Friday, September 2, 2011

Important LIS Term

Important LIS term

Important LIS term beginning with A Go to Top


An abstract is a brief, objective representation of the essential content of a book, article, speech, report, dissertation, patent, standard, or other work, presenting the main points in the same order as the original but having no independent literary value.

Length depends on the type of document abstracted and the intended use of the abstract. As a general rule, abstracts of long documents, such as monographs and theses, are limited to a single page (about 300 words); abstracts of papers, articles, and portions of monographs are no longer than 250 words; abstracts of notes and other brief communications are limited to 100 words; and abstracts of very short documents, such as editorials and letters to the editor, are about 30 words long

A well-prepared abstract enables the reader to

1) Quickly identify the basic content of the document,

2) Determine its relevance to their interests, and

3) Decide whether it is worth their time to read the entire document.

An abstract can be informative, indicative, critical, or written from a
particular point of view (slanted). Examples of the various types of abstracts
can be seen in the Appendix of the ANSI/NISO Z39.14 Guidelines for Abstracts.


The preparation of a brief, objective statement (abstract) of the content of a written work to enable the researcher to quickly determine whether reading the entire text might satisfy the specific information need.

Abstracting journal

A journal that specializes in providing summaries (called abstracts) of articles and other documents published within the scope of a specific academic discipline or field of study (example: Peace Research Abstracts Journal).

Abstracting service

A commercial indexing service that provides both a citation and a brief summary or abstract of the content of each document indexed (example: Information Science & Technology Abstracts). Numbered consecutively in order of addition, entries are issued serially in print, usually in monthly or quarterly supplements, or in a regularly updated bibliographic database available by subscription. Abstracting services can be comprehensive or selective within a specific academic discipline or sub discipline.

Academic library

A library that is an integral part of a college, university, or other institution of post secondary education, administered to meet the information and research needs of its students, faculty, and staff.


The right of entry to a library or its collections.
In computing, the privilege of using a computer system or online resource, usually controlled by the issuance of access codes to authorized users. In a more general sense, the ability of a user to reach data stored on a computer or computer system.

Access code
An identification code, such as a username, password, or PIN, which a user must enter correctly to gain access to a computer system or network. In most proprietary systems, access codes are tightly controlled to exclude unauthorized users.

Access copy

A copy of a motion picture on film, videotape, DVD, or some other medium, used for public service, as opposed to a copy used for preservation or a master used for duplication. Similarly, a copy of a photograph or other document made in any format for normal daily use, to protect the original from wear and accidental damage.

The ease with which a person may enter a library, gain access to its online systems, use its resources, and obtain needed information regardless of format.


To record in an accession list the addition of a bibliographic item to a library collection, whether acquired by purchase or exchange or as a gift.. The process of making additions to a collection is known as accessions.

Accession number

A unique number assigned to a bibliographic item in the order in which it is added to a library collection, recorded in an accession record maintained by the technical services department. Most libraries assign accession numbers in continuous numerical sequence, but some use a code system to indicate type of material and/or year of accession in addition to order of accession.

Accession record

A list of the bibliographic items added to a library collection in the order of their addition. Normally such a list includes the accession number, brief bibliographic identification, source, and price paid for each item.


The quality of correctness as to fact and of precision as to detail in information resources and in the delivery of information services.


The process of selecting, ordering, and receiving materials for library or archival collections by purchase, exchange, or gift, which may include budgeting and negotiating with outside agencies, such as publishers, dealers, and vendors, to obtain resources to meet the needs of the institution's clientele in the most economical and expeditious manner.


A librarian employed part-time in an academic library at an institution that grants librarians faculty status. At some institutions, an adjunct employed less than half-time may not be eligible for benefits.


The range of activities normally associated with the management of a government agency, organization, or institution, such as a library or library system. Also refers collectively to the persons responsible for such activity, from director to secretary.

Adopt a book

A library program in which a person, often a library patron, agrees to donate a modest sum (usually a fixed amount) to help cover the cost of conserving a book or other bibliographic item that is deteriorating from age or overuse.

Adult learner

A person older than traditional college age who pursues an independent, organized course of study, usually without the benefit of formal instruction at an established educational institution.

Advance copy

A copy of a book or other publication bound in advance of the normal press run to enable the publisher to check that all is in order before binding of the edition proceeds. Advance copies are also sent to booksellers, book club selection committees, and reviewers before the announced publication date, sometimes unbound or in a binding other than the publisher's binding, often with
a review slip laid in.

Advice book

A form of literature for women that provided practical and philosophical guidance on the domestic skills required in everyday life, such as etiquette, household management, cooking, gardening, childcare, family health and recreation, and female employment, often written from the perspective of a parent, Christian minister, or other authority, rather than from a feminist point of view.

Advisory service
A periodical publication, usually issued weekly, biweekly, or monthly in print or online, providing research, statistical analysis, and guidance on financial investments (stocks, bonds, options, mutual funds, etc.).

Affiliated library

A library that is, by formal agreement, part of a larger library system but administered independently by its own board or management structure.

A bibliographic service that provides online access to the digital full-text of periodicals published by different publishers.


Originally, a book introduced by the Moors to Spain, listing the days, weeks, and months of the year and providing information about festivals, holidays, astronomical phenomena, etc. In modern usage, an annual compendium of practical dates, facts, and statistics, current and/or retrospective, often arranged in tables to facilitate comparison. Almanacs can be general (example: World Almanac and Book of Facts) or related to a specific subject or academic discipline. Information Please is an example of a modern online almanac.

Alphabet book

A picture book for preschool children with illustrations designed to teach the letters and sequence of the alphabet by showing on each page, or double spread, one or more objects, animals, etc., belonging to a class whose name begins with the letter displayed (A for Apple, B for Book, etc.).

American Library Association (ALA)

The leading professional association of public and academic libraries and librarians in the

United States
, the ALA was founded in Philadelphia in October 1876 by a group of library leaders
(90 men and 13 women) that included Melvil Dewey. An "association of
associations," the ALA is organized in divisions, each with its own officers,
budget, and programs, and is closely tied to over 50 state and regional
chapters. The Association also sponsors round tables on specific issues and
topics and is affiliated with other independent library-related organizations.

Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR)

A detailed set of standardized rules for cataloging various types of library
materials that had its origin in Catalog Rules: Author and Title Entries,
published in 1908 under the auspices of the American Library Association and the
Library Association (UK), and the A.L.A. Cataloging Rules for Author and Title
Entries (1949), with its companion volume Rules for Descriptive Cataloging in
the Library of Congress. Cooperation between the ALA, the Library Association,
and the Canadian Library Association resumed with the joint publication in 1967
of Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, which is divided into two parts: rules for
creating the bibliographic description of an item of any type and rules
governing the choice and form of entry of headings (access points) in the

Annotated bibliography

A bibliography in which a brief explanatory or evaluative note is added to each
reference or citation. An annotation can be helpful to the researcher in
evaluating whether the source is relevant to a given topic or line of inquiry.


A brief note, usually no longer than two or three sentences, added after a
citation in a bibliography to describe or explain the content or message of the
work cited or to comment on it.

Annual review

A serial publication that surveys the most important works of original research
and creative thought published in a specific discipline or sub discipline during
a given calendar year (example: Annual Review of Information Science and


A collection of extracts or complete works by various authors, selected by
an editor for publication in a single volume or multivolume set. Anthologies are
often limited to a specific literary form or genre (short stories, poetry,
plays) or to a national literature, theme, time period, or category of author.
The works anthologized are listed in the table of contents by title in order of
appearance in the text.

Antiquarian book

An old, used out of print book, more valuable than most secondhand books because
of its rarity and/or condition, usually sold by an antiquarian bookseller.

APA style

A guide for typing research papers in the social sciences, developed by the
American Psychological Association, which includes the proper format for typing
notes and bibliographic citations.

Archival copy

A copy of a document specifically created or designated for archival storage by
the company, government, organization, or institution that wishes to preserve
it, usually for legal, evidential, or historical purposes.

Archival database

An organized collection of records in digital format, containing information to
be retained for an indefinite period of time, usually for future reference.


An organized collection of the noncurrent records of the activities of a
business, government, organization, institution, or other corporate body, or the
personal papers of one or more individuals, families, or groups, retained
permanently (or for a designated or indeterminate period of time) by their
originator or a successor for their permanent historical, informational,
evidential, legal, administrative, or monetary value, usually in a repository
managed and maintained by a trained archivist.


The person responsible for managing and maintaining an archival collection,
usually a librarian with special training in archival practices and methods,
including the identification and appraisal of records of archival value,
authentication, accessioning, description and documentation, facilitation of
access and use, preservation and conservation, and exhibition and publication to
benefit scholarship and satisfy public interest.


A bound or boxed collection of maps, usually related in subject or theme, with
an index of place names usually printed at the end.

Audio book

A book read aloud and recorded on audiotape or compact disc (CD), usually by a
professional actor or reader or by the author.


An audiotape permanently enclosed in a hard plastic case containing two take-up
reels to which the ends of the tape are attached for playback and rewinding.


A continuous strip of thin magnetic tape on which sounds can be recorded as
electrical signals and converted back into sound with the proper playback

Audiovisual (AV)

A work in a medium that combines sound and visual images, for example, a
motion picture or video recording with a sound track, or a slide presentation
synchronized with audiotape.


The person or corporate entity responsible for producing a written work (essay,
monograph, novel, play, poem, screenplay, short story, etc.) whose name is
printed on the title page of a book or given elsewhere in or on a manuscript or
other item and in whose name the work is copyrighted. A work may have two or
more joint authors. In library cataloging, the term is used in its broadest
sense to include editor, compiler, composer, creator, etc.

Author bibliography

A bibliography of works written by or about a specific author, which can vary in
detail and extent from an unannotated list of selected titles to a
comprehensive, in-depth descriptive bibliography.

Author entry

The entry in a catalog, index, or bibliography under the authorized heading for
the first-named author of a work, whether it be a person or corporate body. In
most library catalogs, the author entry is the main entry.

Author index

An alphabetically arranged index in which the headings are the names of the
individuals and corporate bodies responsible for creating the works indexed.
Author entries may be combined with the subject index or title index, rather
than listed separately.

Author’s copy

One of six or more complimentary copies of a published work normally provided to
the author free of charge by the publisher at the time of first publication.. In
a more general sense, an association copy that is known, usually on the basis of
documentary evidence, to have belonged to the author of the work. Faculty
members sometimes donate complimentary copies of their works to the academic
library at the college or university with which they are affiliated


The origin of a manuscript, book, or other written work, with reference to its
author(s). In a more general sense, the source of an idea or creative work in
any form, with reference to its creator or originator, for example, the composer
of a musical work. When authorship of an anonymous work cannot be determined
with a reasonable degree of certainty, it is said to be of unknown authorship.


An account of a person's life written by its subject, usually in the form of a
continuous narrative of events considered by the author to be the most important
or interesting, selected from those he or she is willing to reveal (example: The
Autobiography of Rabindranath Thagor). An autobiography differs from a diary or
journal in being written for others rather than for purely private reasons

Autograph book

A book with blank pages intended for the collection of signatures of friends
and/or famous people, with or without accompanying inscriptions. The value of an
autograph book in the collectors' market depends on the rarity of the signatures
it contains.

Automatic indexing

A method of indexing in which an algorithm is applied by a computer to the title
and/or text of a work to identify and extract words and phrases representing
subjects, for use as headings under which entries are made in the index.

Auxiliary schedule

In library classification, a separate list of classes (with their notations)
that serves only to subdivide the classes listed in the main schedules, for
example, the standard subdivisions listed in Table 1 of Dewey Decimal

Important LIS term beginning with B Go to Top

Back issue

Any issue of a periodical that precedes the current issue. Back issues are
usually retained in a back file, which may be stored in a different location in
the periodicals section of a library, sometimes converted to a more compact
format, such as microfilm or microfiche.


All the publications on a publisher's active list that are no longer new, having
been published prior to the current season.

Back page

The last page of an issue of a periodical, facing the inside of the back cover.


In data processing, to make a second copy of an important data file in case the
original is lost, damaged, or destroyed.

Banned book

A book, the publication and/or sale of which has been prohibited or suppressed
by ecclesiastical or secular authority because its content is considered
objectionable or dangerous, usually for political and/or social reasons.


A printed label containing machine-readable data encoded in vertical lines of
equal length but variable thickness, which can be read into an attached computer
by an optical scanner. In libraries barcodes are used to identify books and
other materials for circulation and inventory and to link the borrower's library
card to the appropriate patron record in automated circulation systems.

Best books

A selection of recently published books considered by reviewers to be superior
in the field or type of publication they represent. Most library review
publications publish annual lists of highly recommended titles in the various
categories reviewed (reference, fiction, nonfiction, young adult, children's
books, etc.).


Issued twice each year. Also refers to a publication issued twice a year.


A person who describes and lists books and other publications, with particular
attention to such characteristics as authorship, publication date, edition,
typography, etc.

Bibliographic control

A broad term encompassing all the activities involved in creating, organizing,
managing, and maintaining the file of bibliographic records representing the
items held in a library or archival collection, or the sources listed in an
index or database, to facilitate access to the information contained in them.
Bibliographic control includes the standardization of bibliographic description
and subject access by means of uniform catalog code, classification systems,
name authorities, and preferred headings; the creation and maintenance of
catalogs, union lists, and finding aids; and the provision of physical access to
the items in the collection.

In other words, bibliographic control means the adequate listing of all
bibliographic data and resources to manage and use them properly.

Bibliographic coupling

The idea that two scholarly papers containing a citation in common are
bibliographically related in a way that is likely to be of interest to
researchers. A similar relationship, called co-citation coupling, is established
between two or more documents when they are both cited in a third. Citation
indexing is based on the principle of bibliographic coupling.

Bibliographic database

A computer file consisting of electronic entries called records, each containing
a uniform description of a specific document or bibliographic item, usually
retrievable by author, title, subject heading (descriptor), or keyword(s).

Bibliographic description

In library cataloging, the detailed description of a copy of a specific edition
of a work intended to identify and distinguish it from other works by the same
author, of the same title, or on the same subject.

Bibliographic essay

A critical essay in which the bibliographer identifies and evaluates the core
literature of a sub discipline or field of study, providing guidance to
students, researchers, and collection development librarians.

Bibliographic format

The standardized sequence and manner of presentation of the data elements
constituting the full description of an item in a specific cataloging or
indexing system.

Bibliographic record

An entry representing a specific item in a library catalog or bibliographic
database, containing all the data elements necessary for a full description,
presented in a specific bibliographic format.


A systematic list or enumeration of written works by a specific author or on a
given subject, or that share one or more common characteristics (language, form,
period, place of publication, etc.). When a bibliography is about a person, the
subject is the bibliographee. A bibliography may be comprehensive or selective.
Long bibliographies may be published serially or in book form.

Bilingual edition

A book or periodical published in two languages.


A reference work combining biographical information with bibliography, either in
the form of brief biographical entries with a list of works written by the
biographies or longer biographical essays with a list of works written by and
about the biographee at the end of each entry .

Biographical note

A brief sketch of the life of the author (composer, performer, etc.) of a work,
printed at the end of a book, on the dust jacket, on the container, or elsewhere
in or on the bibliographic item.


A carefully researched, relatively full narrative account of the life of a
specific person or closely related group of people, written by another.


A collection of leaves of paper, parchment, vellum, cloth, or other material
(written, printed, or blank) fastened together along one edge, with or without a
protective case or cover.

Book announcement

A brief statement by the publisher announcing the availability of a new book or
blacklisted title, published as an advertisement in a book trade journal or
review publication or in an advertising section included in another book
published under the same imprint.

Book card

A piece of stiff card stock of standard size (three inches wide and five
inches high), with space at the top for the call number, name of author, and
title of item, and blank lines below for recording the due date and the library
card number or name of the borrower, used in manual circulation systems to
maintain a card file of items currently checked out.

Book catalog

A library
catalog in the form of a bound or loose-leaf book, whether handwritten, printed,
or computer-generated, practical only for small collections.

Book culture

The habits,
skills, institutions, etc., of a given people concerning books in all forms,
including their manufacture (publishing, printing, and binding), marketing and
promotion, bookselling and collecting, book clubs and reading groups,
bibliography and conservation, activities of libraries and archives, and the
writing, illustrating, reviewing, and reading of books.

Book fair

A trade exhibition usually held annually, at which book publishers and
distributors display their products in spaces called booths leased for that


A narrow strip of paper, leather, ribbon, or other thin, flexible material
placed between the pages of a book to mark a place.

Book number

The portion of the call number following the class notation, added to
distinguish a specific item within its class. A book number is composed of an
author mark appended by the cataloger to sub-arrange works of the same class by
name of author, followed by a work mark added to sub-arrange works of the same
author by title or edition.

Book pocket

A three-inch-wide strip of stiff paper with a small pocket folded and glued
across the bottom third of its height to hold a book card, used in libraries
with manual circulation systems.


A person in the business of selling new books and related materials to the
retail trade at the full net published price, especially one who owns a

Book trade journal

A periodical
issued by publishers, booksellers, and others engaged in the book trade for the
purpose of announcing and promoting newly published titles. Book trade journals
also include trade news, bestseller lists, author interviews, book reviews,
feature articles, regular columns, analysis of current trends and issues, and
information about book production/distribution, book fairs, and book signings.


A system of logic developed by the English mathematician George Boole
(1815-64) that allows the user to combine words or phrases representing
significant concepts when searching an online catalog or bibliographic database
by keywords. Three logical commands (sometimes called "operators") are: OR, AND
and NOT.


A person who checks out books and other materials from a library.

Borrowing library

A library or institution that requests and receives materials from another
library, usually on interlibrary loan.

Borrowing privileges

The rights to which a library borrower is entitled, usually established by
registering to receive a library card. Such privileges normally include the
right to check out books and other materials from the circulating collection for
a designated period of time, interlibrary loan, use of special collections, etc.

Bradford's Law

The bibliometric principle that a disproportionate share of the significant
research results on a given subject are published in a relatively small number
of the scholarly journals in the field, a pattern of exponentially diminishing
returns first noted by Samuel C. Bradford in 1934, who proposed the formula
1:n:n² to describe the phenomenon, based on his examination of a bibliography of
geophysics. He found that a few core journals provide 1/3 of the articles on a
given subject, a moderate number of less-than-core journals provide a further
1/3 of the articles on the subject, and a large number peripheral journals
provide the remaining 1/3 of the articles. The pattern exists in the literature
of the natural sciences but not in the humanities and social sciences.
Identification of the core journals in a scientific specialization can therefore
facilitate not only the research process, but also serials collection

Branch library

An auxiliary service outlet in a library system, housed in a facility separate
from the central library, which has at least a basic collection of materials, a
regular staff, and established hours, with a budget and policies determined by
the central library. A branch library is usually managed by a branch librarian
who may have responsibility for more than one branch.

British National Bibliography (BNB)

The most comprehensive record of books and first issues of serials published
since 1950 in the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland, the BNB has been the
responsibility of the British Library since the library's inception in 1973.
Since 1990, bibliographic records created in accordance with international
cataloging standards have been contributed by all the legal depository libraries
in the
provided by the Bibliographic Data Services. Coverage is selective, with
emphasis on mainstream monographs available through regular book-buying
channels. Research reports and non-trade monographs are recorded separately in
the British National Bibliography for Report Literature. The BNB is available
weekly in print, monthly on CD-ROM, and online.

Broad classification

A classification system in which the main classes are not extensively
subdivided, for use in small libraries that do not require close classification
to organize their collections effectively.

In Dewey Decimal Classification, the classification of works in general
categories by logical abridgment, even when more specific class numbers are
available, for example, use of the class 641.5 Cooking instead of the subclass
641.5945 Italian cooking for a cookbook consisting of recipes for Italian food.

Important LIS term beginning with C Go to Top

Call number

A unique code
printed on a label affixed to the outside of an item in a library collection,
usually to the lower spine of a book or videocassette, also printed or
handwritten on a label inside the item to identify the specific copy of the work
and give its relative location on the shelf.

In most collections, a call number is composed of a classification number
followed by additional notation to make the call number unique. Generally, the
class number is followed by an author mark to distinguish the work from others
of the same class, followed by a work mark to distinguish the title from other
works of the same class by the same author, and sometimes other information such
as publication date, volume number, copy number, and location symbol.

Call slip

A brief form that the user must fill out to request an item from the closed
stacks of a library or archives, or from some other nonpublic storage area,
usually retrieved by hand by a staff member called a page, although automated
and semi-automated retrieval systems are used in some large libraries

Carbon copy

A copy of a document made at the same time as the original by the use of thin
paper coated on one side with a mixture of dark waxy pigment (initially carbon)
easily transferred to a second blank sheet under the pressure of pen or

Card catalog

A list of the holdings of a library, printed, typed, or handwritten on catalog
cards, each representing a single bibliographic item in the collection. Catalog
cards are normally filed in a single alphabetical sequence, or in separate
sections by author, title, and subject, in the long narrow drawers of a
specially designed filing cabinet, usually constructed of wood.


The art and science of making maps, charts, and other cartographic materials.


A book containing records or descriptions of actual cases that have occurred in
a professional discipline, selected to illustrate important principles and
concepts, for the use of students as a textbook and practitioners for reference.


A comprehensive list of the books, periodicals, maps, and other materials in a
given collection, arranged in systematic order to facilitate retrieval (usually
alphabetically by author, title, and/or subject).

Catalog card

In manual cataloging systems, a paper card used to make a handwritten, typed, or
printed entry in a card catalog, usually of standard size (3”X5” card), plain or

Catalog code

A detailed set of rules for preparing bibliographic records to represent items
added to a library collection, established to maintain consistency within the
catalog and between the catalogs of libraries using the same code


A librarian primarily responsible for preparing bibliographic records to
represent the items acquired by a library, including bibliographic description,
subject analysis, and classification.


The process of creating entries for a catalog.


Compact Disc-Read Only Memory, a small plastic optical disk similar to an audio
compact disc, measuring 4.72 inches (12 centimeters) in diameter, used as a
publishing medium and for storing information in digital format.

Each disc has the capacity to store 650 megabytes of data, the equivalent of
250,000 to 300,000 pages of text or approximately 1,000 books of average length.
CD-ROMs can be used to store sound tracks, still or moving images, and computer
files, as well as text. In libraries, CD-ROMs are used primarily as a storage
medium for bibliographic databases and full-text resources, mostly dictionaries,
encyclopedias, and other reference works.

Chained book

A book with a strong metal chain firmly attached to the binding, usually at its
head, to secure the volume to the shelf on which it is stored, or to the desk or
lectern where it is to be read, as a means of preventing unauthorized removal.


One of two ore more major divisions of a book or other work, each complete in
itself but related in theme or plot to the division preceding and/or following it


A book or section of a book that lists events and their dates in the order of
their occurrence


The process of checking books and other materials in and out of a library. Also
refers to the total number of items checked out by library borrowers over a
designated period of time and to the number of times a given item is checked out
during a fixed period of time, usually one year.

Circulation desk

The service point at which books and other materials are checked in and out of a
library, usually a long counter located near the entrance or exit, which may
include a built-in book drop for returning borrowed materials.

Circulation history

A record that a patron borrowed a specific item, retained for a significant
length of time after the item is returned to the library.

Circulation system

The methods used to record the loan of items from a library collection by
linking data in the patron record to the item record for each item loaned.


In the literary sense, any written or spoken reference to an authority or
precedent or to the verbatim words of another speaker or writer. In library
usage, a written reference to a specific work or portion of a work (book,
article, dissertation, report, musical composition, etc.) produced by a
particular author, editor, composer, etc., clearly identifying the document in
which the work is to be found.

Citation analysis

A bibliometric
technique in which works cited in publications are examined to determine
patterns of scholarly communication, in one or more academic disciplines.

Citation index

A three-part index in which works cited during a given year are listed
alphabetically by name of author cited, followed by the names of the citing
authors in a "Citation Index”.


The process of dividing objects or concepts into logically hierarchical classes,
subclasses, and sub-subclasses based on the characteristics they have in common
and those that distinguish them.

Classification schedule

The names
assigned to the classes and subdivisions of a classification system, listed in
the order of their symbolic notation.

Classification system

A list of classes arranged according to a set of pre-established principles for
the purpose of organizing items in a collection, or entries in an index,
bibliography, or catalog, into groups based on their similarities and
differences, to facilitate access and retrieval

Classified catalog

A subject catalog in which entries are filed in the notational order of a
pre-established classification system, with bibliographic records under as many
subject headings as apply to the content of each item. An alphabetical subject
index facilitates the use of a classified catalog, which is usually maintained
alongside an author and/or title catalog.

Classified index

An index in which entries are arranged under headings and subheadings indicating
hierarchical divisions and subdivisions within classes based on the subject
matter indexed, rather than in alphabetical or numerical sequence.

Class number

The specific notation used in Dewey Decimal Classification to designate a class,
for example, 943.085 assigned to works on the history of the Weimar Republic in Germany.

Close classification

A classification system in which the main classes and divisions are minutely
subdivided, allowing very specific characteristics of each subject to be

Closed catalog

A library catalog to which new bibliographic records are no longer added or in
which additions are restricted to certain categories, although existing records
continue to be removed as they are revised, corrected, and/or converted to
machine-readable format.

Collection development

The process of planning and building a useful and balanced collection of library
materials over a period of years, based on an ongoing assessment of the
information needs of the library's clientele, analysis of usage statistics, and
demographic projections, normally constrained by budgetary limitations.
Collection development includes the formulation of selection criteria, planning
for resource sharing, and replacement of lost and damaged items, as well as
routine selection and deselection decisions.

Collective biography

A work in one or more volumes containing separate accounts of the lives of two
or more individuals who lived within a specific time period, distinguished
themselves in the same field or activity, or have some other characteristic in
common .

Colon Classification

A classification system in which subjects are analyzed into facets based on
their uses and relations, then represented by synthetically constructed classes
with the parts separated by the colon (:). Developed by S.R. Ranganathan in the
1930s, Colon Classification is used in libraries in India and in research
libraries throughout the world.

Comic book

A booklet, usually printed in color on paper made from wood pulp, containing one
or more stories told pictorially in a continuous strip of panels drawn in
cartoon style, with dialogue or monologue enclosed in balloons or given in


The exclusive legal rights granted by a government to an author, editor,
compiler, composer, playwright, publisher, or distributor to publish, produce,
sell, or distribute copies of a literary, musical, dramatic, artistic, or other
work, within certain limitations. Copyright law also governs the right to
prepare derivative works, reproduce a work or portions of it, and display or
perform a work in public.

Copyright fee

The payment required by a national copyright depository to register copyright of
a creative work, which must be submitted with the completed application form and
a deposit copy of the work

Cumulative index

An index designed to save the user's time by combining in a single sequence the
entries listed in two or more previously published indexes, providing integrated
access to a larger body of material.

Current awareness service

A service or publication designed to alert scholars, researchers, readers,
customers, or employees to recently published literature in their field(s) of
specialization, usually available in special libraries serving companies,
organizations, and institutions in which access to current information is

Current bibliography

A bibliography that includes only references to recently published sources on a
subject or in a specific field or discipline.

Important LIS term Beginning with D Go to Top


The plural of
the Latin word datum, meaning "what is given," often used as a singular
collective noun. Facts, figures, or instructions presented in a form that can be
comprehended, interpreted, and communicated by a human being or processed by a


A large, regularly updated file of digitized information (bibliographic
records, abstracts, full-text documents, directory entries, images, statistics,
etc.) related to a specific subject or field, consisting of records of uniform
format organized for ease and speed of search and retrieval and managed with the
aid of database management system (DBMS) software.

Database management system (DBMS)

A computer application designed to control the storage, retrieval, security,
integrity, and reporting of data in the form of uniform records organized in a
large searchable file called a database.

Data dictionary

A set of data descriptions documenting the fields (columns) in the tables of a
database system. A data dictionary may describe the data type and other physical
characteristics of fields, enumerate allowed values, and specify appropriate

Date due slip

A card or slip of paper inserted in an item charged from a library collection or
a small printed form attached to the inside of the front or back cover or to one
of the free endpapers, on which is stamped the date the item is due back in the

Departmental library

A type of academic library that serves the information and research needs of the
faculty members of a department within an institution of higher learning,
usually a large university.

Deposit copy

A copy of a new
publication sent without charge to a copyright depository or other designated
library by the author or publisher in compliance with national copyright law

Descriptive bibliography

The close study and description of the physical and bibliographic
characteristics of books and other materials, including detailed information
about author, title, publication history, format, pagination, illustration,
printing, binding, appearance, etc., as opposed to an examination of content.
Also refers to a work that is the result of such study

Descriptive cataloging

The part of the
library cataloging process concerned with identifying and describing the
physical and bibliographic characteristics of the item, and with determining the
name(s) and title(s) to be used as access points in the catalog, but not with
the assignment of subject and form headings.

Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)

A hierarchical system for classifying books and other library materials by
subject, first published in 1876 by the librarian and educator Melvil Dewey, who
divided human knowledge into 10 main classes, each of which is divided into 10
divisions, and so on.


A private written record of day-to-day thoughts, feelings, and experiences
kept by a person who does not expect them to be published.


A single-volume or multivolume reference work containing brief explanatory
entries for terms and topics related to a specific subject or field of inquiry,
usually arranged alphabetically.

Dictionary catalog

A type of
catalog, in which all the entries (main, added, subject) and cross-references
are interfiled in a single alphabetic sequence.

Digital archives

Archival materials that have been converted to machine-readable format, usually
for the sake of preservation or to make them more accessible to users.

Digital collection

A collection of library or archival materials converted to machine-readable
format for preservation or to provide electronic access.

Digital library

A library in which a significant proportion of the resources are available in
machine-readable format, accessible by means of computers. The digital content
may be locally held or accessed remotely via computer networks.

Digital preservation

The process of maintaining, in a condition suitable for use, materials
produced in digital formats, including preservation of the bit stream and the
continued ability to render or display the content represented by the bit

Digital reference

services requested and provided over the Internet, usually via e-mail, instant
messaging ("chat"), or Web-based submission forms, usually answered by
librarians in the reference department of a library, sometimes by the
participants in a collaborative reference system serving more than one


The process of converting data to digital format for processing by a


A list of people, companies, institutions, organizations, etc., in
alphabetical or classified order, providing contact information (names,
addresses, phone/fax numbers, etc.) and other pertinent details (affiliations,
conferences, publications, membership, etc.) in brief format, often published


A generic term for a physical entity consisting of any substance on which is
recorded all or a portion of one or more works for the purpose of conveying or
preserving knowledge.


The process of
systematically collecting, organizing, storing, retrieving, and disseminating
specialized documents, especially of a scientific, technical, or legal nature,
usually to facilitate research or preserve institutional memory.

Documentation center

An organization or agency that specializes in receiving, processing, preserving,
abstracting, and indexing publications, usually within a scholarly discipline or
field of research and study. Documentation centers also issue bulletins on the
progress of such work for distribution to interested parties and may also
prepare bibliographies on special topics, make copies or translations, and
engage in bibliographic research.

Dublin Core (DC)

A standard set
of 15 interoperable metadata elements designed to facilitate the description and
recovery of document-like resources in a networked environment.

Dublin Core is the result of an international cross-disciplinary consensus
achieved through the ongoing efforts of the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI),
aimed at providing a foundation for standardized bibliographic description of
information resources available via the Internet.

Dust jacket

The removable
paper wrapper on the outside of a hardcover book, usually printed in color and
given a glossy finish to market the work to retail customers and protect it from
wear and tear. The front of the dust jacket bears the title, the author's full
name, and a graphic design. The title also appears on the spine of the jacket,
with the author's last name and the publisher's name or symbol.


An abbreviation
of digital videodisc, a type of optical disk of the same size as a compact disc
but with significantly greater recording capacity, partly because it is

Important LIS term beginning with E Go to Top

Electronic book

A digital version of a traditional print book designed to be read on a personal
computer or an e-book reader.

Electronic document

The transfer of information traditionally recorded in a physical medium to the
user electronically, usually via e-mail or the World Wide Web.

Electronic journal

A digital version of a print journal, or a journal-like electronic publication
with no print counterpart, made available via the Web, e-mail, or other means of
Internet access.

Electronic magazine

A digital version of a print magazine, or a magazine-like electronic publication
with no print counterpart, made available via the Web, e-mail, or other means of
Internet access.

Electronic newsletter

A newsletter published online, usually via the Internet, with or without a print

Electronic records

Bibliographic or archival records stored on a medium, such as magnetic tape/disk
or optical disk, that requires computer equipment for retrieval and processing.

Electronic resource

Material consisting of data and/or computer program(s) encoded for reading and
manipulation by a computer, by the use of a peripheral device directly connected
to the computer, such as a CD-ROM drive, or remotely via a network.


An abbreviation of electronic mail, an Internet protocol that allows computer
users to exchange messages and data files in real time with other users, locally
and across networks.

E-mail address

A string of characters used to route messages from one computer to another over
a network governed by the Internet protocol for electronic mail (SMTP).


A book or numbered set of books containing authoritative summary information
about a variety of topics in the form of short essays, usually arranged
alphabetically by headword or classified in some manner.

Ex-library copy

A copy of a book or other item once owned by a library and subsequently acquired
by a used book dealer, usually identified by an ownership mark, library binding,
and/or spine label.

Extensible Markup Language (XML)

A subset of the SGML markup language in which the tags define the kind of
information contained in a data element rather than how it is displayed.

Important LIS term beginning with F Go to Top

Facsimile catalog

A catalog that includes in each entry a small reproduction of the picture,
slide, map, or other item it represents, usually affixed to or printed on cards
larger than standard size or on sheets of heavy paper filed in a loose-leaf or
other type of binder.

Faculty status

recognition by a college or university that the librarians in its employ are
considered members of the faculty, with ranks, titles, rights, and benefits
equivalent to those of teaching faculty, including tenure, promotion, and the
right to participate in governance.

Fiber optics

The high-speed
transmission of data encoded in pulses of laser light via cable constructed of
optical fiber made of pure silicon dioxide, a technology that revolutionized the
telecommunication industry in the late 20th century, making it possible to
interconnect computers large and small in a worldwide network.


Literary works in prose, portraying characters and events created in the
imagination of the writer, intended to entertain, enlighten, and vicariously
expand the reader's experience of life.

A collection of documents usually related in some way, stored together, and
arranged in a systematic order. In computing, a collection of structured data
elements stored as a single entity or a collection of records related by source
and/or purpose, stored on a magnetic medium.


A thin strip or sheet of flexible, transparent or translucent material coated
with a light-sensitive emulsion that, when exposed to light, can be used to
develop photographic images.

Film library

A type of special library containing a collection of 8, 16, 35, or 70mm motion pictures, video recordings, DVDs, and other materials related to cinematography and film studies, classified for ease of access and retrieval.

First-line index

An index in which the opening lines of poems are listed in alphabetical order, each entry giving the title of the work and the name of the poet, usually shelved in the reference section of a library.

Floppy disk

A 3.5” external metallic magnetic disk encased in a rigid plastic envelope designed for use in a personal computer as a portable storage medium for data in digital format.

Full-text search

A search of a bibliographic database in which the entire text of each record or
document is searched and the entry retrieved if the terms included in the search
statement are present

Important LIS term beginning with G Go to Top

A news sheet in which current events, legal notices, public appointments, etc., are recorded on
a regular basis.

General encyclopedia

An encyclopedia that provides basic information on a broad range of subjects but treats no
single subject in depth, as distinct from a subject encyclopedia that provides
greater depth of coverage within a more limited scope.

Google Scholar

A free service
launched by Google in November 2004 that allows users to search the Internet for scholarly literature across many disciplines using the company's proprietary search software.


A handbook that provides useful current information for travelers to a city, state, region, country, or other geographic area or for visitors to a museum, park, historical site, etc.


The blank space formed by the inner margins of facing pages in an open book, from the binding edge to the area bearing printed matter. The width of the gutter margin is an important factor in determining whether a book can be rebound.

Important LIS term beginning with H Go to Top


A single-volume reference book of compact size that provides concise factual information on a specific subject, organized systematically for quick and easy access.

A printed sheet or group of sheets, usually stapled together at one corner, intended for distribution during an oral presentation or instruction session to give the attendees a record of content covered (summary, outline, hard copy of PowerPoint slides, etc.) or to provide supplementary or complementary information (supporting data, examples, suggestions for further reading, contact
information, etc.).

A book bound in an inflexible board case or cover, usually covered in cloth,
paper, plastic, leather, or some other durable material, as distinct from a book
bound in a cover made of flexible material.

Hard disk

A magnetic medium capable of storing a large quantity of data, which resides
permanently within a computer, as opposed to a portable disk that can be
inserted in a disk drive by the user whenever a data file needs to be opened or
saved, then removed once the operation is completed.


Mechanical, electrical, electronic, or other physical equipment and machinery associated with a computer system or necessary for the playback or projection of nonprint media. Basic microcomputer hardware includes a central processing unit (CPU), keyboard, and monitor.


The process of gathering data from Web pages and other Internet sources and sending it back to a central site for indexing. An Internet crawler harvests Web pages for indexing in Internet search engines Google, AltaVista, HotBot, etc.

Hierarchical classification

A classification system in which the classes are subdivided on the principle of logical subordination, from the most general subjects to the most specific. Hierarchical classification can be broad or close.


The arrangement of classes in a classification system, from the most general to the most specific.


A writing system in which pictures or symbols, rather than letters of a phonetic alphabet, are used to represent words, syllables, and sounds


In information retrieval, the number of records retrieved from a database that are relevant to the query.

On the Internet, the number of times a given site is visited during a designated period of time, which can be recorded by an automatic counter supported by the software running the site.

Holdings record

In cataloging, a separate record attached to the bibliographic record for a serial title or multivolume item to track issues, parts, volumes, etc., as they are acquired by the library.

The first or main page of a site on the World Wide Web, displayed whenever a user logs on to a Web browser and opens the site address (URL).

Hospital library

A medical library maintained within the walls of a hospital, containing a collection of print and online resources on medicine and allied health to serve the information and research needs of doctors, nurses, patients, and staff, usually managed by a medical librarian.

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
Used to create the hypertext documents accessible via the World Wide Web and intranets, HTML script is a cross-platform presentation markup language that allows the author to incorporate into a Web page text, frames, graphics, audio, video, and links to other documents and applications. Formatting is controlled by "tags" embedded in the text.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

The communications protocol used in Web browser software to establish the connection between a client computer and a remote Web server, making it possible for data files in HTML format to be transmitted over the Internet from the server to the client machine on which the browser is installed.

Important LIS term beginning with I Go to Top


A picture, plate, diagram, plan, chart, map, design, or other graphic image printed with or inserted in the text of a book or other publication as an embellishment or to complement or elucidate the text. Also refers to the fine art of creating such visual works.


A space between the margin on a page and the beginning of a line of type, as at the beginning of a paragraph of text.


An alphabetically arranged list of headings consisting of the personal names, places, and subjects treated in a written work, with page numbers to refer the reader to the point in the text at which information pertaining to the heading is found.


The process of compiling one or more indexes for a single publication, such as a monograph or multivolume reference work, or adding entries for new documents to an open-end index covering a particular publication format, works of a specific literary form, or the literature of an academic field, discipline, or group of disciplines.

Indicative abstract

An abstract that describes the type and form of a document, indicating its purpose and/or scope and providing a brief description of the treatment, without summarizing the content or evaluating the work.


Data or facts, conclusions, ideas, and creative works of the human intellect and imagination that have been communicated, formally or informally, in any form.

Information and referral (I&R)

A service available at no charge, usually from a public library or other public service agency, providing contact information about other organizations, agencies, and individuals qualified to offer specific information and services, both free and fee-based, usually within the local community.

Information desk

A desk in a large public or academic library, usually located near the main entrance, staffed by a nonprofessional trained to screen questions, provide basic information about library services and collections, and direct users to the reference desk or some other public service point, when further assistance is needed.

Information ethics

The branch of ethics that focuses on the relationship between the creation, organization, dissemination, and use of information, and the ethical standards and moral codes governing human conduct in society.

Information literacy (IL)

The concept includes the skills required to critically evaluate information content and employ it effectively, as well as an understanding of the technological infrastructure on which information transmission is based, including its social, political, and cultural context and impact.

Information management

The skillful exercise of control over the acquisition, organization, storage, security, retrieval, and dissemination of the information resources essential to the successful operation of a business, agency, organization, or institution, including documentation, records management, and technical infrastructure.

Information need

Information need is an individual or group's desire to locate and obtain information to satisfy a conscious or unconscious need.

Information overload

A condition in which too much information is available on a topic, a common occurrence in online searching, particularly when the query is expressed in terms that are too general.

nformation Retrieval (IR)

The process, methods, and procedures used to selectively recall recorded information from a
file of data. In other words
Information Retrieval (IR) is the science of searching for documents, for information within documents and for metadata about documents, as well as that of searching relational databases and the World Wide Web.

Information Technology (IT)

A very broad term encompassing all aspects of the management and processing of information by
computer, including the hardware and software required to access it. In other word, IT is broad area of collecting, processing, storing and retrieving data or information by computer and other related technologies.

Informative abstract

An abstract that summarizes the essential content of a document, usually within the limitations of a single paragraph, reflecting its tone and mode of presentation.


The use of mathematical and statistical methods in research related to libraries, documentation, and information.

Intellectual freedom

The right of any person to read or express views that may be unpopular or offensive to some people, within certain limitations.

Intellectual property

Tangible products of the human mind and intelligence entitled to the legal status of personal property, especially works protected by copyright, inventions that have been patented and registered trademarks.

Inter-library loan (

Inter-library loan is a service whereby a user of one library can borrow books, videos, DVDs, sound
recordings, microfilms, or receive photocopies of articles in magazines that are owned by another library.

International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD)

A set of standards adopted in 1971 by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), governing the bibliographic description of items collectedby libraries.

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

A unique 10-digit standard number assigned to identify a specific edition of a
book or other monographic publication issued by a given publisher, under a
system recommended for international use by the International Organization for
Standardization (ISO) in 1969.

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

A unique eight-digit standard number assigned by the International Serials Data System (ISDS)
to identify a specific serial title. The ISSN is usually given in the masthead
of each issue or on the copyright page of each volume or part of a series.


The high-speed fiber-optic network of networks that uses TCP/IP protocols to
interconnect computer networks around the world, enabling users to communicate
via e-mail, transfer data and program files via FTP, find information on the
World Wide Web, and access remote computer systems such as online catalogs and
electronic databases easily and effortlessly, using an innovative technique
called packet switching.

Intra-library loan

The loan of an
item by a library to another library within the same library system, or directly
to a patron of another library in the same system, on request, usually faster
than interlibrary loan if the system has its own delivery service.


An in-house Web site designed to be used only by the staff or employees of an
organization, institution, or commercial enterprise. Intranets use the same
TCP/IP and hypertext protocols as the Internet, but access by unauthorized users
is usually blocked by a firewall. Also used in a more general sense to refer to
any in-house LAN or client-server system.

Important LIS term beginning with J Go to Top

Jest book

A collection of
jokes, witty anecdotes, epigrams, exempla, and ribald tales, usually with
didactic endings.

Joint author

A person who collaborates with one or more authors to produce a work in which
all who contribute perform the same function.

Joint publication

Publication of the same work by two different publishers in separate editions,
often in hardcover by a university press and in paperback by a trade publisher.


A periodical devoted to disseminating original research and commentary on
current developments in a specific discipline, subdiscipline, or field of study,
usually published in quarterly, bimonthly, or monthly issues sold by

Juvenile collection

A library
collection of books and other materials intended specifically for children under
12-13 years of age, shelved separately from the adult and young adult
collections, sometimes in a children's room with separate sections for juvenile
fiction and nonfiction, beginning readers and easy books, picture books, and
books for very young children .

Important LIS term beginning with K Go to Top


A significant word or phrase in the title, subject headings, contents note,
abstract, or text of a record in an online catalog or bibliographic database
that can be used as a search term in a free-text search to retrieve all the
records containing it.

Keyword index

A type of subject index in which significant words, usually from the titles of
the works indexed, are used as headings.

Important LIS term beginning with L
Go to Top

Lab manual

A book of exercises that includes instructions for laboratory experiments to be
carried out, usually under the supervision of an instructor, by a student
enrolled in a course in the sciences, often published in soft-cover in
conjunction with a textbook.

Lending library

A library or other institution that sends materials on request to another
library, usually via interlibrary loan.


The process of writing and compiling a dictionary or glossary, including the
selection of terms and the preparation of an entry for each word, giving the
correct spelling, pronunciation, derivation, one or more definitions, and
sometimes antonyms and examples of usage. The person who writes or compiles such
a work is a lexicographer.


A professionally trained person responsible for the care of a library and
its contents, including the selection, processing, and organization of materials
and the delivery of information, instruction, and loan services to meet the
needs of its users.


The profession devoted to applying theory and technology to the creation,
selection, organization, management, preservation, dissemination, and
utilization of collections of information in all formats.


A collection or group of collections of books and/or other print or
nonprinting materials organized and maintained for use (reading, consultation,
study, research, etc).

Library administration

The control and supervision of a library or library system, including planning,
budgeting, policymaking, personnel management, public relations, and program
assessment, with responsibility for results.

Library advisory committee

A standing committee at an academic institution, composed of members of the
teaching faculty, library professionals, and students who have an interest in
library services, charged with advising the library administration on policies
and decisions affecting teaching and learning, such as library hours and the
allocation of funds to academic departments for new acquisitions, and with
acting as library advocates in institution-wide decision-making.

Library automation

The design and
implementation of ever more sophisticated computer systems to accomplish
functions of acquisitions, cataloging and authority control, serials control,
circulation and inventory, and interlibrary loan and document delivery
originally done by hand in libraries.

Library award

Special recognition given to an individual, group, or library in honor of
outstanding achievement and/or distinguished service to the profession.

Library card

A small paper or plastic card issued by a library in the name of a registered
borrower, to be presented at the circulation desk when checking out materials
from its collections.

Library collection

The total accumulation of books and other materials owned by a library,
cataloged and arranged for ease of access, often consisting of several smaller
collections (reference, circulating books, serials, government documents, rare
books, special collections, etc.).

Library cooperation

Methods by which libraries and library systems work together for the mutual
benefit of their users, including centralized processing, cooperative
cataloging, international exchange of bibliographic information, union catalogs,
resource sharing, etc.

Library newsletter

A publication of no more than a few pages issued by a library to its clientele
on a regular or irregular basis to inform them of the availability of services
and resources, describe new and ongoing initiatives, and announce upcoming
events, exhibitions, etc.

Library of Congress Classification (LCC)

A system of classifying books and other library materials developed and
maintained over the last 200 years by the Library of Congress in

Washington, D.C. In LCC,
human knowledge is divided into 20 broad categories indicated by single letters
of the Roman alphabet, with major subdivisions indicated by a second letter, and
narrower subdivisions by decimal numbers and further alphabetic notation.

Library of Congress Subject
Headings (LCSH)

The complete alphabetic list of controlled vocabulary created by catalogers and
used in cataloging since 1898 at the Library of Congress in assigning subject
headings to facilitate access to the information content of newly published

Library science

The professional
knowledge and skill with which recorded information is selected, acquired,
organized, stored, maintained, retrieved, and disseminated to meet the needs of
a specific clientele, usually taught at a professional library school qualified
to grant the post baccalaureate degree

Library staff

The entire group of paid employees responsible for the operation and management
of a library or library system, including its director, librarians,
paraprofessionals, technical assistants, clerical personnel, and pages or
student assistants.

Local area network (LAN)

A communications network restricted to a relatively small geographic area, often
within a single building or group of adjacent buildings consisting of at least
one high-speed server, client workstations, a network operating system, and a
communications link.

Local bibliography

A bibliography of books and other materials about a specific geographic area
smaller than a country, usually covering material about the history, geography,
architecture, and environment of the area, as well as works about the people
born or residing in it.

Lotka's Law

The bibliometric principle that the number of authors making n contributions to
the scholarly literature of a given field is about C/na, with C (the number
making a single contribution) a constant.

Important LIS term beginning with M Go to Top


A popular
interest periodical usually containing articles on a variety of topics, written
by various authors in a nonscholarly style.

Magnetic disk

A rewritable
computer storage medium consisting of a revolving platter on which digital data
is encoded as tiny magnetic spots arranged in tracks.

Magnetic tape

An electronic storage medium consisting of a thin strip of flexible plastic to
which a metallic coating is applied that can be selectively magnetized to record
information sequentially in linear or helical tracks.

Main entry

The entry in a library catalog that provides the fullest description of a
bibliographic item, by which the work is to be uniformly identified and cited.

Main schedule

The list of classes used by a cataloger or indexer, individually or in
combination, to classify documents by subject under the rules of a given
classification system, arranged in the order of their symbolic notation.


A work of any kind (text, inscription, music score, map, etc.) written entirely
by hand. Also refers to the handwritten or typescript copy of an author's work
as submitted for publication, before printing.

Manuscript book

A book written entirely by hand, particularly one produced prior to the
invention of printing from movable type, usually copied by medieval monks or
scribes on leaves of parchment or vellum, bound in leather-covered wooden


Metadata is data about data that describe the format, attribute and function of
data in recorded information describing information resources/objects for a
variety of purposes.

Metropolitan area network

A computer network connecting users over a geographic area larger than a local
area network (LAN) but smaller than a wide area network (WAN), ranging in size
from several blocks of buildings to an entire city.


A small card-shaped sheet of photographic film designed for storing
miniaturized text and/or microimages arranged sequentially in a two-dimensional


A 16mm or 35mm photographic film to store miniaturized text and/or microimages
in a linear array consisting of a single row or double row of frames that can be
magnified and reproduced only with the aid of specially designed equipment.


A generic term for a highly reduced photographic copy of text and/or images
stored on a translucent medium or on an opaque medium such as card stock.

Mnemonic notation

A classification
notation in which the characters representing the classes are directly linked to
the name of the class, making it easier for the user to learn and recall the way
the classification system is organized.


A relatively short book or treatise on a single subject, complete in one
physical piece, usually written by a specialist in the field. Monographic
treatment is detailed and scholarly but not extensive in scope.


In a more general sense, any program, presentation, or computer application in
which two or more communication media are used simultaneously or in close
association, for example, slides with recorded sound.

Music library

A library containing a collection of materials on music and musicians, including
printed and manuscript music scores, music periodicals, recorded music, books
about music and musicians, program notes, discographies, and music reference

Important LIS term beginning with N Go to Top

National bibliography

A list of books and other materials published or distributed in a specific
country, especially works written about the country and its inhabitants or in
its national language.

National library

A library designated and funded by a national government to serve the nation by
maintaining a comprehensive collection of the published and unpublished literary
output of the nation as a whole, including publications of the government


A group of physically discrete computers interconnected to allow resources to be
shared and data exchanged, usually by means of telecommunication links and
client/server architecture.

News library

A type of special library maintained in the offices of a newspaper publisher, or
other news agency, that includes in its collection newspaper and magazine
clippings, photo files, maps, pamphlet files, microforms, reference materials,
and online databases related to news and current events.

Newspaper index

A list of the editorial content (news stories, articles, editorials, and
columns) published in one or more newspapers, usually arranged alphabetically by


The set of characters (numerals, letters of the alphabet, and/or symbols)
used to represent the main classes and subdivisions of a classification system.
In library cataloging, the class notation assigned to a bibliographic item
represents its subject and is the first element of the call number, determining
its position on the shelf relative to items on other subjects.

Important LIS term beginning with O
Go to Top

Omnibus book

A large single-volume reprint of two or more separately published novels or
other literary works, usually by the same author.

On-demand publishing

Production by a commercial service of single copies or small quantities of rare,
out of print, or difficult to find publications in response to orders from
individual customers, as opposed to supply from inventory.


A computer connected to the Internet, an intranet, or some other network via
telecommunication links, as opposed to a stand-alone system

Online catalog

A library catalog consisting of a collection of bibliographic records in
machine-readable format, maintained on a dedicated computer that provides
uninterrupted interactive access via terminals or workstations in direct,
continuous communication with the central computer.

Computer Library Center (OCLC)

The largest bibliographic utility in the world, providing cataloging and
acquisitions services, serials and circulation control, interlibrary loan
support, and access to online databases. OCLC began as the Ohio College Library
Center in 1967, changed its name in 1981 to reflect wider membership, and has
since become a major source of cooperative cataloging data for libraries around
the world.


An acronym for online public access catalog, a database composed of
bibliographic records describing the books and other materials owned by a
library or library system, accessible via public terminals or workstations
usually concentrated near the reference desk to make it easy for users to
request the assistance of a trained reference librarian.

Open entry

A bibliographic record, holdings statement, or entry in an index or bibliography
that allows further information concerning the item to be added, used in the
library catalog to describe a serial publication for which the library does not
own all the issues or parts.

Optical fiber

A thin, flexible cable containing a bundle of very fine, highly transparent,
tubular glass fibers made of pure silicon dioxide, designed to transmit
information encoded in pulses of laser light at very high speed by means of
internal reflection.

Out of print (OP)

A publication no longer obtainable through regular market channels because the
publisher's inventory is exhausted, with no prospect of another printing in the
foreseeable future. A book goes out of print when the publisher decides sales no
longer justify the expense of maintaining inventory, when it is superseded by a
later edition, or when the rights are relinquished by the publisher.


A circulating item checked out from a library and kept by the borrower past its
due date.

Important LIS term beginning with P Go to Top


The practice of marking the pages of a written or printed document with
consecutive numbers to indicate their sequence.


A nonerial publication consisting of at least 5 but no more than 48 pages
exclusive of covers, stapled or sewn but not bound, usually enclosed in covers
of the same paper as the text.


A legal document issued by the government, in response to a formal application
process in which the inventor or originator of a new product or process is
granted the exclusive right to manufacture, use, and sells it for a designated
period of time.


A serial publication with its own distinctive title, containing a mix of
articles, editorials, reviews, columns, short stories, poems, or other short
works written by more than one contributor, issued in soft cover more than once,
generally at regular stated intervals of less than a year, without prior
decision as to when the final issue will appear.

Periodical index

A cumulative list of periodical articles in which the citations are entered by
subject (or in classified arrangement) and sometimes under the author's last
name, separately or in a single alphabetic sequence.


Plagiarism is the act of
taking another person's writing, conversation, song, or even idea and passing it
off as your own. This includes information from web pages, books, songs,
television shows, email messages, interviews, articles, artworks or any other


Prolonging the existence of library and archival materials by maintaining
them in a condition suitable for use, either in their original format or in a
form more durable, through retention under proper environmental conditions or
actions taken after a book or collection has been damaged to prevent further

Private library

A library of any
size that is owned by an individual or family for personal enjoyment or by a
private club, corporation, or foundation.


The published record of a conference, congress, symposium, or other meeting
sponsored by a society or association, usually but not necessarily including
abstracts or reports of papers presented by the participants.

Important LIS term beginning with Q Go to Top


A list of written questions carefully formulated to be administered to a
selected group of people for the purpose of gathering information in survey

Important LIS term beginning with R
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Rare book

A book so difficult to find that only a few copies are known to antiquarian
booksellers. Those that do exist seldom appear on the market and are
consequently coveted.

Ready reference

A reference question that can be answered by a reference librarian in one or two
minutes by providing a fact or piece of information found in a single source.


A request by a library to one of its borrowers to return a borrowed item before
its due date.

In information retrieval, a measure of the effectiveness of a search, expressed
as the ratio of the number of relevant records or documents retrieved in
response to the query to the total number of relevant records or documents in
the database.


An account of something, put down in writing, usually as a means of documenting
facts for legal or historical purposes.

In archives, a document created or received, and subsequently maintained, by an
institution, organization, or individual in the transaction of official or
personal business or in fulfillment of a legal obligation.

Records management

The field of
management devoted to achieving accuracy, efficiency, and economy in the
systematic creation, retention, conservation, dissemination, use, and
disposition of the official records of a company, government agency,
organization, or institution, whether in physical or electronic form, usually
undertaken by a professionally trained records manager on the basis of a
comprehensive and thorough records survey.

Reference book

A book designed to be consulted when authoritative information is needed, rather
than read cover to cover. Reference books often consist of a series of signed or
unsigned "entries" listed alphabetically under headwords or headings, or in some
other arrangement (classified, numeric, etc.).

Reference collection

Books containing authoritative information not meant to be read cover to cover,
such as dictionaries, handbooks, and encyclopedias, shelved together by call
number in a special section of the library called the reference stacks.

Reference librarian

A librarian who works in public services, answering questions posed by library
patrons at a reference desk, by telephone, or via e-mail. A reference librarian
may also be called upon to provide point-of-use instruction on the use of
library resources and information technology.

Reference services

All the functions performed by a trained librarian employed in the reference
section of a library to meet the information needs of patrons (in person, by
telephone, or electronically), including but not limited to answering
substantive questions, instructing users in the selection and use of appropriate
tools and techniques for finding information, conducting searches on behalf of
the patron, directing users to the location of library resources, assisting in
the evaluation of information, and so on.


A type of reference transaction in which a patron with an information need is
directed to a reputable person or agency outside the library, better qualified
to provide assistance.

Relative index

A subject index to a classification system indicating the classes under which
subjects are listed, with their notations


A new impression of an existing edition, often made by photographic means, or a
new edition made from a new setting of type that is a copy of a previous
impression, with no alterations in the text except perhaps the correction of
typographical errors.

Reprint book

A collection
consisting of articles previously published in one or more magazines or
journals. The articles are used in their original format as camera-ready copy,
rather than reset by the printer in uniform typographic style.


A general term encompassing quick-service document reproduction or copying by
any means except large-scale professional printing, including photography,
microphotography, xerography, and photo duplication.


A written request, usually submitted to the acquisitions department of a library
on a standardized form, for the order of materials, equipment, supplies, or

Research library

A library containing a comprehensive collection of materials in a specific
field, academic discipline, or group of disciplines, including primary and
secondary sources, selected to meet the information needs of serious

Resource sharing

The activities that result from an agreement, formal or informal, among a group
of libraries to share collections, data, facilities, personnel, etc., for the
benefit of their users and to reduce the expense of collection development.

Retrospective bibliography

A bibliography restricted to materials published in the past, usually limited to
a specific period of time.

Important LIS term beginning with S
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Search engine

Originally, a
hardware device designed to search a text-based database for specific character
strings (queries) typed as input by the user. More recently, computer software
designed to help the user locate information available at sites on the World
Wide Web by selecting categories from a hierarchical directory of subjects or by
entering appropriate keywords or phrases.

Search strategy

In information
retrieval, a systematic plan for conducting a search.

Selective bibliography

A bibliography that includes only a portion of the relevant literature, usually
based on predetermined selection criteria, such as the needs of a particular
group of users, desire for current versus retrospective material, or an
evaluation of quality.


Library functions that can be initiated, controlled, and/or executed by the
patron without the assistance of library staff.

Sister library

A library that enters into a voluntary partnership with a library from another
culture for the purpose of encouraging multicultural exchange and international


A generic term for computer programs and their associated documentation, as
opposed to data used as input and generated as output. A software product
consists of a set of instructions written by a programmer, distinct from the
manufactured hardware used to run it.

Solo librarian

A librarian
solely responsible for managing a small library, without the assistance of other
paid staff.

Special library

A library
established and funded by a commercial firm, private association, government
agency, nonprofit organization, or special interest group to meet the
information needs of its employees, members, or staff in accordance with the
organization's mission and goals.

Subject analysis

Examination of a bibliographic item by a trained subject specialist to determine
the most specific subject heading(s) or descriptor(s) that fully describe its
content, to serve in the bibliographic record as access points in a subject
search of a library catalog, index, abstracting service, or bibliographic

Subject bibliography

A list of books, articles, reports on a specific topic, usually compiled by a
librarian or researcher with specialized knowledge of the subject to acquaint
other researchers with the existing literature. A retrospective subject
bibliography may be selective or comprehensive within a designated period of

Subject index

alphabetically arranged list of headings selected by an indexer to represent the
subject content of one or more works, with locators to direct the user to the
corresponding text.


A secondary portion of the title proper of a work, consisting of an explanatory
or limiting phrase following a colon or semicolon, often beginning with "a" or

Support staff

Library staff
members not trained as librarians who have acquired a technical understanding of
library practices and procedures and contribute on a daily basis to the smooth
operation of a library but are not qualified to make policy decisions or
participate in other activities of a professional nature.

Systems librarian

A librarian
whose primary responsibility is the development and maintenance of the hardware
and software systems used in a library or library system, especially the online
catalog and access to any bibliographic databases and other electronic

Important LIS term beginning with T Go to Top


An initialize for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, a set of
communications protocols developed by the U.S. Department of Defense and
implemented in 1982 to allow the users of host computers of different types and
sizes to communicate with each other and exchange data via the Internet and
other networks.

Technical journal

A journal devoted to a particular branch of engineering or technology, providing
information for technicians in the field.

Technical library

A library that supports one or more of the applied sciences, such as engineering
or computer science. A technical library can be a branch library in a large
university, a major collection within a large academic or public library, or a
special library maintained by a private corporation or government agency.


The process of sending and receiving signals or messages at a distance via
telegraph, telephone, radio, television, cable, microwave, or any other
electromagnetic means, on which modern information technology depends. Also, any
transmission, emission, or reception of signals by such methods.


A type of one-way broadcasting service that allows digital information provided
by a television station, such as closed captions or continuously updated news,
to be displayed on a television receiver specially adapted to allow text and
graphics to be superimposed over regular programming, usually in frames.


An edition of a book specifically intended for the use of students who are
enrolled in a course of study or preparing for an examination on a subject or in
an academic discipline, as distinct from the trade edition of the same title.
Also refers to the standard work used for a specific course of study, whether
published in special edition or not.


A book of synonyms and near-synonyms in a written language, usually arranged
conceptually. Also refers to an alphabetically arranged lexicon of terms
comprising the specialized vocabulary of an academic discipline or field of
study, showing the logical and semantic relations among terms, particularly a
list of subject headings or descriptors used as preferred terms in indexing the
literature of the field.


A proposition advanced and defended in a formal disputation, especially by a
candidate in partial fulfillment of university requirements for a master's


A word, phrase, sentence, single character, or sequence of characters usually
appearing on or in an item, naming the work(s) contained in it, for purposes of
identification and reference.

Title index

An alphabetically arranged list of the titles of the works covered in a serial
or nonserial publication.

Title page

The page at the beginning of a manuscript, book, or other printed publication,
often of special design, bearing the title proper of the work and usually, but
not necessarily, the name of the author(s), editor(s), translator(s), and
publisher or printer and in some cases the volume number (if applicable) and
date and place of publication.

Trade catalog

A list of all the books currently in print, published in a specific country or
in other countries for which domestic publishers act as agents. Also, any
publication that lists and describes the products manufactured and sold by a
commercial company, with prices, illustrations, and information on how to order,
for use in sales.

Important LIS term beginning with U
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Union catalog

A list of the holdings of all the libraries in a library system, or of all or a
portion of the collections of a group of independent libraries, indicating by
name and/or location symbol which libraries own at least one copy of each item.

Universal Decimal Classification (UDC)

An elaborate
expansion of Dewey Decimal Classification in which symbols are used in addition
to Arabic numerals to create longer notations, making it more flexible and
precise than DDC and particularly suitable for the classification of specialized

User education

All the activities involved in teaching users how to make the best possible use
of library resources, services, and facilities, including formal and informal
instruction delivered by a librarian or other staff member one-on-one or in a


A set of standards for the representation and communication of bibliographic
data and related information in machine-readable format, originally developed
and maintained for use in the

United States and
superseded in 1999 by MARC 21 with the harmonization of U.S. and Canadian MARC
formats. USMARC governed three aspects of bibliographic description: (1) record
structure, (2) content designation, and (3) the actual data content of the

Important LIS term beginning with V
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Virtual library

A "library without walls" in which the collections do not exist on paper,
microform, or other tangible form at a physical location but are electronically
accessible in digital format via computer networks.

Important LIS term beginning with W Go to Top


An enhanced version of the full Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) database
available to full members and partial users of OCLC in conjunction with the CORC
online cataloging project, WebDewey can be used to generate proposed Dewey class
numbers for Web pages and other electronic resources.


An enumerative list of digital resources on a specific topic or subject,
available in print or on the Web. Typically, the URLs of any Web sites included
in the resource list are embedded in the HTML document, enabling the user to
connect to the site by clicking on its hypertext link.

Web page

An electronic
document written in HTML script, stored on a Web server and accessible using Web
browser software at a unique Internet address (URL), usually one of a group of
related, interlinked files that together comprise a Web site. A Web page may
include formatted text, graphic material, audio and/or video elements, and links
to other files on the Internet.

Who's Who

A reference book or reference serial providing brief biographical information
about well-known people who are still living. Who Was Who covers the lives of
deceased persons of prominence.


WorldCat is the online union catalog of materials cataloged by OCLC member
libraries and institutions, a rapidly growing bibliographic database containing
over 50 million records representing materials published since 1000 B.C. in over
400 languages in a variety of formats (books, manuscripts, maps, music scores,
newspapers, magazines, journals, theses and dissertations, sound recordings,
films, video recordings, computer programs, machine-readable data files, etc.).

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

A specialized agency of the United Nations with headquarters in Geneva, WIPO is
responsible for administering 21 international treaties concerning the
protection of intellectual property under copyright, patent, and trademark law
for the benefit of its 177 member nations.

World Wide Web (WWW)

A global network of Internet servers providing access to documents written in a
script called Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) that allows content to be
interlinked, locally and remotely.

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

A nonprofit
organization whose mission is to lead the Web to its full potential by
developing technologies that will create a forum for information, commerce,
inspiration, independent thought, and collective understanding.

Important LIS term beginning with X Go to Top


A method of reproducing text and/or images in which dry resinous toner
transferred from an electro statically charged plate is thermally adhered to a
sheet of paper or some other copying surface inside a photocopier.

Important LIS term beginning with Y Go to Top


An annual documentary, historical, or memorial compendium of facts, photographs,
statistics, etc., about the events of the preceding year, often limited to a
specific country, institution, discipline, or subject.

Important LIS term beginning with Z Go to Top

Zig-zag book

A book made by folding a continuous strip of paper backward and forward
accordion-style. When the pages are sewn at the back fold, the strip is printed
on one side only. When both sides are printed, the folds are left unsewn to
allow the volume to be opened to its full length.

Zipf's Law

The principle that the frequency of the rth most common word or phrase in a
relatively lengthy text is approximately 1/r, with r equal to its statistical
rank in frequency. This means that the 10th most frequent word will be used
about twice as often as the 20th most frequent word, and ten times more often
than the 100th most frequent word.