Library Lingo Bio14


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.

Abstract
(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.

Bibliography
(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.

Boolean Operators
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.

Call Number
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, bibliographic citation)
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, and indexes.

A group of citations gathered together may be referred to as a bibliography.

Database
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 Loan)
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.

Holdings
Items (books, periodicals, audiovisual materials, databases, etc.) owned by a library. May also refer to the issues of a periodical owned by a library.

Index
(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 discussed.

Keyword Searching
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.

Literature Cited
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 were consulted.

Microforms
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.

Online Catalog
The online 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.

Periodical Databases
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.

Periodicals
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 periodicals database.

Primary Literature
Pertains to material, usually in scholarly journals, that presents original research. To locate primary literature on any topic, use periodical databases.

Reference Materials
Typically, materials that you use for answering quick, factual questions. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, almanacs, atlases, directories, and bibliographies are all examples of reference materials.

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.

Secondary Literature
Books, annual reviews, and other texts that present synthesized information on any particular topic.

Serials See Periodicals.

Stacks
The shelf areas in the library where materials are kept. The Tisch Library has stacks on all three floors.

Subject Heading
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 thesaurus terms.

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 searching.

Truncation
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 Website.