Glossary of Terms

Key terms given working definitions in PAARL Standards for Academic Libraries


Based on the International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science, ed. by John Feather and Paul Sturges (London and New York: c1997), ODLIS -Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science by Joan M. Reitz, and The ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science ed. by Heartsill Young (Chicago, 1983), selected terms used in the preceding document have been given the following working definitions:


1.        Academic libraries - libraries attached to academic institutions above the secondary school level, serving the teaching and research needs of students and staff.

2.        Academic status - an official recognition  given by an academic institution to librarians as part of its instructional or research staff, but normally without entitlement to ranks and titles identical to those of faculty.

3.        Access - In a more general sense, the right or opportunity to use a resource that may not be openly and freely available to everyone.

4.        Book - a non-periodical printed publication of at least forty-nine pages, exclusive of cover pages.

5.        CD-ROMs are optical disks which are mounted locally on a PC, a workstation or local area network.

6.        Collection development - encompasses a number of activities related to the development of the library collection such as: the determination and coordination of selection policy; user needs assessment; collection use studies; collection evaluation; identification of collection needs; selection of materials; planning for resource-sharing, collection maintenance and weeding.

7.        Collection levelssynonymous to collecting levels and collecting intensity, refers to the thoroughness with which materials published in a given field or subject area are selected by a library for inclusion in the collection.

8.        Collection management - the activity of planning and supervising the growth and preservation of a library's collections based on an assessment of existing strengths and weaknesses and an estimate of future needs.

9.        Consortium - an association of independent libraries established by formal agreement, usually for the purpose of resource sharing.

10.     Core collection - the initial collection of a library developed from a comprehensive standard list or other bibliographic guide.

11.     Filipiniana - refers to any material or publication,  which contains information on or about the Philippines, or is authored by a Filipino, or written in any Philippine vernacular or local dialect, or is published anywhere in the Philippines.

12.     Holdings - synonymous with library collection.

13.     Information resources - refer to all types of materials containing data recorded in different formats or media, such as textual data in print or non-print, together with sound recordings, graphics, pictures and video

14.     Journal - a periodical publication, particularly one issued by a society or institution and containing proceedings, transactions, reports, substantial articles and reviews of publications in a particular scholarly or scientific field.

15.     Librarian - any person who is a bona fide holder of a Certificate of Registration and Professional Identification Card issued by the Professional Regulatory Board for Librarians and the Professional Regulation Commission in accordance with Republic Act Nos. 6966 and/or 9246. It refers also to a person whose name and registration/ license number is entered in the Commission registry book and computerized database as one legally authorized to practice librarianship.

16.     Library - a collection of materials organized for use.  Based on this operational definition, we note four major components that are interconnected and interacting, namely: collection, materials, organization, and use.

17.  Library 2.0 - is a loosely defined model for a modernized form of library service that reflects a transition within the library world in the way that services are delivered to users. The focus is on user-centered change and participation in the creation of content and community.

18.     Library network – refers to an arrangement where two or more libraries are engaged in the exchange of information through common communication channels, usually for the purpose of accomplishing shared objectives.

19.     Library staff  - refers to the entire group of paid employees responsible for the operation and management of a library, including its director, librarians, paraprofessionals, technical assistants, clerical personnel, and student assistants. In academic libraries at institutions that grant librarians faculty status, a distinction is usually made between faculty members and non-faculty staff. In other types of libraries, a distinction may be made between professionally trained librarians and support staff.  Volunteers are not considered part of the staff because they are unpaid

20.  Lifelong learning - is all learning activity undertaken throughout life, whether formal or informal.  One of the goals of bibliographic instruction and information literacy programs is to help library users obtain the skills they need to pursue knowledge at any age, independent of a formal educational institution.

21.     Multimedia databases - contain a mix of different media such as text, audio, video, and still graphics (photographs, diagrams and illustrations, graphs, charts, map, etc.), and are more usually in CD-ROM format than online.

22.     Nonprint – are materials published in a format other than writing or print on paper, including microfiche and microfilm, slides, filmstrips, films, videorecordings, audiorecordings, and information on digital formats. Most nonprint library materials require special equipment for listening and/or viewing.

23.     Online - Access to a computer system via telecommunications links.

24.     Online and CD-ROM databases are information collections, sharing a common characteristic such as subject discipline or type, which are published electronically and made available to a large public for interactive searching and information retrieval. 

25.     Pamphlet - a short publication having at least five but not more than forty-eight pages, but which is not part of a serial.

26.     Paraprofessional Staff  refer to library employees without professional certification or entrance-level educational requirements, who are assigned supportive responsibilities at a high level and commonly perform their duties with some supervision by a professional staff member.

27.     Professional Staff refer to library personnel who hold responsibilities, including those of administration that require independent judgment, interpretation of rules and procedures, analysis of library problems, and formulation of original and creative solutions for such problems.  They occupy positions that require professional training and skill in the theoretical or scientific aspects of work in libraries.  The normal educational requirement is a master’s degree (or its equivalents).  Examples of professional positions are librarian, media specialist, archivist, computer specialist, and documentalist.

28.     Periodical - a publication appearing at regular and fixed intervals of time under a distinctive title, which the publishers intend should so to appear, without any anticipated cessation.  Serials is a broader term, preferred in U.S. usage, to describe a publication issued in successive parts and intended to be continued indefinitely.  It includes periodicals, annuals, numbered monographic series, and other categories of this description.

29.     Support Staff - refer to all non-professional library personnel, who are not educated or trained as librarians, but have acquired a technical understanding of library practices and procedures and contribute on a daily basis to the smooth operation of a library, but are not qualified to make policy decisions or participate in other activities of a professional nature.

30.     Reference books -  are books designed to be consulted for bits of information rather than to be read consecutively, and normally includes almanacs, bibliographies, biographical sources, dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, geographical sources, handbooks, indexes, manuals and yearbooks.

31.     Research libraries - libraries which provide materials and facilities for scholarly research.

32.     Resource sharing - covers a variety of activities engaged in jointly by a group of libraries for the purposes of improving services and / or cutting costs.  The resources shared may be collections, bibliographic data, personnel, planning activities, etc.

33.     Weeding - to select items from a library collection for withdrawal or for transfer to a storage area.