Abstract – A summary of a journal or magazine article, book. Use abstracts to determine of the content of the reading is relevant to your topic.

Annotated bibliography – A bibliography containing citation information, and including commentary on each source.

Archives – A collection of documents, media and other items, usually having historic significance.

Article – A self-contained reading on a subject, usually associated with periodicals or journals, but also found in books and encyclopedias. Periodical and journal articles may be more current than those collected in books.




Bibliography – A listing of materials used (books, articles, media, etc.) used in the research of a project, usually presented at the end of the paper or book, and useful for finding additional relevant materials on a topic. Also, a collection of recommended reading on a particular subject.

Biography – An account of a person's life, in whole or in part.

Boolean operators – The use of and, or, and not in relation to search terms, to define and refine the parameters of a search.

Bound periodicals – Issues of periodicals that have been bound together in chronological order.



Call number – The numbers/letters assigned to each item in a library collection. Commonly used systems are Dewey Decimal and the Library of Congress Classification Systems. TESC Library uses the Library of Congress System.

Catalog – The “index” of the items in a library collection. Frequently kept electronically, but card catalogs can still be found.

Circulation Desk – The “front desk” of the library. This is where you commonly check items out, return items, pick up reserved items, etc. At TESC, this is also where you pick up items that you request through SUMMIT or ILLiad (Interlibrary Loan), or items on Closed Reserve (items placed on reserve by faculty only for their program students), and is separate from the Reference Desk.

Citation – A reference made to a source used, whether that source is print, image, or media, including Internet sources. Citations should include the information someone would need to find the source materials. There are different accepted formalized citation styles, including MLA, APA, and Chicago. Instructors will generally have a preference.\



Database – An organized collection of information, searchable by means of computer or similar device, using various parameters. In the library, the term is occasionally used to describe the electronic indexes and contents of the catalog.

Descriptor – A subject heading assigned to a document by an indexer of a database, to describe its subject matter.

Domain – The suffix (ie: .gov, .org, .edu, .com, etc.) of a web site address. This can give some indication of the origin of the information contained on the site.





Field – The category or categories that are examined when a search engine searches a library database: author, title, subject, keyword, etc.

Full text – A journal or other article available in its entirety from a database or online source. A full text database is a database that has full text articles available for download (ie: Proquest). Other databases may have only citations or abstracts available.



Government documents – Documents that are published by a government agency.



Hold (or Request) – A patron may place a request on an item that is currently checked out. At TESC this may be done online via the Library Catalog from anywhere a patron has web access.



ILLiad – Interlibrary Loan system used at TESC. Not the same as SUMMIT.

Index – A listing at the back of a book, containing alphabetically organized subjects or topics and the pages on which they are found. Pages with images may be indicated by italics or bolding. Also a listing of items that may be found in a database, as in an abstract index.



Journal – A scholarly or academic periodical, often published by an organization or society, collecting the articles written about a subject by and for researchers/academics in a field. Journals specialize in specific fields of study. Some journals are described as peer-reviewed.



Keyword – In a search of a database, the word or words (see Boolean Operators) that describe the main topic of a book or other item. Less precise than a subject search, which uses specific subject headings.




LCSH - Library of Congress Subject Headings. The specific subject headings into which the Library of Congress Classification System breaks down. When doing a keyword search, look at the LC subject headings listed under an item heading to help you refine your search.

Library Catalog – (see Catalog)

Library of Congress Classification System – A system developed to organize books and other media by subject. This is the system used by the TESC Library.



Magazine – A periodical intended for laymen and non-professionals. These rarely contain footnotes or bibliography, and content may be influenced by advertisers. May or may not be an appropriate source, depending on circumstances.

Microfiche/Microfilm – A format of storage frequently used for periodicals and government documents. Both forms are reduced reproductions of the original that are read with the appropriate machine. Microfiche is flat sheets of film, microfilm is on rolls.

Monograph – A book.







Peer-reviewed – Usually said of journals. Peer-reviewed journals only publish articles that have been approved by a panel of experts in a field of study. Some research projects require that you only use peer-reviewed sources.

Periodicals – Magazines, newspapers, journals, newsletters, etc. Publications released on a schedule at least twice a year. Also referred to as “serials” because they are produced in series.

Plagiarism – Failure to properly attribute/cite information, unless that information can be considered “common knowledge.”

Primary source – A source from the time of an event. The account of an eyewitness, some newspaper articles, news footage, correspondence, diaries, as well as artifacts from the time of the event are all examples of primary sources. There are also “secondary sources” and “tertiary sources”.







Record – The description of a single item in a library catalog.

Reference Desk – The “gateway” to the Reference collection. Reference items do not leave the library, and are meant to help provide basic information. The reference librarians can help with questions about locating materials, and generally help patrons to use the library.




Search engine – A software program (Yahoo, Google, etc.) that endeavors to facilitate navigation of the web by searching web pages and other Internet resources either by keyword or by category, and presenting the results. There are many search engines, and they are quite different. Finding one that is most intuitive to you requires experimentation.

Secondary source – A source that endeavors to interpret or analyze, or otherwise relies on, primary sources. Criticism, textbooks, some magazine articles, and commentaries are examples of secondary sources. See also primary and tertiary sources.

Stacks – The physical shelving areas in a library.

Subject headings – This is a controlled vocabulary that is used to describe the different subjects into which a library catalog is broken down. In the Library of Congress Classification System, this aspect is central to searching by subject heading. In other words, you need to know exactly what phrases are used to describe the aspects of the subject you are researching. The subject headings are listed in the record of the item in the catalog.

Subscription database – Some databases require a subcription to access. The library pays for the subscription, so you have access from the library. In some cases, you can access from home with a password.

SUMMIT – At Evergreen, a method of searching a pool of regional libraries for an item that is not available for check-out at our library. Books requested through SUMMIT are transferred to our library for the patron to check out, and are currently due back 3 weeks from check-out. Not the same as ILLiad.




Tertiary sources – A source that uses or collects secondary sources and primary sources. Most web sites are tertiary sources, except for .gov. See also “primary” and “secondary sources”.

Trade journals – Industry or trade-based journals that fall somewhere between magazines and academic journals in complexity of subject.

Truncation – The use of a symbol or “wildcard,” usually an asterisk (*) to add flexibility to a search word. Used with keyword searching. Adding a wildcard to the end of a base word can bring back that word with numerous different endings.




URL (Uniform Resource Locater) – A “web address.” The URL for the home page of TESC's web site is







Web, The; the World Wide Web – The Internet. An information system of servers and clients through which users can access data on other computers on a global scale.

Wildcard – Wildcards are symbols that add flexibility to a keyword search by extending the parameters of a search word. This can help if you are not certain of spelling, or only know part of a term, or want all available spellings of a word (British and American English, for example). “*” stands for one-or-more characters (useful for all suffixes or prefixes), “#” stands for a single character, and “?” stands for zero-to-nine characters.










Glossary Sources: