Glossary

Abstract: The abstract of an article is a brief summary of its contents. Abstracts can save you time by helping you identify the best articles on your topic. Read the abstract before you request the article through interlibrary loan to ensure that it is relevant to your research.


Bibliography: A bibliography is a list of the sources an author used when writing a book, article or essay. It is found at the end of written works. Bibliographies point to more sources about the topic.


Boolean: Boolean logic uses words called operators. The three main operators are: AND, OR and NOT. Databases use Boolean logic to locate only those items that match your search.

AND - narrows and focuses a search
OR - broadens a search
NOT - limits a search by removing word(s) from search; use the minus sign (-) in search engines to remove word(s) from search

 Citation: Identify published information so others who read your work can verify facts or research the same information more easily. Citations often include the author, article title, journal title, page numbers and publication information. Citations of Web documents may also include a URL and the day the information was accessed.

Copyright: The legal right granted to an author and/or publisher to exclusive publication, production, sale, or distribution of a creative work for a certain length of time.

Database: A database provides a way of organizing information so that you can easily find what you are looking for. A journal index is the most common type of database in an academic library. Each article citation in a database is composed of individual pieces of information called fields.

eBook (also e-book, ebook, digital book): is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices.

Fields: Fields include basic citation information, such as the author, title, etc. Some databases include fields for subject headings, abstracts, and other information, as well. When you do a search in a database, you may search in a specific a field. For example, when you use an author search you are searching only the author field. Keyword searches give you the option of searching all the fields at the same time.

Full text: The complete electronic text of an article is called the full text. Some databases provide entire articles online.

Hyperlinking: This allows computer users to connect to other sources of information in a non-sequential way through links.

Index: an alphabetical listing of titles, authors, and subjects along with the citation information (name of journal, date of publication, page numbers, etc.) of the publication in which the item appeared. Periodical databases are online versions of print indexes.

Internet: The Internet is a global network, connecting many smaller individual networks. For example, a computer in your room is connected to another computer on campus. All the departments on campus are then connected to a larger network in your state. The statewide network is connected to regional, national and international networks.

Keyword: A significant or memorable word or term in the title, abstract, or text of item in an index.

Library of Congress Classification System (LC): The Library of Congress (LC) Classification system is the main system used by PSC Library to organize physical materials. It organizes books using letters and numbers.

Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH): A thesaurus of subject headings maintained by the Library of Congress for use in bibliographic records. LCSHs are applied to every item within a library’s collection, and help a user access items on similar topics in the library catalog. If you could only locate items by title or author, you would waste a lot of time searching and end up missing many items because since that is quite ineffective and inefficient.

Nesting: Nesting keeps concepts that are alike together and tells a search engine to search the terms in the parentheses first. Use parentheses to group concepts when you use two or more Boolean operators: alcohol AND (adolescents OR teenagers)

Paraphrase: To put another's words and ideas into your own words. A good paraphrase shows you have a clear understanding of the source material. Paraphrases must always be cited.

Peer reviewed: This refers to journal articles or other scholarly works that have been evaluated by a group of experts in the author's field. Reviewers make sure scholarly works meet the accepted standards of that field. Also known as "refereed."

Periodicals: Publications which are issued at least twice a year, including journals, magazines, and newspapers are called periodicals.

Plagiarism: Presenting another author's word and ideas as your own. There are many ways to plagiarize, purposefully or accidentally. One example is using another author's exact words without using quotation marks or giving credit to the source. However, even if you don't use an author's exact words, you are still plagiarizing if you don't provide citations. More information

Popular and scholarly sources: Many of the assignments for your courses may ask you to use specific sources or types of sources such as popular magazine articles or scholarly or professional journal articles. There are some basic ways that you can identify these types of periodicals. Learn more

Protocol: A set of rules governing the format of messages that are exchanged between computers.

Public Domain: Creative material which has no copyright protection and which may be used or modified by anyone without permission. Material enters the public domain for the following reasons: 1) the work never had copyright protection; 2) the copyright expired; 3) the copyright was waived by the creator.

Quote: To use an author's exact words. Quotations must be indicated by quotation marks (" "), or as a separate block of text (block quote). A citation must be provided to give credit to the author.

Refereed: See "peer-reviewed."

Stacks: Refers to the area of a library in which books and other materials are stored. This also refers to the book shelves, which are "stacked" one upon the other.

Summarize: To state the main ideas of one or a group of sources in your own words. Summaries must always be cited.

Truncation: This is a way to search databases for variations in the spelling of a search term. First, a search term is shortened to a stem (ex. smoking can be shortened to smok.) The stem is followed by a wildcard symbol such as *, ?, or ! (depending on the database). The database will find that stem plus anything that comes after it. For instance, the truncated term smok* will retrieve records that include the words smoke, smoking, smoker, or smokers.

World Wide Web: The Web is only one part of the Internet. It is a collection of information of miscellaneous documents, articles, opinions, stories, art, sounds and animations stored on Web servers, that you can access with a Web browser.