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Library Jargon

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

Library Jargon M-R

A collection of articles generally written by staff or freelance writers and aimed at the general public. Articles tend to be brief with no references listed or credentials of the author given. Examples: Fortune, Reader's Digest, Time.

meta search engine
Meta search engines (also known as All-in-One search pages) allow the user to search multiple engines from one location. Since no search engine or directory of the Internet is comprehensive, you may have to use more than one to find the information you want. Disadvantages? Most meta search engines do not allow the user to take advantage of a search engine's options, which can make a search much more effective; some also require that a search term be entered repeatedly for each engine it searches. See directory and search engine.

online databases
In COM Library online databases list articles and may include abstracts or full text articles. Find out more about Online Databases, or access our online databases (if you are on campus): Databases.

In a library setting, a patron is someone who uses the library, such as COM students, faculty, staff and community members.

peer reviewed
Scholars and experts review articles for accuracy and significance before it is published in a journal.

A periodical is a publication which is issued periodically, such as a magazine, journal or newspaper.

A permalink is a permanent or durable link to a resource in a database or web site. They are sometimes provided when pages are dynamically created, meaning they are generated by a database during a search and are not permanent pages. Dynamic URLs are likely to contain the following within the URL: ?, &, %, +, =, $, cgi-bin, .cgi. All of our databases provide permalinks. Look on the the page of an article or other database resource to get a permalink (usually says permalink) rather than the using the URL in the browser window.

popular magazines
Magazines whose content has been written by staff or freelance writers, although occasionally some popular magazines have contributors who are more authoritative. See a chart to compare scholarly journals and popular magazines, with examples listed below.

primary sources
Primary sources are records recorded at the time such as letters, diaries, government documents, photographs, oral histories, artifacts. For more information on primary sources, go to: Historical Primary Sources: A Guide.

Books in the reference section tend to be frequently used fact based resources such as almanacs, dictionaries and  encyclopedias.

In COM Library these are frequently used materials placed by instructors. Check out is usually for brief periods of time and sometimes items cannot leave the library. Go to the circulation desk to obtain these materials.