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Abbreviation for audio-visual. That is, DVDs, CDs, videos filmstrips, motion pictures, slides, etc. Sometimes also referred to as non-book materials.



1. Summary of the main content of an information source, such as a journal article. Abstracts may be included with the citations in an online index such as a database.


2. A brief, objective summary of the essential content of a book, article, speech, report, dissertation, or other work that presents the main points in the same order as the original but has no independent literary value. An abstract can be indicative, informative, critical, or written from a particular point of view (slanted). In a scholarly journal article, the abstract follows the title and the name(s) of the author(s) and precedes the text. In an entry in a printed indexing and abstracting service or bibliographic database, the abstract accompanies the citation. 1.


Academic dishonesty
The University of Newcastle defines academic dishonesty as comprising two major categories, academic fraud and plagiarism.



Academic fraud
Academic fraud is making a false representation to gain an unjust advantage. Academic fraud includes:


Academic integrity
Academic integrity governs the way in which you research and write while at University. It is founded on the principles of respect for knowledge, truth, scholarship and acting with honesty. These principles and values are the foundation of academia.



The quality of correctness as to fact and precision as to detail in information resources and in the delivery of information services. In libraries, it is essential that the resources used by librarians to provide reference service be free of error. Accuracy is also an important criterion in judging the reliability of information provided on the Internet. The accuracy of a statement can be verified by checking other sources that provide the same information. The opposite of inaccuracy (the quality of being incorrect or mistaken). 1.



A new name or word that is pronounceable and hence memorable, coined from the first, or first few letters or parts of a phrase or compound term. For example, UNESCO stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. 1.



The knowledge and experience that qualifies a person to write or speak as an expert on a given subject. In the academic community, authority is based on credentials, previously published works on the subject, institutional affiliation, awards, imprint, reviews, patterns of citation, etc. 1.





1. Judgment unfairly influenced by subjective opinion when the situation calls for reliance based on objective fact. 1.


2. To give a bias or one-sided tendency or direction to; to incline to one side; to influence, affect (often unduly or unfairly). 2.



In the context of scholarly publication, a list of references to sources cited in the text of an article or book, or suggested by the author for further reading, usually given at the end of the work. 1.


Blind peer review
Review process in which journal articles are reviewed by independent reviewers. In "double blind" peer review, neither the author nor the reviewers know each others' identities.



In computing, to mark a document or a specific location in a document for subsequent retrieval. Most web browser software includes a "bookmark" or "favourites" option that allows an Internet address (URL) to be archived, enabling the user to revisit the site without having to retype the address or repeat the original search from scratch. 1.



A system of logic developed by the English mathematician George Boole (1815-64) that enables the combining of words or phrases when searching an online catalogue or bibliographic database by keywords. Three logical commands (sometimes called "operators") are available in most search software:


  1. The OR command is used to expand retrieval by including synonyms and related terms in the query. For example, "violence or conflict or aggression"
  2. The AND command is used to narrow search results. Each time another concept is added using "and," the search becomes more specific. In some online catalogues and databases, the "and" command is implicit (no need to type it between terms). In other interfaces, keywords will be searched as a phrase if not separated by "and." For example, violence and television and children
  3. The NOT command is used to exclude unwanted records from search results. For example, television not news 1.



Broader term
In a hierarchical classification system, a subject heading or descriptor that includes another term as a subclass, for example, "libraries" listed as a broader term under "school libraries." In some indexing systems, a subject heading or descriptor may have more than one broader term, for example, "documentation" and "library science" under "cataloguing."1.


Computer programs that provide access to sites on the Internet. For example, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Safari.




Call number
A unique code printed on a label attached to the outside of an item in a library collection, usually the lower spine of a book, DVD, journal, etc. Call numbers are also displayed in library catalogue records, to identify the specific copy of the work and give its location on a library shelf.

In most collections, a call number is composed of a classification number followed by additional notation to make the call number unique. This gives a classified arrangement to the library shelves that facilitates browsing. Generally, the class number is followed by an author mark to distinguish the work from others of the same class, followed by a work mark to distinguish the title from other works of the same class by the same author, and sometimes other information such as publication date, volume number, copy number, and location symbol. 1.



A list of items in a collection systematically ordered to enable users to retrieve the record of each item by searching the fields under which it is catalogued, that is, the title, author, etc.



A reference which lists the bibliographic details of the material paraphrased, mentioned or quoted in your research. The reference provides information such as title, author, journal title, volume, issue, publisher and date of publication so as to identify the specific resource used.



A number of documents (books, reports, records, etc.) assembled in a single physical or virtual location by one or more persons, or by a corporate entity, and arranged in some kind of systematic order to facilitate retrieval. See also: Library collection. 1.



Involves working with others without permission to produce work which is then presented as work completed independently by the student (unauthorised collaboration). Collusion is a form of plagiarism. Students should not knowingly allow their work to be copied. 6.



Common knowledge
Something which is generally known. Information which is not of a specialist or arcane nature, nor which requires specific study or training.



Copyright is a type of legal protection for people who express ideas and information in certain forms. The most common forms are: writing, visual images, music and moving images. 3.

Refer also to: Australian Copyright Council Online Information Centre 3.



A large, regularly updated file of digitized information (bibliographic records, abstracts, full text documents, directory entries, images, statistics, etc.) related to a specific subject or field, consisting of records of uniform format organized for ease and speed of search and retrieval and managed with the aid of database management system (DBMS) software. Content is created by the database producer (for example, the American Psychological Association), which usually publishes a print version (Psychological Abstracts) and leases the content to one or more database vendors (EBSCO, OCLC, etc.) that provide electronic access to the data after it has been converted to machine-readable form (PsycINFO), usually online via the Internet, using proprietary search software.

Most databases used in libraries are catalogues, periodical indexes, abstracting services, and full text reference resources leased annually under licensing agreements that limit access to registered borrowers and library staff. 1.



Used in databases, a list of terms indexed with the bibliographic record and represents the subject content of the item.




1. In publishing; a person who reviews and checks the content of a document before publication so as to assure its quality and accuracy.


2. In computing; an application used to make changes to the text in existing programs or documents.



To assess or appraise the quality, relevance, objectivity and accuracy of information.




A brief note at the bottom of a page explaining or expanding upon a point in the text or indicating the source of a quotation or idea attributed by the author to another person. Footnotes are indicated in the text by an arabic numeral in superscript, or a reference mark, and are usually printed in a smaller size of the font used for the text. When numbered, the sequence usually starts with 1 at the beginning of each chapter but may occasionally start with 1 at the beginning of each page. Compare with endnote and in-text citation. 1.



1. Documents available online which are complete and entire.


2. An electronic resource that provides the entire text of a single work (example: Britannica Online) or of articles published in one or more journals, magazines, and/or newspapers. For example, a bibliographic database that provides the complete text of a significant proportion of the works indexed, in addition to the bibliographic citation and (in many cases) an abstract of the content (example: JSTOR). Also spelled full text and fulltext. 1.




A formally established project to be conducted by a number of students in common, resulting in a single piece of assessment or a number of associated pieces of assessment. 6.




Home page
The first or main page of a site on the Internet, displayed whenever a user logs on to a browser and opens the site address (URL). The filename at the end of a homepage address is often home.html, index.html, main.html, or something similar. A well-designed homepage gives the title of the site, name of author, host, date of last update, notice of copyright, table of contents, and links to subpages providing more detailed information about the site, usually the best starting point when navigating the site for the first time. Also spelled homepage. 1.




Information literacy
Skill in finding the information one needs, including an understanding of how libraries are organized, familiarity with the resources they provide (including information formats and automated search tools), and knowledge of commonly used research techniques. The concept also includes the skills required to critically evaluate information content and employ it effectively, as well as an understanding of the technological infrastructure on which information transmission is based, including its social, political, and cultural context and impact. 1.



Information sources
Each item of information is created in context to its originator's purpose, whether it was to inform, entertain, or educate and its quality and value depends on the information need.


Stands for 'Internet Protocol'.
It is the numerical address of every computer connected to the Internet; somewhat like a person's telephone number. It consists of four groups of numbers with each group separated by a full stop. For example, 333.128.267.909



Instructional words
Instructional words indicate the approach required in responding to an assignment, and provide clear a indication of how to construct or write an answer to a question. Common instructional words include; analyse, comment, contrast, discuss, evaluate, explain, outline, review and summarise.



Intellectual property
1. The rights of creative workers in literary, artistic, industrial and scientific fields which can be protected either by copyright or trademarks, patents, etc. 5.


2. Tangible products of the human mind and intelligence entitled to the legal status of personal property, especially works protected by copyright, inventions that have been patented, and registered trademarks. An idea is considered the intellectual property of its creator only after it has been recorded or made manifest in specific form. 1.



Interlibrary loan
When a book or other item needed by a registered borrower is checked out, unavailable for some other reason, or not owned by the library, a patron may request that it be borrowed from another library by filling out a printed interlibrary loan request form at a service desk, or electronically via the library's web site. Some libraries also accept ILL requests via e-mail or by telephone, usually under exceptional circumstances. Materials borrowed on interlibrary loan may usually be renewed on or before the due date. 1.



Internet Service Provider (ISP)
A company that provides access to the Internet for a fee.



Person acting as a supervisor during exams.




A publication with a set title, issued at regular and stated intervals (eg. quarterly), which is intended to continue being published for an indefinite period into the future. A journal contains documents, usually articles, written by different authors. The contents of any specific issue of a given journal will vary, however, most journals publish documents which deal with a particular academic discipline, subject or area of research. For example, Journal of Air Transportation, International Journal of Educational Research.

Journals and especially scholarly journals, contain articles written by individuals with specialist knowledge and relevant qualifications in the subject and who will often have conducted the original research as described in the article. Articles are accompanied by extensive citations, a bibliography and commonly also include an abstract.




1. A word (or phrase) used when searching an index such as an online database. Unlike subject headings, keywords are not part of the subject vocabulary of the database.


2. Descriptive word or phrase found in a record in an electronic database that aids in retrieval of documents. In full text searching, every word in a document becomes a keyword. A thesaurus is often constructed to list acceptable keywords. 4.




Legitimate collaboration
Any constructive educational and intellectual practice that aims to facilitate optimal learning outcomes through interaction between students. 6.



Library collection
The total accumulation of books and other materials owned by a library, catalogued and arranged for ease of access, which often consists of several smaller collections (reference, circulating books, serials, government documents, rare books, special collections, etc.). The process of building a library collection over time is called collection development. Synonymous with holdings. 1.



Allows search results to be limited by specific fields included in the database records. For example, many databases allow limiting by language, year of publication, publication title title, full text only, etc.



Local area network or LAN
A communications network restricted to a relatively small geographic area, often within a single building or group of adjacent buildings such as a college, university, or corporate campus, consisting of at least one high-speed server, client workstations, a network operating system, and a communications link. 1.



A popular interest periodical usually containing articles on a variety of topics, written by various authors in a non scholarly style. Most magazines are heavily illustrated, contain advertising, and are printed on glossy paper. Articles are usually short (less than five pages long), frequently unsigned, and do not include a bibliography or list of references for further reading. Most magazines are issued monthly or weekly for sale at newsstands, in bookstores, and by subscription. 1.


See also: Journal


A search for information using software designed to optimize retrieval by querying multiple web search engines and combining all of the results. Dogpile and Monster Crawler are commonly used metasearch engines. 1.




Narrower term
In a hierarchical classification system, a subject heading or descriptor representing a subclass of a class indicated by another term, for example, "music librarianship" under "librarianship." A subject heading or descriptor may have more than one narrower term (also "comparative librarianship" under "librarianship"). 1.



In a search strategy, grouping similar terms together within parentheses to control the order in which a complex search is performed. Nesting allows the use of two or more boolean operations within the one search statement.



A group of physically discrete computers interconnected to allow resources to be shared and data exchanged, usually by means of telecommunication links and client/server architecture. Most networks are administered by an operations center that provides assistance to users. The largest "network of networks" in the world is the Internet, allowing users of computers of all types and sizes to communicate in real time. 1.




To restate, concisely and in your own words, the sense or meaning of a text or passage from a book or journal article, etc.



Peer reviewed
A "quality control" and editorial procedure used in academic publishing, whereby a panel of experts checks (reviews) the validity and accuracy of the content of a document prior to its publication. The peer review process is a distinguishing feature of scholarly journals and is crucial to maintaining high standards and accuracy and authority.



A magazine or other publication where the issues appear at stated or regular intervals and which is intended to go on indefinitely. Usually, each issue contains articles by several contributors.


See also: Journal
See also: Magazine



Periodical index
A collection of citations to journals or magazines. A good periodical index provides numerous access points, from author and title, to subject and publisher, to allow the user to find the needed information.



The presentation of the thoughts or works of another as one's own. This includes:


See also: Self-plagiarism



Primary sources
In scholarship, a document or record containing first hand information or original data on a topic, used in preparing a derivative work. Primary sources include original manuscripts, periodical articles reporting original research or thought, diaries, memoirs, letters, journals, photographs, drawings, posters, film footage, sheet music, songs, interviews, government documents, public records, eye-witness accounts, newspaper clippings, etc. 1.



Proximity operators and searching
Used in searching, when terms are required to appear within a certain number of words from each other. Proximity operators include "near, "adjacent" and "with", and increase the chance of finding relevant information.



Refereed see Peer reviewed



A conventional word or phrase used in a work to refer the reader to another part of the text (see above or see below) or a similar word or phrase used in an index, catalogue, or reference work to direct the user from one heading or entry to another (see or see also). Also refers to any Latin phrase used in footnotes, endnotes, and bibliographies to refer the reader to works previously quoted or cited, for example, ibid. and op. cit. Sometimes used synonymously with citation.
Also refers to a letter written in support of a person's application for employment or housing, usually by someone familiar with the applicant's qualifications or reputation, or to a person who agrees to be contacted for such a recommendation, usually by telephone. 1.



Reference book
A book designed to be consulted when authoritative information is needed, rather than read cover to cover. Reference books often consist of a series of signed or unsigned "entries" listed alphabetically under headwords or headings, or in some other arrangement (classified, numeric, etc.). The category includes almanacs, atlases, bibliographies, biographical sources, catalogues, concordances, dictionaries, directories, discographies and filmographies, encyclopedias, glossaries, handbooks, indexes, manuals, research guides, union lists, yearbooks, etc., whether published commercially or as government documents. Long reference works may be issued in multivolume sets, with any indexes in the last volume. Reference works that require continuous updating may be published serially, sometimes as loose-leaf services. 1.



Referencing styles
A set of rules for the consistent method of formatting in-text references and bibliographies. The style used may be determined by the subject area, your lecturer or school. Some of the more popular referencing styles include, APA, Harvard, Chicago, MLA and Vancouver.



Related terms
A descriptor or subject heading closely related to another term conceptually but not hierarchically, for example, "media specialists" listed as a related term under "school libraries."1.



1. The quality of being reliable, reliableness.


2. Statistics. The extent to which a measurement made repeatedly in identical circumstances will yield concordant results. 2.



Research strategy
A plan or scheme by which the activity of searching for and assessing information found is carried out. A search strategy usually involves a number of steps. Firstly, the analysis of the major concepts of the topic. Secondly, defining relevant keywords and their synonyms. Thirdly, searching appropriate information sources (eg. databases), and fourthly, assessing the quantity and quality (relevance) of the information found.




Search engine
A web site comprised of a large database of web sites. A search engine's spider (computer program) collects the web pages. The search engine then allows visitors to do keyword searching to find appropriate pages.



Search Terms
Keywords or phrases used in a search strategy to retrieve relevant records from a catalogue or library database.



Secondary source
Any published or unpublished work that is one step removed from the original source. Secondary sources usually describe, summarise, analyse, evaluate, derive from, or are based on primary source material. For example, a review, critical analysis, second hand account, or biographical or historical study. Also refers to material other than primary sources used in the preparation of a written work.



Reusing your own work that has been submitted previously as an assessed item for another course.


See also: Plagiarism



A word or phrase that has the same (or very nearly the same) meaning as another term in the same language, for example, the terms "book jacket" and "dust jacket." Synonyms in a language are collected in a thesaurus, available in the reference section of most libraries. 1.



The skill of analysing and integrating information and developing knowledge of concepts and interpretations. For example, reading several journal articles to identify common theories from different points of view.




A book that lists words in groups of synonyms and related concepts. 2. For example, The Macquarie Thesaurus or Roget's Thesaurus.



The quality of being timely. 2. The importance of timeliness of sources of information varies depending on its use. For topics relating to current technologies it is important the information is up-to-date. For other information needs it may be more relevant to use original or older sources for its historical significance.



The dropping of characters and the addition of a symbol at the end, beginning, or within a word in a keywords search to retrieve variant forms. Truncation is particularly useful in retrieving the singular and plural forms of a word in the same search.


Example: *librar* to retrieve records containing "interlibrary," "intralibrary," "librarian," "librariana," "librarianship," "libraries," "library," etc.


In most online catalogues and bibliographic databases, the end truncation symbol is the * (asterisk), but since the truncation symbol is not standardized, other symbols may be used (?, $, #, +). In some databases, the user may add a number after the symbol to specify how many characters the symbol may represent (example: facet?1 to retrieve "facets" but not "faceted" or "facetiae").


As a general rule, it is unwise to truncate fewer than four characters (example: art* retrieves "artist," "artistic," "artistry," and "artwork" but also "artichoke," "artillery," etc.). Some databases are designed to truncate automatically. Searchers are advised to read carefully any help screens before truncating in an unfamiliar database. Synonymous with character masking. 1.




Stands for Uniform Resource Locator. URLs are the "names" of web sites and read as punctuated statements. For example; - which is the web name of the University.




1. The quality of being valid in law; legal authority, force, or strength.


2. The quality of being well-founded on fact, or established on sound principles, and thoroughly applicable to the case or circumstances; soundness and strength (of argument, proof, authority, etc.). a. In the phrase of...validity. 2.




In some databases and search engines the search software allows the user to insert a special character in the middle of a search term to retrieve records containing words with any or no characters in that position. Wildcards are useful for retrieving irregular plurals and variant spelling of words. The wildcard symbol will vary between databases.




Sources of definitions

  1. Reitz, Joan M. (2004). Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science. URL: ODLIS -

  2. Oxford English Dictionary Online.

  3. Australian Copyright Council. (2003). Online Information Centre. URL:

  4. McIntyre Library, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire (2004). Library Glossary. URL:

  5. Macquarie Dictionary : Australia's National Dictionary. -- Revised 3rd ed. -- [North Ryde], N.S.W. : Macquarie University, 2001

  6. Student Academic Integrity - Policy 000608. URL: