Glossary of Library, Computing and Information-related terms
Abstract - a short summary describing the main idea or content of a work such as a journal article, book or dissertation. Indexes which provide abstracts are also sometimes referred to as "abstracts".
Academic journal - a journal intended principally for students and staff doing serious study in universities or other academic institutions.
Acrobat - a program from Adobe which lets you capture a document and then view it in its original format and appearance. It is useful for displaying documents which were originally intended to be in a print format and is therefore often used to display electronic journals. There is a free part of the program, Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded via the Internet to display programs created with Acrobat.
Archives - Archives are documents created and/or accumulated by institutions, businesses or even individuals in the course of their daily life and work and retained in perpetuity. The term is also used to refer to the building and/or organisation which keeps them.
Authentication - this is the process a computerised service uses to identify who is using it. It often involves a username and password or checks the IP address of the PC being used to access it. Athens is an example of an authentication system.
Autobiography - an account of one's life, composed by one's self.B
Bibliographic referencing - this term applies to the way in which books, journal articles or other types of work are cited.
Bibliography - a list of books and often also journal articles and other types of work. Many bibliographies are on a particular subject. Bibliographies are often at the end of books, whilst others are separate publications.
Boolean operators - the Boolean operators are and, or and notand are based on the logic of the mathematician George Boole. They are used in formulating search commands for many computer databases.
Browser - a piece of software used to look at various kinds of Internet resource. The browser used on open access PCs is Internet Explorer. Other common browser are Netscape and Mozilla.
Bulletin Board - an electronic version of the type of bulletin board found on the wall in many kitchens and work places. Bulletin Boards are used to post simple messages between users. The College bulletin board is located in the Microsoft Exchange server which you can access using the College computing account.C
Call number - The call number, the number placed on the spine of a book, is a code which provides information about the subject of the book and its location in the library. Books are arranged by subject so that you can find other similar books nearby. Example: 515.15 ANT refers to a Calculus book whose author name starts with ANT.
CD-ROM - a thin disk (Compact Disk Read Only Memory) which holds thousands of pages of information. Many books in the library collection are accompanied by a CD-ROM which you may access.
Citation - a reference to a text or part of a text. A citation may be made to a book, journal article, or other type of publication. It contains information necessary to identify and locate the work, including author, title and date.
Citation index - an index listing articles that refer to (cite) an earlier work. It can provide an alternative way to search for a subject by taking a useful or well known paper and looking at later work which refers back to it. A Web of Science cited reference search will do this.
Cite - to make a citation, referring to a book, a journal rticle, or another source
Cited reference - a journal article, book or other source which is referred to (cited) in a later publication.
Classification scheme - There are many different classification schemes used to arrange library books by subject. The one in use in our library is the Dewey Decimal Classification.
Classmark - this is another name for call number, a code which provides information about the subject of a book and its location in the library.
Cookie - a message from a web server computer, sent to and stored by your browser on your computer. The main use for cookies is to provide customized web pages to you according to a profile of your interests.
Copyright - in various countries the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act protects an author's or company's rights.
Critique - an essay or article in criticism of a literary work, a review.
Database (bibliographic) - a database is an organized collection of information or data. The LIBRA catalogue is a database of library stock which you can access through the computer terminals in the intranet.
Database (software) - Microsoft Access database software is available on all Open Access PCs. The College informaiton system such as LIBRA and STAR uses MS SQL database.
Descriptors - these are simple words or phrases used to describe the subject of a record.
Dewey Decimal Classification - a classification scheme used by libraries to organize book stock, based on the division of knowledge into numerical classes. This is the scheme adopted by the College Library.
Dictionary - an alphabetical listing of terms with definitions. Dictionaries are produced for many specialist subject areas and can be useful in finding keywords for a database search.
Directory - a list of persons or organizations, systematically arranged, giving address, affiliations, etc., for individuals, and address, officers, functions, and similar data for organizations. In computer, it refers to a list of data files or folders.
Domain - On the Internet, a domain consists of a set of network addresses. An internet domain is organized in levels. The top level identifies geographic or purpose commonality. For example, the nation that the domain covers, eg. bd or my (Malaysia) or a category such as "commercial" .com or .co ; "academic" .edu or .ac ; "government" .gov; "non-profit organizations" .org. The second level identifies a unique place within the top level domain and is, in fact, equivalent to a unique address on the Internet IP address, eg. .perdanacollege for Perdana College. Lower levels of domain may also be used, eg. library in /library/.
Download - the process of copying information from one computer system to another, e.g. from the internet to the hard drive of your desk top, is called downloading.
DVD - Digital Video Disk: this new medium can store large amounts of data on one disk that looks like a CD, including full length films with high-quality sound and pictures. The library has a collection of DVDs related to the textbooks and reference materials.
Edition - all the copies of a work published in one format, printed from the same type or plates. A new edition of a work will have been amended or added to.
Electronic mail - Messages automatically passed from one computer user to another, often through computer networks and/or via modems over telephone lines. An increasing number of e-mail systems allow the message body to contain "attachments" of different kinds (such as Word documents or spreadsheets or photographs) rather than just one block of plain text. PCM uses Microsoft Outlook as its e-mail system. All PCM students are expected to check their e-mail inbox regularly for communications from their academic department or from other services such as the Library and administrative office. Further information is available on our Perdana WebMail web pages.
Encyclopedia - a book or set of books containing informational articles on either a specific subject or a wide-rage of subjects, usually arranged in alphabetical order.F
Field - when looking at a citation from an index or database, each piece of information is a field. For example, many citations are made up of an author field, a title field, a publisher field and a date field. Field names and content can vary from database to database.
Folios - library books and journals which are larger than average and are held on different shelves from the "normal" sequence.
Frames -a method of coding a Web page to divide the layout into two or more independent parts. Technically, it is the simultaneous loading of two or more web pages within the same browser screen. For certain kinds of content frames are an excellent way to organize information on a Web site.
FTP - File Transfer Protocol, this is the Internet service used to move files from one computer to another or from one network to another.
GIF - Graphic Interchange Format - is a common format for image files. It includes data compression, but because it is limited to 256 colors, it is more effective for scanned images such as illustrations rather than color photos, where JPEG format is preferable.
Handbook - a collection of informational pieces on one or more subjects, arranged for the quick location of facts.
HTML - HyperText Markup Language. HTML is the coding language used on the WWW to create Hypertext files (web pages) which are linked to other HTML files. HTML files are viewed using a web browser such as Internet Explorer.
HTTP - HyperText Transfer Protocol. HTTP is a protocol, or set of rules, for transferring hypertext files across the internet. The letters http are the first letters in any URL or web address eg. .
Hyperlink - a link from a location on one web page to another web page elsewhere on the WWW. Hyperlinks are usually a different colour (blue) to the rest of the text on a web page. Here is a Hyperlink to the Acadia University website.
Icon - a small symbol on a computer screen that represents a computer operation or data file.
Index - a list of names, topics, etc., which directs you to where the names, topics, etc., are discussed. Many books have an alphabetical index at the end, helping readers to discover on what pages a subject is dealt with. Some electronic and printed publications are indexes, enabling users to discover quickly what journal articles (and sometimes other types of publication) have been written on a particular subject or by a particular author.
Internet - This is the global network of networks. All computers linked to the Internet use the same protocol to make sure that information flows easily. The Internet includes facilities such as the World Wide Web, FTP and e.mail.
Internet Explorer - an example of a web browser used for viewing web pages.
IP Address - The IP address is a series of unique number which identifies a computer and its location on the Internet. An URL will correspond to an unique IP address. Example: 213.113.132.088.
ISBN - international standard book number. A unique 10 digit code uniquely assigned to a specific edition of a book before it is published. These are often used when ordering books from a publisher or bookshop. Example: ISBN 0-07-256598-5 identifies the book "Computing Today" published in 2004 by McGraw-Hill.
ISP- stands for Internet Service Provider and is a company which provides access to the Internet from computers not connected to a local network. Staff and students using their own machines at home will usually need to sign up for an ISP. As well as giving access to the World Wide Web, companies usually offer email addresses, space for your own web site and other services such as technical assistance. Charging structures vary; some companies (e.g. AOL) offer unlimited free dialups with a monthly fee while others such as Freeserve offer either a monthly subscription with unlimited access or a free service will all calls at local rates.
ISSN - international standard serial number. This is an 8 digit code assigned to a specific journal or serial title.
Journal - a publication which is published indefinitely, usually at regular intervals (often monthly, quarterly or annually), and contains articles or other writings by various authors. Journals usually have volume numbers. (Journals can also be referred to as periodicals.)
JPEG - which stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, is a format for storing image files. It is particularly suitable for photographic files or grey-scale digital images. Less complex images, such as line art are better stored in GIF files.
Junk mail - unwanted e-mail messages, usually advertising, unsolicited by the recipient. See also spam.
Keywords - words which convey the significant meaning in a document. Computer databases, including our Voyager catalogue, can be searched by selecting keywords which represent your subject.
Laptop computer - A laptop computer, usually called a notebook computer by manufacturers, is a battery- or AC-powered personal computer generally smaller than a briefcase that can easily be transported and conveniently used in temporary spaces such as on trains and airplanes, in libraries and at meetings. A laptop typically weighs less than 5 pounds and is 3 inches or less in thickness. Laptop computers generally cost more than desktop computers with the same capabilities. If you want to use your laptop to access the College intrant you must first register through the Computing & IT Services.
Library catalogue - a library catalogue shows what a library possesses. It can be searched in various ways and can display the location of the material. PCM's library catalogue is accessed through LIBRA.
Library of Congress classification -a scheme developed by the Library of Congress that is used to organize the collections of many academic and research libraries. This alphanumeric system arranges materials by subject. Each class or subject is represented by a series of letters and numbers which are used to create a call number. E.g. QA303.A53 (a book on Calculus) or PN1994.M59 (a book on film).
Literature review - a survey of progress in a particular aspect of a subject area over a period of time. It will usually have a critical review of other literature on the subject.
Literature search - the process of carrying out a systematic (and usually exhaustive) search of the literature on a given topic. It is usually the first step in a research project.
Magazine - a publication, issued on a regular basis, containing popular articles, written and illustrated in a less technical manner than articles found in a scholarly journal. Magazines tend to be written for the general public rather than for researchers at university.
Manual - A book of rules or guidelines; a handbook.
Manuscript - The handwritten copy of an author's work before it is printed; also includes groups of personal papers which have some unifying characteristic and individual documents which have some special importance.
Metadata - data used to identify, describe, and locate resources. For instance, subject gateways provide information (metadata) about individual Web sites, typically including the author, the title, the URL (Web address) and a brief description. A library catalogue contains metadata about books and other resources in the library.
MetaSearch engine - a search engine that searches multiple other search engines and combines the results. Metacrawler and Dogpile are metasearch engines.
Microform - a term used to describe documents which have been photographed or filmed. Microforms require you to use special machines to read them. Common formats are microfilm, microfiche and microcard. .
Monograph - a book, as opposed to a serial or journal. Monographs are usually written on a single subject in a scholarly manner by a specialist.
MP3/MPEG - a standard for storing and transmitting music in digital format across the internet. It is considered an amazing new standard for digital audio compression because it can compress file sizes at a ratio of 12:1 while still preserving sound quality.
Netiquette - a form of online etiquette. This term refers to an informal code of conduct that governs what is generally considered to be the acceptable way for users to interact with one another online, particularly when posting messages newsgroups. These include: keep your message short and to the point; criticise ideas but not the people making them; do not criticise people's spelling or grammar. Adopting an angry or critical tone is known as flaming.
Newsgroups - an Internet message board, usually devoted to a specific topic, to which a user may post comments or queries and view the replies of other people and so on. A sequence or related postings is called a discussion thread. Groups cover an enormous range of interests including professional, business, social and leisure.
Official publications - official publications are the literature which emanates from official organizations such as national or regional governments or international organizations. Examples include Acts of Parliament, bills, command papers, reports.
Online -If something is online it is available via a network of computers. A connection to the Internet is often referred to as being online.
Patents - a patent is a legal right granted to the applicant upon fulfullment of certain conditions, which grants them the monopoly on making, using or selling an invention, for a fixed period of time, in the countries in which the patent has been granted. Only original inventions can be patented. Patents are a useful source of technical information as about 80% of the information found in patents is not found elsewhere in the literature.
Pdf - this stands for portable document format. It is a file format which has captured all the elements of a printed document as an electronic image. Acrobat is the most common program used to create this format which is often used for electronic journal articles.
Peer-reviewed journal - a journal whose articles have been read by other scholars before publication and judged by them to be of a sufficiently high standard to be included in the journal.
Periodical - a publication which is published indefinitely, usually at regular intervals (often monthly, quarterly or annually) and contains articles or other writings by various authors. Periodicals usually have volume numbers. (Periodicals can also be referred to as journals.)
Plagiarism - Plagiarism is the act of copying or borrowing the work or ideas of another author without acknowledgement. Students who are writing essays, reports, dissertations or theses must list their sources, such as books and journal articles, in a list of references appended to their work. Refer to the College Policy on Plagiarism.
Plug-in - a piece of software (usually small) which adds features to a larger piece of software. For example, RealPlayer can be used as a plug-in to Internet Explorer to allow it to play audio and video files.
Portal - a web site that acts as a doorway or introduction to many other Web sites that are sometimes grouped into categories. General sites such as Yahoo! cover all kinds of information, including news services, weather, shopping etc. while sites such as SOSIG (Social Science Information Gateway) gather information within particular academic subject areas of the social sciences.
RAM - stands for Random Access Memory. RAM is the most common type of computer memory, and it's where the computer stores system software, programs, and data you are currently using. It's pronounced ram and measured in megabytes (MB), gigabytes (GB), or terabytes (TB).
Recall - a request for the return of library material before the due date. The library materials are subject to recall, usually because another reader has requested the item.
Reference Book - A book designed by the arrangement and treatment of its subject matter to be consulted for definite items of information/facts, rather than to be read consecutively; a book whose use is restricted to the library building or specific areas within the library.
Renew - This is the procedure for extending the loan period of an item which you have borrowed from the library. You may renew an item if no one else has requested it.
Reprint - when another batch of books is printed without any substantial alterations to the text it is called a reprint.
Review - a critical evaluation of a book or article.
Review article - in the sciences, a review article can take the place of a bibliography, listing and criticising the literature on a subject.
Scanner - Scanners can be used to convert text documents or photographs into digital files.
Scholarly journal - a scholarly journal means much the same as "academic journal". It is intended for scholars or researchers. It contains articles written by experts in their field.
Search engine - this term commonly refers to a service for searching the contents of the World Wide Web. You can type in keywords and find Web pages on your topic. Google is the most popular search engine at present. There is more information about search engines in our Web page entitled Internet Searching.
Search string - in database software a group of search terms and commands can be referred to as a search string. The commands could be Boolean operators such as and and or.
Search terms - words or phrases input by a user to find records on a database that contain that subject.
Serial - the word "serial" has a similar meaning to periodical or journal. All periodicals are serials. In addition yearbooks and numbered series of monographs can be described as serials. In America serial bears exactly the same meaning as periodical.
Stacks - Stacks or stack area refer to the space in the library where the majority of library materials are shelved. Often the stacks contain many rows of shelving units.
Standards - officially approved specifications covering such topics as methods of testing, terminology, performance and construction requirements. Engineers, designers and manufacturers have to make sure their products adhere to the relevant standards.
Stop words - in database searching stop words are small and frequently occurring words like and, or, in, of which are often ignored by the database when keyed in as search terms.
Subject gateways - these provide links to Web sites on a particular subject area. Most are designed to help students and staff find high quality Web sites for their studies and often include descriptions and evaluations of the Web sites. e.g. SOSIG. There is more information about search engines in our Web page Online Reference .
Subject headings - words or phrases given to books or articles to index them by topic. In Perdana, we use the DDC list of subject headings.
TOC (Table of Contents) - a list of the contents of a publication in the order of their appearance.
Thesaurus - a lexicon where words are grouped by ideas, such as synonyms with synonyms. Computer databases may include a thesaurus to enable you to find out which terms or subject headings have been used in that particular database to represent the subject you are interested in.
Truncation - the process of shortening or cutting off part of a search term so that it will match related terms starting with the same stem, e.g. comput* will match computers, computing, computational, etc.
URL- Uniform Resource Locator. Each WWW page on the Internet has its own unique URL or web address. is the URL for Perdana's home page on the WWW. The URL can be entered into the Location or Address box of the Web Browser by the user in order to access a particular web page.
Unzipping - the process of decompressing a file to obtain its original file. This is the reverse process of zipping. A software, such as WINZIP, is required to perform this process.
Virus - A computer program which enters a computer, usually via a network connection, and carries out a malicious act. This can range from the less serious, such as displaying a splash screen with an obscene message, to the potentially disastrous, such as deleting all the files on the computer's hard drive. A virus which enters a computer masquerading as something else such as an email from a friend or a useful program is known as a Trojan Horse. Read On Virus web page for more information.
Volume - A volume can be a series of issues of a periodical, often a year's issues. Some books are published in sets of several volumes.
Web browser - a web browser is a piece of software used for viewing web pages. The Open Access PCs use Microsoft's Internet Explorer, but Netscape is another example of a well known web browser.
Wildcard - a character (* or ?) used in keyword searching which can assume the value of any alphanumeric character and so permit more options, such as alternative spellings, to be achieved quickly.
Wizard - a type of program which gradually takes a user through a complicated task. Wizards are normally associated with tasks such as installing software, creating a database, or constructing a complicated structure such as a table in a word processor.
World Wide Web - A global, virtual-network based hypertext information system that uses the Internet as its transport mechanism to display Web pages of graphical, video, textual, and even audio information. The WWW links together all the computers on the Internet that use Hypertext Transfer Protocol .
XML - eXtensible Markup Language. A standardized language used by WWW authors for marking up documents and data on the Web. XML allows authors to create customised tags not available in HTML. It is useful to define complex documents such as invoices, molecular data, news feeds, glossaries, inventory descriptions.
Yearbook - An annual compendium of facts and statistics on a particular subject for the preceding year.
Zipping - the process of compressing a file so it takes up less memory space. A software, such as WINZIP, is required to perform this process.
Zip drive - a disc drive developed by Iomega that uses a 3.5-inch removable Zip disc capable of storing 100 MB or more of data at relatively low cost, used for storing very large files and collections of files. The drive usually comes with software that catalogs the contents of the disk and provides file security.
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