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Library Jargon

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

Library Jargon S-Z

scholarly journals
Journals whose content has been written by scholars or experts in their field. The most authoritative scholarly journals are peer reviewed. See a chart to compare scholarly journals and popular magazines, with examples listed below.

search engine
Internet search engines are sites that maintain an index of other web sites, as directories do, but the index is obtained in a different manner: search engines have robots or spiders (computer programs) that search other sites on the Internet. Some robots only index the main page of an Internet site, and others index every page of every site they encounter. Search engines are not always as easy to use as directories, but sometimes they can find sites that have not been indexed in a directory. Even search engines cannot keep up with the explosive growth of the Internet, however, so more than one might have to be used to find specific information. Many of these search engines maintain separate pages for simple and advanced searches. Don't be afraid of the advanced searches--usually it just means there are more options to use--so results are frequently better. Most search engines use pull-down or pop-up menus for their search options. Click on them to see what options exist. Most search engines now also include their own browsable directories that are easier to use, but like other directories, do not keep track of as many sites. Google is currently the most popular search engine and is probably the quickest and easiest to use and still get good results. Google search is available from the bottom of every COM Library page.

secondary sources
Secondary sources are accounts of the past written after events have taken place. They generally give overviews or interpret the events.

special collection
Special collections are collections of books by subjects of special interest to library patrons. COM Library has the following special collections: Leisure, Juvenile Media and Reference.

The stacks are the main part of a library's book collection.

text box
On a Web page, an area in which a user can input text or terms, as in a a search on a search engine page.

Uniform (or Universal) Resource Locator, or Web address.

Example: COM Library's URL is:

Vendors create interfaces to databases and sell access to the information in the database. They may or may not also be the creators of the database. Many databases are available through multiple vendors.

A portion of the Internet that uses HTML and can include other types of files such as graphic, audio and video files