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Glossary of Library Terms

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An impartial summary of a magazine or journal article. Most databases in the Databases A-Z will provide a short summary for the articles cited.

Refers to the location in Carlson Library where items pertaining to the University's history are stored. The Clarion University Archives is located on Level A in Carlson Library. Also refers to the collection of materials (including photographs, records, and publications) documenting the history of Clarion University and the records created by, for, and about Clarion University and its students, alumni, and employees. Archival materials do not circulate and are used on site by appointment with Corene Glotfelty.

The process of being verified as a Clarion University student or employee in order to access the Libraries' online resources and services from off-campus locations. When using most of the Libraries' services and online resources from off-campus, you'll be prompted to authenticate by providing either your Library ID number and last name or your iClarion username and password. Click here for Library log in information.

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Bibliographic Record
The descriptive information for individual items (such as books, videos, CDs, etc.) found within PILOT: The Libraries' online catalog. Standard areas of information within the bibliographic record include author, title, location, call number, subjects, publisher, and description.

Refers to the list of references - or works cited list - in a research paper, listing the sources used for the paper. Can also refer to a listing of citations/abstracts/annotations for books, book chapters, periodical articles, etc. on a topic or subject. The United States in the Vietnam War, 1954-1975: A Selected, Annotated Bibliography of English-Language Sources is an example of a bibliography.

Boolean Operators
Connectors that can be used when searching the Libraries' various databases (available from the Databases A-Z List) or PILOT: The Libraries' online catalog. The most commonly used Boolean operators are AND, OR, and NOT. By combining your search terms using these operators, you can expand or narrow your search, or exclude an idea from your search.


The AND operator narrows your search. For example, a search on Apples AND Oranges would retrieve only citations and/or full-text items containing BOTH of the terms listed.

The OR operator expands your search. For example, a search on Apples OR Oranges would retrieve citations and/or full-text items that mention EITHER of the terms. It is often used with synonyms and related terms. Another sample search could be Cats OR Felines.

The NOT operator allows you to exclude an idea from your search. For example, search on South America NOT Brazil would retrieve citations and/or full-text items that mention the first search term, but not the second.

Call Number
A unique identifying number used to designate the location of an item on the shelf within the Libraries. The Libraries use Library of Congress call numbers for most materials and Dewey Decimal call numbers for the juvenile (children and young adult) collections.

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Often refers to the descriptive information for individual items (such as periodical articles and book chapters) found within periodical indexing sources. A citation for a periodical article generally includes such fields as article title, periodical title, author(s), issue date, volume number, issue number, and page numbers. Also refers to items listed in a research paper's bibliography, reference list, or works cited list.

Controlled Vocabulary
A set of standard subject terms used by a database to describe the subject content of the items cited within the database. Many, if not most, databases use a controlled vocabulary. These controlled vocabularies vary from database to database. For example, PILOT: The Libraries' online catalog uses the Library of Congress Subject Headings as its controlled vocabulary. The ERIC database uses the Thesaurus of ERIC descriptors as its controlled vocabulary. A database's controlled vocabulary may be referred to in several different ways including subject headings, subject terms, or thesaurus.

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An online, searchable collection of related information or citations. The databases accessible to you through the University Libraries are listed on the Databases A-Z List. Most of the databases subscribed to by the Clarion University Libraries are indexing/abstracting databases, meaning that they provide indexing to periodicals, books, and other research resources as well as abstracts (summaries) of the articles within those sources. Some of these indexing/abstracting databases are devoted to one subject area, while others are multidisciplinary. Also, some of these databases are completely full-text or partially full-text, meaning that they provide instant, online access to the cited material. Some databases provide access to information other than periodical or book chapter citations.


Multidisciplinary, Partially Full-text Databases: The Academic Search Complete database and the ProQuest database provide indexing of periodical articles representing a wide range of subject areas. They also provide full-text for many of the cited articles.

Indexing/Abstracting Databases:  Econlit is an example of an indexing/abstracting database for periodical literature in the field of Economics and Biological Abstracts is devoted to the field of Biology.

Completely Full-Text Databases:  Databases such as Lexis-Nexis and JSTOR provide not only indexing and abstracting, but also complete full-text access to all source material.

Non-Periodical Databases:  Mergent's Financial Information Online is an example of a databases that provide access to data (in this cases, related to companies) rather than citations to periodical articles or book chapters.

Descriptors - See: Controlled Vocabulary

Direct Borrowing InterLibrary Loan
Clarion University has one direct borrowing InterLibrary Loan option: E-Z Borrow . Through this service, you can search the holdings of other Pennsylvania libraries for needed books that aren't held by Clarion University Libraries, and make requests to have those materials sent to the Carlson or Suhr Libraries for your use. Because requested materials must be picked up at either the Carlson Library or the Suhr Library, this service is not appropriate for most Virtual Campus students. Virtual Campus students should use the InterLibrary Loan services through ILLiad. (Periodical articles or media materials cannot be requested through the E-Z Borrow service.  Use ILLiad to order periodical articles or media materials.)

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An electronic book, available online. You will find citations to e-books in PILOT: The Libraries' online catalog. When you find citations to them in PILOT, you can pull up the full record and access the e-book through the web link provided. If you are accessing an e-book from off-campus, you will be asked to authenticate using either your library ID number and last name, or your iClarion username and password. You also have the option to search e-book collections by the companies from which we purchase access to them, rather than finding the citations through PILOT. To do this, go to the E-Book Collections page and select a title or collection to search.  From the E-Book Collections page, we also lists collections of e-books that are freely available on the Internet.

E-Reserves  - See: Reserves

E-Z Borrow - See: Direct Borrowing InterLibrary Loan

Federated Search Engine
A special library search engine that allows you to search any or most library-subscribed databases at the same time. The Libraries' federated search engine is known locally as EBSCO Discovery Service.

Like the Quarto designation, this is a section of oversize books (physically large books) in Carlson Library. Folios are larger than Quartos. Books in the Folio category measure over 30 cm in height. In Carlson Library, most of the folios are located on Level A. However, those in the Library of Congress Z classification and N classification are shelved on Level 2. When you are searching PILOT: The Libraries' online catalog, you will sometimes find Main Folio Collection listed as the location. Folios are designated by a lower case "f" preceding the call number.

Usually refers to the complete online availability of an information resource. For example, a periodical article available in full-text means that the entire text of the article is available online, rather than just the citation and/or abstract.

If a book/item that you need is checked out of the library, you may contact the Circulation desk to place a "hold" on the item. Then, the person who has the item will not be permitted to renew it, and you will be notified as soon as it is returned to the library for your use.

A resource for Library users that handles requests for items needed from other libraries.  Virtual Campus students can also use it to request materials from the University Libraries' collections. ILLiad is also the online location that stores articles that have been received from other libraries. It is the software used by the University Libraries to manage InterLibrary Loan requests. More information about ILLiad can be found here.

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A research resource (available either in print or electronically) that allows you to locate information by a variety of means, but is primarily used to locate information by subject or topic.  An example of an online index is Academic Search Complete (available on the Databases A-Z List), which indexes periodical literature. It is a multidisciplinary index, meaning that it covers information in a wide variety of subject areas. An example of a subject or topic specific index would be Business Source Premier, indexing periodical literature in the field of business and related fields. An example of a print format index held by the Libraries would be The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature (a multidisciplinary index) available in Carlson Library's reference collection.

Information Literacy Instruction
Broadly stated, these are the instruction sessions held in cooperation between University classroom faculty and Library faculty to introduce students to research resources, processes, and methodology and to teach students to effectively and efficiently find, use, and critically evaluate information.

InterLibrary Loan
A free service that allows Clarion University students, faculty, and staff to access materials that are not available in the Libraries' on-site collections. Virtual Campus students may also use the service to request materials from the Libraries' on-site collections. Clarion University uses the ILLiad software to manage InterLibrary Loan requests. For more information about InterLibrary Loan services, see the Library Services section of the Libraries' web site.  See also: Direct Borrowing InterLibrary Loan.

A type of periodical. The term "journal" is sometimes used interchangeably with professional journal, scholarly journal, peer-reviewed journal, or refereed journal. Generally refers to research-based publications, reporting on empirical research being done in a field. All academic and research fields have journals associated with them. For example, The Journal of the American Medical Association is a scholarly journal within the field of medicine. The National Women's Studies Association Journal is a scholarly journal related to Women's Studies. The articles within scholarly journals are usually quite lengthy, have works cited/reference lists, and are often reporting on the results of research studies. Articles are often divided into sections including introduction, methodology, results and discussion. Most professors will require you to cite articles from journals in your research paper's bibliography or works cited list.

Juvenile Book
A children's book or a book for young adults.

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Keyword Searching
Generally refers to free-text searching, rather than more precise searching by controlled vocabulary terms or subject headings. For example, when searching PILOT: The Libraries' online catalog or other databases using the keyword option, your terms can appear in any field within the retrieved bibliographic record, citation, abstract, or full-text.

LibAnswers is an online tool that allows you to submit a reference question to a Clarion University librarian.  It also allows you to search a database of frequently asked questions.  You can expect to receive an answer to your question within 24 hours except over weekends, holidays, and university break periods.

LibGuides are research guides authored by Clarion University librarians to help you find needed information on a wide variety of topics.  Clarion University Libraries' complete collection of LibGuides can be accessed here.

Library ID Number
For Clarion University students, your Library ID number (or patron ID) is the number 9 plus your Clarion ID number. Example: 912345678.  If you do not know your Clarion ID number, you can find it by checking here. For Clarion University employees, your Library ID number is a nine-digit number consisting of a series of leading zeros followed by your employee ID number.  (Use enough preceding zeroes to create a nine-digit number.) Example: 000098765.  Your employee ID number can be found on your current pay stub.

A type of periodical. Generally refers to a popular publication issued on a regular basis that is intended for a general reader. Examples of magazines are Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, and Car & Driver. Professors often limit the number of magazines citations that they will accept in a research paper's bibliography or works cited list, since they are not research-based, scholarly publications.

A space-saving format used for the storage of documents that was popular before computers. The use of a microcard reader is needed to read and/or make copies from the microcards. In Carlson Library, a microcard reader is available in the Periodicals area on Level 1. Examples of documents on microcard in Carlson Library include back-files of Hansard's Parliamentary Debates and United Nations Publications.

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A space-saving format used for the storage of documents that was popular before computers. The use of a microfiche reader is needed to read and/or make copies from microfiche. The microfiche is a flat piece of transparent film, usually measuring approximately 4 X 5 1/2 inches. In Carlson Library, a microfilm/microfiche reader is available in the Periodicals area on Level 1. Examples of documents on microfiche in Carlson Library include the back-files of ERIC documents and Early American Imprints.

A space-saving format used for the storage of back issues of newspapers and periodicals that was popular before computers. The transparent film is on a reel or spool. The use of a microfilm reader is needed to read and/or make copies from microfilm. In Carlson Library, two microfilm readers (accommodating two types of microfilm) are available in the Periodicals area on Level 1. An example of a periodical on microfilm in Carlson Library is the back-file of the New York Times newspaper.

Monograph - A book.

Subject/topic-specific research guides that point you toward useful research resources and strategies.

Patron ID Number - See: Library ID Number

Peer-Reviewed Journal - See: Journal

A publication issued periodically on a regular basis. Term is sometimes casually used synonymously with the terms serial, magazine, or journal.

Periodical Article
An article that comes from a periodical (magazine, newspaper, or journal).

Clarion's online public access catalog. Used to look up books, e-books, and media items held by the Libraries using many search options including the most commonly used title search, author search, subject search, and keyword search.

Popular Magazine - See: Magazine 

Professional Journal - See: Journal 

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Oversized books (physically large books).  Also refers to a section of oversized books in Carlson Library. Most of the quartos are on Level A. However, those in the Library of Congress Z classification and N classification are shelved on Level 2. When you are searching in PILOT: The Libraries' online catalog, you you will often find Main Quarto Collection listed as the location. Quartos are designated by a lower case "q" preceding the call number.

If a book/item that you need is checked out of the library and is currently overdue, you may contact the Circulation desk to place a "recall" on the item. Then, the person who has the item will not be permitted to renew it, and you will be notified as soon as it is returned to the library for your use.

Refereed Journal - See: Journal

Reference Books
Books such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, and directories that are often used to answer quick questions or provide background information about a topic before pursuing more detailed research.

A service that allows you to import citations (for books, periodical articles, book chapters, etc.) from various databases or to manually input citations. Then, the citations can be formatted into bibliographies, works cited lists, or reference lists in a wide variety of styles/formats including the commonly used formats of APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), and Chicago/Turabian. RefWorks is accessible from the Library Services category on the Libraries' web site.

Reserves and E-Reserves
Reserve materials are items physically placed in the library (or on electronic reserve) by a professor for use by his/her classes. Clarion campus hard-copy reserve items can be accessed at the Circulation desk in Carlson Library with your valid University ID card. Reserve items for Venango Campus classes can be accessed at the Circulation desk in Suhr Library with your valid University ID card. Many professors place items on E-Reserve, accessible from the Library Services category on the Libraries' web site. You must have the password supplied by your professor to access E-Reserve materials.

A critical, evaluative synopsis. You will find citations to book and film reviews when searching many of the databases available on the Databases A-Z List.

Scholarly Journal - See: Journal

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Serial - See: Periodical

Style Manual
A specific guide for formatting your research papers, citing your research sources, and organizing your works cited list, reference list, or bibliography. Some of the more commonly used style manuals are APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), and Chicago/Turabian.

Subject Headings - See: Controlled Vocabulary

Thesaurus - See: Controlled Vocabulary

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Last Updated:  September, 2013