Fordham University  The Jesuit University of New York

Home < Library Services



Here are the definitions of some common library terms to help clarify things

A   -   C           D   -  H            I   -  O           P   -   T           U  -  Z 

A - C

    A brief summary of a book, journal article or other work.

Annotated Bibliography
   A bibliography that includes a brief description of each article or book listed.  The description is intended to assist the reader in evaluating the contents and usefulness of each item.

       A collection of works such as essays, poems or stories by various authors collected into one volume.

       A collection of documents and records relating to a person or the history of an organization preserved for their historic value.  Also the location where such materials are kept.  Fordham's Archives and Special Collections are located on the fourth floor of Walsh Library.

Bibliographic Record
       An entry in a database that identifies and describes a specific work, such as a book or a journal, by various fields including author, title, publication information etc.

       A list of sources (books, articles, etc.) cited in a research paper or publication.

Book Truck
       Rolling carts used for moving books.

Boolean Operators
       Terms such as "and," "or" and "not" used to express the relationship between terms in searching electronic databases.

Bound Periodical
       Issues of a journal that have been sent to the bindery to be "bound" together in book form.

Call Number
       Number assigned to library materials used for shelving and location.  Fordham uses the Library of Congress call number system.

       Department in the library that is responsible for entering the information about library materials in the online catalog.

        Compact Disc - Read Only Memory.

Checked Out
       Term used in OPAC used to indicate that an item is out of the library on loan.

       The information needed to find specific material.  For books it includes author, title and publication information.  For journal articles it includes author, title, journal name, date, volume and pages.

Circulation Desk
       Desk where library materials are checked out and returned.  Renewals, recalls and Inter-Campus loan requests are also handled here.

D - H

       A collection of data including articles and other materials on specific topics searchable from a computer terminal.

       Another word for subject heading used in many electronic databases.

       A text written in completion of the requirements for a doctoral degree at a university.  Also called a thesis.

Due Date
       Date by which borrowed library materials must be returned.

Electronic Reserves - ERES
       Online full-text database of materials placed on Reserve for specific courses.  ERES is accessible from the library homepage.

       A citation or record in a catalog or database.

       A portion of an entry representing a specific piece of information such as author or title.

       An oversized volume shelved in a special location for larger books.

Full-Text Database
       A database from which the entire text of an article can be viewed, printed or downloaded directly from a computer terminal.

Government Documents
       Materials published by local, state, federal and international government organizations.  Fordham is a U.S. Government Depository Library.  The Government Document collection is located on the ground floor of Walsh Library.

       Results retrieved from a search in an electronic database.

       Service by which library users may place a "hold" on an item that is checked out so that when it is returned, it will be held for them at the Circulation Desk.  This may be done by phone or at the Circulation Desk.

I - O

Inter-Campus Loan
       Service which allows students, faculty and staff to request books and journal articles from one of the other Fordham campuses.  Request forms are available in the Reference Room and should be turned in at the Circulation Desk.

Inter-Library Loan -  ILL
       Service that allows students, faculty and staff to request books and journal articles from other libraries if the material is not available at Fordham.  Requests are made online from the library homepage.

       A scholarly publication issued periodically, usually monthly or quarterly, containing articles written by experts on current research in a particular field.  Articles are usually accompanied by an abstract and a bibliography.

Keyword Search
       Search method that looks for the occurrence of a word or words anywhere in a record.

Library of Congress Classification
       System using letters and numbers which organizes knowledge into subject areas.  This system was developed by the Library of Congress and is the system Fordham and most academic libraries use for their call numbers.

       Publication issued regularly (weekly, monthly etc.) primarily for the general public rather than scholars.

       Flat plastic sheets which contain photo images of printed books and journals greatly reduced in size and are read using a special machine.

       Reels of film which contain images of printed books, journals and newspapers greatly reduced in size and are read using a special machine.

       Printed material that has been photographed and reduced in size in order to help preserve the material and reduce the necessary storage space.  Microforms include microfiche, microfilm and microcards.

       A book on a single topic.

Online Catalog  -  OPAC
       A computerized, searchable database of materials owned by the Library displaying the call number, location and whether or not the item is checked out.   It also contains links to electronic books and  electronic journals.

P - T

Peer-Reviewed Journal
        A journal where articles are reviewed and selected for publication by scholars.  Also called a scholarly journal or a refereed journal.

       A publication issued at regular intervals including magazines, journals, and newspapers.

       Using another person's work as your own and without attributing it to the original author.

       A request for the return of checked out library material before the due date.  Recalls are placed at the Circulation Desk or by phone.

Reference Desk
       Service desk in the Reference Room where library users get help from librarians in using the library, accessing library materials, searching databases and answering general questions.

       To extend the amount of time library materials can be borrowed.  Renewals may be done online through the OPAC, by phone or at the Circulation Desk.

Research Guides
       Subject-specific lists of basic reference works, databases, and web sites prepared by Fordham librarians and accessible from the library homepage.

Reserve Desk
       Service desk where materials selected by instructors to be held for specific courses can be checked out for a limited period of time.

       A publication issued in regular intervals such as periodicals, journals, magazines, newspapers and annuals.

       Book shelves in the library.

Subject Heading
       Word or phrase that describes the subject content of a work.  Fordham and most academic libraries use the Library of Congress Subject Headings.

Subject Search
       Search technique that uses the databases own pre-determined terms as subject headings or descriptors.

       An individual computer station.

       A list of descriptors or subject headings used in a particular database.

       In a database search, the use of a symbol (often an asterisk) to shorten or "truncate" a word to return a word stem and any ending.  For example, educat* will retrieve educator, educated and education.

U - Z

       Uniform Resource Locator.  The unique address of  items on the Internet.

         In libraries, it usually refers to a full set of issues which make up one year's worth of a serial.

Source:  Stevenson, Janet.  Dictionary of Library and Information Management.  Teddington: Peter Collin, 1997.
                University of Texas at San Antonio Library  -

JK   7/12/04

Contact Library | Library FAQ | University Home