Library Terms Translated

A / B / C / D / E / F / G / H / I / J / K / L / M / N / O / P / R / S / T / U / W /


A brief summary of a book or article.


A yearly publication often containing statistics and data of all kinds and information on the events of the previous year.


An organized collection of papers or records preserved for research and reference.


A book of maps.

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Bibliographic Record

A list of citations at the end of a paper, chapter or book. There are also books entirely made up of bibliographies. These are usually about a particular subject or by a particular author.

Boolean Logic/Boolean Operators:

A system of linking terms in computer searching with the Boolean Operators AND, OR and NOT.

Bound Periodical/Bound Volume:

Several issues of a journal placed together between a hard cover.


(In computer searching) To look through various items to make a selection, such as a list of titles, authors, subjects, hypertext links, etc.

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Call Number:

A code of letters and numbers that describes the subject of a book and assigns it to a location on the shelves.

Check out/Check in:

To borrow materials, such as books, CDs, or DVDs, from the library/To return materials to the library.


Materials that can be borrowed from the library circulate. Books identified as "reference" or "building only" are noncirculating and cannot be borrowed



A complete reference to a book or article that has all the information necessary to identify it and find it. Book citations usually include the author, title, journal name, date, volume, issues and pages.


To give a citation, or reference, to something. (Do not confuse with: Site.)

Controlled Vocabulary:

A list of standardized words or phrases used in a particular database for computer searching. Descriptors and Library of Congress Subject Headings are controlled vocabularies.


To gather together. Printed indexes to journals are often published each month; at the end of the year they may be cumulated - combined in one volume.

Current Periodicals:

Recent issues (the current year) of magazines or journals. These are displayed in the Current Periodicals Reading Room in each of the Libraries.

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A collection of information in electronic form, organized for rapid computer searching. In the library, frequently used research databases are available on the Web.


In certain databases, a standardized term used to describe the subject of a journal article.


An original or official paper or publication.

Due Date:

The date by which borrowed library materials must be returned.


Any computer search service which can be accessed by the user independently.


A specific area in a database record that a computer can be made to search. Author, title, descriptor, and document type are examples of fields.

Full Text:

Entire, or nearly entire, articles in journals, newspapers, etc., that you can access directly on the computer. Graphics may not be included in HTML full-text, but will be in PDF versions.

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Government Publications:

Documents published by the U.S. Government.


The books or years of a journal title a library owns. Although a journal may have begun in 1896, the library’s HOLDINGS begin with the year it first purchased a subscription.


The first page, which is usually a welcoming or organizing page, on an Internet site.

Hyperlink or Link:

Words or images that a computer user can click on or select to be linked to more information.


The organizing principle of the World Wide Web that joins related concepts together through links within and between documents.

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Interactive Media Center. Located in the basement of the University Library, the IMC supports the creation of multimedia projects and the digital design of presentations, publications, and websites.


  1. An alphabetical list of topics and their page numbers found in the back of a book.
  2. An alphabetical list in electronic form of the authors, titles or topics that appear in a particular database.
  3. A reference book, Web database, CD-ROM or online service that refers you to books, articles or other works.


A worldwide network of computer networks that is rich in information. The Internet includes electronic mail (e-mail), file transfer (FTP), remote login (telnet) and World Wide Web (WWW).


More scholarly than magazines, journals print articles on academic subjects and are often published by professional groups or institutions.

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Keyword Searching:

A method of computer searching based on natural language rather than a controlled vocabulary list. Important "key" words that might appear in titles, abstracts, or in full-text articles are chosen for search terms.

Library of Congress Subject Headings:

Official list of words and phrases used to describe what books and other items are about. These expressions must be used for subject heading searches in Minerva and other library catalogs that use the Library of Congress classification system.


A publication with articles often intended for recreational reading. Magazines are usually aimed at a more general audience than journals are.

Microform / Microfilm /Microfiche:

Microform is a general term for microfiche and microfilm. These are photographic media used to access journals, newspapers, etc., in miniature form. Microfiche (or fiche) comes on sheets of film; microfilm comes on rolls. You must use special machines to read, enlarge and photocopy microforms.


The Web-based online catalog of materials owned by the University Libraries.

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A group of computers that share information.


Connected to a computer network.

Online Catalog:

Database on which you can check by author, title, and subject to see what the library owns and w here it is located. At the University at Albany the online catalog is called Minerva.


Online Public Access Catalog, the same as online catalog.


Materials that have not been returned by their due date are considered overdue.

(PAWS) Personalized Assistance with Searching:

Available by appointment only, this service offers access to hundreds of databases in many subjects. A specialist will work individually with you to develop a search strategy and perform the search. Sign up and get information at the Reference Desk.


Any publication which appears at regular intervals and contains separate articles. A general term applied to magazines and journals.

Periodical Index:

An index that refers you to articles in periodicals, including newspapers.

Periodicals Room:

A series of rooms in the three Libraries where periodicals are shelved by call number.

Primary Source:

Original document, such as a manuscript or a typed or handwritten text. Contains firsthand information about a topic.

Ready Reference Area:

The set of shelves near the Reference Desk where the most frequently used reference books are kept.

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To ask that a book be returned before its due date. This can be done through Minerva.


The basic unit of information in a database. Most of the library’s databases have bibliographic records. Records often include the title, author, journal name, year, other public information and an abstract of a journal article.

Reference Books:

Books in which you look up information. Some examples are dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases. Since many people need to use them often, they do not circulate.

Remote Access:

he ability to connect to a computer from a distant place. Students and faculty have remote access to Minerva and other research databases.


To extend the due date on a book or other library material.


To set a book or article aside so that many students in a class can use it. Reserve materials are available at the Circulation Desk.


(In computer searching) To get or access data.

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Search Statement / Search Query

The terms and operators you type into the computer when conducting a search


A place on the Internet, such as a company’s World Wide Web page. (Do not confuse with: Cite.)


Library shelves.

Subject Heading:

See: Library of Congress Subject Headings


A computer workstation.


  1. A book of synonyms and antonyms.
  2. A book or electronic resource that accompanies a particular database or field of study and lists the standardized, controlled vocabulary, such as descriptors, that can be used for search terms.


(In computer searching) The technique of using a symbol with a word stem to make the computer retrieve various forms of the word. Example: In Minerva the keyword search violin* will retrieve violin, violins, and violinist.

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The system used at the University to print materials from public-access computers. Black and white copies are $.10 per page.


Uniform Resource Locator. A World Wide Web address. Example:

World Wide Web / WWW:

The part of the Internet based on hypertext. When you use the browsers Netscape or Internet Explorer, you are viewing the WWW.

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- Find - Biographical Information

Find Biographical Information

General Background Information

Encyclopaedia Britannica Online . Provides the full-text of Encyclopaedia Britannica, along with articles exclusive to the Web version and links to selected Web sites. Also available in print: [Ref AE 5 E363 (year)].

Biographical Reference Sources


Biography Ready Reference Web Page. Lists and provides links to several useful Web resources, such as Biographical Dictionary,, and NameBase.

Biography and Genealogy Master Index. This is a consolidated index to over 150 sources of biographical information with emphasis on the U.S. It provides access to biographies in reference volumes, but not to periodical articles or books about one individual. Look up your person alphabetically. (The Extended Search option allows you to search more narrowly.) Then check Minerva, the online catalog to get the call numbers for those items owned by the University Libraries. Most of the sources are reference books shelved in the area to your left as you face the Reference desk. Note: Names and dates appear exactly as listed in the source books. There is no attempt to consolidate various listings for the same individual. Make sure you’ve found all entries for your person. (Also available in print:  Z 5305 U5 B56 XA).


Current Biography.Contains an average of 300 biographies annually. Entries are long, one to two pages, and are revised periodically. Coverage is international. Each issue contains a classified list by occupations. Published monthly and cumulated annually with a seven-year consolidated index in every volume. Occasional cumulated indexes cover greater spans of time. Provides an address and a portrait for each subject. (Also available in print: Ref CT 100 C8 [year]. Library has 1940+ )

Dictionary of World Biography. Ref CT 104 D54 1998. Divided by time period. Each entry includes the individuals’ contribution to society, sections on his/her early life and life’s work, a summarizing section, and a bibliography.

Magazine Articles / Parts of Books

Biography Reference Bank. Wilson’s largest biography database has combined the in-depth, original profiles of Wilson Biographies Plus Illustrated, plus the thorough periodicals coverage of Biography Index, full-text articles, page images, and abstracts from the complete range of Wilson databases (including biographical profiles, feature articles, interviews, essays, book reviews, performance reviews, speeches, or obituaries). With links to every article focused on any individual in nearly every WilsonWeb database, Biography Reference Bank offers a breadth and depth of information you’ll find in no other biography database. It covers over 500,000 people and includes over 36,000 images!
(Also available in print: Ref CT 28 Z99 B56).

EBSCO Academic Search Complete. An electronic index to a broad range of academic journals. Some articles are available full-text.

In-Depth Information

Search for BOOKS about a person by doing a SUBJECT search in the Minerva online catalog.

Additional Sources

  • Newspaper articles, including obituaries, found using LexisNexis Academic,  New York Times Index, New York Times Obituaries Index, etc.

  • Reference books in the person's field, sex, or race, such as:
    1. Who's Who in American Education, and in many other fields
    2. American Women; Notable American Women; Black Women in America; Who's Who of American Women, etc.
    3. Contemporary Black Biography; American Jewish Biography; Who's Who Among Hispanic Americans; Notable Asian Americans
  • Critical reviews of books by or about the person may contain biographical information and can be located through Book Review Digest, Book Review Index, or in periodical databases in the person's field, such as PsycINFO.

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This is a very selective list. Many other sources are available. Consult a reference librarian for additional help

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