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Research Process: Library Terms

This tutorial aims to help develop effective library research skills and critical thinking skills in all courses at Prince George's Community College.

Library Terms

Abridged: A shortened version of a book or other document

Abstract: A brief summary of the contents of an article or book, or multimedia. Many computerized databases include abstracts in addition to citations

Bibliography: A list of information sources on a particular subject or by a particular author

Boolean Operators: Words such as AND, OR, NOT that are used to combine search terms to narrow or broaden a search

Bound Periodicals: Older issues of magazines and journals that have been joined together in one hard cover volume

Call Number: A combination of letters and numbers that give a unique "address" of a book or audiovisual item on the library shelves. Prince George's Community College Library uses Library of Congress call numbers

CD-ROM: A Computer Disk-Read Only Memory storage disk which holds information

Circulating Collection: Books and materials which may be borrowed from the library. All circulating books on the second floor of the Library

Circulating Desk: Counter where books and materials are checked out and returned

Citation: Information that identifies an article or book or multimedia that usually includes author, title, volume, issue, date, journal title, page numbers. Additional information such as subject headings, type of article, and length of article may be included

Current Periodicals: The most recent issues of magazines, journals, and newspapers that the library receives

Database: A collection of information stored in an electronic format and searchable by computer

George II: The name given to the Prince George's Community College Library's online catalog

Glossary: A list of words and their definitions, limited to a special area of knowledge

Holdings: The items owned by the library

Interlibrary Loan: A service that allows students and faculty to have access to materials not available in the Library's own collection

Index: (1) A print source or database that identifies sources that are in magazines, journals, newspapers, books, multimedia, etc. (2) An alphabetical list at the end of a book that lists subjects, names, and/or titles

Issue: One publication of a magazine, journal, or newspaper

Journal: A periodical such as Economic Review that publishes articles written by scholars, subject experts or professionals in a particular field

Keywords: The most important words in a topic that are searched when searching databases

Magazine: A periodical such as People Weekly that has popular articles written for the general reader

Menu: A list of choices found in online tools such as databases and catalogs

Microfiche: A piece of film, 4 inches by 6 inches in size with reduced pages of a document such as a periodical that can be read at a microfiche reader/printer

Microfilm: A roll of film with reduced pages of a document such as a periodical that can be read at a microfilm reader/printer

OPAC: An Online Public Access Catalog that is computerized that contains books and other materials in such as GEORGE II in the Library

Periodical: A publication that is published at regular intervals such as magazines and journals

Reader/Printer: The machine which is used to read or print the material that is on microfiche or microfilm

Reference Books: Books that provide factual information and lead to other information resources

Reference Desk: A desk staffed by a librarian where you can ask questions on how to find information, do research, and use the Library

Reserves: A special collection of materials kept behind the Circulation Desk and available for short-term use

Volume: A quantity of successive issues for a publication identified by a number

The Library Terms are also available in a flashcard set. Follow the link to access them.