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Library Dictionary B - M

Guest Author - Paula Laurita

A glossary of common terms used in libraries.


BAR CODE: A small white label with closely spaced black stripes that can be read by a computer. Bar codes on books are used to charge out books from the library.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 1. References used while doing research for an article or book. These are gathered together at the end of the work, usually arranged alphabetically by author. 2. A publication that consists only of a list of books, articles and other works on a particular topic. Sometimes bibliographies are annotated; that is, they include brief abstracts summarizing the important features of the works. Bibliographies of both types can be very valuable in locating information on a subject.

BOOK RETURN: A place to return books borrowed from the library.

CALL NUMBER: The number given to each book acquired by the Libraries. Every book has a unique call number, much like every house in a city has its own address. The two most common systems are the Library of Congress and the Dewey Decimal System. Library of Congress is more commonly used at college libraries. The Dewey System is more common in school and public libraries.

CHARGE OUT/CHECK OUT: To borrow materials from the library. This is done at the circulation desk.

CIRCULATION DESK: The counter where you charge out books, return books, renew books, etc.

DUE DATE: The date the materials are to be returned to the library. It is often stamped in the book. If you need to use the book for a longer time, you may renew it. If a book is returned after its due date, you will often have to pay a fine.

FINE: The amount of money you will owe if you keep library materials past the due date. Your fine will equal the number of days an item is overdue times the number of items overdue.

HOLD SHELF: An area behind the Circulation Desk where books that you requested will be kept.

HOLDINGS: Often this term applies just to the issues of a magazine or journal owned by the Libraries, but it can also refer to all the materials (books, periodicals, audiovisual media, electronic databases) in the Librariesí collections.

INDEX: 1. A list of subjects discussed in a book. 2. A list of journal articles arranged by subject and/or author. Libraries often have indexes of this second type on many different subjects.

INTERLIBRARY LOAN: Borrowing a book or getting a copy of an article from another library.

JOURNAL: A publication that contains scholarly articles written either by professors, researchers, or experts in a subject area.

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS (LC) SUBJECT HEADINGS: Standard terms used by the Library of Congress to designate the subjects of library materials.

LOAN PERIOD: The length of time library materials may be borrowed. The time varies depending on the type of material borrowed.

MAGAZINE: A periodical intended for the general public rather than for scholars.

MICROFORMS: Books, articles or other items that are printed in miniaturized form on rolls or sheets of transparent plastic. Those that are in long rolls are called microfilm, while those that are on small rectangular sheets are called microfiche. Each of these requires special machines to be used.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Paula Laurita. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Paula Laurita. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Christine Sharbrough for details.

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