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Glossary of Library & Technology Terms

Abstract: a short summary of a scholarly article from a journal or magazine which highlights the main points of the text, designed to give the reader an indication of whether the article is worthy of further reading or review. 

Bandwidth: the amount of data that can be transferred in a given amount of time; bandwidth is usually expressed in bits per second (bps). 

Blog: short for "web log;" a website maintained by an individual in a journal style, often pertaining to a particular topic, allowing the author to express his/her own thoughts or opinions, as well as providing the reader with information and links to other relevant websites. 

Browser: a software program that allows the user to navigate the internet, displaying text and images; common browsers include Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. 

Call number: a specific letter and number combination assigned to an item indicating where it is located in a library. 

Circulate: books or other materials available in a library that can be checked out by patrons. 

Citation scheme: a written reference to another work which specifies exactly where the information cited was found; books and articles are commonly cited in academic works. 

Classification: a grouping of things based on shared characteristics; in a library, books are classified according to a particular genre. 

Database: a program used to efficiently organize, manage and update information; libraries subscribe to databases that contain full-text or indexed articles from magazines, journals, newspapers, reference books, or e-books. 

Download: the transfer of a file from one computer to another; this is usually done by modem or network connection. 

E-book: short for "electronic book;" a book or any text that is digitized and made available for viewing via the internet or on a disk. 

Encryption: a procedure that encodes information in a file or e-mail message so that it cannot be read by a third party if intercepted over the network. 

ezProxy: a proxy server that allows patrons to access databases and other library resources off-campus. 

Filter: a program that controls what content is available for viewing on the internet; filters can be applied in e-mail programs to prevent receipt of unsolicited messages from advertisers. 

Firewall: a security device that protects a computer network by isolating it from the rest of the internet and by only permitting specific traffic to pass in and out. 

Host: a main computer which allows users on other computers on the network system to access shared resources, such as files and printers. 

HTML: HyperText Markup Language; a code system which is used to create and display websites on the internet. 

Hypertext: a system in which text and other objects can be linked to each other in a document, such as a website; hypertext will allow a user to view related information in a document by clicking on a highlighted (usually underlined) word. 

Install: to put something in place on a computer for use; software can be copied (installed) onto a computer from disks or a CD-ROM to the hard drive, and hardware components can be added (installed) onto a computer. 

Interlibrary loan: a system of resource-sharing between libraries; when a particular library doesn't have a book that is needed, it contacts another library that has the book to loan it to the patron. 

IP address: Internet Protocol Address; a device used to identify a computer on a network. The IP address is a unique number. 

LAN: Local-Area Network; a network of computers. The computers are generally in a smaller space and are physically connected to each other. See also Network and WAN. 

LISTSERV: a program that operates mailing lists for particular groups of people; when a message is sent to the LISTSERV, it is automatically sent to every member of the group. 

Microfilm: a reel of film containing miniature photographs of periodicals or other documents, arranged in sequential order; special reader machines are required to view documents on microfilm. 

Network: a group of computers that are linked together to communicate with each other; a network can be a small group of computers physically connected via cables (a local-area network, or LAN), or a group of smaller networks connected together (a wide-area network, or WAN); the internet is a group of networks. See also LAN and WAN. 

PDF: Portable Document Format; a PDF file is a facsimile of a printed document that can be transmitted electronically, thus preserving its original format and being displayed as it was intended. 

Periodical: any journal, magazine or newspaper in a library, either in print, microfilm, or electronic format; periodicals are published at regular stated intervals throughout the years, with no planned conclusion. See also Serial, Microfilm. 

POP: Post Office Protocol; a protocol which allows a user to access e-mail from a mail server. The server holds e-mail that has been received until the user has read or downloaded it. 

Reserves: items that can be viewed within the library for a limited period of time, usually at the request of a course instructor, so that all students have an opportunity to use them. 

RSS: Rich Site Summary/Real Simple Syndication; a system that produces web feeds, which allow users to receive updates from certain websites. 

Search: the process of finding information on the internet or within a database; a search is conducted using a search engine that allows the user to find websites by entering relevant keyword or subject terms. See also Database. 

Serial: a periodical or book containing information which is published at regular intervals throughout the year; serials can be published weekly, monthly, annually, etc. See also Periodical. 

Server: a computer on a network that shares its resources, including printers, files, and disk space, with other computers on the network. 

Style manual: a book dictating the proper use of grammar, punctuation, and citation in writing, primarily used by academics and publishers. 

Upload: to transmit data from a computer to a network; if a user wants to send a file to another computer, it must first be transmitted from the computer to the network. 

URL: Uniform Resource Locator; the address of a website or resource on the Internet. 

WAN: Wide-Area Network; a network of computers that are connected together. The computers are generally placed far apart and are connected through telephone lines or radio waves. See also LAN and Network. 

XML: Extensible Markup Language; a system for organizing elements of a Web document. 

Zipped: a format for compressing data; programs or documents can be compressed into a ZIP file, which requires less space than other formats.