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Library Jargon

Baffled by Boolean? Confused about call numbers? Library jargon defined.

Library Jargon A-D

abstract
A summary of an article, generally a sentence to a paragraph in length.

authoritative
The more authoritative a resource is, the more you can trust that the information is likely to be accurate. Things that make a source more authoritative include: listing of the author's name; author's credentials; listing of the sources the author used; and peer review. The more of these things that included, the more authoritative the resource is. Authoritative resources can be in any format, such as books, journals, or Internet sources.

Boolean operators
Boolean operators describe a conceptual relationship between search terms and include: "and," "or," and "not." These may be used in the search box of most online databases and Internet search engines.

Boolean
Boolean Diagram

 

And And
Using "and" indicates that both terms must be present to be retrieved. In an "and" search, only the point where the two circles overlap--the green portion---would be retrieved. "And" should be chosen to narrow the search statement.
Boolean Or
Using "or" indicates that either term may be present to be retrieved. An "or" search would retrieve a set that looks like the entire image-- the yellow circle, the blue circle and the green portion in between would all be retrieved. "Or" should be chosen when using several terms to describe the same or a similar concept, which will broaden the search.
Not Not
Using "not" indicates that one term is present and the other must not be  present to be retrieved. The "not" search would look like the yellow circle with the overlapping green portion of that circle gone. Use "not" cautiously--frequently more is eliminated than is intended. "Not" should be  chosen to eliminate instances of a term from a search statement.

call number
Call numbers help you locate books on the shelves.  

Example: Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself PS 3231 L68 1999

To locate this book, go to the shelves that have the "PS's" in their range.

All COM Library book shelves have the range of call numbers shelved there posted on the end of the book shelves:

Shelf Range

citation
A citation lists all the information you would need to find an article in a print periodical: the periodical in which it was published, the date of that periodical, the page numbers on which it appeared, the title of the article and the author.

Example: Kerr, Barbara A. "When Dreams Differ: Male-Female Relations on Campuses." The Chronicle of Higher Education. 5 March 1999: B7-8.

To find the article above, you would need to find the journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education, the March 5th issue, page B7-8.

credentials
An author's credentials include things like degrees, achievements, awards, honors, experience, occupation, position, and other publications.

database
Generally, data or information that is entered into a computer program and organized by fields. Microsoft Access is an example of database software. In COM Library databases refer to online databases that list articles and may include abstracts or full text articles.

directory
Internet directories are sites that maintain an index of other Internet sites. The data in these directories has generally been input by people. Since the Internet is growing every day, it is not currently possible to have a comprehensive directory to the Internet. Most directories can be browsed by subject, or searched.