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Library Terminology

A glossary of terms used by libraries.

A

Abstract

A brief summary or description of a work (e.g., article or book).

Access Points

Text and/or numeric terms used to search bibliographic records.

Acquisitions

Materials which are purchased for library use. Activities related to obtaining library materials by purchase, exchange, or gift, including pre-order bibliographic searching, ordering and receiving materials, processing invoices, and the maintenance of the necessary records related to acquisitions. (ALA Glossary)

Almanac

A collection of useful information, data, and statistics relating to countries, personalities, events, and/or subjects.

Analytic

A bibliographic record for a part of a publication, including an article in a journal, magazine, or newspaper; a chapter in a book; or an individual volume within a large set of volumes.

Annal

A record of events from a single year.

Annotated Bibliography

A list of sources accompanied by a brief summary or critical statement about each source.

Annotation

A note accompanying an entry in a bibliography, reading list, or catalog intended to describe, explain, or evaluate the publication referred to.

Annual

A publication that is issued once per year (e.g., report, yearbook, or directory).

Anthology

A collection of many works by various authors, usually on the same subject or within the same genre, or the same author.

Appendix

A section of a work containing supplementary material (e.g., tables, graphs, maps, or supporting documents).

Archives

1. Documents, records, photographs, and/or ephemeral items maintained overtime for their historical importance.

2. A physical or virtual place where archive materials are kept.

Article

An work published within a journal, magazine, or newspaper. They are generally about a very specific topic and shorter in length than a book.

Atlas

A work exclusively containing maps, plates, engravings, tables, etc.

Audiovisual

Information presented in non-print format that utilizes both sight and sound (e.g., films, television programs, or slide presentations).

Author

The person(s) and/or organization(s) that created the work.

Authority File

An online, standardized list of subject, series, and name headings used by libraries to help connect related works by preventing spelling and phrasing variations.

Autobiography

An account of a person's life written by that person.