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Glossary of Library Terms

Abstract
An abbreviated, accurate representation of a work, usually without added interpretation or criticism, accompanied by a bibliographic reference to the original work when appearing separately from it.
Almanac
1. A compendium, usually an annual, of statistics and facts, both current and retrospective. May be broad in geographical and subject coverage, or limited to a particular country or state or to a special subject. 2. An annual containing miscellaneous matter, such as a calendar, a list of astronomical events, planting tables, astrological predictions, and anecdotes.
Bibliography
1. The study of books as physical objects, as a means of determining the history and transmission of texts. 2. The art of correctly describing books with respect to authorship of the work(s) they contain, editions, physical form, etc. 3. A list of works, documents, and/or bibliographic items, usually with some relationship between them, e.g., by a given author, on a given subject, or published in a given place, and differing from a catalog in that its contents are not restricted to the holdings of a single collection, library, or group of libraries.
Catalog
1. A file of bibliographic records, created according to specific and uniform principles of construction and under the control of an authority file, which describes the materials contained in a collection, library, or group of libraries. 2. In a wider sense, a list of materials prepared for a particular purpose, e.g., an exhibition catalog, a sales catalog.
Citation
1. A note referring to a work from which a passage is quoted or to some sources as authority for a statement of proposition. 2. Especially in law books, a quotation from, or a reference to, statutes, decided cases, or other authorities.
Database
An organized collection of computer records, standardized in format and content, that is stored in any of a variety of computer-readable modes. It is the basic set of data from which computer-readable files are created. In the database, all records are interrelated by some common denominator.
Dictionary catalog
A catalog in which all the entries (author, title, subject, series, etc.) and their related references are arranged together in one alphabet. The subarrangement frequently varies from the strictly alphabetical.
Encyclopedia
A book or set of books containing informational articles on subjects in every field of knowledge, usually arranged in alphabetical order, or a similar work limited to a special field or subject. Synonymous with cyclopedia.
Finding aid
In archives, documents which provide direction to information contained in other documents. Basic finding aids include guides (general or subject), inventories, local registers, card catalogs and files, shelf and box lists, indexes of various kinds, calendars, and (for machine-readable records) software documentation.
Guides
In archives, a finding aid which at the repository level briefly describes and indicates the relationships between holdings, with record groups, papers, collections, or comparable bodies of material as the units of entry. Guides may also be limited to the description of the holdings of one or more repositories relating to particular subjects, periods, or geographical areas.
Index
A systematic guide to the contents of a file, document, or group of documents, consisting of an ordered arrangement of terms or other symbols representing the contents and references, code numbers, page number, etc., for accessing the contents.
Monograph
1. In cataloging, a nonserial bibliographic item, i.e., an item either complete in one part or complete, or intended to be completed, in a finite number of separate parts. 2. A systematic and complete treatise on a particular subject.
Pamphlet
1. An independent publication consisting of a few leaves of printed matter fastened together but not bound; usually enclosed in paper covers. 2. As defined by Unesco, a complete, unbound nonperiodical publication of at least 5 but not more than 48 pages, exclusive of the cover. [At Yale, sometimes defined as 75 pages or less]. Also called a brochure. 3. A brief controversial treatise on a topic of current interest, usually religious or political, common in England from the 16th to the 18th century.
Periodical
A serial appearing or intended to appear indefinitely at regular or stated intervals, generally more frequently than annually, each issue of which is numbered or dated consecutively and normally contains separate articles, stories, or other writings. Newspapers disseminating general news, and the proceedings, papers, or other publications of corporate bodies primarily related to their meetings, are not included in this term.
Serial
1. A publication in any medium issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely. Serials include periodicals; newspapers; annuals (reports, yearbook, etc.); the journals, memoirs, proceedings, transactions, etc., of societies; and numbered monographic series. 2. In computer science, the sequential execution of tasks or operations or the sequential handling of data.
Thesaurus
1. A compilation of terms showing synonymous, hierarchical, and other relationships and dependencies, the function of which is to provide a standardized, controlled vocabulary for information storage and retrieval. Its component parts are an index vocabulary and a lead-in vocabulary. 2. A lexicon, especially of synonyms and antonyms in classified order.

Source: The ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science. 1983.

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This file last modified 09/28/05
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