Old Dominion University Libraries

STARquest I: Library Services & Resources



Abstract: A brief summary; also used to refer to a type of periodical index that includes abstracts of articles.

Affiliation: A person or group of persons associated with another as a member of that organization or group.


Bias: A preference or an inclination which may induce impartial judgment.

Bibliographical Network: Groups of libraries joined together in a computer environment to share resources.

Bibliography: A list of references or works cited, usually given at the end of a scholarly article or other research material

Biographical: Pertaining to peoples' lives.

Bookmark: An electronic marker you make in a Web browser to permit you to gain quick access to frequently used Web pages.

Boolean: Combining search terms to either narrow or broaden a search of a computer database. Named after the 19th Century English mathematician Sir George Boole. See also Boolean Operators.

Boolean operators: The words AND, OR, and NOT, which are used to combine search terms.

Bound Periodicals: A collection of periodical issues (often, one year's worth) fastened together in a hard cover. In Perry Library, many volumes of periodicals have been bound and are available by call number on the second floor.

Browser: Software used to access Internet resources; Netscape and Internet Explorer are examples of Web browsers.

Bulletin Board: An E-mail messaging facility from which postings can be read by all subscribers.

Button (Radio): A graphical link on a Web page which will automatically perform a certain function or link to another Web page.


Call Number: The number used to identify a book or other library resource, its position on the library shelves, and its position relative to other books. The number appears on a label placed either on the spine or the front of a book.

CD-ROM: Compact Disc, Read-only Memory -a metal disc with information that cannot be changed, its capacity is equivalent to 1500 floppy disks. Many databases are published in this format.

Circulating material: A library item such as a book, sound recording, government publication, etc. that can be borrowed by a library user for use outside the library building.

Circulation Services: A library department which is in charge of checking materials in and out of the library and which issues library cards, maintains the order of shelving, maintains the Reserve area, collects fines, places search requests and recalls library items for library users.

Citation: The information necessary to find a specific article, book, etc. For articles, it usually includes author, title, journal title with volume, issue, and page numbers. For books, it usually includes author, title, publisher, place of publication, and year.

Cite (Citing): To quote an authority or example.

Computer Network: A group of computers interconnected using the same language or protocol to communicate with one another.

Controlled Vocabulary: Subject terms associated with a particular database or index - When doing a computer search, you often have the choice of using the database's own controlled vocabulary or thesaurus or using your own natural language in a keyword search.

Copyright: A procedure whereby the author of a book, article, piece of music, etc. has the exclusive rights to use that work.


Database: An electronic collection of information, usually in the form of individual records broken down into specific fields: PsycLIT is a database of materials about psychology. The Old Dominion University Libraries' online catalog is a database of all the materials owned by the library.

Digitization (digital, digitized): Converting analog information to a digital format - often refers to the process of converting an image (map, photograph, document), using a scanner, into digital representation so that it can be displayed on a computer screen and/or manipulated.

Domain: In a Web address or URL, it is the part of the address which lists the name of the computer where the Web site is stored.

Download: Transfer of data from a remote computer to a local machine or disk.


Electronic: Pertaining to material available on CD-ROM or over a computer network (such as the Internet).

Electronic Journal: A journal which is distributed and for which the full product is available over a computer network on in any other electronic form.

Electronic Mail (E-mail): A method of communicating rapidly and globally, using the Internet.

Evaluative Site: Web search tool which applies rating or evaluative criteria to the Web sites, including such factors as size, growth rate and currency of the database. Also referred to as a selective site.


File Transfer Protocol (FTP): The method used to transfer (copy) files from one computer to another on the Internet.

Floppy Disks: A mechanism to store data. The disk is 3.5 inches encased in a hard plastic case and coated with magnetic material. You will need a floppy disk drive on your computer in order to read and store the data.

Footer: Printed matter positioned in the margin at the bottom of a document which will be repeated on each page.

Full-Text: The full content of an article; the article itself.


General Collection: A title referring to a group of materials owned by Perry Library spanning the whole field of knowledge. This group of materials are available for check out by library users.

Government Publications: A title used in the Perry Library to denote all governmental materials sent to the library by the federal depository program.

Header: Printed matter positioned in the top margin of a document which will be repeated on each page.

Holdings: Materials owned by a library, including books, journals, videos, etc.

Home Page: The initial page of a World Wide Web site. The Old Dominion University Library's home page is at http://www.lib.odu.edu and leads to hundreds of additional pages on the library's Web server.

Hot Link (Link): A hypertext connection on the Internet which allows you to click on a highlighted word or words and move to another place on that page or elsewhere on the Internet.

Hypertext: The software technology on which the World Wide Web is based. It presents information in which selected words in the text can be linked to other related information on the Web. Hypertext allows you to follow information in a nonlinear way.

Hypertext Markup Language (html): The programming language used to create Web documents.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (http): The set of rules (protocol) which enables the Web browser to communicate on the Web.


ILL: Abbreviation for Interlibrary Loan (see below)

Implied Operator: Refers to the absence of a Boolean operator when more than one word is used in a search tool. The space between each word defaults to either OR logic or AND logic depending on the search tool.

Imprint: The publisher, place of publication, and copyright date of a book

Index: A printed or electronic list of citations, usually arranged by subject and/or author, used to identify relevant research materials

InfoTrac: A commonly-used set of databases including Expanded Academic ASAP, General Business File, Health Reference Center, and others for which 30-40% of the articles listed are available in full-text format on the computer screen

Interlibrary Loan: A service that allows you to borrow materials from another library through your own library.

Internet: A widespread, worldwide network of educational, commercial, organizational, governmental and other networks.


Journal: A type of periodical, often issued by a society or institution, containing news, proceedings, transactions, and articles about work carried out in a particular discipline and intended for a scholarly audience.

Juvenile Collection: This collection refers to Perry Library's collection of children's books.

Keyword: Any word in a database (as opposed to subject headings that are selected from a controlled vocabulary, or thesaurus, and assigned to each record) - Keyword searching involves using your own words.

Link: A hypertext connection on the Internet which allows you to click on a highlighted word or words and move to another place on that page or elsewhere on the Internet - Sometimes called a hot link.

Location Box: The white form box used in a Web browser to indicate the URL (address) of a Web page or site. This box will also allow a searcher to type in a URL to go to another site or page.


Magazine: A type of serial publication that is intended for a general reading audience and which contains articles of popular interest - Examples: Time, Redbook, People, Newsweek.

Meta-Search Engines: A Web search tool which allows the searcher to run a search simultaneously in a number of search engines and compare the results. Also referred to as multi-engine search sites.

Microforms: A generic term for any medium, such as microfilm or microfiche, that contains images too small to be read by the human eye without the aid of a machine.

Microsoft Explorer: A popular Web browser developed by Microsoft.

Multi-Engine Search Sites: See meta-search engines definition.

Multimedia Computer: A computer which has allows the user to view and/or listen to video, high resolution color graphics, animation, and sound which is integrated into an interactive learning environment.

Music Score: The printed or written version of a musical work showing the parts for the participating voices or instruments on two or more musical staffs.


Netscape: A company that produces a popular Web browser.

News: A messaging system that encompasses thousands of ongoing discussions, called newsgroups, covering any topic. People can subscribe to any of these discussions or read them without participating. Also referred to as USENET.

Online Computer Library Center (OCLC): Established in 1967, OCLC was originally used to share resources and reduce costs of academic libraries in the state of Ohio. Today, there are over 15,000 participants worldwide. Their services include a union catalog (WorldCat) which contains over 27 million items owned by libraries around the world, an interlibrary loan system, a cataloging system, and reference services.

Online: Access to a computer system via telecommunications links - Access to online information is therefore different from access to information on CD-ROM or on paper.


Periodical: Material that is published or issued on a continual basis throughout the year, including magazines, journals, and newspapers.

Personal Identification Number (PIN): A set of up to thirty characters used to identify a library user at Perry Library. This number will allow access to certain library services such as Interlibrary Loan and enable users to access their own library records. Library users must create their own PINs by accessing the library's home page and following the directions for creating a PIN.

Plagiarism: The act of copying another person's work as your own without proper citation.

Primary Source: Definition 1: A report of original research written by the researcher

Definition 2: Original manuscripts, contemporary records, or documents created at the time an event occurred (newspaper accounts of an event, diaries, correspondence, etc.)


Ready Reference: A separate area behind the reference desk that contains reference works which are used frequently to answer questions of a factual nature.

Recall: A service used in Circulation Services which allows a library user to request the return of a library item which is currently out on loan.

Refereed Journal: A journal that uses a process in which research articles are reviewed and critiqued by a panel of experts in that field before publication.

Reference List: The listing of all the source material cited in a research paper. This listing is typed in accordance with the format of the style manual used throughout the paper.

Reserve: Course or non-course material set aside by an instructor or administrator of the University for limited use periods. Most materials are for in-library use only and cannot leave the building.


Scholarly Source: Information, especially journal articles, written by and for experts in a particular field of study.

Score: See Music Score definition.

Search tools: Databases created to help index Web pages. There are different types of search tools, and none of them will search the entire Web. It is advisable to search more than one tool to get an accurate picture of what is available on your search topic.

Secondary Source: A secondhand report about original research that is usually written by someone other than the original researcher - frequently a book, encyclopedia article, or magazine article.

Selective Sites: See Evaluative Sites for definition.

Serial: A publication that is issued in parts indefinitely over time; includes journals, magazines, almanacs, annual reports, etc.

Sound Recording: A term to indicate any audio recorded for such formats as LP (Long Playing), 45 rpm, and CD (Compact Disc).

Special Collections: An area in the Perry Library which houses archival materials connected with local history, people, university life, etc.

Status Box: The area designated in a online library catalog record that tells whether an item is available in the library or whether it is checked out.

Style Manual: A set of rules or guidelines to describe the format of the punctuation, quotation, and documentation of sources. Produced by scholarly organizations, such as the Modern Language Association (MLA) or American Psychological Association (APA).

Subject Directory: A search tool arranged in subject categories and using hierarchical menus. These tools include search boxes to allow searching within the structured database. Such directories involve a human element, which limits the size of the database and provides a level of quality control.

Subject Trees: A concept of indexing subject categories into sub-categories in a treelike structure. Searching in this type of structure proceeds via only one path, subdividing at a series of branches.

Superintendent of Documents Classification System: An alphanumeric system devised by the Superintendent of Documents and used to catalog and classify each government publication.


Telnet: A software program that uses a terminal emulation protocol for use over the Internet. This program enables a person to log in to networked computer systems.

Thesaurus: A list of standardized subject terms associated with a particular database or index.

Tilde: The symbol ~ located in the upper left of a standard computer keyboard and used frequently in Web addresses (Uniform resource Locators, URLs).

Truncation: A search technique that allows a symbol to substitute for any number of characters at the end of a word root. Example: comput* = computer, computers, computerization, computing, etc.


Uniform Resource Locator (URL): An address of a page on the World Wide Web.

USENET: See definition for News.

Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA): A consortium of the libraries of the 39 state-assisted colleges and universities (at 52 campuses) within the Commonwealth of Virginia. This includes: 6 doctoral universities, 9 comprehensive institutions, and 24 community and two-year branch colleges. In addition, 32 independent (private, nonprofit) institutions participate where possible as full VIVA members, and The Library of Virginia participates as an Associate Member. VIVA's mission is to provide, in an equitable, cooperative and cost-effective manner, enhanced access to library and information resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia's academic libraries serving the higher education community.


Web Page: An html document as it appears in a Web browser.

Web Site: The group of html documents which includes all of the pages on a particular site represented by its home page.

World Wide Web (Web): A hypermedia-based system for accessing Internet resources.