It is a simplified version of the Chicago Style. For more information, see A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers by Kate Turabian.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
The unique address for a Web page which is used in citing it. A URL consists of the access protocol (http), the domain name (www.wheaton.edu), and often the path to a file or resource residing on that server.
In the bibliographic sense, a major division of a work, distinguished from other major divisions of the same work by having its own chief source of information and, in most cases, independent pagination, foliation, or signatures, even when not bound under separate cover and regardless of the publisher’s designation. In a set, the individual volumes are usually numbered, with any indexes at the end of the last volume. For a periodical, all the issues published during a given publishing period (usually a calendar year), bound or unbound. The volume number is usually printed on the front cover of each issue and on the same page as the table of contents. In bound periodicals, it is impressed on the spine. Abbreviated v. or vol.
The Woolley Electronic Classroom (WEC), on the first floor of the library, is used for library instructions sessions. It has 12 Mac desktops and is open for student use when a class is not in session.
WorldShare Management Services (WMS) is the system that Wallace Library uses to perform the business and technical functions of the library, including purchasing, cataloging, circulation, and the provision of public access.
See: Libraries Worldwide.
A free citation management software that allows you to collect, organize, cite, and automatically format your research materials. You can import the bibliographic information and PDFs (when available) of articles, books, websites, and other formats directly from library databases, catalogs, or the open web. For more information, see our Citation Management guide.
Sources: Adapted from the ACRL Multilingual Glossary of Terms, the Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science (ed. Joan M. Reitz), and Wallace Library staff contributions.