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MUHL 3772 - Music History & Literature 2: Research Terminology

Resources and Information for Researching Baroque Music History

Basic Research Terminology

Abstract - an abbreviated accurate representation of a work, usually without added interpretation or criticism, accompanied by a bibliographic reference to the original work when appearing separately from it. (ALA)

Annotation - a note added by way of comment or explanation; an informational and descriptive note, especially about a book. (Web3)

Bibliographic description - in cataloging, the description of a bibliographic item, divided into the following areas: title and statement of responsibility; edition; material (or type of publication) specific details; publication, distribution, etc.; physical description; series; notes of useful information which cannot be fitted into other areas; and standard number and terms of availability. (ALA)

Bibliographic record - the description of one piece of material within a library catalog.  It may contain various fields, such as author, uniform title, title, imprint, collation, notes, subject headings

Bibliography - a list of works, documents, and/or bibliographic items, usually with some relationship between them, e.g., by a given author, on a given subject, or published in a given place, and differing from a catalog in that its contents are not restricted to the holdings of a single collection, library, or group of libraries. (ALA)

Boolean - referring to logical or algebraic operations, formulated by George Boole, involving variables with two values, such as Value 1 and Value 2; Value 1 or Value 2; and Value 1 but not Value 2. (ALA)

Citation - a note referring to a work from which a passage is quoted or to some source as authority for a statement or proposition. (ALA)

Collation - in a bibliographic record, the physical description area or field, providing information about the number of pages, illustrations, presence of bibliography, size of material, etc.

Commercial databases - collections of information or articles, sharing a common characteristic such as subject discipline or type, which are produced for profit and made available to libraries (as well as to individuals and other institutions) through purchase or subscription. Such collections are usually generated under the auspices of some sort of editorial board and generally contain reliable/authoritative information. Online databases are usually accessed via links from library web pages to online hosts, which normally offer many different databases. 

Festschrift - a complimentary or memorial publication in the form of a collection of essays, addresses, or biographical, bibliographical, scientific, or other contributions, often embodying the results of research, issued in honor of a person, an institution, or a society, usually on the occasion of an anniversary celebration. (ALA)

Imprint - the place, the name of the publisher, and the date of publication on the bibliographic record (in that order). (C&C)

Index - a systematic guide to the contents of a file, document, or group of documents, consisting of an ordered arrangement of terms or other symbols representing the contents and references, code numbers, page numbers, etc., for accessing the contents. (ALA)

ISBN - International Standard Book Number, a distinctive and unique number assigned to a book. ISBNs are used internationally; the U.S. agency for ISBNs is R.R. Bowker Company. (C&C)

ISSN - International Standard Serial Number, a distinctive number assigned by ISDS (International Serials Data System, a network of national and international centers that develop and maintain registers of serial publications). (C&C)

Journal - a periodical, especially one containing scholarly articles and/or disseminating current information on research and development in a particular subject field. (ALA)

Magazine - a periodical for general reading, containing articles on various subjects by different authors. (ALA)

Monograph - a complete bibliographic unit; a book.

Monument - [in music] - a scholarly edition of the music of one region or country or genre often of a specified time period. The music is generally of some historical significance.

Notes area/field - [in a bibliographic record, that portion] reserved for recording catalog data that cannot be incorporated in the preceding parts of the record. Each note is usually recorded in a separate area or field. (C&C)

OCLC - originally these letters stood for Ohio College Library Center, a once-regional (now international) library network. Among other services, it provides a machine-readable data base for cataloging and requesting interlibrary loan materials. The FirstSearch databases, including WorldCat, are products of OCLC.

Online database - information collections, sharing a common characteristic such as subject discipline or type, which are published electronically by public- or private-sector database producers (usually on a commercials basis) and made available to a large public for interactive searching and information retrieval. Online databases are accessed via telecommunications or wide area network links to remote online host services which normally offer many different databases. CD-ROMs are optical disks which are mounted locally on a PC, workstation or local area network. (IEI)

Online library catalog - an electronic database containing descriptions of the holdings of a particular library, such as MaagNET.

Online public access catalog (OPAC) - a computer-based and supported library catalog (bibliographic database) designed to be accessed via terminals so that library users may directly and effectively search for and retrieve bibliographic records without the assistance of a human intermediary such as a specially trained member of the library staff.

Periodical - a publication with a distinctive title which appears in successive numbers or parts at stated or regular intervals and which is intended to continue indefinitely. Usually each issue contains articles by several contributors. (C&C)

Periodical index - 1. a subject index to a group of periodicals. 2. an index to a volume, group of volumes, or complete set of one periodical title. (ALA)

Plagiarism - the act of stealing or passing off as one' own the ideas or words of another; to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source. (Web9)

Primary source - an original record or contemporary document that contains material written or created at the time an event occurred.  Examples include autobiographies, diaries, letters, newspaper accounts, etc.

Reference resources - materials containing brief, factual information relating to a wide variety of topics (as a general encyclopedia, such as Encyclopaedia Britannica) or specific to a very narrow discipline, such as The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. Print references in a library do not circulate to afford maximum accessibility to users. Examples of reference materials include: dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, and periodical indices. These materials are found on the main (ground) floor of Maag Library in the Reference Room. Maag also has reference scores, which include monuments of music and complete works of composers.

Reserves (course reserves) - materials set aside by a professor/instructor for a specific academic course and given a limited check-out period (usually anywhere from 2 hours to 3 days) so that all the members of the class may have acess to them. Print reserves are often shelved behind the Circulation Desk of academic libraries. Electronic reserves may be available from Maag Library's website.  Be sure you know (1) your professor's name, (2) the name and/or number of the class, and (3) the title of the item you need.

Secondary source - any material other than primary sources used in the preparation of a work. (ALA)

Serial - a publication issued in successive parts at regular or irregular intervals and intended to continue indefinitely. Included are periodicals, newspapers, proceedings, reports, memoirs, annuals, and numbered monographic series. (C&C)

Style book or manual - a book giving rules and examples of usage, punctuation, and typography, used in preparation of copy for publication (e.g., APA, MLA Handbook, Chicago Manual of Style, etc.).

Subject heading - an access point to a bibliographic record, consisting of a word or phrase which designates the subject of the work(s) contained in the bibliographic item. (ALA)

Subject subdivision - the method of extending a subject heading by indicating the form of the subject matter (form subdivision), the place to which it is limited (geographic subdivision), the period of time treated or the time of publication (period subdivision), or the aspect or phase of the subject treated (topical subdivision). (ALA)

Tertiary source - a guide to the literature, designed to teach people how to use other types of sources.

Thematic catalog/index - a list of a composer's works, usually arranged in chronological order or by categories, with the theme given for each composition or for each section of large compositions. (ALA)

Thesaurus - a specialized authority list of terms used with automated information retrieval systems; very similar to a list of subject headings. (C&C)

Truncation - to shorten a word by dropping off one or more letters (usually after the root of the word) in an effort to search multiple forms of a word simultaneously.

Uniform resource locator (URL) - the means of locating an Internet page. It indicates the service that will retrieve the file, the site which holds the file, and the file path name. (IEI)

Uniform title - the title chosen for cataloging purposes when a work has appeared under varying titles. (C&C)

Union catalog - a catalog that lists, completely or in part, the holdings of more than one library or collection (e.g., WorldCat) (C&C)

Urtext - original text or version.

Key to Symbols for Sources:

ALA = The ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science. Heartsill Young, ed. Chicago: American Library Association, 1983.

C&C = Wynar, Bohdan S. Introduction to Cataloging and Classification. Littleton, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, Inc., 1976.

IEI = International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science. John Feather and Paul Sturges, ed. London, N.Y.: Routledge, c1997.

Web3 = Webster's Thrid New International Dictionary. Philip Babcock Gove, ed. in chief. Springfield, MA: Mirriam-Webster, Inc., c1993.

Web9 = Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. Frederick C. Mish, ed. In chief. Springfield, MA: Mirriam-Webster, Inc., c1991.