ACCESSION  The act of acquiring materials and assigning them unique (and usually consecutive) serial numbers, called access numbers, for the purpose of positively identifying an individual item. Access numbers are most commonly used for accessing a circulation record, and for maintaining inventory. The access number may be in the form of a barcode.

ARISTOCAT  A registered trademark used by Atlantic Rim Information Systems for its collection of library automation programs.

ASPECT RATIO  The relationship between a picture’s height and its width. A picture with an aspect ratio of 2 x 1, for example, is twice as wide as it is high. Width, the horizontal dimension, is given first.

AUTHOR  Anyone concerned with the production of a work is known to these systems as an author, although producer might be a better word since they may have only served on an editorial board which was responsible for the work. Material is often written by more than one person, especially in academic subjects. Textbooks, especially, are often produced by committee, and usually no individual name is important enough to be called a Designated Personal Author. The listing of additional authors creates a more complete record and makes something easier to find.

BARCODE  The access number in the form of a barcode, designed to be read by a computer. Many things can be barcoded, but in AristoCAT Systems the term refers only to the access number.

BOOLEAN  A system in which two search keys (not one search key and one subkey) must relate to each other in one of the following ways:

AND  Both search keys must be in the record.

OR  Either search key must be in the record, and it doesn’t matter whether the other one is or not.

NOT  The first search key must be in the record and the second one may not be.

XOR  Either the first or second search key must be in the record, and the other one may not be.

Please notice that these differ from two-key non-Boolean searches in that both keys must be indexed (subjects, authors, titles, and call numbers are indexed), whereas with the simple two-key search the second key is merely found in the record. See the help screen in Search or the section on “Running Search” in the User’s Manual for more examples and more detail.

CALL NUMBER  The book’s address — where it can be found. Usually you need this address to find something (the physical object) on the shelf. The most common types of call numbers are Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress, but there are others in use around the world. Not everything in every library has a call number, but if there is one it’s almost always written somewhere on the item, usually the spine in the case of books. AristoCAT systems recognize four types of call numbers: Library of Congress, Dewey Decimal, Stack-and-Shelf, and “Other.” In addition to these, you may use a two-letter code as a call number, or you may forego the call number altogether.

CHARGE  One of those specialized library terms that confuse outsiders, probably its purpose, which means that a book or other item has been lent (charged out) to a borrower.

CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM  A plan by which material is put on shelves or in a storage area in some kind of order to make it easier to find. The two most common systems are Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal, but there are others.

COLLATION  A physical description of the item, including number of pages for printed material, size, running time for movies, videos, etc., and whatever other details the cataloger feels are appropriate. The purpose of a collation is two-fold: to create a more complete catalog of a library’s collection, and to make an item easier to find if it’s in the wrong place on the shelf.

DATE  Nothing is simple in the complex world we live in, and an item’s date is no exception. For printed material, the date is usually the latest year of copyright, but may be the year an item was reprinted or reissued if the library is interested in keeping track of how old its collection is. Motion pictures are usually dated by year of release, which may be as much as three or four years after the copyright date. You may need to develop a policy on this matter.

DESIGNATED PERSONAL AUTHOR  Some things have authors or composers so intimately associated with them that anyone else is mostly irrelevant. For example, Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea, and few care who else helped bring the book into the world. The same is true of Mozart and The Marriage of Figaro. Authors and composers with this level of association are known to these systems as “Designated Personal Authors.”

DIRECTORY  A division or subdivision of a computer storage medium in which similar files are stored. Same as Folder.

DISCHARGE  The opposite of charge, this means that the borrower has returned the borrowed material and it has been taken off the circulation record.

DPA  Designated Personal Author.

ERROR  Something the system does wrong, as opposed to a mistake, which is something the user does.

EXACT SEARCH  A search in which the entire indexed item must match the search key, as opposed to a normal search in which the leftmost n — the number of characters in the search key — characters must match. With a normal search, for example, Smith will match Smith, John and Smithsonian, but an exact search will not match either of them.

FILE  The actual data or module, stored in a Folder.

FOLDER  A division or subdivision of a computer storage medium in which similar files are stored. Same as Directory.

GLOBAL  Installed on or written to a central computer, available to individual workstations attached to it, as opposed to local.

IMPRINT  The publisher and date together.

INDEX  A file which tells the computer where to find what you’re looking for. Indexes are created when you run Utilities and select the Index option, and you’ll normally have no further need to worry about them.

INDEXED  Listed by the computer in a separate place, in alphabetical order, and containing the record number that the word or phrase applies to.

LOCAL  Installed on or written to an individual user’s workstation, as opposed to global.

LOCATION  Most libraries, unless very small, have different things in different places, such as a reference section and special collections of one kind or another. In addition, some things are so valuable that they must be kept under lock and key. Knowing the location is an important part of the search process, since you can’t find something if you don’t know where it is.

MAIN ENTRY  In the days of card catalogs it was necessary to designate a “main” entry so that multiple copies of the card could be printed. This is no longer the case, and AristoCAT Systems don’t recognize the concept of a main entry at all.

MATCH  Sometimes called a hit, this refers to the number of records that come up for a particular search key, that “match” the key.

MISTAKE  Something the user makes, as opposed to an error, which is something the system does wrong.

NOTES  A catch-all field for information which seems important to know, but which is too specific or unusual to require its own field. Just about anything goes: comments on edition, binding and location, the source of the item if donated, and quotations from the cover are often found here.

OVERHEAD  In computer terms, that part of a file or other system which the computer needs for its own purposes and is not available for data. A record of a thousand bytes, for example, that had an overhead of two hundred bytes would have eight hundred left for data storage.

PASSWORD  Whatever else you’re doing with your computer that needs a password, AristoCAT Systems have their own password which you can require for certain kinds of access such as editing the database. You have been supplied with the password “password”, which you may change with Customize.  An AristoCAT password may be anything or nothing; there are no restrictions at all, except that leading and trailing spaces are trimmed.

PERIODICAL  In most applications, a periodical is the same thing as a magazine, but the word has a broader scope and refers to anything issued periodically on some kind of regular basis.

PICTURE  Any graphic object or graphics file.

RECORD  In AristoCAT systems, a record is the basic unit of storage for information in the computer. Most users will not be concerned with records.

RECORD NUMBER  A number assigned to pieces of data by the computer for its own purposes. Normally, you won’t need to be concerned with it, but please don’t confuse it with other numbers such as an access number.

RESERVE  A note placed in a circulation record to the effect that another person wishes to borrow an item when the current borrower has returned it.

SEARCH KEY  An indexed word or phrase that the user has asked to see records for. To qualify as a search key, the word or phrase must be indexed.

SEE ALSO REF  Another subject which may be used to locate material. Often different catalogers will use different subjects for similar items, and the use of See Also references increase the chance of finding what the user wants.

SEE REF  The subject under which the material is listed, but which was not entered by the user. The Library of Congress, for example, calls movies “moving-pictures,” and a user looking under “movies” will be directed to “SEE Moving-pictures.” This is done automatically in AristoCAT Systems if you have made the feature available.

SUBJECT  What the material is about. Assigning subjects to something is more art than science, and subjects are a lot trickier than they look. You should ask for assistance if you don’t find what you want right away. In the days of card catalogs, subjects were called Subject Headings. It’s the same thing.

SUBJECT HEADINGS  The same thing as subjects.

SUBKEY  Something that must be in a record before it is put on the screen in Search, if the user has asked for it. It differs from a search key in that it is not indexed.

TEXT EDITOR  An editor that adds no formatting or control characters to a file, but simply edits the text. Notepad is a text editor.

TITLE  The most important field, the only one that an item must have. If there’s more than one, one of them will be designated the main title, and if an item doesn’t have a title, you must make something up. Books and movies often have subtitles, which are variations in the title or other things they might be known as. A book entitled “Introduction to Bird Watching,” for example, should have “Bird Watching” as an alternate title. In addition, a publisher will often assign a series title to a group of things, and this series title can be helpful in finding what you’re looking for.

Also, in library parlance, title refers to an object or set of objects with a common title, such as an encyclopedia. This is opposed to volume, a physical object.

THUMBNAIL  A small representation of a picture or other graphics file for purposes of identification.

TWO-LETTER CODE  A two-letter abbreviation, primarily for non-book titles, allowing a way to store material without call numbers. Some of the more common ones are AC for audiocassette, BP for pamphlets, and VC for videocassettes. There are nine general groups shown by the first letter, plus sub-groups indicated by a second letter. If the second letter is X, only the general group distinction is made. Typically an item is identified by the two-letter indicator plus its access number, so that, for example, a videocassette might be known as VC-100. The groups are

A - Electronic material primarily auditory

AC - Audiocassette

AD - Compact Disk

AO - Other Auditory Electronic Item

AR - Phonograph Record

AT - Open-Reel Audiotape

AY - Cylinder

B - Books or book-like printed material, including pamphlets

BB - Bibliography

BC - Catalog

BD - Dictionary

BF - Fiction Book

BG - Biography

BL - Braille Book

BM - Musical Score

BO - Other Printed Item

BP - Pamphlet

BR - Reference Book

C - Computer software

CA - 3.5-Inch Floppy Disk

CC - Cassette Tape

CF - 5.25-Inch Floppy Disk

CO - Other Computer Software Item

CP - Punched Card or Punched Paper Tape


CT - Open-Reel Tape

F - Photography-based material

FF - Filmstrip

FK - Filmstrip-Based Kit

FM - Motion Picture

FO - Other Photography-Based Item

FS - Slide

O - Physical objects

OG - Globe

OK - Kit Unclassifiable Elsewhere

OM - Model

OO - Other Physical Object

OP - Game or Puzzle

OR - Realia

P - Visually-oriented printed material

PA - Art Print

PC - Chart

PF - Flip Chart

PG - Graph

PK - Print-Based Kit

PM - Map

PO - Other Visually-Oriented Printed Item

PP - Poster

PT - Overhead Transparency

S - Scientific sources of information

SK - Scientific Kit

SM - Microscope Slide

SO - Other Scientific Source Item

SS - Laboratory Specimen

V - Electronic material primarily visual

VC - Videocassette

VO - Other Visual Electronic Item

VT - Open-reel Videotape

X - Anything not covered above.

XX - Unknown Item

VOLUME  In library parlance, a volume is a physical object such as an individual book, opposed to Title. An encyclopedia, for example, might be one title but twenty-four volumes.

WORKSTATION  An individual computer connected to a network, the client served by the server.

All systems, electronic images, and printed material copyright 1997 by
Atlantic Rim Information Systems, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Atlantic Rim Information Systems, Inc., One Linden Court, Bloomfield, CT 06002