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Learn to Use The Library : Glossary


Glossary of Library and Internet Terms

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A short summary of a written work.  Sometimes an article or a citation to an article is accompanied by an abstract.   It can be used to determine whether the article is worth reading, or worth seeking out if you have only the citation.
A relatively short piece of non-fiction (i.e., essay, report, etc.) appearing in a periodical or newspaper.
Someone who wrote something--an article, a book, contents of a Web page, etc.  In databases such as a library catalog or a collection of articles, it is one of the major ways to look something up.  An "author" may also include a person responsible for a work other than a book, such as a composer, an artist, a playwright, a director, et al.  An organization, too, may be an author--a "corporate author."

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A list of writings used by an author in preparing a particular work.  The list is alternatively known as a "list of works [or references or sources] cited."  A bibliographic entry for a book includes author, title, publisher, and date of publication.  An entry for an article includes author, title, date, and information on the periodical in which it was published.  An entry for a Web page includes similar information plus the Web page address (URL), date of viewing the Web page, and name of online service.  Some style manuals also call for the place where the page was accessed (e.g. Oakland Community College Orchard Ridge Library). Two common styles of bibliography are MLA and APA.  Learn more; see examples.)
Also know as "weblog" (from "web log"), a web-based journal, usually with at least daily updates, about anything the creator wants it to be about.  Sites such as Blogger: Push-Button Publishing for the People have proliferated, providing easy-to-use software that permits anyone to create and maintain a blog.  An example of a major type of blog is the political blog, as seen in the presidential candidacy of Howard Dean, where blogs have proliferated like mushrooms after a heavy rain.
A book, compared to an article in a periodical or to a Web page, pursues its subject or theme at greater length and in greater depth.  It is usually authored by one person or a few persons.  Why do we need books at all when everything is on the Internet?  Actually, everything is not on the readily accessible Web.  See, for example, the invisible web.  Also, much of what is in a good library is not on the Web.  Many copyrighted items are not available, and those that are may require payment of a fee.  Plus many sites on the Web are sales- and promotion-oriented, slanted, unedited by experts, recreational (i.e., not scholarly), here today and gone tomorrow, or just plain wacko.  Books may have the same flaws, but a good college library collection will not contain such books except to illustrate such flaws.
Software on a PC that facilitates viewing internet resources--web pages, PDF files, graphics, email, etc.  PCs in OCC Libraries utilize the most popular browser, Internet Explorer (IE).

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Call Numbers
OCC Libraries use the Library of Congress (L.C.) Classification System of call numbers to arrange books on the shelves.  L.C. call numbers consist of letters and numbers and are assigned according to subject so that books on the same subject are grouped together.  Honolulu Community College Library has an excellent tutorial on Understanding Call Numbers.  (Ignore the second part on "Location Prefixes," which applies to locations in their library.)  A detailed outline of the L.C. Classification System is also available.
See Library Catalog.
Refers to the type of books and other materials that can be checked out of the library.  As opposed to reference materials.
Circulation Desk
The place in a library where you check out books.  It is also the place where you get your Raider One Card activated for library use.  HINT: You can renew books (if they are not already overdue) online or by phone ; so you should never have to pay a library fine!
Provides information about a published item: author; title; name of periodical, book, or Web source; page(s), etc.  It is not the full text of the article, book, etc. itself.  If you find a citation  in a database of articles such as "Expanded Academic ASAP" but the full text is not there, you may look for the text in two ways.
Beneath the citation will be "Check for Copy," which will look for the article in our other online databases.  This can be rather complicated and, unfortunately, sometimes leads you right back to where you started.  It would be wise to open a new window before selecting this link so that your original search is not lost.  Contact a librarian if you have problems with this.
Check the library catalog to see if the print publication in which it appears is owned by an OCC library.  OCC Libraries subscribe to over a thousand print magazines, journals, and newspapers.
See Call Number.
A file sent from a web server to a web browser which records information about what the browser has been doing at the web site.  If left in place, the cookie allows the server to customize information for the browser and facilitate viewing the site.  For example, a password can be part of a cookie so that it doesn't have to be re-entered at the next visit.
Copy/Holding information
Records of books and other library holdings in the OCC Library Catalog show "copy/holding information," which includes location (which campus library), collection (particular collection in the library if other than circulating--e. g., reference, browsing, etc.), call number, status (available or checked out), and due date if checked out.
Copyright & Plagiarism
Copyright is the legal right of someone who creates an original work to control that work--meaning that no one can copy or sell that work without the creator's permission.  Original works can take a variety of forms: writing, music, movies, and images are the main types.  Some things cannot be copyrighted, such as government publications or recipes.  Plagiarism is a violation of copyright, an illegal use of copyrighted material, in academia most commonly involving a failure to properly credit the author when using his or her work.   There is an educational exception to copyright known as fair use.  Learn more: See the Library Instruction page for tutorials about Plagiarism.

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See Desire 2 Learn
See Detroit Area Library Network.
A database is a collection of data (usually digitized) organized for relatively rapid searching and retrieving.  Examples are the OCC Library Catalog and databases of periodical articles such as Expanded Academic ASAP.
Desire 2 Learn
The brand name of the learning management system (LMS) used by OCC to provide online instruction.
Detroit Area Library Network
DALNET is a library consortium, of which OCC is a member, located in Southeast Michigan. Members include academic, public, school and special libraries as well as information organizations in the seven county Metropolitan Detroit region. (Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, St. Clair, Monroe, Livingston and Washtenaw counties).  Members share a public online catalog as well as a fully integrated library management system that libraries use to automate and manage their operations.
Domain (Web)
In the United States a domain identifies a type of web site.   Outside the United States it identifies the place of origin of a web site. Its designation is usually part of a Web site's URL (e.g. Common domains in the United States include com for a commercial site, edu for an academic site, org for a non-profit or research site, gov for a governmental site, mil for a military site, and net for a network-related site.  Web sites originating in other countries instead have country codes--e.g., uk (United Kingdom), jp (Japan), ca (Canada), ru (Russia), etc. More information is available at the InterNIC site.

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See Electronic Book.
Electronic Book
A book that has been digitized and is available electronically, usually via the Internet.  OCC students and employees may access thousands of ebooks via the Libraries' Web site.

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Fair Use
"Fair use" describes an exception to copyright laws which allows some limited use, without permission of the creator of the work, of copyrighted materials.  The use must be for the purposes of education and commentary, including parody.  See the OCC subject guide Copyright & Fair Use for sources of information on this topic. See above for information about Copyright & Plagiarism, which also involves some discussion of fair use.
Full text
OCC's Web-based periodicals databases contain millions of full-text articles, meaning that the entire text of the articles is available via the WWW. These databases also contain millions more citations to articles.

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Government Documents
The United States government publishes more information than any other entity in the world. OCC's Orchard Ridge campus library is a selective depository for the federal government and is also a depository for State of Michigan documents.  Types of publications include statistical data, congressional hearings, agency reports, maps, budget information, country studies, and pamphlets on popular issues. Orchard Ridge's status as a depository also provides links to digital (largely web-based) versions of government publications.

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See Copy/Holding Information.
Home Page
A single page, the introductory or contents page of a web site.
Hypertext Markup Language: the code used to create web pages that feature hypertext and can be read by browsers.
An image or a text string in which is imbedded a URL; when clicked on by a computer mouse, the hyperlink opens another web page or "jumps" to another spot in the current page.  (Both hyperlinks in the preceding definition are "jump" links.)

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Interlibrary Loan (ILL)
The practice whereby one library, if it does not own an item, will borrow the item from another library.  Libraries have well-established routines for such borrowing, which serves to greatly expand the resources available. Read more about interlibrary loan.
A worldwide network of computer networks connected via TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) communications protocols for transfer of information.  See also Web.
Invisible Web
The "visible" web is that part of the WWW that search engines can discover. The invisible web comprises Internet resources that they cannot discover, such as the results of dynamically generated searches in subscription databases.  Also, files which are not primarily HTML-based (e.g., images, Flash, PDF) are generally not accessible to search engines.  For an excellent discussion of the invisible web, see this from UC Berkeley Library.

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Journals are periodicals aimed at scholarly and professional audiences, such as sociologists and accountants, and employ the technical vocabulary of these audiences. They tend to have few or no advertisements, but any advertisements they do have are aimed at their expert audiences (e.g. an ad for an anti-cholesterol drug in a medical journal).Articles in journals usually cite their sources, lists of which can be lengthy. Most journals are "refereed" publications.  Compare this with magazines.

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A significant word used in a search in a database that looks for the keyword(s) in titles, citations, abstracts, full text, etc.  Opposed to a subject search.

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Learning Management System
A web-based application used to deliver and manage online courses. The LMS used at OCC is Desire 2 Learn (D2L)
A repository for books, periodicals, newspapers, and other print media, as well as audio-visual and electronic storage media.  Libraries are also access points for Internet-based information, with librarians employing the same general principles for acquiring, organizing, and disseminating information in digital formats as they do for traditional print materials.  See OCC Libraries' Mission Statement.
Library Catalog
A searchable database of records identifying the holdings of a library.  The online library catalog at OCC libraries is versatile and powerful, allowing searches by format (book, video, CD-ROM, ebook, etc.) campus, and language; and featuring a personal-account function so that lists can be created and managed, and checked-out materials renewed via the web.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
A system of subject terms used by OCC Libraries and most academic libraries to identify the main subject(s) of books and other materials.  The subject headings are in print form in OCC libraries (five large red volumes--ask for them if you do not see them), and they appear in all records in the library catalog.  A "SUBJECT starts with" search in the library catalog employs L.C. Subject Headings.
See Learning Management System

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Magazines are popular publications with lots of photographs and advertising. They may inform, but they are primarily intended to entertain and to sell products for advertisers. Authors of articles are not necessarily experts and usually their sources of information are not cited.  Generally more suitable for academic research are journals.
A three-by-five-inch piece of film on which is stored, in reduced size, images of pages from periodicals or other publications.  A special reading machine is required for access.  It is utilized to save space; print versions take up much more space.
A roll of film on which is stored, in reduced size, images of pages from periodicals or other publications.  A special reading machine is required for access.  It is utilized to save space; print versions take up much more space.
The generic name for microfiche and microfilm.  Microform is becoming less common as it is supplanted by digital means of storage and dissemination.

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Some books are very large and are put on special big shelves away from where they would be if they were of normal size.  In the library catalog in the "collection" section of copy/holding information for the book it will say "oversize."  Ask library staff where the oversize books are.

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Portable Document Format: A file format that makes a document accessible via the internet as an image of its original, non-Internet form (i.e., as it appeared in a desktop publisher or word processor format); not conveyed in HTML format.  It was developed by Adobe Systems and requires their free Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing.
A publication that come out on a regular basis (i.e., periodically) more than daily--such as weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, etc.  It has articles written by various authors. Magazines and journals are the main types of periodicals.   Although "periodical" does not apply to daily publications, newspapers are often lumped in with periodicals as regards location in a library, or inclusion in some electronic databases of articles.
See also Book.
See also Serial.
See Copyright & Plagiarism.
Primary Source
A source that provides first hand evidence or information. Common examples include: autobiographies, diaries, interviews, letters, speeches, original works of art, eyewitness accounts, photographs, a scientific study or experiment, government documents.
See also Secondary Source.
See also Tertiary Source.

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QR Codes
QR (quick response) Codes are a type of barcode that can be read by your smart phone. To read a QR code on your phone you may have to download an application, but some phones come ready with barcode scanning capability. QR codes can be used to share all kinds of text-based data, including URLs, contact information, addresses, or directions. The advantage of using a QR code is that you can get information onto your smart phone quickly and easily.

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Refereed Publications
Periodicals that have expert boards of editors ("referees") who review articles before publication are referred to as "refereed publications."  These reviewers are "peers" or experts in the same field as the writer and help ensure that the articles meet professional or scholarly standards.  Most journals are refereed publications, while magazines generally are not.
1. What librarians call the activity of answering your questions and helping you find information.
2. Materials that cannot be checked out but must be used in the library; as opposed to circulating materials.
Reference Desk
Where the librarian sits in the library waiting to help you.
Library materials reserved by instructors for their particular classes.  They either can be checked out for a short period or must be used in the library.

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Search Engine
A search engine has one or more programs (sometimes called a "spider" or a “bot”) that searches the web for Web pages and creates a vast database of pages. When a search is submitted to a search engine, another program involving algorithms (that count how often the words you entered occur, where they occur, etc.) searches the database and posts the results in a ranked order. Algorithms and search protocols vary from search engine to search engine, and so results vary also.
Secondary Source
A source that provides second hand information about a topic; it describes, comments on, or analyzes information from other sources (often primary ones) . Common examples include: biographies, literary criticism, magazine, newspaper or journal articles, and books (depending on the context, magazine, newspaper or journal articles and books may be considered primary sources).
See also Primary Source.
See also Tertiary Source.
A publication issued in successive parts, often on a regular basis.  "Serials" include " periodicals" but also books in a numbered series and other publications such as annuals, almanacs, yearbooks, conference proceedings, etc.
Subject Directory
A subject directory comprises links organized into subject categories by human beings. Subject directories are intended primarily for browsing; that is, the searcher may peruse a subject hierarchy in search of information. Many also feature a search program.
Subject Heading
See Subject Search below.
Subject Search
A search in a database employing a standard set of subject headings assigned by the makers of the database.  Opposed to a keyword search using "natural language."   Subject searches look for search terms in indexes of subject headings, which then are linked to particular items (e.g. articles) in the database, while keyword searches are directed to titles, abstracts, and the actual items or articles themselves.  In databases such as a library catalog or a collection of articles, it is one of the major ways to look something up.
Subscription (Online) Database
A database which is not free.  Individuals or institutions must pay a fee to access such a database.  OCC libraries provide many subscription databases via the web which are highly useful for college research.  See also Database.

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Tertiary Source
A source that compiles, analyzes, and summarizes primary and/or secondary sources. Common examples include: reference works, bibliographies, almanacs, databases, and directories.
See also Primary Source.
See also Secondary Source.
The official name of a book, article, play, musical piece, play, etc.  In databases such as a library catalog or a collection of articles, it is one of the major ways to look something up.

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Uniform Resource Locator: the address of a file on the Internet, as in this example:

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A single book is a volume.  Also, individual units in a series are volumes.  Several issues of a periodical may be bound into a single unit, also called a volume.

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See Blog.
Web Browser
See Browser.
Web Page
A single page on the World Wide Web represented by a URL.
Web Site
An organized set of interrelated (hyperlinked) web pages on the World Wide Web.

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