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Military Science : Glossary of library terms

This guide provides information on how to find sources regarding Military Science

Library terms

In a general sense, a glossary contains explanations of concepts relevant to a certain field of study or action. This glossary will assist in clarifying concepts that are used in the library but may not necessarily be familiar to you.



Brief summary of the content of a book, article, speech, report, dissertation, etc.





A word formed from the first (or first few) letters of several words:



  • UNISA:  University of South Africa
  • SCUBA: self-contained underwater breathing apparatus
  • PIN number: Personal Identification Number number




A critical or explanatory note, usually included in a bibliographical reference or citation




See frequency




A book of maps





Writer of a book, essay, story, play, poem, etc. Some books have two or more co-authors.




Account of one's life written by one-self. See also: biography.




A biography is a written account of the series of events that make up a person's life.





List of references at the end of a book or article. Books, scholarly articles, term papers, etc often include bibliographies listing the information sources on which they are based.





See frequency




Account of a person's life, written by another. The person who writes a biography is the "biographer." The person written about is known as the "biographee." See also: autobiography



Boolean operators


Boolean searching


And, or, not



A method of combining concepts in a keyword search which allows the searcher to make use of logical commands


Call number



Call number – letters, numbers, and symbols assigned to a book to show its location in the library shelving system. The numbers are derived from the Dewey Decimal Classification

system eg  355.968 DEF






The Catalogue is a search and discovery tool that provides results from the library's online and print collections in a single search. It includes titles of printed books, journals, manuscripts, letters, and other material available at the libraries of Stellenbosch University as well as links to the full-text of millions of, mainly, English journal articles and digital images of prints and manuscripts.






Stands for "Compact Disc Read-Only Memory." A medium for publishing and storing information in digital format, similar to audio compact discs.






The written reference to a specific work. For a book one would need title, author, or editor, edition, place of publication, publisher and year of publication.



Compact disc


Sound recording medium





A continuously updated file of related information, abstracts, or references on a particular subject, arranged for ease and speed of search/retrieval on a computer. Most library

databases are periodical indexes.





A book containing an alphabetical list of words, with information given for each word, usually including meaning etc.  See:





A formal and lengthy a structured piece of written research report, especially one required by universities in partial fulfillment of requirements for a Ph.D. The purpose is develops a clear line of thought (an 'argument') in response to a central question or proposition ('thesis').








To transfer data or program files from a central computer to a peripheral computer or storage device, such as a USB. Results from SU database searches may be downloaded to your own CD or USB for use on another computer.



Due date


When library materials are issued out of the Library at the Circulation Desk, each item is stamped with the date by which it must be returned to the Library. Book(s) may be renewed but may be recalled if needed by another user





Some books (particularly reference books) are revised and republished. The new version is often called the "revised" or "second" edition. Subsequent revisions are numbered sequentially. The latest edition is the most current, but older editions may contain useful information deleted from later editions.




The electronic version of a book covering its full contents (text, tables, diagrams, illustrations, etc.)


An e-book collection is usually set up in an e-database, which supports full-text searching within and across titles, advanced search and bookmark functions.


Users can view fulll text of e-books in HTML or PDF format online.



E-database see Database

An organized collection of information, of a particular subject or multi-disciplinary subject areas. The information of an e-database can be searched and retrieved electronically.



  • Contents include journal articles, newspaper articles, book reviews and conference proceedings, etc.


Update frequency:

  • Usually updated on a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly basis.


Types of e-databases: Full-text vs. Bibliographic:


  • Full-text databases contain the whole content of an article such as citation information, text, illustrations, diagrams and tables.
  • Bibliographic databases only contain citation information of an article, such as author name, journal title, publication date and page numbers.





Journals that are electronic versions of paper journals (sometimes called periodicals or serials). Each volume of the journal can be viewed online and individual articles are normally made available as PDF documents which can be printed or downloaded (within copyright limits). Not all content of e journals are available full text





A book or set of books which contains information about topics arranged in alphabetical order. A subject encyclopedia is a similar work on a single field of activity or a single subject. Multi-volume encyclopedias often include an index in the last volume




Selection or fragment from a writing or other work.






What is a footnote:


  • Reference at the bottom of a page documenting words or ideas taken from another


  • Numbers indicating text at the bottom of your page that reveal the source of the information in the body of your paper.


Why footnote?


  • Footnotes allow interested parties to check your research. If there isn't enough info for somebody to get the book, it's not a footnote.


Where do footnote numbers go?


  • After the period in the sentence where you put forward a piece of your research or at the end of the period that ends the paragraph separated by semi-colons if there is a lot of information in one paragraph.


 What form should these things take?


  • There are many different kinds of footnote formats, MLA, APA, etc. Historians tend to use the Chicago Style, also known as Turabian.




The interval at which a newspaper, periodical, or other serial publication is issued (daily, semiweekly, weekly, semimonthly, monthly, bimonthly, triquarterly, quarterly, semiannually, annually, irregularly, etc.). Scholarly journals are usually published quarterly, magazines weekly or monthly, and newspapers daily or weekly. Frequency and changes of

frequency are indicated in the note area of the bibliographic description of a serial.


·         Daily                       Every single day

·         Weekly                   Once a week

·         Semiweekly Twice a week

·         Biweekly                 Every two weeks

·         Monthly                  Once a month

·         Semimonthly           Twice a month

·         Bimonthly               Every two months

·         Quarterly                 Every three months

·         Triquarterly  Every four months

·         Annually                  Once a year

·         Semiannually           Twice a year

·         Biennially                Once every 2 years

·         Irregularly                No fix time schedule


Government documents


Publications of government (local, regional and national), including government gazettes, reports and statistics.





Compact reference book which provides useful information on a specific subject.







Hardcopy -Material printed on paper, as opposed to information in digital (computerized) format.





An Internet address prefix which stands for "HyperText Transfer Protocol." HTTP is the language used by the Internet to access information available electronically on the World Wide Web.





A list, in alphabetical or numerical order, of the topics, names, etc. that are treated or mentioned in a publication or group of publications, along with references to the pages where the topics are discussed.



Interlibrary Loan (ILL)


If the book or periodical article you need is not available in Mil Acad Library, you may fill out a printed request form at the ILL office to borrow the item from another library.  You can also request an interlibrary loan item via email to:  The following details of the item are needed:  Book title, author, publication date.






International Standard Book Number. Unique ten (now lately thirteen)-digit publisher's I.D. number for a specific edition of a book. Usually printed on the reverse side of the title page




ISSN -International Standard Serial Number. Unique eight-digit number which identifies a

specific serial title.






All the copies of a specific periodical published on the same date. A subscription entitles the subscriber to receive one copy of each issue. In libraries, all the issues of a periodical

published during the same calendar year are usually bound together in a single annual volume.




Scholarly periodical devoted to a specific field or subfield of knowledge. Most journal articles are more than five pages long and include a bibliography or list of works cited. Journal articles often published by a professional body. They include a paragraph at the beginning, called an abstract, which summarizes the main points of the article.





 A Keyword is a word or phrase that sums up the essence of a topic or subject within a document – in this instance a web page, online catalog (as do most online databases) includes a keyword search option which allows users to type keywords describing their topic, in any order. Searching by keywords often utilizes Boolean searching.





A generic term for non-print library materials (films, filmstrips, slides, video-recordings, audio-recordings, CD-ROMs, machine-readable data files, computer software, etc.).




A scholarly book complete on one subject or a class of subjects. It can also refer to a lengthy work on a particular subject or person, and often contains bibliographies.





Some library materials may not be issued out. Non-circulating materials in Mil Acad Library include reference books, items in Special Collections and periodicals.




Materials published in a format other than print on paper, including microfilm and microfiche, audiocassettes, compact disks, films, videocassettes, and digitized information such as computer files.




Accessible via a computer or computer network. Generally synonymous with the words "automated," "computerized," and "electronic."





An acronym which stands for "Online Public Access Catalog." A computerized catalogue of books and other materials owned by a library.



Online Tutorial


An instructional tool in electronic format, usually available via the Internet, designed to teach library users, in a step-by-step and sometimes interactive process, how to use a specific resource (usually an online catalog or bibliographic database), or all the services and resources needed to research topics in a specific discipline or subject area.


Open access


Information content made freely and universally available via the Internet in easy to read format, usually because the publisher maintains online archives to which access is free or has deposited the information in a widely known open access repository.




An item from the circulating collection which has been kept by the borrower past its due date.




Publication issued in soft-cover more than once, usually at regular intervals and intended to continue indefinitely, includes newspapers, newsletters, magazines, and journals.





The published record of a meeting of a society, association, institution, or other organization, often accompanied by abstracts or reports of papers presented. It is sometimes synonymous with transactions.


Publication date

Year in which a book was published. The publication date can usually be found on the back (verso) of the title page. For periodicals, the publication date is the month and year (or month/day/year) in which a specific issue was published. The publication date can usually be found on the front cover and on the title page of a periodical.





Company (or person) which prepares and issues print or non-print material for public distribution and/or sale.


Reference book


Books such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and directories, which are used to find specific information. Reference books may not be checked out because they are needed on a daily basis to answer questions at the Reference Desk. Use the photocopiers for making copies of information in reference books.




Borrowers may take an item out for a second period by coming to the Circulation Desk. A student card/library is required for renewals. If another person has placed a hold on the item, it may not be renewed.




-Materials made available by lecturers for a limited borrowing period (overnight, 2-day weekend) as long as the library is open reserved material must be used in the library.



Any publication issued in successive parts, appearing at intervals, usually regular ones, and as a rule, intended to be continued indefinitely. The term includes periodicals, newspapers, annuals, numbered monographic series and the proceedings, transactions and memoirs of societies.


Stop word


In a keyword search, short words which occur very frequently may be excluded. Each electronic database has its own list of stop words. Examples: a, an, for, of, on, the, to, with.


Subject heading


The word or phrase used to describe the subject content of a work.


Portion of a work's title following the semicolon or colon. For example, in the title Psychology: an introduction, the words an introduction constitute the subtitle.


Table of contents


List of chapters or topics covered (with page numbers) in the front of a book, following the title page.


A reference book that provides synonyms, or words that have the same or similar meaning.




The name given to something (such as a book, song, or movie) to identify or describe it


Title page


The page in the front of a book which gives the complete title, the name of the author(s) or editor(s), name of translator, publisher, and place of publication. Publication date and ISBN are usually printed on the back (verso) of the title page.





Truncation -In a keyword search, a word root followed by the truncation symbol will retrieve

variant endings. Truncation is useful for retrieving both the singular and the plural forms of a

word at the same time. See also: Boolean searching.





A printed or online instructional tool designed to teach novices how to use a computer

system or electronic resource, usually in a self-paced step-by-step manner, often with questions at the end for testing proficiency.







Stands for "Uniform Resource Locator." A URL is the unique address of a specific Web site or file on the Internet.  Also known as:  web address; link



·         A collection of written or printed sheets bound together; a book.

·         One of the books of a work printed and bound in more than one book.

·         A series of issues of a periodical, usually covering one calendar year.

·         A unit of written material assembled together and cataloged in a library.



An annual documentary, historical, or memorial publication containing information about the previous year. Yearbooks are usually shelved in the reference collection.





Computer definitions