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Library Lingo: a guide to Library Terminology: Home

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Library Terminology

Words that appear in BOLD UPPER CASE LETTERS in the definitions also appear as alphabetical entries in this glossary.

- resumen / analyse / Referat --This word is used three ways. (1) A short summary of an ARTICLE in a scholarly JOURNAL. It usually appears at the beginning of the article. (2) An INDEX to journal articles that not only provides a CITATION to the articles, but also gives a brief summary of each article. (3) A summary of a paper presented at a conference. The full text of the paper is not always published.

Article - artÌculo / Artikel -- A (brief) essay or research report on a subject. Articles can appear in MAGAZINEs, JOURNALs, newspapers, or other sources such as encyclopedias.

Audiovisual - audiovisual / audioviseull -- Information in a form other than words printed on paper. Examples include films, slides, audio tapes, videocassettes ,
DVDs, phonograph records, music CDs, and computer software.

Author - autÛr / auteur / Autor -- The writer of a book or ARTICLE. Usually this is a person (or perhaps two or three people), but it can also be a government agency, a symposium, a company, or other group that does not necessarily give the name(s) of the people who actually wrote the work.

Bar code - cÛdigo numerico / code a batonnets / Strichleincode -- A small white label with closely spaced black stripes that can be read by a computer. Bar codes on books and on your student identification card are used to CHARGE OUT books from the library.

Bibliography - bibliografÌa / bibliographie / Bibliographie -- This can be used in two ways. (1) References used while doing research for an ARTICLE or book. These are gathered together at the end of the work, usually arranged alphabetically by AUTHOR. (2) A publication that consists only of a list of books, ARTICLEs and other works on a particular topic. Sometimes bibliographies are annotated, that is, they include brief ABSTRACTs summarizing the important features of the works. Bibliographies of both types can be very valuable in locating information on a subject.

Book Return - buzÛn para regresar los libros / retour des livres -- A place to return books borrowed from the library. Large metal book return boxes located outside the LAC and PCC Libraries. Book return slots are at the CIRCULATION DESKs in LBCC libraries.

Books - los libros / des livres -- According to AACR2r (Anglo-American Cataloging Rules), a book is a nonSERIAL item (i.e., an item either complete in one part or complete, or intended to be completed, in a finite number of separate parts). There are two categories of availability of books in any library: those you can take/check out and those you cannot take/check out of the library. The books that you can check out of the library are called circulating books. These are filed by subject on the circulating shelves. The books that you cannot check out of the library are called reference books and are also shelved by subject in the reference area or at the reference desk. There are some books that are placed on RESERVE by professors that may not be checked out of the library.

[a library material] -prestar libros / emprunter un livre / ein Buchentleihen --The same as CHARGE OUT.

Bound Periodical - revista encuadernada / periodiques relies / Zeitschrift (gebunden) -- Several issues of a JOURNAL or MAGAZINE that are fastened together between hard covers so that they resemble a book.

Call Number
- numero de clasificacion / cote de placement / Standnummer -- The number given to each book acquired by a library. Every book has a unique call number, much like every house in a city has its own address. The first portion of the call number (one or two letters) is like the name of the city. The second line (a whole numeral) is like the street the third line (following the period) is like the building's street address, and the last portion is like the apartment number. The call number is printed on a white label and placed on the spine or cover of a book. These are examples of call numbers:


LB 1631 .S686 1994

Book is shelved in the STACKS and may be checked out of the library

REFERENCE DESK ref PE 1591 K54 1992

Book is shelved at the REFERENCE DESK and may not be checked out of the library

ref TX 341 .N88 1997

Book is shelved in the REFERENCE and may not be checked out of the library

DICTIONARY STAND ref PE 1591 .L43 1965

Book is shelved on the DICTIONARY STAND and may not be checked out of the library


Book is shelved in the PLAY COLLECTION under author's last name and may be checked out


Book is shelved in the PAPERBACK COLLECTION under author's last name and may be checked out.

You can find a book's call number in the on-line catalog. By consulting an appropriate map you can then locate the book's general neighborhood and go to that area to find its exact location. NOTE: call numbers preceded by the word OVERSIZE indicate that the book is too large to fit on the regular shelves. These books have been gathered on shelving close to the Reserve Room at the LAC Library.

CD-ROM - Stands for Compact Disk-Read Only Memory, a computer technology that uses thin disks only 12 cm. in diameter to hold thousands of pages of information. They often contain text or statistical material.

Charge Out/Check Out - prestar (libros) / enrÈgistrer un prÍt / eine Ausleihebuchen -- To borrow materials from the library. This is done at the CIRCULATION DESK. You will need your bar-coded student identification card to do this.

Circulation Desk - Mostrador de circulaciÛn / bureau de prÍt ou comptoir du prÍt / Ausleihtheke -- The counter where you CHARGE OUT circulating or RESERVE books, periodicals, and audio CDs; return books, RENEW books, pay fines for overdue books, and so forth. The Circulation Desk is located near the entrance to the Library.

Citation - Referencia / Zitat -- Complete information about a specific item. It may be a reference to a text that has been quoted, or to some source that has been used as an authority. A citation for a book includes the AUTHOR, title, place of publication, publisher, and year. A citation for an ARTICLE in a PERIODICAL includes author, title of the article, title of the periodical, volume number, pages and date. A single citation is sometimes called a reference. A group of citations gathered together is usually called a BIBLIOGRAPHY.

Database - base de datos / base de donnÈes / Datenbasis -- An electronic collection of information, often of CITATIONs and FULL-TEXT to materials on a particular subject. The on-line catalog is a database of books owned by the Long Beach City College libraries (i.e. LAC and PCC libraries). PROQUEST is an online database of citations covering ARTICLEs in JOURNALs, MAGAZINEs and newspapers. Many databases used to be in the form of CD-ROMs, but most now are online.

Due Date - fecha de caducaciÛn / date díexpiration du pÍt ou date du retour / Ruckgabedatum --The date stamped on the book card or slip that reminds you when the book or PERIODICAL must be returned to the library. If you need to use the book for a longer time, you may RENEW it. If an item is returned after its due date, a fine may be due.

FINE - multa -- The amount of money charged each hour or day for some library materials which were not returned after the DUE DATE.

Holdings - fondo de libros / fonds documentaire ou fonds de bibliotheque / Buch bestand -- All the materials (books, periodicals, audiovisual media, electronic databases) in a library's collections. Often this term applies just to the issues of a MAGAZINE or JOURNAL owned by libraries.

Index - indice / Register -- (1) A list of subjects discussed in a book or encyclopedia (usually located at the end of the book or in the last volume of a multi volume set). (2) A list of journal articles arranged by subject and/or AUTHOR. The Library has indexes of this second type on many different subjects, some in paper format and some online . See a Reference Librarian for advice.

Journal -- diarios / periodique / Zeitschrift -- A publication that contains scholarly ARTICLEs written either by professors, researchers, or experts in a subject area. An ABSTRACT, footnotes and a BIBLIOGRAPHY usually appear with each ARTICLE.

Library of Congress (LC) Subject Headings -- encabezamientos de materia de la Biblioteca del Congreso / systeme des vedette-matieres du Library of Congress / Uberschrift oder schlagwort -- Terms used by the Library of Congress to divide knowledge into related subject areas, which correspond to locations shown by CALL NUMBERs. These terms are published in five large red volumes, often called "LCSH" or just "the big red books". These are located in the LAC and PCC library Reference area in call number Z695 .Z8 L5.

Loan Period - plazo de prestamo / durÈe du prÍt / Leihfrist -- The length of time library materials may be borrowed. The time varies depending on the type of material borrowed and the borrower's status (student, faculty, staff).

Magazine - revista / periodique ou revue / Zeitschrift -- A PERIODICAL intended for the general public or audience rather than for scholars. Examples are Newsweek, Time, and Business Week.

Microforms - microformatos / microformats / Mikroformate -- Books, ARTICLEs or other items that are printed in miniaturized form on rolls or sheets of transparent plastic. Those that are in rolls are called microfilm; those that are on small rectangular sheets are called microfiche. Each requires special machines to be used.

Online Catalog Database - The catalog in the LAC and PCC libraries is computerized. You can search for all the print (books, periodicals) and non-print materials (videos, audio cassettes, and CDs) available at both libraries on the computer by author, title, subject, or keywords. There are several computers located at both libraries that provide access to the on-line catalog. The reference librarian will be glad to assist you if you need help.

Overdue [book] - libro vencido / livre en rtard / ausstenhendes Buch-- A library material that has not been returned by the DUE DATE or time is said to be "overdue". You will receive a letter from the library when library material is overdue. You may be charged a FINE for some materials. Check with the staff at the Circulation Desk.

Periodical - periodico / periodique / Zeitschrift -- A publication that appears on a continuous and predictable schedule. Examples include newspapers (daily or weekly), MAGAZINEs, and JOURNALs.

Recall - reclamar un libro al prestatorio / rÈclamer un livre de líemrunter / ein Buch einfordem -- To request that a book already CHARGED OUT be returned to the library prior to its DUE DATE. You may ask for a recall for books that have been checked out by another person. Simply ask the staff at the CIRCULATION or the Librarian at the REFERENCE DESK. A hold will be placed on the item for you. When the book is returned to the library, it will be held for you and you will be notified.

Reference Desk - Èscritorio de referencia / bureau de refÈrÈnce ou comptoir ou service de refÈrÈnce / Informationsschalter -- A place where librarians give you directions, answer questions, and show you how to find and use materials. The Reference Desk is located near the entrance to the library and is staffed by a librarian all hours that the Library is open. Reference Desks are near the Reference Stacks, which contain books such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, almanacs, statistical sources, directories, etc. The periodical INDEXs are also shelved close by the Reference Desk so librarians can help you use these materials.

Renew -renovar / renouveler un prÈt / verlangen lassen -- To extend the DUE DATE for a book or other library material.

Reserve - coleccion de libros reservados para uso frecuente / collection de livres a usage frÈquent / Buchersammlung zur ausschliesslichen Benutzung im Lesesaal -- A collection of books set aside by professors for use by students in particular classes. The Reserve shelves are in the Reserve Room at the LAC library and at the Circulation Desk at the PCC library. Resrve items are shelved under the professor's last name. Reserve materials can be looked up by the professor's last name or course number, at any on-line catalog terminal. Due to high use, LOAN PERIODs for reserve materials are very short, usually for an hour or two or overnight.

Serial - revista / pÈriodique / Zeitschrift -- Publications that are issued in successive parts, usually at regular intervals. Examples include PERIODICALs, JOURNALs, MAGAZINEs, newspapers, annual reports, series, some conference proceedings, and annual reviews.

Series-- AACR2r defines series as: a group of separate items related to one another by the fact that each item bears, in addition to its own title proper, a collective title applying to the group as a whole. At Issue, Contemporary World Issues, and Opposing Viewpoints are examples of series titles. Each book in these series has its own title, but they all have one unique title that unifies all of them.

Stacks - estantes de acceso libre / rayons a libre acces / Selbstbeienungsstellungen -- The shelves that hold the library's books. Note: At LBCC, as in most American libraries, the stacks are "open", that is, you may get books directly from the stacks. You do not need to ask a librarian to get the books for you, although the librarian can help you identify the books you want in the on-line catalog database.

Subject Headings - encabezamientos de materias / systeme des vedette-matieres / uberschrift oder Schlagwort -- Terms used to divide knowledge into related subject areas, which correspond to locations shown by CALL NUMBERS.

Volumes - volumenes / Datentrageren -- Library materials that are part of a single title but appear as separate bound items. Individual issues of a PERIODICAL that are bound together into a single book are often called a volume. (Usually, this equals one year of that periodical.) Also, large books are sometimes divided into two or more volumes (like encyclopedias).

This is a revised and localized version of a glossary put together by Martin Raish of SUNY - Binghamton, who borrowed heavily from similar guides from Arizona State University and Cornell University, and from suggestions offered by many participants on the BI-L Discussion Group.