Within this tutorial, we have tried to use "real English,"
keeping library jargon and terminology to a minimum. However,
some library-related terms and phrases are so commonly used that
you will want to become familiar with them.
Refer to this list whenever necessary.
(1) An index that not only provides citations, but also
gives a brief summary of each item indexed. (2) A short
summary of an article in a scholarly journal, usually
appearing towards the beginning of the article. (3) A summary
of a paper presented at a conference. The full text of the
paper is not always published.
(1) References used while doing research for an article or
book. These are gathered at the end of the work, usually
arranged alphabetically by author. (2) A publication,
sometimes booklength, that consists of a list of books,
articles and other works on a particular topic.
Bibliographies may be annotated with abstracts summarizing
the important features of the works.
Bibliographies can be located in the Tufts Online Catalog by
searching by subject, then combining your topic and
"bibliography," e.g., biology bibliography.
See also Index.
In order to broaden or narrow a search, you can use the
words AND, OR, and NOT. For example, a search of
communicable diseases OR infectious diseases will yield
more results than a search of either one or the other of the
terms. Conversely, a search of communicable diseases AND
China will yield fewer results than a search of either
one or the other of the terms. Finally, diseases NOT
communicable will find information on diseases that are
not transmitted by contact.
Named after George Boole, the 19th century English
mathematician who helped establish modern symbolic logic.
See Keyword Searching and Truncation for other search tips.
The alphanumeric number that appears on a label on the side
of a book or bound periodical denoting where the item will be
shelved. Call numbers reflect subjects, so that materials
with similar call numbers are shelved together in the
library. Books and periodicals are not the only library
materials that are given call numbers. CDs, videotapes,
government documents, microforms, selected maps, and archival
materials also receive call numbers.
Citation (also known as reference,
Information about any item in the library which will help
you to identify and locate it. Usually includes the author,
title, place of publication, publisher, and year. Volume
number, pages and date will usually be included for
periodical article citations. You will find citations in any
database, including the catalog, as well as texts, articles,
A group of citations gathered together may be referred to as
An electronic or paper collection of information, often of citations to
materials on a particular subject. The TULIPS database includes the holdings
of most material owned by the Tufts University libraries. Biological
Abstracts (paper and electronic versions) is a database of articles
contained in biology journals. Some databases are beginning to be released
in fulltext, allowing you to both retrieve citations and read the complete
article on your computer. A prime example of this is Britannica Online.
Document Delivery (formerly Interlibrary
A service that allows you to borrow library materials from
another library. You can request items that are not currently
available or are not owned by Tisch Library, including
materials at the Vet School Library and the Health Sciences
Library. There is no charge for this service.
Document delivery forms may be completed online.
Items (books, periodicals, audiovisual materials, databases,
etc.) owned by a library. May also refer to the issues of a
periodical owned by a library.
(1) Similar to a database, a printed or electronic
publication made up of citations to periodical articles or
books by subject and/or author. Periodical indexes may
include abstracts that summarize the material that is listed.
See also bibliography. (2) A list of names
or topics usually found at the end of a publication,
directing you to the page where the names and topics are
Allows you to use your own words, rather than the controlled
vocabulary, i.e. subject
heading, that a particular database uses. To search
effectively by subject, you must know the correct phrasing
employed by the particular database. You can save yourself
the frustration of doing subject searches that yield no
results by doing keyword searches.
The main disadvantage of keyword searches is that your search term may
be found out of context. If you are looking for books about crickets,
you may also find recordings by Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Keyword
searches are demonstrated in the Secondary Literature Strategies section.
See Boolean Operators and Truncation for hints to make your keyword
searches more effective.
The literature cited section of a paper only includes a
listing of articles that were cited in the body of the text,
unlike a bibliography which may or may not include works that
Tisch Library subscribes to numerous periodicals, newspapers
and other publications in microformat, usually for space
considerations. Holdings information for these materials,
whether microfilm or microfiche, is found in the catalog,
just like any other library holdings. Readers and printers
are available for all microformats.
catalog reflects the materials that are owned by the Tufts
libraries. You can search it by author, title, subject,
keyword, or call number. NOTE: To search for periodical
articles, use a periodicals database, not the online catalog.
Used to search subjects, authors, or titles of particular
periodical articles. Some databases include abstracts of the
cited articles. Others tell you if any of the Tufts libraries
subscribes to the periodical. Periodicals databases exist in
paper, online, on the Web, and on CD-ROM.
An umbrella term describing materials that are published on
a continuous and predictable schedule, such as journals,
magazines, and newspapers. To find out if Tisch owns a
particular periodical, do a Title search in the catalog. To
find out if an article on a particular topic (or by a
particular author) can be found, do a keyword search in a
Pertains to material, usually in scholarly journals, that
presents original research. To locate primary literature on
any topic, use periodical databases.
Typically, materials that you use for answering quick,
factual questions. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, almanacs,
atlases, directories, and bibliographies are all examples of
Before the explosion in the growth of the World Wide Web,
reference materials existed mainly in paper. But as time goes
on, you will see more online dictionaries, encyclopedias,
directories, etc. available on the Internet.
Books, annual reviews, and other texts that present
synthesized information on any particular topic.
Serials See Periodicals.
The shelf areas in the library where materials are kept. The
Tisch Library has stacks on all three floors.
Standardized words and phrases that are already programmed
into a database, used to group together materials on the same
topic. Also known as controlled vocabulary, descriptors, or
On those occasions when you do know the subject headings
used by a particular database, you will definitely be able to
construct more effective searches than if you rely on keyword
searches. See keyword searching for a
discussion of the differences between keyword and subject
A searching technique that may result in a larger number of records to
examine. Substituting a question mark for an 's' in a keyword search will
automatically locate the singular and plural of that word. A search for
computer? finds "computer," "computers," as well as "computerization."
Truncation also works to find variant spellings of words, as in a search
for col?r, which will find "color" and "colour." Warning: different
databases use different truncation symbols.
Tisch Library Website
Another large piece of the pie is the Tisch Library
Website, which provides access to all of our Web-based
resources. These include the Web version of the Catalog and
related databases, the Boston Library Consortium Virtual Catalog, our continually expanding number of Research Tools
(reference materials, print and electronic indexes and
abstracts, fulltext electronic journals, websites and more!),
and a guide and virtual tour of the services and facilities
of the Tisch Library. While the website is available on and
off campus, all of the databases you'll find on it are
licensed for use on and off campus. Here is a complete list of titles available via the