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Glossary of Library Terms: D-E


Database: an organized collection of information. Commonly, the term "databases" refers to electronic or computer databases. Databases consist of records, which in turn consist of fields. A popular example is an address book. Each record consists of a record for one person. Each record contains fields for name, street, city, state and zip code. In libraries, databases are used for catalogs and indexes. Each record represents a single item or document, and specific fields hold author name, title, and publishing information.

Descriptor: A controlled vocabulary term, or standardized term, assigned to an item in an index or database that is used for a search, also called a subject heading in a library catalog.

Dictionary:  A book which gives the pronunciation and meaning of words. An unabridged dictionary is comprehensive in scope and gives more complete information. An abridged dictionary is narrow and provides less complete information.

Due Date or Date Due: The date by which borrowed materials must be returned to the library.


Edition:  All impressions of a work printed from one setting of type. A revised or new edition usually indicates that the text has been changed or new materials added.

Encyclopedia: A work containing information on all subjects is a general encyclopedia. A
subject encyclopedia concentrates on all aspects of one subject or field.