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UI&U Library Research Guide Glossary

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Abstract A summary of a publication (book, article, dissertation) that is included with citation information. It may help you identify the best articles on your topic.

Adjacency Words that are next to each other will be searched in the exact order (e.g., “eating disorders” will be searched as a phrase).

Article (also referred to as "paper") A contribution written by one or more persons and published in a journal, magazine, newspaper, or encyclopedia.

Author A person, group, or corporate body responsible for all or some of the content of published material.

Availability Whether or not the material is checked out.

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Bibliography A citation list of sources used in writing books, articles, or essays.

Boolean Operators (or Connectors) Connecting words that determine the logic by which two or more terms are searched in a database, e.g. and, or, not.

Browser Graphical interface that accesses and displays information on the World Wide Web. Examples are Netscape or Internet Explorer.

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Call Number A unique alphanumeric code assigned to each item in the library.

Catalog A retrieval tool that provides a user with access to individual items held within a collection, usually in electric form.

Citation Gives credit to the original source of information being used and provides details for finding this source, e.g. citations of articles contain the author name, title, title of the source (journal, magazine, book), date, volume, and page numbers.

Controlled Vocabulary Preferred terms or phrases that are designated for use in a catalog, database, or other retrieval tool to be used for all the various phrases and words used to describe a concept. May also be called "descriptors" or "subject headings", and be listed in a "thesaurus".

Copyright Legal rights that an author has over his/her work for a set period of time.

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Database An organized collection of records containing data for a specific purpose that can be searched and retrieved, e.g. STARS is a database of the SBU Libraries' holdings, and PsycInfo is a database of articles and books published in the psychology literature.

Descriptor A word, phrase, or alphanumeric character used to identify an item in an information storage and retrieval system. See also Controlled Vocabulary.

Domain The last element of an internet address (URL) that indicates the sponsor of a webpage, e.g. edu, org, gov.

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E-book An electronic version of a book that is found and read on the Web.

E-journal An electronic version of a journal that is found and read on the Web.

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Field Records in databases are organized into fields, e.g. author field, title field, source field. When you search by author, the computer is looking in the author field of each record.

Format Type of pyblication, e.g. book, journal, DVD, score.

Full-text The entire text of a published article is made available on-screen.

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Holdings The exact issues of magazines, journals, and newspapers the Libraries own or have access to; this is different from Publication Dates.

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Index An alphabetical or numerical list describing the items in a collection and where they may be found,e.g. the index at the back of a book, a library catalog or an article index such as Infotrac; most indexes in libraries are now in electronic form and more commonly called databases.

Internet Connection A computer that is connected to other computers (the internet) via modem (examples: telephone, cable, DSL).

Invisible Web The portion of the Web that is hidden from search engines, which require a subscription or password to access. The SBU Libraries' databases are an example of the invisible Web.

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Journal Publication that is issued at least twice a year and contains articles written by many different authors.

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Keyword Words or phrases that are searchable in any field of a record.

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Magazine A periodical that contains short articles on topics of popular interest and current events, often unsigned.

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Natural Language Some search engines or databases allow searching with Natural Language questions instead of search statements constructed by formal rules; e.g. “what is the effect of advertising on children’s eating habits?” (natural language) versus “advertising and eating habit* and children” (formal search statement).

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Periodical A publication that is issued at least twice a year. These include journals, magazines, and newspapers.

Plagiarism Presenting the words or ideas of someone else as your own without proper acknowledgement of the source.

Popular Journal/Magazine A source that publishes short articles that cover a wide range of topics. These sources are usually filled with photographs and advertisements, and authors are often not named.

Protocol A standard procedure for regulating data transmission between computers, e.g.: FTP-move files; HTTP-access web pages; Telnet-log on to other computers.

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Record A complete description of one document in a database or catalog.

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Scholarly Journal These sources are geared towards scholars with long, in-depth articles based on research.

Scope What's covered in a database: subject areas, dates, types of sources, etc.

Stacks The general circulating collection.

Subject Headings Standardized terms or phrases that are assigned to a publication and used to describe the contents of that publication; same as Controlled Vocabulary.

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Title The name of a book, article, or other written work.

Truncation A search technique used that allows for searching of variant spellings and word endings through the use of specific symbols (may be different for different databases).

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World Wide Web One part of the Internet, a collection of documents posted by individuals and organizations that may be accessed and displayed with a Web Browser.

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