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Library Terminology

Dictionary of common library terms.


Scholarly Article

See Peer-Reviewed Article.

Scholarly Journal

See Peer-Reviewed Journal.


1. The focus of a work.

2. The purpose of a library collection that determines what resources are included or excluded.

Search Engine

A computer or web program that searches for keywords and topics using natural language. Examples: Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.

Secondary Source

A work that discusses or analyzes primary sources. Examples: biographies, bibliographies, journal articles, literary criticisms, etc.


A work that is published in successive parts on a regular or irregular schedule and intended to continue publication indefinitely. Examples: magazines, journals, newspapers, yearbooks, etc.


A collection of individual works published under individual titles and a collective series title. Each work is often assigned an individual series number.


A collection of related materials.


See Bookstacks / Book Stacks.

Study Carrel

See Carrel.

Style Manual

A composition guide that describes the formatting and citation rules of a particular profession, publisher, or discipline. Examples: MLA, APA, and Chicago

Subject Heading / Subject Term

A standardized words or phrase describing the topic(s) of an item. Used in library catalogs, indexes, and databases to connect related items and facilitate topical searches.

Subject Searching

Using a subject term or combination of subject terms to search a library catalog or database. Only the subject field within a catalog or database record are examined for the search word(s).


An addition to a work after it had been published.

Click a letter, then click on a word.