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Information Literacy Research Skill Building: Library Lingo

This guide contains information literacy instructional materials based on the ACRL Information Literacy Standards.

Terms and Definitions

abstract - A summary of a book or article, usually accompanying a citation in a periodical index or in a bibliography.

Access points - A specific category of information or part of a bibliographic record or citation which is searchable by computer; examples include author, title, and subject access points

ACRL - Association of College and Research Libraries (a division of ALA)

AGSCI - referring to the Fischer Agricultural Sciences Library

ALA - American Library Association (Chicago)

Alternative press - Publications produced by non-mainstream publishers.

AMS - Academic Media Services - formerly known as WHETS. Located in Old Holland 150 (ISS).

Annotated Bibliography - A bibliography where each citation is followed by a brief evaluative description of the work.

Annotation - A short evaluative summary of a book, article or document that usually accompanies a citation for the work. An annotation is different from an abstract in that it is critical of the work rather than an objective summary.

Approval plan - One of the means that libraries have to acquire books is the approval plan. It consists of an agreement between a library and a book vendor by which the latter sends new books on approval basis. (definition from

ARCH - Archives (but sometimes Architecture Library)

Archives / Manuscript Collections - Special collections of historical or unique materials such as medieval manuscripts or photographs, usually housed in a separate area of the library. MASC is the name of the archives department at WSU Libraries.

ARCHT LIB - Architecture Library (Carpenter Hall 114)

ARIBIB - ARI Bibliographical Database for Astronomical References

ARL - Association of Research Libraries (Washington, DC)

ASCII - American Standard Code for Information Interchange Text files are stored in this format on computers; ASCII characters are comprised of the letters, numbers, punctuation, and symbols seen on a computer keyboard.

ASIS - American Society for Information Science (Washington, DC)

ATRIUM - The spacious ground floor area in the Terrell Library where the baby grand piano is located and where we hold the 'Atrium Music Series' and display free-standing exhibits.

Author search / author searches - A database search on the name of either an individual author (e.g., Ernest Hemingway) or a corporate or institutional author (e.g., Smithsonian Institution).

Bibliographic database - Specific identifying elements about any intellectual work, such as author, title, publisher, copyright date, subject headings, or descriptors. These pieces of information are usually organized in standard format into records or citations in bibliographic databases.

Bibliographic information - Consists of references or citations to other works, often texts such as books, journal articles, government documents, and published and unpublished technical reports.

bibliography - The list of works cited by an author at the end of an article, paper, book, or other research-based writing. There are also specialized subject bibliographies which are often extensive lists of books, articles and other information resources concerned with various areas of study, and, which are published separately in book form.

BNA - Blackwell North America (an Approval Plan book vendor)

Boolean logic - In database searching, the use of logical operators (and, or) to show relationships between concepts. See connectors.

Boolean Logic / Boolean Operators / Connectors - A computer logic that employs the words AND, OR and AND NOT (or NOT) within a search statement to increase precision or relevance in a database. OR expands a search, telling the computer to retrieve records with any of the search terms used with this operator. AND narrows the search, telling the computer to retrieve records that have all of the search terms used with this operator. AND NOT excludes or eliminates a particular term in a search used with this operator. Other operators, such as proximity operators, include NEAR (searches for records with words close to each other in any order) and WITHIN # (searches for records with words which occur within # words).

Browse/browsing - Can refer to a more casual approach for identifying information than searching for a specific source or topic; ordinarily used when the searcher hasn't defined a topic or doesn't know exactly how to search for the information. A more precise definition of "browsing" refers to search system feature that allows the user to look through an alphabetical (or other type of ordered) list of items (books, journal article titles, etc.), to find potentially relevant information not found through a precisely formulated search statement.

Call Number / call numbers - The letters and numbers assigned to a book (usually found on the book's spine) to give it a unique location in the library and to place it with similar subjects. Library of Congress ("LC") call numbers (primarily used in university libraries) begin with letters, and Dewey Decimal call numbers begin with numbers.

Call number search - A search in the online catalog using a specific call number (Library of Congress, Dewey Decimal, Superintendent of Documents, etc.) to retrieve full bibliographic information on an item in a library collection.

CALS - Cooperative Academic Library Services -- WSU Spokane

catalog / catalogs - The database that lists the books, journals and other materials owned by a given library. The name of the Wsu Libraries' online catalog is Griffin. The online catalog that is shared among public colleges and universities in the states of Washington and Oregon is Summit.

CD - Collection Development

CHR - Center for Human Rights (WSU department)

CIRC - Circulation

Circulating - This means that the item may be checked out or borrowed.

Circulation desk - The counter where you can borrow books and other materials. The circulation desk is usually located near the exit of each WSU library.

Citation / citations - The information given in a periodical index, catalog, or bibliography about a particular book, article or other information resource. The citation may include the article title, periodical title, book title, place of publication, publisher, volume, pages, and date. To format citations for your own bibliographies, refer to a style manual.

Example of a book citation:

Braine, G. (Ed.) (2005). Teaching English to the World: History, Curriculum, and Practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Example of an article citation:

Brutt-Griffler, J. (1998). Conceptual questions in English as a world language: Taking up an issue. World Englishes, 17(3), 381-392.

CJ - Current Journals (the Current Journals Room in Terrell Library)

CLR - Council on Library Resources (Washington, DC)

CNI - Coalition for Networked Information (Washington, DC)

Conference papers - Sources of especially timely scholarly information or research findings, delivered at professional meetings or "conferences" in specific disciplines. Conference papers are very important in the sciences, but also in social science fields such as psychology.

Connectors - Logical "operators" such as AND and OR, which are used in database searching to relate concepts in a search statement. The AND connector is used to relate different concepts and requires that both search terms it connects be present in a given record; the OR is used to connect similar concepts in the form of synonyms, narrower terms, or broader terms, thereby allowing a search to "expand" (because any of the terms connected by the OR can be present in a given record-not both or all of them).

Controlled vocabulary - Terms frequently called subject headings, subject terms, descriptors, or indexing terms.

COP - Council of Presidents (the presidents of the 6 Wash. state-assisted college/universities)

Copyright - Legal protection given to intellectual property-published works, musical recordings, databases, etc. There are stringent rules and guidelines pertaining to copyright; with the rapid growth of the Internet and electronic publishing, those rules and guidelines are becoming much more ambiguous.

CRITERIA - The WSU Libraries Criteria for Merit Increases, Promotion, and Granting of Tenure document (see Sec. 3.b.1 of the Library Faculty Handbook)

CRL - The Center for Research Libraries is a consortium of North American university, college, and independent research libraries.

CTS - Collections and Technical Services

CUB - Compton Union Building

Database / databases - An organized collection of information, designed to facilitate access to specific pieces of data by a searcher. Databases can be bibliographic, full text, numeric, directory (a collection of names and addressed for companies, for example), or graphical.

DDLS - Distance Degree Library Services

Descriptors - Descriptors are indexing terms used in bibliographic databases. See controlled vocabulary.

Dictionary - A book providing meanings of words. Dictionaries may be general ( Webster?s New Collegiate Dictionary ) or specialized ( Dictionary of Economics ). Sometimes dictionaries are also called encyclopedias.

Discourse community / discourse communities - A group of people who share a common language and conventions for communicating. A discourse community is similar to a discipline, such as history; but discourse communities develop outside of academia as well (stockbrokers, for example).

Document delivery - Any service which delivers requested information in full text form.

Domain - The Internet address for a host computer.

Download - To transfer or copy data from a computer's hard drive to a floppy disk.

Dylanology - Dylanology chronicles the life, music, performances, and articles written by or about Bob Dylan. No undergraduate education can be considered comprehensive without at least attending one performance.

e-books / ebooks/ electronic books - An electronic or digitial form of a book; the hardware device used to read electronic books. NetLibrary is an e-book database.

ECLS - Extended Campus Library Services (library unit -- Terrell Library 120)

ED - Brain Education Library (Cleveland 130)

ED LIB - Brain Education Library (Cleveland 130)

EDUC - Brain Education Library (Cleveland 130)

Electronic information - Information encoded in some special format and digitized. Examples of electronic information formats include CDROMS, magnetic tapes, laser disks, software packages of various types, and Internet resources.

Electronic journal - A new publishing format in which the primary medium for disseminating scholarly research is not paper, but electronic (digital) format.

E-mail - Electronic Mail-is facilitated by SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) and allows individuals to correspond via the Internet.

Encyclopedia - A book or set of books giving information on many subjects or many aspects of one subject. Like dictionaries, these can be general ( Encyclopedia Britannica ) or specialized ( Encyclopedia of World Cultures ). Sometimes encyclopedias are also called dictionaries.

Executable files - Files containing data that starts or runs computer programs; often these files will have an exe extension.

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions--a file or set of files containing introductory information on a topic.

Festschrift - A memorial publication usually in the form of a collection of essays or speeches by distinguished persons issued in honor of a scholarly person or society. The subject or theme encompassing the collected works is usually related to the field in which the person (or organization) achieved distinction. The contributors are often friends colleagues and former students of the person (or entity) honored.

Field / fields - An element of data in a record in a bibliographic or other database. Examples of specific fields include author, title, subject, publisher, copyright, or publication date.

File extensions - Usually comprised of three letters appearing after a file name. Example: info. txt. Many times the extension will give information as to the format or function of the file.

File structure - The way in which a specific database is organized.

File utility programs - Programs which process file formats for easier computer storage and file transfers, zip, tar, shar are some of the file extensions found on files which have been processed with file utility programs.

FISCHER - Fischer Agricultural Sciences Library

FOL - Friends of the Library (comprised of donors to the WSU Libraries)

Formal sources - Usually refers to information sources found in libraries, museums, and archives. Formal sources include books, journal articles, government documents, technical reports, and manuscripts. Contrast with informal sources.

Foundation - An organization developed to study a range of issues or topics, to sponsor and fund research, and to provide data and make policy recommendations to policy makers and practitioners in various applied fields. Some foundations are strictly nonpartisan; others are definitely ideological and aligned with a specific political viewpoint.

FPO - Frances Penrose Owen Science & Engineering Library

Free-text searching - Searching databases with the actual "natural language" used by authors in articles and other documents. Contrast with controlled vocabulary searching, which involves searching with special terms assigned by indexes to describe the contents of articles, etc. Free-text searching is also called natural language searching.

FSLC - Faculty Senate Library Committee (a WSU faculty senate committee)

FTE - Time Equivalent (a 1.00 FTE appointment = full-time; a .50 FTE appt. = half-time, etc.)

FTP - File Transfer Protocol-an Internet protocol which facilitates the transfer of files between computers.

Full-text database - A file containing the entire texts of articles or other documents, in contrast to bibliographic, databases, which contain records or citations for the articles.

Gatekeeping - The function performed by editors and reviewers of scholarly journals and other research-oriented publications. Editors determine which articles submitted for publication will actually get published, using such criteria as soundness of research design and methodology, quality and originality of thought, and adherence to the language conventions of the discipline involved.

Gateway - A computer system which acts as an interface or an entrance point to another service; often used in reference to the Internet.

Government Document Number - Government Document Number is a number assigned to uniquely identify and classify United States Government Documents using a specialized classification system. US Doc Numbers often look like Y 3.2:T 27/2/FINAL/EXEC.SUM.

GPSC - Graduate & Professional Study Center, Terrell Library ground floor

GRAD STUDY CTR - Graduate & Professional Study Center, a study room w/ computers and lockers for graduate & professional students only (ground floor - Terrell Library)

Graphic files - Computer files containing data which can be processed to display a picture or other visual image.

Graphical database - A file consisting of graphics of various types (scanned images, maps, etc.).

Gray literature - Any material (print or electronic) such as reports preprints internal documents theses dissertations conference proceedings technical specifications and standards not readily available through regular market channels because it was never commercially published or widely distributed.

GWLA - The Greater Western Library Alliance is a consortium of 31 research libraries in the greater Midwest & Western U.S. which shares programs related to scholarly communication, interlibrary loan, etc.

Help screens - An option on many computer programs which displays guides and explanations to assist you with various aspects and functions of the program.

HOL SR - Serial Records

Holding symbol - A code indicating that a specific book, journal, or other item is held by a specific library.

HOLLAND - Holland and Terrell Libraries

Home page - A type of file unique to the World Wide Web created by a text format known as HTML (Hypertext Mark-up Language).

Host - In computing vocabulary, a mainframe or minicomputer that serves a variety of functions such as providing access to specialized databases and services at a specific institution, and serving as an intermediary to connect to remote sites (other host computers, for example) on the Internet.

HRS - Human Resource Services (WSU?s Faculty & Staff Personnel Office, French 139)

html - hypertext markup language

http - hypertext transfer protocol

HUM/SOC - Humanities/Social Sciences Library (aka Holland and Terrell Libraries)

ICN - Intercollegiate Center for Nursing (Spokane)

ICR - Indirect cost recovery

III - Innovative Interfaces Inc. (the vendor of our integrated online system, Griffin)

ILL - Interlibrary Loan

INCOL - Inland Northwest Council of Libraries (a group of the higher ed libraries in Spokane, and WSU Libraries is also a member)

Indexing language - Descriptors or other controlled vocabulary terms.

Informal communication - Using informal contacts with colleagues in one's profession to do research, stay informed about trends, identify grant writing possibilities, and the like. The channels here include e-mail, phone calls, conversations at professional meetings-any kind of communication outside the formal publishing cycle.

Informal source - An individual or organization whose area of expertise is that particular topic.

Information - Data, in whatever format and channel of communication, with potential meaning or use for the individuals sending and receiving it.

Information access - Refers to the means or mode by which information is made available, or to an entire range of possibilities for making information and information services available. A library, for example, might provide information access through a traditional print collection indexed and cataloged in local library catalog; a collection of networked CD-ROMs, both bibliographic and full text; tape-loaded databases available on a minicomputer; subscriptions to online services; sharing of databases with neighboring institutions; and other agreements for resource sharing, focused specifically on interlibrary loan and document delivery. Information distributor|Any company or agency that makes information available as part of its mission or primary business.

Information producer - Any group, company, agency, or individual that originates information. Examples include commercial/trade presses, university publishers, government agencies, foundations, and think tanks, and scholars who share "working papers" on the Internet.

Intellectual property - Any kind of intellectual work or product in which the originator (writer, composer, inventor) has a legal, proprietary interest and retains certain rights as to the use of the work by others.

Interdisciplinary research - Research that draws on other research and thought from a variety of disciplines (psychology, sociology, and anthropology, for example). Increasingly, researchers look outside their own fields for new trends and ideas that clarify concepts or difficult issues in their own fields.

Internet address - Refers to the unique code assigned to a given individual or site so that e-mail connections, as well as FTP and Telnet sessions, can occur across the Internet with no confusion about site addresses. Each computer directly connected to the Internet has a unique address; each individual using e-mail on the Internet has a user name that, in combination with a mail server address at his/her institution or agency, forms a unique address for exchanging e-mail.

Invisible college - The "network" of colleagues in various disciplines and professions who share information informally through regular and electronic mail, phone calls, conversations at meetings or elsewhere. Known item search|In online catalog or database searching, searching for a particular item with a specific piece of information about that item known in advance (such as author's name or title of a work).

invisible web / invisible internet - "Invisible web" is a phrase used to describe information that cannot be found on the Internet with search engines like Google or Yahoo. Articles and information in the databases the WSU Libraries subscribe to fall into this category. Most of this information you cannot access from the open web.

IRI - Interdepartmental Requisition and Invoice

ISS - Instructional Support Services (a unit managed by IT but which is located in old Holland with its own entrance/exit)

ISSN and ISBN - ISSN and ISBN stand for International Standard Serial Number and International Standard Book Number respectively. These numbers are assigned to serials (magazines and journals), and books to uniquely identify the resource. ISBN numbers even identify the edition. These are different from Call Numbers in that they do not classify the materials in any way, only identify them.

IT - Information Technology ? WSU?s telecommunications department

journal - A periodical that is usually scholarly or academic in content and purpose. Examples: Journal of Applied Psychology or American Anthropoogist.

Keyword Searching - Using significant, expressive words to search various parts of database records including the author, title, and subject heading fields.

LAMA - Library Administration & Management Association (a division of ALA)

LAN - Local Area Network

LAN - Local Area Network--a computer network confined to a small localized area.

LAO - Library Administrative Office (a library unit, 221 Holland)

LC - Library of Congress (library classification system)

LC Call Number - A Call Number is assigned by the library to uniquely identify and classify a resource. LC stands for the Library of Congress. An LC Call Number is a uniquely identifiable number created following the rules of the Library of Congress. LC Call Numbers are usually used in university and college libraries and begin with letters i.e. PS3568.E3448 C45 1993c.

LFAC - Library Faculty Affairs Committee (a library faculty committee)

LIB INSTRUCTION - Library Instruction unit, (formerly called User Education)

LIB INSTRUCTION/REF WG - Library Instruction/Reference Working Group

LIBCOUNCIL - Library listserv for members of Library Council; address is:

LIBFACULTY - Library listserv for all library faculty; address is:

Library of Congress subject headings (LCSH) - An ''authorized list'' of subject or indexing terms created subject sources ranging from books to journal articles to government documents. Library of Congress subject headings are the ''controlled vocabulary'' for searching most online catalogs.

LIBSYS - Library Systems Office email account to report problems with Griffin & other computer related problems; email address is:

LIBUSERS - Library listserv for ?All Library faculty and staff;? address is:

LITA - Library Information & Technology Association (a division of ALA)

Literature Review - A comprehensive review of publications in a specific area of research. Literature reviews are typically found at the beginning of research papers and discuss previous findings in other publications.

LWOP - Leave Without Pay

magazine / magazines - A general-interest periodical that has popular appeal. Example: Time or Glamour.

Manuscript - A book, article or basically any document written by hand. Sometimes used to refer to an unpublished work.

MARC records - The basic unit of information describing any format or source (books, journals, manuscripts, computer diskettes) in a library collection. The MARC record is divided into fields, just as records in other databases are comprised of fields of specific information. The MARC record is the basic building block for the database of library holdings made available through a library's online catalog.

MASC - Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (a library unit, Terrell Library 12)

Material type - Refers to physical format, such as book, journal, CDROM, computer diskette, microfilm, etc.

MICRO - Microforms (a library unit, Holland 120)

Microfiche - A format or material type that has images of pages of text or other data, in greatly reduced scale, recorded on individual "fiche" cards made of special film, which can be read with special reading machines that magnify the images.

Microfilm - A material type consisting of miniaturized images of pages of text or other data, on rolls of special film, which can be read by using special reading machines that magnify the images.

Microform / microforms - Refers to microfiche (rectangular) and microfilm (roll) formats whereby print text is transferred onto film for preservation and space. Often older issues of periodicals are transferred to microform. Use with a special reader/printer.

Microformat - Microfilm, microfiches, and microcard which allow for miniaturizing and archiving enormous quantities of information in relatively small space.

MM&R - Media Materials & Reserves: Located at Terrell Library Rm. 1; part of Holland Circulation unit

Monograph / Book - A work or piece of writing on a specific subject that is intended to be complete.

Multimedia/hypermedia - An integration of other types of information, including textual, graphical, numeric, and in some cases, sound. Multimedia is primarily a mode of presentation of information rather than information itself.

NAL - National Agriculture Library (Beltsville, MD)

Natural language - The words actually used by writers in documents such as journal articles; database searching using these words is also called free-text searching. Natural language searching is often necessary because controlled vocabulary (special indexing terms) doesn't exist, is out of date, or is somehow inappropriate. Nested searches|When using a variety of search terms, it is necessary to group them appropriately using the AND and OR connectors, so that the search system understands how to process the search request. Example: (native americans OR indigenous peoples OR North American Indians) AND (politics OR political activism).

Nesting - Using parentheses and Boolean operators to combine several terms (especially synonyms) into a single search statement. Nesting tells the computer what to do first in order to preserve the intent of your search statement. EXAMPLE: (men or males) and parenting

Netscape - A graphical browsing program which accesses World Wide Web resources.

Network - A system of two or more computers which can communicate or exchange data through shared computer protocols.

NEW LIBRARY - The 1994 (new) addition to Holland Library (in 2006 the New Library was renamed Terrell Library)

NLW - National Library Week (yearly event, usually held in April)

Numeric database - A database consisting primarily of statistics or other data, in contrast to bibliographic or full-text databases. Much U.S. census data is available in the form of numeric databases on CD-ROM.

Numeric information - Information showing quantities, statistics, or other related data.

OCLC - Online Computer Library Center (Dublin, Ohio) (a bibliographic utility for shared cataloging & ILL)

OMS - Office of Management Services (a division of ARL)

Online catalog - A library catalog containing records of bibliographic information about items in a particular library's catalog. Most library catalogs have additional information now, including status information about particular items (e.g., whether a book is checked out), information about the library itself, suggestions for research, etc.

Online service - A commercial information vendor that provides access to databases for a fee or subscription. Using an online service requires having a dial-up connection or some kind of Internet access.

OPAC - Online Public Access Catalog

open access (OA) - ''Open access'' or OA is the ''free online availability of digital content - especially relevant for peer reviewed and scholarly publications.

Organizational domains (sub-domains) - The individual elements, separated by periods, which compose a host address.

OWEN - Owen Science & Engineering Library

P&P MANUAL - WSU Libraries? Policies & Procedures Manual (1 copy located in most library units). The Web WG is currently in the process of placing important policies and procedures from this Manual on the Libraries homepage; once that is completed, the paper version will be discontinued.

Peer review / peer reviewed - The practice used in scholarly publishing, particularly in scholarly/research journals, of having experts in the discipline review and make recommendations about articles submitted for publication.

Periodical / Serial - A generic term for anything published periodically including magazines, journals, and newspapers.

Periodical Index / Article Index / Index - A database (print or electronic) that identifies the existence of articles in periodicals and may also provide an abstract or the full-text of those articles. An index does not usually tell you if your library has an article, but it does provide the information you need (a citation) to check in the catalog (Griffin) to see if your library owns it. EXAMPLES: ProQuest, Sociological Abstracts.

Personal publishing - Can refer to desktop publishing using one's own computer, or to publishing using the Internet as a dissemination vehicle (developing World Wide Web home pages, for example).

PID - Periodic Increment Date (The month each staff employee achieves ?permanent status? is their PID. The PID is the month each employee receives his/her incremental pay increases and the month before which yearly performance evaluations are due in LAO)

plagiarism / plagiarise / plagiarised - Plagiarism is using others ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information.

PNLA - Pacific Northwest Library Association

Post/posting - An e-mail message sent to a public forum such as a LISTSERV; "to post" also used as a verb.

Primary source / primary sources / primary resources - "Unfiltered" or uninterpreted sources of information such source as journals or diaries in history, surveys in sociology and political science, or lab experiments in psychology. Secondary sources interpret, comment on, or summarizeprimary sources or research findings.

Print - Refers to the traditional paper-based format for books, journals, and other resources.

Professional association - An organization for scholars, researchers, or practitioners intended to provide professional networking and growth opportunities. Examples include the American Psychological Association, the American Marketing Association, and the International Association of Correctional Officers.

Prompt - A symbol ( >, $, %, etc.) indicating that the computer is ready for your next command.

Proximity searching - The use of special symbols called operators to indicate the order and closeness of words. Proximity operators are crucial to specify relationships among words in free-text searching; otherwise, many irrelevant items would be retrieved.

Publication cycle - The pattern and time order in which information is disseminated in a particular discipline. The usual sequence begins with informal sharing of research first among colleagues, through drafts of papers, e-mail communication, working papers, and other channels. More formal methods follow, including presentations at professional conferences and subsequent publication of conference papers, publications of research articles, and, in some cases, monographs or collections of scholarly papers. Reviewing sources pick up the formal sources some time after they appear. Review articles appear in scholarly journals, various syntheses of the research are made for others in the discipline and, if interest warrants, for a wider audience through popular formats such as newspapers and magazines. Encyclopedias summarize research trends in a field years after the groundbreaking research was done and are therefore often out of date.

Publisher - Any organization or agency involved in disseminating or distributing information as its primary purpose or mission. Examples include commercial or trade publishers, scholarly presses, little or alternative presses, and the Government Printing Office (for federal documents). Some publishers are now making information available only in digital or electronic formats--a trend likely to grow rapidly as more people become conversant with the Internet and information technology in general.

PUBSERV - Library listserv for all library public services employees; address is:

Question analysis - A method for developing a mental sketch of a research topic. This method involves taking a research topic apart, analyzing such variables related to the topic as disciplines involved, time aspect of the topic, likely producers of information, types of resources needed (informal or formal), and vocabulary of the topic (important later for search strategy formulation).

RASD - Reference and Adult Services Division (an ALA division)

RCW - Revised Code of Washington (state code)

Record - In bibliographic databases, the basic building block of the database; a group of specific pieces of information or data about a particular item, such as a book or journal article. Records are made up of fields, which describe a specific features or aspects of the work, such as author, title, publisher, indexing terms, etc.

Record, The - The Record - A Newsletter for Friends of the Libraries? (published 3 times a year)

REF - Reference

Refereed journal - A scholarly or research journal that uses peer review of submitted articles to determine what articles will eventually be published. In other words, manuscripts of articles submitted for publication are sent by the editor to impartial reviewers who assess the quality of the articles, using such criteria as soundness of research methodology, originality of ideas, contribution to the discipline, and quality of the writing.

Reference - The process of librarians answering library users' questions about research or finding information; the section of the library in which this takes place.

Reference Librarian / reference librarians - A faculty member who has studied the field of library science at the graduate level. A librarian is skilled in using print and electronic resources and is the person to ask for research assistance in the library.

Reference Materials - Books or electronic resources providing facts, statistics, bibliographies, background information, etc.; valuable tools for answering broad or specific questions quickly. These materials do not circulate, and are kept separately from the rest of the collection.

Research - Diligent and thorough inquiry and investigation into a subject. This includes using all appropriate print and electronic sources, asking the reference librarian for help, and making use of bibliographies given by other authors.

Research design - The particular methodology developed by a researcher to obtain sound and significant research findings. For example, in lab experiments in psychology or surveys in political science or sociology, developing a sound method of obtaining quality data and research results is crucial.

Reserve - An area in the library where materials are placed for specific classes. Any type of material that a professor deems appropriate may be put on reserve and checked out for a limited time.

reserves - Library materials with shorter than standard loan periods - often hours or a few days. Reserves are typically located in a different place than the general circulating collections. Books, articles and other materials can placed on reserve by an instructor, to ensure that students enrolled in the class will be assured access to these resources. Documents are sometimes made available in electronic format (a.k.a. ereserves) and made available to the library' users online. Use Griffin to access information about reserves.

Review article - A source of evaluative information about research reported in other articles, or in books or other sources. Review articles summarize trends in research on a particular topic (metacognition in psychology, for example) and evaluate contributions made by various writers and researchers on the topic within a given time period.

RLG - Research Libraries Group

RLIN - Research Libraries Information Network (a shared cataloging bibliographic utility; we are not a member)

RTSD - Research & Technical Services Division (an ALA division)

RWA - Reference Work Area (Terrell Library 120)

RWA CONF RM - Reference Work Area Conference Room 120-A

S&E - The Owen Science & Engineering Library

Scholarly discipline - A field of study that deals with some aspect of reality, makes certain assumptions about what is important to study, uses certain methods for performing research, and employs special technical terminology for communicating ideas among experts in the field.

Scholarly research - The practice of studying and reporting on special phenomena, events, issues, or concepts of particular interest to scholars and researchers in a specific discipline, such as women's studies, anthropology, political science, for psychology. Scholarly research in the social sciences usually involves conducting some kind of original testing of theories or ideas by gathering data through experiments, surveys, field research, or from uninterpreted data sources such as the census.

Scholarly research journal / journals - A type of publication that is discipline-based and publishes research findings on topics of special interest to the field involved. Articles in scholarly or research journals use technical vocabulary and assume specialized knowledge on the part of the readership, often employ charts, graphs, and other statistical presentations, and are edited by specialists in the field.

SCIENCE - The Owen Science & Engineering Library

Search limiting - A feature of many online catalogs or online systems allowing the user to limit search results by publication date, publisher, material or format type, or some other limiting factor.

Search Statement - An information need or query expressed in the language and format acceptable to a specific database or other information retrieval system. EXAMPLE: (conservation OR protection) AND environme*

Search strategy formulation - In database searching, the process of developing a well planned search statement, using the search words identified in question analysis, adding synonyms or differing concepts to represent the various concepts of the topic being searched. Search strategy formulation ordinarily involves connecting the search terms with AND or OR; grouping synonyms where appropriate and otherwise "nesting" search terms to specify relationships among the key concepts of the topic; and using special tactics such as truncation and proximity searching where appropriate.

Search vocabulary - The words selected for use in formulating a search strategy, usually taken from a thesaurus (for controlled vocabulary searching) or from the searcher's own knowledge of the topic or field, or other sources such as dictionaries and handbooks (for natural language searching).

Searching tool - An electronic resource (search engine, robot/spider) which locates or retrieves information for you in response to a search string or search query.

Secondary source / secondary sources / secondary resources - A source that summarizes, synthesizes, or evaluates primary sources. An example of a secondary source in psychology might be a review article

Shareware - Freely accessible computer programs, usable for a limited time, often available from FTP sites.

SLA - Special Library Association

SLC - The (Faculty) Senate Library Committee

SMTP - Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, the standard e-mail protocol on the Internet.

SPARC - Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resource Coalition is an alliance of academic and research libraries which work to promote open access to scholarly publication models.

Stack chart / stack charts - At the WSU Libraries, the list of call number ranges organized by stack number. Stack charts help you figure out which floor to go to, and which shelf number to look in order to more quickly locate your book. Stack charts are posted in various places around the WSU Libraries.

Stack or Stacks - The shelves that hold the main collection of a libraries' books. Books that are not located in the reference area, are said to be "in the stacks." See also "stack chart."

Style manual - A book that tells the reader how to format a paper, with regard to footnotes, bibliographies, pagination, etc. Ask your instructor which style manual to use. Two commonly used style manuals are: MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers and Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (also called APA).

Subject Heading / subject headings - A standardized word or phrase in a record of a catalog that describes the subject of a book or other work.

Subject search - Searching a database, online catalog, or other online system using subject terms that describe the searcher's topic. The searcher must find ways to match his/her search vocabulary with that used by the system. Both controlled vocabulary and natural language can be used in subject searching.

SYSTEMS - Collections & Systems Services Office (a library unit; located in Terrell Library)

TCP/IP - Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol--a collection of protocols which enable computers to exchange data over the Internet.

Telnet - An Internet protocol which allows you to access information or programs located on a remote computer.

Textual information - Any source or document consisting primarily of words and verbal descriptions, analysis, or commentary Many information sources combine text, graphics, and statistics, of course.

Thesaurus - A special source listing the controlled vocabulary terms unique to a particular database or discipline. A thesaurus serves as a key to terminology appropriate for subject searching in a particular system and shows the interrelationships among the indexing terms assigned to records in the system.

Think tank - An organization devoted to study of special issues, often public policy issues. Think tanks are often funded by corporations or other groups with special interests, meaning that research reports disseminated by the think tank may be biased or narrowly focused.

Title search - Searching title fields and any related fields in records in a particular database. A title search usually is either keyword (meaning that any significant words from the title can be the search words, with word order unimportant), phrase (meaning that part of the title can be searched, starting with the first words in the title) or exact (meaning that the exact title must be entered, as it appears in the record).

Trade/commercial press - Publishers of high-volume books and other publications. Some trade publishers specialize in certain fields and subject areas, while others publish books for a wide range of interests.

Triple I - Innovative Interfaces Inc. (the vendor of our integrated online system, Griffin)

Truncation - In database searching, the use of a special symbol (* or $ or ?) at the end of a word, to pick up variations in word endings and thereby expand search results.

UI - University of Idaho

UMI - University Microforms International (Ann Arbor, MI)

University press - A press sponsored by a college or university and primarily publishing very specific scholarly monographs or research journals, with profit not being a primary motive for publication.

UPDATE - ?Library Update - A Library Newsletter for WSU Faculty?

URL - Uniform Resource Locator-an Internet address system unique to the World Wide Web.

USDA - U.S. Dept. of Agriculture


User-friendly - Easily understood and easy to use; used to describe computer programs or systems.

Userid - A unique set of ASCII characters (often a name) used by someone to login to an account or Telnet service; userids also form the first part of an e-mail address which is followed by the symbol " @ ". and the host address.

VET - Veterinary Medical/Pharmacy Library (Wegner 170; NAME CHANGED TO HEALTH SCIENCES LIBRARY

VET MED - Veterinary Medical/Pharmacy Library (Wegner 170) NAME CHANGED TO HEALTH SCIENCES LIBRARY

WAC - Washington Administrative Code

WFSE - Washington Federation of State Employees

WHETS - Name changed from "Washington Higher Education Telecommunications System" to "Academic Media Services" in the summer of 2006. "WHETS" is no longer used as an official name.

Wildcard - Using symbols such as * or ? in a database in order to retrieve all words that contain a root of a word or segments of a word. EXAMPLES: sing* would retrieve sing, singing, singers, single, etc.; wom?n would retrieve women, woman, womyn.

Wildcard - The use of a special symbol to truncate a search word (see truncation).

WLA - Washington Library Association

Word search - In UnCover, a topical or subject search with keywords or natural language search terms.

Wordlist - In FirstSearch, an alphabetical listing of subject terms, title words, or authors' names, that allows the searcher to identify appropriate search terminology from the database itself, prior to actually performing a search.

Working Groups - Working Groups are the primary means by which library policies and practices are established and implemented in areas where more than one library unit is responsible for implementing a particular service (at the WSU Libraries).

Working papers - A collection of works in progress or preliminary research findings or analyses written and compiled by researchers in a particular field, such as economics.

WSL - Washington State Library (Olympia, WA)

WSU CALS - WSU - Spokane Cooperative Academic Library

WWW - World Wide Web

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