Virtual Library Terminology

A file within a browser in which an Internet user can save the addresses of interesting or frequently used Web sites, so that they are readily available for re-use.
Boolean Logic
Boolean logic refers to the logical relationship among search terms, and is named for the British-born Irish mathematician George Boole.
Boolean logic consists of three logical operators:

OR (children or juveniles or youth--will retrieve any item with one or more if these words.)
AND (children and television and violence--will retrieve items that must have all three words.)
NOT (spirits not ghosts--will retrieve items about alcohol or emotions, but nothing with the word "ghost".)

Browse Short for Web browser, a software application used to locate and display Web pages. The two most popular browsers are Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Both of these are graphical browsers, which means that they can display graphics as well as text. In addition, most modern browsers can present multimedia information, including sound and video, though they require plug-ins for some formats.

Database--(1) Often abbreviated DB. A collection of information organized in such a way that a computer program can quickly select desired pieces of data. You can think of a database as an electronic filing system.
Traditional databases are organized by fields, records, and files. A field is a single piece of information; a record is one complete set of fields; and a file is a collection of records. For example, a telephone book is analogous to a file. It contains a list of records, each of which consists of three fields: name, address, and telephone number.

Descriptors--Another word for Subject Headings. It almost always implies a "controlled vocabulary"--a list of acceptable terms in that discipline describing an item. Sometimes listed in a "Thesaurus."

Directory--compilation and categorization of Web pages like Yahoo or Google Directories

Domain Name--A name that identifies one or more IP addresses. For example, the domain name represents about a dozen IP addresses. Domain names are used in URLs to identify particular Web pages. For example, in the URL, the domain name is
Every domain name has a suffix that indicates which top level domain (TLD) it belongs to. There are only a limited number of such domains. For example:
* gov - Government agencies
* edu - Educational institutions
* org - Organizations (nonprofit)
* mil - Military
* com - commercial business
* net - Network organizations
* ca - Canada
* th - Thailand
Because the Internet is based on IP addresses, not domain names, every Web server requires a Domain Name System (DNS) server to translate domain names into IP addresses.
See our list of Domain Extensions and the countries they coincide with in the Quick Reference section of Webopedia.

Download--To copy data (usually an entire file) from a main source to a peripheral device. The term is often used to describe the process of copying a file from an online service to one's own computer.

Field (Database) — A space allocated for a particular item of information. In database systems, fields are the smallest units of information you can access. In a spreadsheet like Excel, fields are called cells.

File extension—In DOS and Windows (not Macintosh), one or several letters at the end of a filename. Filename extensions usually follow a period (dot) and indicate the type of information stored in the file like .doc, .txt., .exe., etc.

Frames—A feature supported by most Web browsers than enables the Web author to divide the browser display area into two or more sections (frames). The contents of each frame are taken from a different Web page. Frames can cause printing difficulties for new Internet users.

Homepage—The main page of a Web site. Typically, the home page serves as an index or table of contents to other documents stored at the site.

HTML--Short for HyperText Markup Language, the authoring language used to create documents on the World Wide Web.

HTTP— HyperText Transfer Protocol, the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web. HTTP defines how messages are formatted and transmitted, and what actions Web servers and browsers should take in response to various commands.

Hypertext—A special type of system in which objects, text, pictures, music, or programs can be linked to each other. Click on a hypertext link to be taken to another item.

Interface—A boundary across which two independent systems meet and act on or communicate with each other. e.g. the human-computer interface

Internet Service Provider (ISP)—A company that provides access to the Internet. For a monthly fee, the service provider gives you a software, username, password, email address and sometimes web space for your own webpages.

List server-- An automated mailing list distribution system--list servers maintain a list of email addresses to be used for mass emailing

Keyword Search--Usually indicates that the search is not field-specific

Meta-Search Engine A search engine that queries other search engines and then combines the results that are received from all like Dogpile.

Newsgroups —Discussion groups on the Internet (not on the Web, which is only one area of the Internet). Newsgroups are classified by subject matter and do not necessarily deal with journalism or "news." Health, hobbies, celebrities, and cultural events are the subjects of many newsgroups. Participants in a newsgroup conduct discussions by posting messages for others to read, and responding to the messages posted by others.

PDF—Portable Document Format; a type of formatting that enables files to be viewed on a variety computers regardless of the program originally used to create them. PDF files retain the "look and feel" of the original document with special formatting, graphics, and color intact. You use a special program or print driver (Adobe Distiller or PDF Writer) to create a pdf document and a reader (Acrobat Reader) to view it.

Plug-in—A small piece of software that enriches a larger piece of software by adding features or functions. Plug-ins enable browsers to play audio and video.

Ranking—Listing of Internet hits in the order of their relevancy. It is usually determined by a selection of the number, location and frequency of the term in the document being searched.

Record (Database)—A complete set of information. Records are composed of fields, each of which contains one item of information.

Search Engine—A program that searches documents for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents where the keywords were found. Although search engine is really a general class of programs, the term is often used to specifically describe systems like Alta Vista and Excite that enable users to search for documents on the World Wide Web

Stopwords—Words that are common in a full-text file but have little value in searching. Words in a stopword file will be excluded from the indexes, considerably reducing the size of the indexes and improving search performance.

Subject Headings—words or phrases assigned to books and articles and used to index these items by topic. Determining the correct headings for a specific database or catalog is an important part of effective research. Subject headings are also known as descriptors or controlled vocabulary and are sometimes listed in thesauri.

Telnet—A standard protocol for connecting one computer to another (usually, one of these computers will be a server running Unix). Telnet allows you to connect to another computer, input commands, and run programs.

This refers to the use of a special symbol to cut short a word at its root in order to retrieve a variety of endings, when keyword searching on the catalog or in a database. SOUTHcat uses the question mark(?), InfoTrac and EBSCO the asterisk(*), LexisNexis, the exclamation point (!).

Uniform Resource Locator, the global address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web. The first part of the address indicates what protocol to use, and the second part specifies the IP address or the domain name where the resource is located.

Web site--All the webpages associated with a particular organization or function. The Homepage is the main webpage for a web site.

Many definitions below have been taken from the Webopedia & GetNetWise

Modified on 4/23/09js
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