Homepage Library Glossary

Selected Library Terms




abstract: a short summary describing the main idea or content of a work such as an article, book, or dissertation.
abstracting journal: a periodical devoted to publishing abstracts, usually in a specific field of research. For example, Chemical Abstracts or Psychological Abstracts. Abstract journals enable researchers to peruse recent work in their area of interest, and serve as an archive of bibliographic information. Many important abstracting journals are now available in electronic format. (See http://www.library.boun.edu.tr/federearama.php)
abstract index: the index volume or section of an abstract journal. Here, one can look up a subject or author to get a list of numbers which correspond to relevant abstracts in the main body of the abstract journal.
access: the right of entry to a library or its collections. Access to certain areas such as closed stacks, rare books, and special collections may be restricted. In computing, the privilege of using a computer system or online resource, usually controlled by the issuance of access codes to authorized users.
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. Synonymous with authorization code.
acid-free paper: paper that has a neutral or alkaline pH level (7.0 or higher) at the time of manufacture, commonly used for fine art prints, limited edition printing, and photo albums, and in the preservation of library materials. Lignin contained in wood pulp is the primary source of acid in paper and board. Acid-free paper is not necessarily permanent, but permanent papers are acid-free
added entry: in a card catalog, cards other than the main entry, providing access to an item by such things as joint author, title, subject, series, etc., but with less complete bibliographic information than given on the main entry.
all rights reserved: a phrase printed in or on a published work, usually on the verso of the title page of a book, giving formal notice that all rights granted under existing copyright law are retained by the copyright holder and that legal action may be taken against infringement.
almanac: an annual publication containing a variety of facts and statistics, often presented in figures, tables, or charts.
alternative title: the second part of a title proper consisting of two parts. (example: The Female Quixote, or, The Adventures of Arabella), not to be confused with alternate title.
annals: a periodical in which the transactions of a society or organization, or events and developments in a specific discipline or field of study, are recorded.
anniversary edition: a special edition of a previously published work of fiction or nonfiction, often containing revisions and/or additional material, such as a new introduction or preface (or an afterword), issued to commemorate the publication date of the first edition or (less often) the date of the event that is its subject. Cover design, format, and/or illustrations may also be altered. Most anniversary editions are of classic or standard works, reissued 20 or more years after the original edition.
annotated bibliography: a list of books, articles, or other documents on a topic or by a particular author containing a citation of each item, as well as a brief description and/or a critical evaluation of it.
annotated edition: an edition that includes comments written by the author or another annotator, which are explanatory or supplemental rather than evaluative. Compare with critical edition.
anonymous work: Works by anonymous, undisclosed, or unknown creator or author.
anthology: a collection of literary works by different authors, often limited to a specific subject, genre, or time period.
archive: A special collection or collections that house the records of organizations, governments, universities, etc. An archive can also contain collections of the personal papers of an individual or family, photographs, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, etc.
atlas: usually, a volume of maps; also used for a volume of plates illustrating any subject, particularly in anatomy.
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 mark: letters, numerals, or other symbols representing the last name of an author, added by the cataloger to the call number to distinguish an item from others of the same classification . When a work mark is added to the author mark, the result is known as the book number.
authorized biography: a biography written with the explicit consent and sometimes the cooperation of its subject or the subject's family if the biographee is deceased.
authorized edition: an edition issued with the explicit sanction of the author or holder of rights in the work or, in the case of a biography, by the person who is its subject or the subject's family if the biographee is deceased.

Go to Top of Page B

barcode label: a small label comprised of vertical lines which contain machine-readable data; each item aqcuired by the Library receives a bar code label with a unique number.
barcode number: the 14-digit number appearing beneath the barcode found inside the front or back cover of a book. Barcode numbers are used to charge, discharge, and renew books on the online computer system.
bibliographic citation: (synonym for bibliographic reference) identifying information about a publication, used in catalogs and indexes as well as in lists of "literature cited" or "references" in scholarly publications. Formats vary, but a book citation generally includes at least information on the author, title, publisher, and date of publication; an article citation includes author, title, date, and information on the periodical in which it was published.
bibliographic database: an electronic version of a catalog or index. A bibliographic database allows the user to identify publications by author, subject, title, or other search terms.
bibliography: 1) a list of books or articles which are related in some way, for example, about a particular subject (such as Guide to the Literature of the Zoological Sciences).
bio-bibliography: a bibliography with brief biographical information about the author or authors of the works.
book number: the part of a call number which distinguishes an item from all others in that subject class. Book numbers may be author numbers and/or work numbers, and are assigned to place materials in the desired order on the shelves. Also called author number. EXAMPLE: Call number: Z733.U58G66 1991, Book number: G66 [for the author's surname Goodrum]
books in print (BIP): publication listing all books which are available for purchase through normal book trade channels. Available in author, title and subject sections, BIP indexes the entries in Publishers Trade List Annual. BIP can be accessed electronically from BU Library.
book size: In bookbinding, printing, and publishing, a series of terms are used to indicate the approximate size of a book. These terms are derived from the number of leaves created from a standard size sheet of paper (48 cm x 64 cm) when each signature of the book is printed.
Traditional book sizes :
2° Folio 30-38 cm
4° Quarto 25-30 cm
8° Octavo 20-25 cm
16° Sextodecimo 15-18 cm
In modern times, other terms for book size have developed. An elephant size or elephant folio is at most 58 cm (23 inches) tall. An Atlas folio is at most 64 cm (25 inches). A double elephant folio is at most 127 cm (50 inches) tall.
boolean operator: Boolean operators, otherwise known as logical operators, are used to construct complex searches in a database. They help make a search more accurate. There are 3 logical operators: AND, OR and NOT.

Go to Top of Page C

call number: an alphanumeric code which identifies an item in the library collection and indicates its location on the shelves. Call numbers are listed in the catalog and marked on the book's spine label.
card catalog: a descriptive record of library holdings printed on cards and arranged in cabinets in a definite order. Boğaziçi University Library’s card catalog is no longer up-to-date.
catalog: a catalog is a compilation of records describing the contents of a particular collection or group of collections. For example, the BU Library Catalog has records for most of the items held by Boğaziçi University Library and the OCLC WorldCat catalog lists the holdings of books, journals, and other materials held by OCLC member libraries all over the world.
cataloging: the process of making entries for a library's catalog. This includes recording of descriptive information about the work (author, title, physical characteristics, any notes deemed necessary, etc.) as well as assignment of approved subject headings and assignment of call numbers to place the item in the desired order on the shelves.
charge: to record the loan of a book or other item from the circulating collection of a library to a borrower.
charged: if a library item is checked-out, the online catalog will indicate that the status of the item is charged, or not available. In such cases, users may request a hold on the item.
circulating: library material that may be checked out by patrons.
class number: The first part of a call number, which corresponds to the item's primary subject, and indicates its place in the classification system and its physical location on the shelves. All books with the same class number will be about the same subject. EXAMPLE: TK 2842 (TK=electrical engineering; 2842=circuit breakers)
classification: the arrangement of knowledge into specific groups or systems. The classification systems used at Boğaziçi University Library is Library of Congress (LC)
closed stacks: collections in which library staff retrieve requested items for users rather than allowing users to browse the shelves and retrieve items on their own. Closed stacks are generally for materials that require special protection or handling, such as archival and rare materials.
collective title: the over-all (conventional) title for an item which is made up of several works.
compendium: a work which treats a subject in brief "digest" form, such as a handbook or an encyclopedia.
copyright: copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the Turkey (5846 Sayılı Fikir ve Sanat Eserleri Kanunu) to the authors of "original works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.
corporate author: an organization considered to be the author of a work.
coverage: in indexes, the range of years and number and type of publications included.
cross-reference: directions that lead you from one subject or name to another in a catalog or index.
cumulative index: a compilation (usually annually) of previously published indexes. The cumulation includes all the information in the prior, individual indexes, which can then be discarded.
Cutter number: in the call number, a unique alphanumeric code which makes books within a given subject class fall into alphabetical order by author. (= book number) The combination of letters and numbers, called the Cutter, follows the classification number and is preceded by a decimal point. It is named for Charles Ammi Cutter.


Go to Top of PageD

database: a standardized collection of information in computerized format, searchable by various parameters; in libraries often refers to electronic catalogs and indexes.
Dewey decimal classification (DDC): library classification system which divides knowledge into ten main classes (000-999); named for its inventor, Melvil Dewey. DDC is used in most school and public libraries. See classification: 000 General Works, 100 Philosophy, 200 Religion, 300 Sociology, 400 Philology, 500 Natural Science, 600 Useful Arts, 700 Fine Arts, 800 Literature, 900 History
dictionary catalog: a catalog with all entries (author, title, subject, and added entries) arranged in a single alphabetical sequence. Compare with divided catalog.
divided catalog: catalog with separate sequences for different types of cards; for example, author, title, and subject. (Compare with dictionary catalog.)

Go to Top of Page


encyclopedia: a work containing factual articles on subjects in every field of knowledge, usually arranged alphabetically. A subject encyclopedia is a similar work on a single field of activity or a single subject.
entry: a single listing of a publication in a catalog or index. Works often have three types of entries: author, title, and subject.

Go to Top of Page


field: in a database, the part of a record reserved for a particular type of data; for example, in a library catalog, author, title, ISBN, subject headings, etc. would all be fields.
frequency: the interval at which a serial is published; frequencies commonly encountered in libraries includ: daily, weekly, biweekly (every two weeks), semimonthly (twice per month), monthly, bimonthly (every two months), quarterly, semiannual (twice per year), annual, biennial (every two years), triennial (every three years), irregular (no set schedule)
folio: books too large to fit in the regular shelving.
full text: when the entire content of an item, such as an article, book, or encyclopedia, is available in electronic format.


Go to Top of Page


handbook: intended for ready consultation or reference, a handbook (or manual) either compiles facts about a subject or provides instructions of methods or procedures for how to perform a specific set of functions.
heading: the name, word, or phrase used as an access point to a bibliographic record, determined by a prescribed set of rules.
holdings: the total stock of materials, print and nonprint, owned by a library, usually listed in the catalog.

Go to Top of Page


imprint: information about the publication of a book; usually: the publisher's name, place and date of publication is provided on the title page, and the printer's name and place is given on the verso of the title page.
index: a list or systematic guide to the contents of a set of data, such as a periodical index or an index in a book. See periodical index. An index is used to point to the contents of something. For example, there are indexes in the backs of books that describe and point to the contents of those books. There are also very large indexes that describe the contents of journals and provide enough information to locate an article in a journal. Indexes are usually arranged by subject, author, or keyword. They can come in both paper and electronic form.
in-process material: newly acquired items in a library which are undergoing technical processing such as cataloging, marking, etc. Patrons who need an in-process item can place a rush request for it with Circulation; it will usually be available within a day.
interlibrary loan (ILL): is a cooperative arrangement between libraries, whereby users can borrow items from other libraries within the system. ILL is located at the Reference Department on ground floor.
ISBN: International Standard Book Number; a numerical code given to a book which uniquely identifies it.
ISSN: International Standard Serial Number; a numerical code given to a serial (periodical) which uniquely identifies it.
item record: a record in the library catalog which describes a book, document, periodical or other material of which the library owns a copy or to which its users may have access. It consists of fields specifying for each item the author's name(s), title(s), place of publication, publisher name, edition statements, date of publication, physical description. Also included in the item record is the location of the item in the library, its call number, and its status, or if it is accessible via the Internet, a link to it.

Go to Top of Page


keyword: a significant word in the title, abstract or text of a work; some periodical indexes identify keywords in a separate data field, so that they can be searched without searching the full text of the document. Some indexes use such keywords in place of assigning standard subject headings to items.

Go to Top of Page


Library of Congress Classification (LCC): a classification scheme devised for the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., now used by most research-level libraries in the World. It is based on letters of the alphabet (allowing for a larger number of fundamental divisions of knowledge than the Dewey system) with subdivisions using letters, numerals and decimal points. (link vermeli)
literature guide: a reference work that describes special features of the scholarly literature in a given discipline, including important standard reference materials and serials.


Go to Top of Page


MARC: Machine-Readable Cataloging. An international, standardized format for computerized bibliographic data developed by the Library of Congress. MARC format simplifies exchange of bibliographic data.
microfiche: A small sheet (4" x 6") containing microfilmed images of pages, read with a microfilm reader. Many pages of text fit onto a single fiche, and their major advantage is in saving shelf space.
microfilm: microphotographs of printed material, on a reel of cellulose film, viewed using a microfilm reader/printer (in Boğaziçi University Library, located on Level 2, in the Periodical area). Items in awkward or frail formats (such as newsprint) and popular magazines subject to damage from heavy use are often purchased in microfilm format rather than being bound between hard covers.
microforms: all forms of microreproduction, e.g. microfilm, microfiche, microprint, etc.
monograph: a non-serial work, complete in one part or set, usually on a narrowly defined single topic. For example, a book or pamphlet (as opposed to a periodical).
monographic series: monographs issued as part of a titled series, at either regular or irregular intervals. For example, the Cambridge Nonlinear Time Series Analysis. Each item in the series is separately titled, but is also identified by the series title and often a number within the series.

Go to Top of Page


non-circulating: library materials which may not be checked out by patrons. Non-circulating items include archival material, rare books, reference material, current periodicals and other items which must remain accessible within the library at all times.

Go to Top of Page


OCLC: Online Computer Library Center. A nonprofit library computer service and research organization with the stated goals of helping libraries further access to information and reduce information costs. Thousands of libraries around the world participate in the OCLC system. OCLC offers a large number of databases through their FirstSearch online system, including WorldCat, a combined catalog of participating libraries with links to facilitate interlibrary loans, and many special subject periodical indexes. OCLC is also used extensively by libraries for obtaining cataloging information for processing materials.
offprint: a copy of an article published in a periodical, specially reprinted for the author's use, but retaining the numbering of the issue from which it was taken. Sometimes called a Separate.
OPAC: Online Public Access Catalog; a computerized library catalog, or the portion of the catalog available for patron use.
open access: refers to book stacks to which users have free access to browse and retrieve items on their own, as opposed to closed stacks. Most of the BU Library is open access.
original cataloging: preparing catalog information directly from the item in hand, rather than obtaining the data from another source (see online cataloging ). Original cataloging is labor-intensive and generally used only when the information is not otherwise available.
oversized books: books too large to fit in the regular shelving.

Go to Top of Page


periodical index: a work which lists, by subject (and often author), the articles which appear in a prescribed group of periodicals. Some periodical indexes are general and some treat specific fields. Provides citations and sometimes abstracts or even full-text of the articles.
primary literature: the original research or writings on a subject. Includes technical reports, conference literature, patents, theses, and journals (the main medium for the dissemination of new knowledge). See secondary literature.

Go to Top of Page


rare books: books that are valued for the significance of their contents, their scarcity, their imprint or date of publication, their physical characteristics or condition, or their associations (signed or annotated by a famous author, for instance).
record: a collection of related data fields organized and accessible as a single entity. Examples of data fields are author, title, publisher, abstract, call number, etc. In a periodical index, which is a collection of article citations, each citation is a record. In the BU Library Catalog, each reference retrieved per title is also a record.
recto: the right-hand page of a book, with odd-numbered pages. Opposite of verso.
reference collection: materials such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, directories, etc., kept in a separate collection and not allowed to circulate, so that they will always be on hand when needed.
reissue: re-publication of an item, often at a new price or in a new form, but with the main text unaltered, so that it is not a new edition.
reprint: either 1) a book that has been printed or reproduced at a later date than the original printing but using the same type and the same content, or 2) a periodical article or a chapter in a book which is issued separately from the larger publication and at a later date.

Go to Top of Page


secondary literature: material published about the primary literature (collections, reviews, popularizations, textbooks, encyclopedias, handbooks, etc.), and tools which point the user to primary sources (abstracts, indexes, bibliographies). Secondary literature provides broader dissemination of information that has already appeared in another form.
serials: any publication issued in successive parts, usually (though not always) at regular intervals, and intended to be continued indefinitely. Serials include: periodicals, newspapers, magazines, annuals, yearbooks, journals, memoirs, proceedings, transactions, and numbered monographic series.
series: group of separate items issued under a collective title, as well as under individual titles.
set: two or more separate items which are treated as a single entity in a bibliographic description; for example, a multi-volume encyclopedia, or a textbook with an accompanying cd-rom.
shelflist: a catalog (list) of holdings arranged in call number order (that is, in the same order items are found on the shelf).
standing order: a book order placed with a dealer who will automatically supply the parts of a continuing item as they are published until instructed not to.
subject heading: a term, name, or phrase used as an access point in a catalog or index which is arranged by topic. Generally, any particular index will use a standardized set of subject headings, which improves search precision once the user determines the "approved" headings being used for their topic.
syndetic structure: in a catalog or index, the system of "see" and "see also" cross references to other headings.

Go to Top of Page


thesaurus: a reference tool which identifies and indexes synonyms and antonyms of words. In database searching, a thesaurus identifies controlled vocabulary to be used for information retrieval.
tracings: a list at the bottom of a catalog card showing the other headings under which the item is listed.

Go to Top of Page


verso: the left-hand page of a book, with even-numbered pages. Opposite of recto (and much more commonly-used term).


For online library dictionary, please visit http://lu.com/odlis/index.cfm