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Chinese Studies

Resources for the study of Chinese history, language, and literature.

Library Terminology

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  • Abstract
    • ​an abbreviated, accurate representation of a work, usually without added interpretation or criticism, accompanied by a bibliographic reference to the work when appearing separately from it (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Annotation
    • a note accompanying an entry in a bibliography, reading list, or catalog intended to describe, explain, or evaluate the referenced publication (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Archives
    • the organized body of noncurrent records made or received in connection with the transaction of its affairs by a government or a government agency, institution, organization, or other corporate body and the personal papers of a family or individual, which are preserved because of their endearing value (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
    • the agency responsible for selecting, preserving, and making available such materials (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).


  • Bibliographic Description
    • in cataloging, the description of a bibliographic item divided into the following areas: title and statement of responsibility; edition; details specific to the material (or type of publication); publication, distribution, etc.; physical description; series; notes of useful information that cannot be fitted into other areas; and standard number and terms of availability. Each area is divided into a number of bibliographic elements (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Bibliographic Item
    • a document or set of documents in any physical form, published, issued, or treated as an entity and as such forming the basis for a single bibliographic description (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Bibliographic Record
    • a record of a bibliographic item which comprises all data contained in or accommodated by a bibliographic format such as MARC (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Bibliographic Reference 
    • a set of bibliographic elements essential to the identification of a work, document, or other bibliographic item to which a reference is made (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Bibliography 
    • a list of works consulted in creating a publication, usually listed at the end of the publication (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Boolean Logic
    • operators (AND, OR, NOT) that connect search words together to either narrow or broaden search results. AND in a search narrows results by telling the database that all results must contain all search terms. OR in a search broadens results by telling the database that all results must contain any of the search terms. NOT in a search narrows results by telling the database that all results must ignore concepts used in the search (MIT Libraries, n.d.). 


  • Call Number
    • ​the set of symbols identifying a particular item in a library collection and indicating its location (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Catalog
    • a file of bibliographic records, created according to specific and uniform principles of construction and under the control of an authority file that describes the materials contained in a collection, library, or group of libraries (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).

  • Check Out
    • to lend an item from the library collection to a borrower and maintain a record of the loan (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Circulation Desk
    • a service point where items from the library collection are charged and discharged (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Citation
    • a note referring to a work from which a passage is quoted or to some source as authority for a statement or proposition. A citation can take the form of a note or can be within the text of a work, frequently offset by parentheses (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Class
    • a group of concepts or things formed on the basis of a common characteristic (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Classification System
    • a particular series or system of classes arranged in some order according to some principle or conception, purpose, or interest, or with some combination of such (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Collection
    • the total accumulation of materials provided by a library for its target group (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Copyright
    • the legal provision of exclusive rights to reproduce and distribute a work (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Course Reserve
    • library- or outside-owned items placed in the library or online via the library website by teachers, faculty, or staff for easy access. Items are often retrievable by course number, professor name, and/or title and circulate for a short period of time (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Criticism
    • the analysis and evaluation of a work, most often seen in literature (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).



  • Database
    • an organized collection of computer records such as bibliographic data, documents that are full-text, abstracts, images and more (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013)
      • examples include JSTOR, Academic Search Complete, etc.
  • Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) System
    • any classification system that uses a notation based on decimal numbers. The DDC system divides knowledge into ten main classes, with further subdivisions, accompanied by decimal notation (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013)
  • Document
    • a physical entity of any substance on which is recorded all or part of a work or multiple works. Documents include books and book-like materials, printed sheets, graphics, manuscripts, sound recordings, video recordings, motion pictures, and computer files (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).


  • Edition
    • in the case of books and book-like materials, all copies produced from essentially the same type image (whether by direct contact or by photographic or other methods) and issued by the same entity (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Electronic book or e-book
    • an electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device such as a tablet or electronic book reader (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Electronic publication
    • a publication available in a digital format (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Entry
    • a record of an item in a catalog (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).


  • Field
    • an element or group of elements in a bibliographic record (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Full Text
    • describing an electronic resource that includes the complete textual content (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).


  • Heading
    • an access point to a bibliographic record in the form prescribed by a catalog code, under which the record may be searched and identified (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).

  • Index
    • an systematic guide to the contents of a file, document, or group of documents, consisting of an ordered arrangement of terms or other symbols representing the contents and references, code numbers, page numbers, etc., for accessing the contents (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Information
    • all ideas, facts, and imaginative works of the mind that have been communicated, recorded, published and/or distributed formally or informally in any format (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Interlibrary Loan (ILL)
    • a transaction in which, upon request, one library lends an item from its collection, or furnishes a copy of the item, to another library not under the same administration or on the same campus (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).


  • Journal
    • ​a periodical, especially one containing scholarly articles and/or disseminating current information on research and development in a particular subject (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).



  • Keyword
    • a significant word in the abstract, title, or text of a work that is used as a descriptor. Can be considered a type of search term (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013)

  • Library of Congress Classification System (LCCS)
    • a classification system developed and used at the Library of Congress. Now used by other libraries, it is the most widely used classification system. Information is categorized into one of twenty-one classes identified by letters and numbers (The Library of Congress, October 1, 2014).



  • Materials
    • physical entities of any substance that serve as carriers of information; for example, books, graphics, sound discs, and videodiscs (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Microform
    • a reproduction of an object, such as a source document, that is too small to be read or viewed without magnification. Examples include microfilm and microfiche (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013)
  • Monograph
    • a bibliographic resource that is complete in one part or intended to be completed within a finite number of parts(Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).


  • Note 
    • a statement explaining the text or indicating the basis for an assertion or the source of material quoted (a citation). Notes may appear at the end of a book as endnotes, at the end of a chapter, at the foot of a page of text as footnotes, or in the margin as marginal notes (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).



  • Patron
    • a library advocate or supporter; synonymous with library user (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Peer-Reviewed Source
    • a publication that has undergone peer review, the process by one or more experts in a field read a manuscript, generally of an article or book, to determine whether it should be published. This is usually a blind process in which neither the reviewers nor the author are aware of the others' identity (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Periodical
    • a serial appearing or intended to appear indefinitely at regular or stated intervals, generally more frequently than an annual, each issue of which is numbered or dated consecutively and normally contains separate articles, stories, or other writings. Newspapers disseminating general news, and the proceedings, papers, or other publications of corporate bodies primarily related to their meetings, are not included in this term (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Primary Source
    • a fundamental, authoritative document relating to a subject, used in the preparation of a later work (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Publication
    • the act or process of distributing copies of a work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. The offering to distribute copies to a group of persons for purposes of further distribution, public performance, or public display also constitutes publication (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
    • a published document (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).



  • Recall
    • a request by a library to a borrower for the return of a borrowed item before the due date (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Record
    • a set of data items or fields, standardized in format and content, and treated as a unit (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
    • In archives, an electronic or physical document made or received and maintained by an organization or institution in pursuance of its legal obligations or in the transaction of its business (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Reference
    • a set of bibliographic elements that refers to a work and is complete enough to provide unique identification of that work for a particular bibliographic function (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Renewal Transaction 
    • the act of extending a circulation transaction for a period of time beyond that of the original loan period (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).



  • Secondary Source
    • a source created from the examination and interpretation of primary sources (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Serial
    • a publication in any medium issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely. Serials include periodicals; newspapers; annuals (reports, yearbooks, etc.); the journals, memoirs, proceedings, transactions, etc., of societies; and numbered monographic series (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Series
    • a group of separate items related to one another by the fact that each item bears, in addition to its own title proper, a collective title applying to the group as a whole. The individual items may or may not be numbered (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Source
    • a document that provides information (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
    • the publisher, vendor, or author from which a document originates (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Special Collection
    • a collection of library materials separated from the general collection because they are of a certain form, on a certain subject, of a certain period or geographical area, rare, fragile, or valuable (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Stack
    • frequently used in the plural (stacks), a series of bookcases or sections of shelving, arranged in rows or ranges, freestanding or multi-tiered, for the storage of the library's principal collection (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Subject Heading
    • an access point to a bibliographic record consisting of a word or phrase designating the subject of the work(s) contained in the bibliographic item (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • Superintendent of Documents (SuDocs) Classification 
    • the classification system used by the US SuDoc for the arrangement of federal government publications. Arrangement is basically by issuing agency (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013)
  • Synopsis
    • a condensed, orderly abridgment of a written work, such as the skeletal plot of a novel and the main points of a periodical article, often prepared by someone other than the author of the original (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013)


  • Title
    • the distinguishing name of a work or a subdivision of it, such as the chapter of a book (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).  


  • UBorrow
    • allows you to request materials directly from participating libraries within Florida’s state university and college systems.  This unmediated borrowing service increases access to the collections of other universities and colleges in Florida and delivers more quickly than standard Interlibrary Loan (ILL) (Florida State University Libraries, n.d.). 

  • Volume
    • in the bibliographic sense, a major division of a bibliographic item regardless of its designation by the publisher, distinguished from other major divisions of the same item by having its own inclusive title page, half title, cover title, or portfolio title, and usually independent pagination, foliation, or signatures (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).  
    • In the material sense, all that is contained in one binding, whether as originally issued or as bound after issue (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
    • The collective issues of a periodical that constitutes the whole or a consecutive part of a definite publishing period, either bound or unbound (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013)



  • Work
    • ​bibliographically defined, a specific body of recorded information in the form of words, numerals, sounds, images, or any other symbols, as distinct from the substance on which it is recorded (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).
  • WorldCat
    • a union catalog managed by OCLC (Levine-Clark & Carter, 2013).



Florida State University Libraries. (n.d.). UBorrow. Retrieved from 

Levine-Clark, M., & Carter, T.M. (Eds.). (2013). ALA glossary of library and information science (4th ed.). Chicago: ALA Editions. 

MIT Libraries. (n.d.). Boolean operators. Retrieved from 

The Library of Congress. (2014, Oct. 1). Library of congress classification. Retrieved from


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