CONTROL: The means used to
ensure consistency in entering variant
names, titles, spellings, and so forth into
Example: works about
"movies," "motion pictures," "cinema," and
"films" are all entered under the
established subject heading "Motion
BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD: A
description of an item of recorded
information, which includes all the data
necessary to uniquely identify it. This
information contains the basic elements for
A bibliography is
a list of citations that appear at the end
of a paper, article, chapter or book. There
are also books entirely made up of
bibliographies. These are usually
compilations of citations on a particular
subject or by a particular author.
account of a person's life.
OPERATORS: Set logic used to
indicate relationships between search terms;
named after mathematician George Boole. The
Boolean operator AND requires both the
linked terms to be present simultaneously.
OR requires at least one term in a concept
block to be present, while NOT excludes any
reference to a term.
numbers are placed on the spine of the book
to locate it on the shelves. Call numbers
are displayed on records in the Austin G.
Catalog to help you find the book.
Library of Congress Classification CD 950
Decimal 973.7 B245c
DESK: The service desk where books
and other items are loaned or checked out to
A brief reference to an article,
book, or other material; usually includes
author, title, source, place and date of
Andersen, Catherine F.
Master Student Reader: A Master Student
Text. New York: Houghton Mifflin
VOCABULARY: A list of subject terms
used to assign index terms to records in a
uniform manner in a given database. Not all
databases use a controlled vocabulary; these
can only be searched free-text.
collection of related records in
machine-readable form. Databases may be of
various types---bibliographic, numeric,
directory, or full-text. It is the computer
version of a file.
An operation that the computer is
programmed to perform when it receives no
instruction with regard to the file, field,
or set on which to perform an operation.
A subject heading or index term
chosen by an indexer from a controlled
vocabulary and assigned to a particular
record. A “bound” descriptor is a multiword
phrase indexed as a complete phrase in the
Basic index. Such phrases may only be
searched in selected fields that are
The transfer of data from one
electronic storage medium (the host system)
to another (the user machine), usually the
results of a search, for offline printing,
or for word processing.
END USER: A
person who actually performs his/her own
search, most frequently on the Internet.
collection of related records from a single
source. Although the term “file” is often
used as synonymous with “database,” some of
the larger databases may be divided into
more than only file, usually by date.
A citation produced from a logically
correct search statement that is not
relevant to the user’s needs. This is
usually the result of an incorrect
relationship between search terms.
Example: If a music
researcher is looking for articles on
“operas,” they will retrieve information
about a drama set to music. However, they
might also retrieve information about soap
operas or the commercial browser called
Opera. The latter two results would be
SEARCHING: Searching for words or
phrases in fields other than the descriptor
field, usually by title, abstract, or full
text. Proximity operators are used to
specify word positions and to search for
phrases in these uncontrolled fields. It is
generally better to choose highly specific
search terms when searching free-text.
In online search terms, this refers
to the form of output, which determines how
much of the selected record(s) will be
printed (e.g., full record, title only).
Each database offers a selection of
predetermined formats, or the searcher may
define an original format.
Equipment or system designed to connect two
or more dissimilar networks.
BOOK COLLECTION: This collection
contains the majority of the library’s
books, arranged by Library of Congress call
Garbage In, Garbage Out.
published by governmental agencies including
local, state, and national governments.
Items are shelved with a Superintendent of
Documents (SuDoc) classification number.
Hypertext Markup Language; used to
“construct” Web pages.
Hypertext Transport Protocol; allows
servers and browsers to communicate on the
A system of writing and displaying
text that enables the text to be linked in
multiple ways, to be available at several
levels of detail, and to contain links to
related documents. The World Wide Web is a
multimedia hypertext environment.
An index term assigned to a record by
an indexer other than from the controlled
vocabulary. These are usually proper nouns,
which make useful search terms but are too
numerous to be included in the thesaurus
(e.g. geographical places, personal names,
COMMONS: A collection of computers
dedicated to online research.
INFORMATION DESK: The service desk
where librarians can assist you with
research, searching article databases,
evaluating resources, or other questions.
service the library offers that lends an
item from its collection, or provides a
photocopy of an item, to another library.
INTERNET: An international network
of many computer networks linked via common
Individual word searchable in any field of a
LCSH: Library of
Congress Subject Headings. The controlled
vocabulary used for indexing records by many
libraries and bibliographic utilities.
Example: The Union
Cavalry in the Civil War
Subjects: United States – History –
Civil War, 1861-1865 – Campaigns
United States. Army. Cavalry – History –
Civil War, 1861-1865
Searching for terms when they are
combined with some other characteristic,
such as language or date of publication.
System of photographically
miniaturizing printed material on small
rectangular “sheets” of photographic film
viewable on special readers.
Miniaturizing process similar to
microfiche, but reproduced on reels of
photographic cellulose film. As with fiche,
requires special reader.
A generic term
for any form containing microimages.
Microfiche and microfilm are examples of
types of microforms.
The use of logical operators to form
a compound search statement and determine
the order in which they will be executed.
For example, (pets NOT (cats OR dogs)).
A catalog based on Machine-Readable
Catalog (MARC) records accessible in an
interactive mode. Austin alog is Austin
Peay State University’s local online public
Publications which are printed in
intervals, and continue to be printed for an
indefinite period of time. Journals,
magazines, and newspapers are types of
periodicals such as The Journal of
American History, Research Quarterly,
and New York Times.
of appropriating excerpts, ideas, or
passages of another author and passing the
material off as one's own creation.
especially articles, written to entertain or
inform the general public. Some examples of
popular magazines include Time,
Newsweek, and People.
POSTINGS: The number of documents
retrieved for any term used in a search,
also known as search results.
Fundamental or original document relating to
a particular subject, experiment, time
period, or event. Autobiographies, journals,
diaries, and creative works are considered
DATA: Includes responses
received from “closed” questions, multiple
choice tests, true/false questions, scales,
etc. Quantitative data can usually be
analyzed using spreadsheet software.
Characteristics are: numerical form,
statistically reliable, allows for
statistical comparison and correlations,
usually employs a large sample, structured
techniques (tests, surveys, closed-ended
questions, etc.) objective, usually can be
generalized, and looks for facts and causes.
DATA: Comes from essay questions,
focus groups, interviews, case studies,
portfolios, and “open-ended” questions.
Responses are a little more difficult to
analyze. Characteristics are: not
numerical, provides “richness,” allows for
ambiguities, usually employs a small sample
or even single case, can be unstructured or
semi-structured (interviews, focus groups,
etc.), can be written, verbal, visual, etc.,
often subjective, can be exploratory,
assumes dynamic reality, and looks for
motivations and “point of view.”
collection of related items of data treated
as a unit and stored in the linear file. A
record is the complete description of one
document in a database.
Books that are consulted for their factual
or background information on a topic and not
meant to be read from cover to cover.
RELEVANCE: The degree of match
between a search request and the items
retrieved as a result of a search for that
ability to access and use digital
information from a location off-site from
where the information is physically located.
especially journal articles, written by and
for experts in a particular field of study.
Also sometimes called refereed or
STRATEGY: The plan, normally be
planned in advance, for how a request will
be searched on the computer. It will
include a series of search statements
combined by Boolean operators, and could
possibly include limits and truncation.
description or analysis of primary sources.
A secondary source is a step removed from
the original accounts of an event or
An alphabetical listing of subject words
that comprise the controlled vocabulary for
a particular database. Terms from the
thesaurus are selected by indexers to
describe the document and by searchers to
find documents for retrieval. Most thesauri
also list the subject-related terms for each
entry as an aid to selecting the most
Example: If searching
for information on “first grade” in the ERIC
database, a researcher would need to find
the appropriate term in the database’s
Thesaurus. “Grade 1” is the appropriate
term to use for first grade.
A search technique that allows for
variant spellings and word endings through
the use of a special symbol (wildcard). The
actual symbol used varies on different
Example: nurs* [nurse,
nurses, nursing, nursed, nursery, and
transfer of data from one electronic medium
(the user machine) to another (the host
system) in order to speed the transfer of
data. An efficient means of logging on to
Uniform Resource Locator – a Web
ARCHIVES and SPECIAL COLLECTIONS: Collects
and preserves records of historical, legal,
fiscal, or administrative value to Austin
Peay State University.
commercial firm, government agency, or
database producer in the business of
offering access to a database or group of
databases. Vendors are responsible for
rearranging the information provided by the
database producers, loading it into their
computers, and providing software programs
to make it searchable.
DIAGRAM: A diagram using closed
circles to represent subject sets as an aid
in formulating search logic.
LIBRARY: Access to electronic
information in a variety of remote locations
through a local (Library Catalog) or other
gateway, such as the Internet.
World Wide Web (Web for short), the
graphical environment that gives
hypertext-linked access to information on