LIS Glossary

# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
There are currently 413 names in this directory beginning with the letter B.
B-movie
A low-budget motion picture, especially one shown as the second half of a double feature during the period when most movie theaters in the United States sold admission to a double feature (example: I Walked with a Zombie [1943] directed by Jacques Tourne
b&w
See: black and white.
back
The sewn or binding edge of the gathered sections of a book to which the lining is applied. The back may be flat, but more often it is given a convex curve in a binding procedure called rounding. A flexible or hollow back is preferable because it allows
back file
All the issues of a periodical that precede the current issue, usually bound in annual volumes or converted to microfilm or microfiche to conserve space. In the catalog record, the extent of the back file is indicated in the holdings statement. See also:
back fold
The fold along which a signature is gathered to form the binding edge of a book, left uncut in sewn bindings but trimmed in perfect binding to allow the adhesive to bond more securely. Synonymous with spine fold.
back issue
Any issue of a periodical that precedes the current issue. Back issues are usually retained in a back file, which may be stored in a different location in the periodicals section of a library, sometimes converted to a more compact format, such as microfi
back matter
The pages following the text at the end of a book on which the appendices, notes, bibliographies, list of contributors, indices, imprint, and any advertising normally appear. In scholarly works, the back matter may be considerable. Back matter is paginat
back order (BO)
An order for library materials that could not be filled when originally placed because at least one of the items requested was not in stock or was as yet unpublished. Back orders are held open for future delivery, usually for a designated period of time,
back page
The last page of an issue of a periodical (verso of the last leaf), facing the inside of the back cover. In some publications (example: Booklist), the back page is reserved for a regular column or editorial. See also: front page.
back set dealer
A commercial company in the business of supplying noncurrent volumes and issues of serial publications to libraries and other institutions, usually to replace missing items or fill gaps in the library's holdings of a particular title (example: Periodical
back to back
In library cataloging, a term used in the physical description area of the bibliographic record to describe: (1) two maps that are versions of the same work in two different languages, printed on alternate sides of a single sheet; or (2) two parts of a b
backbone
In telecommunication, the portion of a physical network that covers the longest distance and handles the heaviest traffic. To operate at the highest possible transmission speed, it must be constructed of cable that provides maximum bandwidth. On the Inte
backdate
To make a document or transaction effective from a date earlier than its actual date, for example, a book order given a prior date with the publisher's permission, to allow the purchaser to qualify for an expired discount.
background
In pictorial art, the parts of a scene that appear to lie in the distance, behind figures and objects in the foreground. In illuminated manuscripts, the background in a miniature can be undecorated, diapered, or foliate, with or without gilding, as in th
backing
In bookbinding, the process of shaping a shoulder on each side of the binding edge of the text block after rounding, before lining is applied to the back. In hand-binding, a backing hammer is used to bend the backs of the sewn sections from the center of
backlist
All the publications on a publisher's active list that are no longer new, having been published prior to the current season. Kept in stock to meet future demand, backlist titles are often the most profitable part of a publisher's list. Also spelled back-
backlog
An accumulation of work that remains to be done, often the cause of delays and bottlenecks in workflow. A cataloging backlog may result when staffing is insufficient to meet the demands of acquisitions; for example, when a substantial gift is received wi
backslash
A character consisting of a straight line slanting diagonally from upper left to lower right, used mainly in computer programming notation and to separate directory and filenames in DOS and Windows (example: c:bibbib.txt referring to the bib.txt file i
backstrip
In bookbinding, the central portion of the covering material, extending from the front joint to the back joint over the inlay separating the boards, stamped with the spine title and the author's name in most editions. Sometimes used synonymously with spi
backup
In data processing, to make a second copy of an important data file in case the original is lost, damaged, or destroyed. Also refers to computer files, equipment, and procedures created and maintained specifically for use in the event of loss or failure
badge
A printed, engraved, or photographic device in plastic, metal, paper, or cloth indicating support of a cause, signifying membership or achievement in a group or society, or verifying identity, usually intended to be worn visibly on the person and often p
Baker & Taylor (B&T)
A jobber in the business of supplying books, videocassettes, and music materials to retailers and libraries, usually at a discount, and of providing value added and customized services to meet the needs of libraries of all types. B&T products and service
balance
In budgeting, to keep expenditures in line with income, usually for the duration of a fixed accounting period. In printing and Web page design, to arrange text and graphics on a page in a configuration that is aesthetically pleasing.
balanced
A library collection containing materials that present the full range of opinion on controversial issues and sensitive topics, for example, the for and against positions on legalized abortion, or religious books representing a variety of faiths.
ballad
Originally, an orally transmitted narrative song composed in an impersonal style for public performance, often sung to a traditional tune that served as a musical accompaniment to a dance. Most ballads tell a popular story of tragic romance or personal c
balloon
In cartoons, comic books, and graphic novels, a space encircled by a line drawn from the mouth of one of the characters, containing dialogue or the character's unspoken thoughts. Click here to see examples in the comic strip Pogo by Walt Kelly.
ballot
A sheet of paper, card, or other device used to announce a slate of candidates for election, or by an individual to cast a vote (see this example). Ballots have a long history, beginning with the ostraka of ancient Greece (example). Click here to learn m
bands
Raised ridges running at intervals across the spine of a hand-bound volume, caused by the bulk of the underlying sewing supports (click here to see an example). Binders sometimes cut shallow grooves in the binding edge of the sections in which sunk bands
bandwidth
The maximum carrying capacity of a line in an electronic communications network. For digital devices, bandwidth is measured in bits or bytes per second (bps); for analog devices, in Hertz (cycles per second). Bandwidth determines the amount of data that
banned book
A book, the publication and/or sale of which has been prohibited or suppressed by ecclesiastical or secular authority because its content is considered objectionable or dangerous, usually for political and/or social reasons (examples: The Grapes of Wrath
Banned Books Week
An annual event observed in the United States since 1981 during the last week of September, Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, Associa
banner
A narrow band of graphic promotional material displayed on a Web site that has leased or sold space on its page(s) to a commercial advertiser. Also, a narrow strip logo across the top or bottom of a Web page, identifying the host organization or suggesti
banquet camera photograph
A photograph made with a large format camera equipped with a fixed wide-angle lens capable of producing a sharp image of great depth. Popular in the first half of the 20th century, banquet camera photographs are often portraits of large groups, taken on
bar border
A decorative band running the length of one of the margins of a page in a medieval manuscript, usually along the left-hand side of the text but sometimes along the right-hand side on the recto. Click here to see a floral example in a 15th-century Dutch B
bar scale
A line drawn or printed on the face of a map or chart, usually beneath the title or with the legend(s), calibrated to indicate the scale at which actual distance on the ground is represented, for example, in increments of one inch, each representing 100
barcode
A printed label containing machine-readable data encoded in vertical lines of equal length but variable thickness, which can be read into an attached computer by an optical scanner. The barcode is a Universal Product Code (UPC) issued by the Uniform Code
bargain book
A book offered by a bookseller for a very low sticker price (usually $1.00-5.00), as distinct from one for which the list price is discounted, usually by a fixed percentage. Bargain book tables, often located near the cash register, are a marketing devic
bark book
A book consisting of leaves made of bark cloth, usually folded accordion-style between wooden cover plates, a format used historically in Asia and the Pacific. Click here and here to see late 19th examples from Sumatra, courtesy of the Royal Library of D
bark cloth
A flexible material used as a writing surface in the Himalayas, South Pacific, and Americas, consisting of pieces of tree bark beaten smooth, then joined with a vegetable adhesive to form large sheets. In the South Pacific, the inner bark of the paper mu
barrier sheet
A piece of well-sized paper, glassine paper, or acid-free paper placed between one material and another to prevent the migration of ink, oil, or acid. In books, a barrier sheet may be loose, sewn into the binding, or tipped in to the leaf to be protected
bas-de-page
French for bottom of the page. In medieval manuscripts, an unframed scene drawn or painted across the lower margin of a page, sometimes outside the overall border but more often resting on it, with or without reference to the text or other images on
base
In film, the layer of smooth, transparent, flexible plastic that serves as a support for the thin coating of magnetic recording substance or the emulsion containing the light-sensitive particles or dyes (in a gelatin binder) that bear the image. The base
base line
In typography, the imaginary horizontal line connecting the bottoms of lowercase letters lacking descenders, used to measure the intervals between lines of type. The line connecting the tops of letters lacking ascenders is called the mean line. Also spel
base map
A map that serves as the framework to which more specialized ancillary data is registered for purposes of comparison or geographic correlation, allowing users to generate multiple data layers (counties, population, school districts, land use, floodplains
base number
A class number in Dewey Decimal Classification schedules to which other numbers are appended, for example, 020 representing the library and information sciences, to which a decimal fraction may be added to indicate a subclass, as in 020.5 library and inf
base of notation
The set of characters or symbols used in the notation of a given classification system. In Dewey Decimal Classification, the arabic numerals 0-9 are used (decimal notation). In Library of Congress Classification, the letters of the English alphabet are u
baseball card
A paper trading card featuring a portrait of a baseball player or other person or topic associated with the game, often issued in sets (click here to see examples, courtesy of the Library of Congress). In the period following the American Civil War, cart
basic collection
The U.S. government publications that are sent to every depository library under the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), to which the library is expected to provide easy public access. First developed in 1977, the list of titles includes basic doc
basis weight
The mass in pounds of a ream of paper of a given sheet size and number of sheets. As indicated in the ANSI/NISO Z39.48 standard for the Permanence of Papers for Publications and Documents in Libraries and Archives, the basis weight of book paper is equal
bastarda
A book script used for speed in various parts of Europe from the late 13th to the 15th century, combining elements of formal textura (slow to write) with gothic cursive in letterforms that are spiky, with ascenders elongated and bent (see this example).
batch processing
Processing of a group of accumulated records together, rather than one by one, a method used mainly in automated cataloging and interlibrary loan to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Synonymous with batchload processing.
bathymetric map
From the Greek bathys (deep) and metron (measurement). A topographic map showing the depth and features of the sea floor, including coastal zones (bays and estuaries), or of some other large body of water, usually by means of contour lines called
bathymetry
The science of measuring the depth of the sea and other large bodies of water. Also refers to the information derived from such measurement, often presented in the form of a bathymetric map or nautical chart. Click here to see hypsometric tint used on a
battledore
A type of school primer used in the late 18th century, made of folded paper varnished on the inside, resembling a horn book when opened but sometimes lacking a handle. Click here to see an early 19th-century example (Library of Congress), here to see a s
baud
Originally, a unit of telegraph signaling speed (one Morse code dot per second) proposed in 1927 at the International Telegraph Conference and named after the French engineer Jean-Maurice-Emile Baudot (1845-1903), who designed the first teleprinter. In t
Baxter-process print
A color print produced from intaglio plates (or sometimes from lithographic stones or plates) to which oil ink is applied, using up to twenty wood or metal blocks, one for each color, in a process patented by George Baxter in 1835. In wide use up to the
bay
A unit of library or archival shelving, single- or double-sided, consisting of a number of horizontal shelves, fixed or adjustable, supported by rigid uprights (see this example). Synonymous with section. In a more general sense, a space or area used for
Bay Psalm Book
Early in the history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Richard Mather and a group of fellow clergymen transcribed biblical psalms into metrical verse to be sung in worship by members of the Puritan congregation. In 1640, 20 years after the Mayflower lande
beast epic
A series of stories popular during the Middle Ages in which the characters are animals with human qualities, usually written in the form of an allegory satirizing the Catholic Church, the royal court, or some other powerful person, group, or institution
beatus initial
The first letter of the first word of the first psalm of the Christian Bible, often elaborately decorated and illuminated in medieval psalters (see this example in the 11th-century Eadui Psalter, courtesy of the British Library, Arundel 155). Click here
beatus manuscript
A medieval manuscript consisting of an illustrated compilation of allegorical commentaries on passages from the Apocalypse, the revelation of the second coming of Christ experienced by St. John the Evangelist. Click here to view a leaves from a 12th-cent
beginning reader
A heavily illustrated work of fiction or nonfiction designed specifically for young children learning to read in which the text is brief, the vocabulary and grammar simplified, and the type size large, shelved in the juvenile section in public libraries
belles lettres
A French phrase meaning beautiful letters, referring to polite, refined literature (poetry, essays, drama, orations, letters, literary criticism, etc.) and to the aesthetics of literary studies. A writer of belles-lettres is a belletrist.
bench mark
A term borrowed from surveying to indicate the superior quality of a product or service recognized as a standard or point of reference in comparisons made by other producers or providers intent on improving their performance. In computing, a measure of t
best books
A selection of recently published books considered by reviewers to be superior in the field or type of publication they represent. Most library review publications publish annual lists of highly recommended titles in the various categories reviewed (refe
best evidence
The legal principle that in evidence, an original is superior to a copy, due to the difficulties frequently encountered in authenticating copies. According to the Federal Rules of Evidence, and similar rules adopted by the states, if the original of a do
best practices
In the application of theory to real-life situations, procedures that, when properly applied, consistently yield superior results and are therefore used as reference points in evaluating the effectiveness of alternative methods of accomplishing the same
Best Small Library in America
An award sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, given annually since 2005 to the public library that most profoundly demonstrates outstanding service to a population of 25,000 or less. The winning small library receives a $15,000 cash prize,
bestiary
A type of medieval literature containing descriptions, folklore, and myths about exotic animals (real or imaginary), with text and illustrations intended to teach both natural history and Christian morals through allegory, for example, the rise of the ph
bestseller
A highly publicized trade book currently in such high demand in bookstores and libraries that large numbers of copies are sold and circulated. Major newspapers and review publications often publish ranked lists of bestsellers in adult fiction and nonfict
Beta Phi Mu (BFM)
Founded at the University of Illinois in 1948, Beta Phi Mu is an international library and information science honor society established to recognize outstanding scholarship and to sponsor professional and scholarly projects in librarianship. Membership
beta test
A full-scale test of a new software or hardware system, involving actual users under normal operating conditions in the field, usually preceded by alpha testing in a laboratory environment.
beveled boards
A technique used in hand-binding in which the upper surface of the edges of heavy boards is cut at a sloping angle, instead of the usual 90 degrees, to give the cover a more elegant appearance or in conscious imitation of an earlier style. Click here to
beveled edge
Any edge tapered at less than a 90-degree angle to make the transition from upper to lower surface more gradual than in a right-angle cut. Beveled boards are sometimes used in hand bookbinding (to see examples, try a search on the keyword bevelled in
bias
Judgment unfairly influenced by subjective opinion when the situation calls for reliance on objective fact. Bias exists even in reference books (compare the entries for Holocaust and Inquisition in the Encyclopedia Judaica, Encyclopedia of Religi
bib-dating
Getting together with other book lovers in a small group in order to meet singles of similar taste in reading material. American Libraries reported in April 2006 that two Belgian librarians, Danny Theuwis and Eric Van der Staeten, have conducted workshop
bibelot
A French term for a small decorative object of exceptional beauty, rarity, or curiosity. In literature, a book of unusually small size, elegantly designed, and crafted from the finest materials. Also known as a thumb book.
bible
Any book or reference work widely accepted as an authoritative and reliable source of information, often a work updated in successive editions. See also: Bible. In television series production, a general outline of story and character development for all
bible card
A small printed paper card bearing a devotional image or quotation from biblical scripture (or both), often issued in sets and used in Sunday schools as teaching aids and rewards of merit. In AACR2, bible cards are cataloged as graphic materials. Synonym
bible fiction
Works of imaginative fiction in which the characters and settings are taken from the Christian Bible (example: I, Judas [1977] by Taylor Caldwell). Compare with Christian fiction.
Bible historiale
Available for centuries in Latin, the Bible did not become accessible in the vernacular until the 14th century. In France it appeared in a prose narrative version compiled by the cleric Guiart des Moulins, who based his translation on Peter Comestor's ea
Bible moralisée
A type of Latin picture bible made during the 13th century in which short passages or episodes from the Bible are accompanied by commentary providing moral, allegorical, or symbolic interpretation of the text, often drawing parallels between events in th
bible paper
A strong, thin, opaque printing paper made from new cotton or linen rags, or from flax fiber, used to reduce the bulk of large volumes such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibles, and prayer books that would otherwise be too thick for easy handling. Some
bible play
A dramatization of events depicted in the Christian Bible. The category includes miracle plays, mystery plays, and passion plays.
bible style
A general term for any flexible leather binding that has rounded corners, especially one of dark color.
Biblia Pauperum
A blockbook issued in large numbers beginning in about 1450, consisting mainly of pictures illustrating parallels between the Old and New Testaments (typology), with captions in Latin or German providing lessons from the Scriptures. Jean Peters notes in
biblio
A publisher's term for bibliographic details (edition, ISBN, CIP, etc.) printed on the verso of the title page (see this example).
biblio-
From the Greek word biblion, meaning book, used in combination to form a host of terms pertaining to books and libraries (bibliography, bibliomania, bibliophile, bibliophobia, bibliotherapy, etc.). In interactions with patrons, most public services l
bibliocaper
A term coined by George Eberhart in The Whole Library Handbook 3 (ALA, 2000) to refer to an odd or wacky event, harebrained prank, or bizarre petty crime involving libraries, librarians, library patrons, or books.
biblioclast
A person who destroys or mutilates books, for one reason or another. Fortunately for bibliophiles, this form of aberrant behavior occurs infrequently. See Biblioclasm: The Mythical Origins, Magic Powers, and Perishability of the Written Word by Marc Drog
bibliognost
A person who has a profound knowledge of books, bibliography, etc.
bibliogony
Of or relating to the production of books in all their forms. Synonymous with bibliogenesis.
bibliographee
A person concerning whom a bibliography is compiled, as in a list of references at the end of a biographical essay or book-length biography. See also: biobibliography.
bibliographer
A person who describes and lists books and other publications, with particular attention to such characteristics as authorship, publication date, edition, typography, etc. The result of this endeavor is a bibliography. A person who limits such efforts to
bibliographic control
A broad term encompassing all the activities involved in creating, organizing, managing, and maintaining the file of bibliographic records representing the items held in a library or archival collection, or the sources listed in an index or database, to
bibliographic coupling
The idea that two scholarly papers containing a citation in common are bibliographically related in a way that is likely to be of interest to researchers. A similar relationship, called co-citation coupling, is established between two or more documents w
bibliographic database
A computer file consisting of electronic entries called records, each containing a uniform description of a specific document or bibliographic item, usually retrievable by author, title, subject heading (descriptor), or keyword(s). Some bibliographic dat
bibliographic description
In a general sense, all the elements of data necessary to conclusively identify a specific document, presented in some form of record. In library cataloging, the detailed description of a copy of a specific edition of a work intended to identify and dist
bibliographic essay
A critical essay in which the bibliographer identifies and evaluates the core literature of a subdiscipline or field of study, providing guidance to students, researchers, and collection development librarians, for example, the bibliographic essay publis
bibliographic format
The standardized sequence and manner of presentation of the data elements constituting the full description of an item in a specific cataloging or indexing system. The machine-readable MARC record format has become the standard for library catalogs in ma
bibliographic hermaphrodite
A term coined by Crystal Graham, serials librarian at the University of California, San Diego, in reference to a publication in any medium that has characteristics of both monographs and serials. Most are complete in one part but have the potential to co
bibliographic instruction (BI)
Instructional programs designed to teach library users how to locate the information they need quickly and effectively. BI usually covers the library's system of organizing materials, the structure of the literature of the field, research methodologies a
bibliographic item
In AACR2, a document or set of documents in any physical format (print or nonprint) that is given a single bibliographic description in cataloging, by virtue of having been published, issued, released, or otherwise treated as a single entity. As defined
bibliographic record
An entry representing a specific item in a library catalog or bibliographic database, containing all the data elements necessary for a full description, presented in a specific bibliographic format. In modern cataloging, the standard format is machine-re
bibliographic reference
A written or printed citation containing all the information necessary to uniquely identify a bibliographic resource in any format (print, audiovisual, digital, etc.), published or unpublished. Bibliographic references also help to ensure the intellectua
bibliographic resource
In functional terms, an expression or manifestation of a work, or a specific item, that is the basis for bibliographic description in library cataloging (AACR2). Such a resource may be tangible (example: a printed publication) or intangible (an electroni
bibliographic retrieval
The process in which a user queries a library catalog or bibliographic database, usually by author, title, subject heading (descriptor), or keyword(s), and receives a list of records representing items that satisfy the parameters of the search. Most comm
bibliographic service center
A regional broker in the business of handling access, communication, training, billing, and other services for libraries located within a given geographic area that are connected to an online bibliographic network. Compare with bibliographic utility.
bibliographic utility
An organization that provides access to and support for bibliographic databases directly to member libraries or through a network of regional bibliographic service centers, usually via a proprietary interface. Relying on machine-readable cataloging provi
Bibliographical Society of America (BSA)
Organized in 1904, the BSA promotes bibliographical research and issues publications on bibliographical topics. Membership is open to all who have an interest in bibliographical problems and projects, including libraries and librarians. The BSA publishes
Bibliography
(a) A list of citations to works used by an author to write a paper, article, or book.  See also the entries for Works Cited and References.
biblioholism
An addiction to books and book collecting, a lesser affliction than bibliomania but more intense than bibliophily. A term coined by Tom Raabe that appears in the title of his book Biblioholism: The Literary Addiction (Fulcrum, 1991, rev. 2001). Raabe pro
biblioklept
A thief who steals books. A bibliokleptomaniac is a person suffering from a compulsion to steal books. When library collections are targeted, biblioklepts are considered problem patrons. See also: bibliomania.
bibliolatry
Excessive reverence for books, carried to the point of emotional dependence on them. A person who is a habitual bookworm may be at risk of becoming a bibliolater. Compare with biblioholism and bibliophile.Also refers to excessive devotion to a literal in
bibliology
The historical and scientific study and description of books as physical objects, from their origins in human society to the present, including knowledge of the processes and materials (booklore) involved in making them. Compare with codicology.
bibliomancy
The art of divination through the use of books or verses of the Bible or some other sacred text. Also, the practice of opening the Bible, or a book of verses or aphorisms such as the I Ching, without previously marking the page, to discover meaning or si
bibliomania
An obsession or mania for collecting and possessing books, especially rare books and editions. In the International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science (Routledge, 2003), the origin of the term is attributed to Thomas Frognall Dibdin (1776-18
bibliometrics
The use of mathematical and statistical methods to study and identify patterns in the usage of materials and services within a library or to analyze the historical development of a specific body of literature, especially its authorship, publication, and
bibliomining
The use of statistical methods in the analysis of library records to detect patterns of behavior in groups of patrons and/or staff which might assist library administration in making informed management decisions and marketing library services effectivel
bibliomystery
A work of fiction in the mystery genre in which plot, setting, and/or characters are closely associated with the world of books, manuscripts, libraries, archives, etc. (example: The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco). Click here to view a bibliography of b
biblionarcissism
The art of convincing others that one is more knowledgeable about books or bookish than one really is, a term attributed to Tom Raabe, author of Biblioholism: The Literary Addiction (Fulcrum, 1991, rev. 2001).
bibliopegy
The fine art of binding books by hand, performed by a bookbinder or bibliopegist.
bibliophilately
The collection and study of library-related postage stamps, usually as a hobby (see Bibliophilately Revisited by Larry Nix in the February 2000 issue of American Libraries). Click here to learn more about bibliophilately, courtesy of Jerzy Duda of Po
bibliophile
A person who loves and treasures books (especially their physical form) and is sufficiently knowledgeable to be able to distinguish editions by their characteristics and qualities. Most bibliophiles are book collectors. The opposite of bibliophobe. Synon
bibliophile edition
A limited or special edition that appeals primarily to book lovers and collectors who appreciate the fine points of book design, typography, illustration, etc. The category includes large books of plates, books containing original graphic art, high-quali
bibliophobia
An irrational fear or dread of books so intense that the afflicted person, known as a bibliophobe, avoids them whenever possible. The opposite of bibliophily. Click here to connect to the entry in Wikipedia on phobias
bibliopole
A bookseller, especially one who deals in rare books and editions. See also: antiquarian bookseller.
bibliopsychology
The psychological study of the interrelationships between authors, books, and readers. See also: bibliotherapy.
bibliotaph
A person who hoards books and hides them from others, even to the extent of keeping them under lock and key.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF)
The national library of France, located in Paris. The history of the BNF spans five centuries. King Charles V (The Wise) made the initial gift of his private library in 1368, but continuity in collection development did not begin until the reign of L
bibliotheca
From the Greek biblion (book) and theke (to place). A library or collection of books. Also refers to a list or catalog of books, especially one prepared by a bibliographer.
bibliotherapy
The use of books selected on the basis of content in a planned reading program designed to facilitate the recovery of patients suffering from mental illness or emotional disturbance. Ideally, the process occurs in three phases: personal identification of
biennial
Issued every two years. Also refers to a serial publication issued every two years. Compare with semiannual. See also: annual, triennial, quadrennial, quinquennial, sexennial, septennial, and decennial.
Biennial Survey
A report prepared every two years by the Library Programs Service (LPS) of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) on the conditions of depository libraries in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), as required by law (44 USC ?1909). The Survey
bifolium
In modern bookbinding, a pair of conjoint leaves, as opposed to a single leaf, one on each side of the fold down the center of a sheet. In medieval book production, a sheet of writing material (papyrus, parchment, or vellum) was folded in half to produce
big book
A special edition of a children's picture book, published in very large format to facilitate display of the illustrations to a group in storytelling, usually bound in colorfully illustrated, flexible covers. Library suppliers offer specially designed fur
Big Little Book (BLB)
The series title given to children's books of a certain format published from 1932 to 1938 in hardcover editions of hundreds of thousands of copies by the Whitman Publishing Company of Racine, Wisconsin (see this example). Of small size, usually measurin
big red books
A colloquial expression used by reference librarians in directing library users to the Library of Congress Subject Headings list, a multivolume set of large, thick reference books traditionally bound in red covers, usually shelved near the reference desk
Bildungsroman
From the German word Bildung (education or culture) and the French word roman (novel). A novel in which the author traces the maturation of the hero or heroine, from the subjectivity of childhood and early adolescence through the development
bilingual edition
A book or periodical published in two languages, sometimes because both languages are spoken in the country in which the work is published (for example, English and French in Canada) or because the work was co-published in countries with different nation
bill
A law proposed during a formal session of a legislative body. In AACR2, bills and drafts of legislation are cataloged under the heading for the appropriate legislative body. Bills proposed in the U.S. Congress are searchable by keyword(s) or bill number
bill of mortality
An official record of the deaths in a specified locality during a stated period of time, often giving cause of death, published periodically, usually in the form of a broadside (click here and here to see examples). Bills of mortality were originally pub
billboard poster
A large multi-sheet poster, usually printed in color for display on a billboard, wall, fence, or similar large, flat surface (see this example). Advertising content predominates.
billed
A code used in library catalogs and circulation systems to indicate the circulation status of an item unavailable due to loss or damage, for which the previous borrower has been charged an amount usually based on cost of replacement. Most libraries make
binary
Literally, two. Data used as input in a digital computer must be converted into code made up of the digits 0 and 1, called bits. Binary code is transmitted as a series of electrical pulses (0 bits at low voltage and 1 bits at higher voltage), stored as m
bind
To fasten the leaves of a book together and enclose them in a protective cover, a process known as binding, originally done by hand but in modern book production almost entirely by machine.
binder
A removable cover used for filing and storing loose sheets, pamphlets, and issues of periodicals. Commercially made binders used in libraries to protect current issues of magazines usually have a transparent front cover to facilitate browsing. See also:
binder's board
A stiff, sturdy board made from pulped fiber derived from rope, wood, or recycled paper, used since the early 18th century to give rigidity to the covers of books published in hardcover, and preferred in hand-binding. Modern high-quality binder's board i
binder's mark
A small device or symbol stamped on or affixed to the binding of a book, often inside the rear board, identifying the binder. Library binding specifications may require commercial binders to indicate responsibility by stamping or gluing a code mark to th
binder's ticket
A small printed or engraved paper label affixed to a book, usually on the lower inside corner of the front or rear paste-down, bearing the name or mark and location of the binder. Click here to see examples (Bryn Mawr College Library). Click here to see
binder's title
The title stamped or lettered on the spine of a bound volume by the binder, as distinct from the cover title on the publisher's edition and the title printed on the title page. See also: spine title.
bindery
An establishment that performs one or more of the various types of binding. Some large libraries and library systems have an in-house bindery usually associated with centralized technical processing (see this example at the University of Canterbury, New
bindery record
The systematic account maintained by a library of materials sent to the bindery and the specific treatment given them. Most bindery records include title of publication, call number (if applicable), style and color of binding, format and placement of spi
binding
The sewing and outside covering on a volume of printed or blank leaves. Books published in hardcover are bound in boards covered in cloth or some other durable material. Leather was used to bind manuscripts and incunabula but is now used mainly in hand-b
binding copy
A worn book in such poor condition that it needs to be rebound and is worth the expense of rebinding.
binding edge
The edge at which the leaves of a book are attached to one another, usually by sewing the folded and gathered sections together and gluing them to a lining or by trimming away the back fold and applying strong adhesive to the loose leaves. The three oute
binding error
A mistake made in binding a publication. Common errors include the incorrect folding of signatures; leaves or an entire section omitted, gathered in incorrect sequence, or bound in upside down; or application of the wrong cover to the body of the book. I
binding margin
The unprinted space between the binding edge of a printed page and the area that bears print. The width of the inner margin often determines whether rebinding is possible. Synonymous with back, gutter, and inside margin.
binding medium
In the production of medieval manuscripts, an ingredient added to ink or paint to hold the pigment together and make it adhere to the writing surface (usually parchment or vellum). Gum arabic, made from the sap of the acacia tree, was used to bind ink. F
binding policy
Guidelines established by a library or library system concerning the manner in which materials not purchased in permanent binding are to be bound. Cataloged monographs are usually bound (except for loose-leaf and spiral bound materials), and pamphlets ma
binding schedule
The dates on which materials to be bound are picked up by the binder (or shipped to the binder) and delivered back to the library after the work has been completed. According to Matt Roberts and Don Etherington (Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books:
binding slip
A set of written instructions sent by a library to the bindery with each volume or set of volumes, giving the specifications for binding the item. A form in multiple copies allows the library to maintain a record of the instructions given.
binding specifications
A detailed description of the materials, manufacturing processes, and standards of workmanship to be employed in binding materials for a library or related institution, agreed upon in advance to ensure an end product that meets the customer's expectation
binding unit
Two or more consecutive periodical issues bound together to form a volume of optimum size. For most journals published on a quarterly basis, the binding unit is composed of four issues, but for periodicals issued weekly or monthly, it usually consists of
binding waste
Material from broken and discarded books, used in bookbinding for economy. When printed copies began to replace manuscripts following the introduction of the printing press in Europe in the second half of the 15th century, binders regarded disused parchm
biobibliography
A reference work combining biographical information with bibliography, either in the form of brief biographical entries with a list of works written by the biographees, sometimes in separate sections (example: A Biobibliography of Native American Writers
biodata
An abbreviation of biographical data. Factual information about the life of a person, particularly his or her professional or educational history, stored in a database for use in banking, marketing, or personnel selection or for other purposes.
biographical dictionary
A single-volume reference work or set of reference books containing biographical essays about the lives of actual people, sometimes limited to biographees who are deceased. Biographical dictionaries may be general (example: Webster's Biographical Diction
biographical fiction
An imagined account of the life of a real person or persons, usually based on historical research (example: Sally Hemmings: A Novel by Barbara Chase-Riboud). Some authors specialize in biographical novels, for example, Irving Stone. Compare with autobiog
biographical film
A motion picture in which the life of a real person (or persons) is dramatized (example: The Glenn Miller Story directed by Anthony Mann). The screenplay may be an adaptation of a previously published book, for example, the 1962 film Birdman of Alcatraz
biographical note
A brief sketch of the life of the author (composer, performer, etc.) of a work, printed at the end of a book, on the dust jacket, on the container, or elsewhere in or on the bibliographic item. Historical works sometimes contain a section of biographical
biography
A carefully researched, relatively full narrative account of the life of a specific person or closely related group of people, written by another. The biographer selects the most interesting and important events with the intention of elucidating the char
biological attack
In preservation, damage or deterioration caused by biological organisms. In libraries, the worst damage is caused by mold and insects (bookworms, book lice, cockroaches, etc.), but rodents, dogs, cats, and babies may also inflict damage. Mold weakens the
biometric ID
A method of authenticating personal identity electronically through the use of digital data (usually encrypted) in which measurements of the person's unique physiological or behavioral characteristics (fingerprint, eye retina or iris print, voice or faci
biopredation
Damage to books or other library materials caused by living organisms, such as insects or mold (see this example).
bird book
A type of natural history book containing pictures of wild bird species, with or without accompanying text (see this 18th-century engraved example, courtesy of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek). One of the most famous is John James Audubon's Birds of America,
bird's-eye view
A perspective representation of the landscape of the earth, or another celestial body, as it might be viewed from a position high above the surface. Features are shown as if projected on an oblique plane, with the horizon usually appearing in the upper t
birth and death dates
The dates on which a person was born and died. In library cataloging, a person's dates (birth, death, etc.) are added, in prescribed form, as the last element of a heading if the heading is otherwise identical to another (example: Lang, Andrew, 1844-1912
birthday book
A type of book popular during the Victorian period in which a quotation from a work by a well-known writer (usually a poet) is given for each day of the year, with space left blank for autographs. Click here to see an example published by Roycroft in 192
birthday book club
A special library program in which a child's birthday is recognized by the donation, usually by the parents or some other relative, of a modest sum (often a fixed amount) for the purchase of a new book for the child's school or public library. In some pr
bit
A contraction of binary digit, either of the two values (0 and 1) used in the binary number system and as the smallest unit of storage in digital computers. In personal computers, data is stored and processed in 8-bit units called bytes. In ASCII code, e
bit depth
In computing, the number of bits used to represent a discrete item, using a coding system based on numeric values. In digital imaging, the number of bits used to represent a pixel (at least 15 bits for digital video and 24 bits to produce full color in R
bit rate
The number of bits of data that pass a given point in a computer network in a given amount of time, generally indicated in kilobits or megabits per second (kbps and mbps), a measure of the network's bandwidth, also known as its data transfer rate. Also s
bitmap
A digital representation composed of dots arranged in rows and columns, each represented by a single bit of data that determines the value of a pixel in a monochrome image on a computer screen. In a gray scale or color image, each dot is composed of a se
black and white
A still or moving image, such as a photograph, photocopy, or motion picture, produced in black, white, and intermediate shades of gray, without the use of color (click here to see an example by Dorothea Lange). Also refers to the process used to produce
black box
A device which can be examined only in terms of its performance characteristics (input, output, and transfer), without knowledge of its internal components and how they function. In computing, a device designed to convert protocols from one computer syst
Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA)
Founded in 1970, BCALA has a membership of black librarians and black persons interested in promoting librarianship and encouraging active participation by African Americans in library associations and at all levels of the profession. BCALA publishes the
black comedy
From the French humour noir. A term coined in 1935 by the French Surrealist theoretician André Breton to describe a subgenre of comedy and satire in which laughter arises from attitudes of skepticism and cynicism, often in reference to absurd or horrify
black edges
In the 19th century, it was not uncommon for the edges of the sections of devotional books and funereal publications to be blackened in binding by sponging them with ink, then with ivory black, lampblack, or antimony mixed with paste. Today, the techniqu
blank
A leaf intentionally left unprinted in a book, usually preceding the half title and/or following the back matter, often to give the signature an even number of leaves. Synonymous with printer's blank.Also, any page or sheet of paper (or other writing sur
blankbook
A book consisting of clean or ruled leaves for writing or making entries, with printing limited to page headings and/or divisions (see this example). Examples include diaries, albums, scrapbooks, guestbooks, sketchbooks, account books, minute books, log
blanket order
An agreement in which a publisher or dealer supplies to a library or library system one copy of each title as issued, on the basis of a profile established in advance by the purchaser. Blanket order plans are used mainly by large academic and public libr
blanking
In binding, the application of a heated brass stamp to the cloth cover of a book to create a glossy impression to serve as a base for lettering or for a stamped decoration.
bleaching
The fading of book covers, inks, and pigments used in illustrations, usually caused by overexposure to natural or artificial light (see this example). Bleaching can be minimized in libraries by switching off lights in unused areas, applying protective ma
bleed
In printing, to run text or illustration off the trimmed edge of the page without leaving space for a margin, accidentally or by intention. A page can bleed in more than one direction, depending on how many edges are touched by the image printed on it. A
bleeding edge
The edge of a map or illustration to which printed detail extends after the sheet or page has been trimmed, leaving no margin. A sheet or page can bleed at more than one edge.
blind
In bookbinding, a procedure done without further embellishment, for example, tooling or blocking applied to a leather or cloth binding without the addition of ink or metallic leaf to bring out the design. Click here to view a 16th-century English example
blind carbon copy (bcc)
A message sent to multiple recipients at the same time without displaying the list of recipients to each person on the list. The practice, which originated with paper correspondence, has become a feature of most e-mail programs. Compare with blind copy.
blind copy
A copy of a literary work from which the author's name is deliberately withheld. Blind copies are used in publishing and in jurying literary awards to allow the reader to judge the quality of the work without being influenced by the writer's reputation.A
blind folio
A leaf in a manuscript or book included in the foliation but not given a folio number. The opposite of expressed folio. Compare with blind page.
blind page
A page in a book, usually the half title, title page, dedication, or a blank page, included in the pagination but not given a page number. Compare with blind folio.
blind reference
A cross-reference in an index or catalog directing the reader to a heading that does not exist in the same index or catalog.
blind stamp
A symbol or other device embossed or impressed onto paper without ink, usually to identify the creator, printer, publisher, seller, or owner, or to indicate the purpose of the item, such as a Review Copy. When applied to binding material (usually clo
blip code
A small mark recorded on the edge of roll microfilm, outside the image area, that can be read to automatically to count frames (see this example). By assigning marks of constant size and density to distinguish documents as they are filmed, the codes can
block
In records management, one or more segments (often chronological) of cutoff or closed records in the same record series, treated as a unit for purposes of disposition, for example, the transfer of records in 5- or 10-year blocks. Also, the records of an
block diagram
In cartography, a generalized representation of a four-cornered portion of the landscape, shown in perspective or isometric projection, usually with some vertical exaggeration, often used to show structures hidden beneath the surface. Click here to see a
block letter
A letter printed in a typeface that has strokes of equal width and boldness, straight and without serifs, a style used for legibility in headlines but considered less legible for printing text matter (see these examples). Used synonymously with sans-seri
blockbook
A form of book containing text alone or text with pictures, printed entirely from woodcuts on only one side of each leaf. Blockbooks originated in Europe during the 15th century concurrently with printing from movable type and may have been an inexpensiv
blockbuster
A slang term for a new book for which the sale of a very large number of copies is virtually guaranteed, usually due to the reputation or popularity of the author (Mary Higgins Clark, Stephen King, Danielle Steel, etc.). Public libraries often order such
blocked
The status of the borrower account of a patron who is barred from checking out materials from the library, usually because fines for overdue items remain unpaid. Most electronic circulation systems are designed to automatically block a patron record unde
blocking
The process of impressing a decorative design or lettering on the cover of a book by machine in blind, ink, or metallic leaf, using an engraved plate called a binder's brass (die) mounted on a blocking press (click here to see the process illustrated). M
bloom
In conservation, the growth of mold or fungus on the surface of an item stored under warm, humid conditions, or a visible change in the appearance of the surface of an item caused by moisture (often atmospheric). Also, a powdery residue shed from the coa
bloop
An unwanted clicking sound caused when a faulty splice or break in the optical sound track on motion picture film passes the scanner in projection. Deblooping (also called blooping) is the application of opaque ink or tape over the splice on a positive o
blowup
In photography, an enlargement usually made from a copy negative taken of a smaller print (the procedure is demonstrated in the 1966 feature film Blowup directed by Michelangelo Antonioni). Also, a motion picture made in a larger film format than the ori
Blu-ray (BD)
A type of high-definition optical disc introduced by Sony in 2006, BD quickly outdistanced HD-DVD (abandoned by Toshiba in 2008) in the emerging market for this new high-capacity storage medium. Named for the blue-violet laser used to read data in BD pla
blue book
In the United States, the popular name for a manual published by a state government listing the names of elected and appointed officials and providing information about government structure, agencies, voting districts, elections, etc., usually bound in b
blue pencil
To mark corrections in a manuscript or typescript during the editing process, derived from the color of pencil traditionally used by editors. The term has also been applied to the editing of text by a censor.
blue scale
A method used in preservation to determine whether a light source is affecting a book or other object. Strips of blue woolen cloth known to fade at different rates are pasted parallel to each other across one side of a card backed with a piece of stiff c
Bluebook
Utilized by law students and law practitioners. For more information, see our Citing Sources Guide.
blueprint
A photographic copy of the detailed plans for constructing a building or other structure, formerly printed in white against a blue ground by the cyanotype process. Blueprints are usually produced in sets, one for each floor for each phase of construction
blurb
The publisher's description and recommendation of a new book, usually printed on the front flap of the dust jacket, portions of which may be used in advertisements published in book trade journals and review publications and in the publisher's catalog. B
board
A general term for the sheet of rigid material forming one side of the cover of a book bound in hardcover, the upper board preceding the book block and the lower board following it. Up to the 16th century, wooden boards were used (seasoned oak or hardwoo
board book
A durable book of small size designed for very young children, consisting of a few unnumbered pages made of pasteboard covered in glossy paper printed with colorful illustrations and little if any text (see these examples). Board books are often alphabet
Bodleian Library
The library of the University of Oxford in England. The original medieval library was severely damaged in 1542, then refounded in 1598 by Sir Thomas Bodley, a former diplomat. Its combination of buildings, constructed between 1490 and 1970, and its vast
body
In printing, the main portion of a book, beginning with the first page of the text and including any footnotes and illustrations but excluding the front matter and back matter. In bookbinding, the block of sections sewn or glued together in preparation f
body matter
The text of a work to be printed, as distinct from any display matter (headings, ornaments, illustrations, etc.).
boilerplate
Fixed or formulaic language or code, commonly used in forms, documents, legal contracts, and computer programming, which can be reused in new contexts or applications without significantly altering the original.
boldface
A typeface conspicuous for being thicker and darker but not larger than the medium weight type of the same font, used mainly for contrast or emphasis and for headings. The words thicker and darker in the preceding sentence are in boldface. Variations inc
bole
A fine, soft, oily red, gray-blue, green, or white clay dusted or mixed with glue and brushed onto the edges of the sections of a book to serve as a preparatory ground for edge gilding, enhancing its color and luster. Also used as a size on which gold le
bolt
The folded edge of a single sheet of paper at the head, tail, or fore-edge of the book block in an uncut or unopened book, known respectively as the head-bolt, tail-bolt, or fore-edge bolt. In binding, the fourth edge, called the back fold or spine bolt,
bonus record
An audiorecording given free of charge to a record club subscriber who purchases, at full price, a predetermined number of additional recordings, usually from the club's catalog, or who fulfills the requirements of some other club incentive program.
book
A collection of leaves of paper, parchment, vellum, cloth, or other material (written, printed, or blank) fastened together along one edge, with or without a protective case or cover. The origin of the word is uncertain. It may be derived from the Anglo-
book announcement
A brief statement by the publisher, informing readers, booksellers, and librarians of the availability of a new book or backlisted title, usually published as an advertisement in a book trade journal or review publication or in the advertising section of
book art
The form of art expressed through the medium of the book. The artist's input extends beyond authorship and illustration, making the physical appearance of the book as object a manifestation of creativity in and of itself (see this example by Sherrie Knip
book arts
The skills and techniques used in creating fine books and manuscripts, including papermaking, calligraphy, illumination and rubrication, typography, illustration, printing, and bookbinding. Book Arts Web provides a gallery. See also: Center for Book Arts
book auction
A public or private sale at which rare books and used books are sold to the highest bidder, usually on commission. A firm specializing in such sales is known as a book auction house (examples: Bloomsbury Auctions and PBA Galleries). Extremely rare and va
book band
A strip of printed paper (usually colored) placed around the jacketed cover of a book to call attention to a special characteristic, such as availability at a reduced price, receipt of an award, or special loan status (reserve, interlibrary loan, etc.).
book block
All the sections of a book sewn or glued together, plus the endpapers and any other leaves added by the binder, before the cover is applied. Compare with text block.
book box
A container made of rigid, solid material, usually rectangular in shape, designed to hold a book and keep it tightly covered on all sides. Click here to see a 17th-century Chinese Buddhist example and here to see a modern clamshell example (Royal Library
book burning
The intentional destruction by fire of books considered objectionable or dangerous, usually by a religious or secular authority, as in the mass burning of books considered politically incorrect by the Nazi Party in pre-World War II Germany, or by a mob,
book caddy
A high two-wheeled metal cart with a protruding handle or bar across the top, designed for maximum maneuverability in transporting books to and from locations and across surfaces difficult to manage with a full-size book truck. Single-stack and multiple-
book card
A piece of stiff card stock of standard size (three inches wide and five inches high), with space at the top for the call number, name of author, and title of item, and blank lines below for recording the due date and the library card number or name of t
book catalog
A library catalog in the form of a bound or loose-leaf book, whether handwritten, printed, or computer-generated, practical only for small collections.
book club
A commercial company that sells new books and backlisted titles by mail to subscribers who agree to purchase a minimum number of titles per year at discount prices, usually from main, alternate, or special selections offered on a monthly basis that may b
book club edition
An edition of a book offered for sale by a book club on a mail-order basis. Copies may be purchased by the club from the publisher's stock (usually at a discount) or specially reprinted for club distribution. An edition produced solely for distribution t
book collecting
The process of acquiring a collection of books based on their content, history, antiquity, rarity, beauty, monetary value, or other characteristics. A person who systematically acquires books for the pleasure of owning them, as an investment, or with the
book collector
A person who acquires books for the pleasure of owning them, often bequeathing all or a portion of the collection to a library or other educational institution at death. Serious bibliophiles often limit their collecting to a specific author or illustrato
book contract
A legally binding written agreement between a writer and publisher in which the author grants the publisher the rights to a specific work in exchange for compensation (usually royalties as a percentage of net sales on copies sold) and a commitment to pub
book cradle
A low stand or rack, usually made of wood, metal, or plastic, designed to display a book open at an angle, rather than flat, to minimize strain on the spine when the volume is exhibited, mounted, studied, microfilmed, or scanned (see this soft-surfaced e
book culture
The habits, skills, institutions, etc., of a given people concerning books in all forms, including their manufacture (publishing, printing, and binding), marketing and promotion, bookselling and collecting, book clubs and reading groups, bibliography and
book curse
A brief passage written in a book usually by the owner or a scribe invoking misfortune to anyone who steals or harms it, a form of security used in periods when books were very rare and therefore valuable. The oldest known book curse, traced to the Assyr
book design
The process of planning the physical appearance of a new book, starting with the manuscript and including such details as the selection of printing paper and typeface(s), line spacing, margin width, and the appearance of the title page, chapter titles, r
book digitizer
In the August 2004 issue of American Libraries, the American Library Association (ALA) announced that Kirtas Technologies, Inc., Xerox, and PARC have partnered to develop the APT BookScan 1200, a machine capable of automatically scanning 1,200 printed pa
book donation program
An arrangement in which a publisher, library, or related institution provides books and/or other library materials free of charge to a school or library in need of them, often in another region or country where educational resources are scarce or in an a
book drive
A campaign, usually of predetermined length, conducted by a library, school, or other organization to solicit donations of books for the purpose of expanding the existing collection or to generate funds to benefit the institution by means of a book sale.
book drop
A slot, chute, bin, or box to which books and other items borrowed from a library may be returned, especially during hours when the facility is closed. Book drops may be free-standing (usually outside the walls of the library) or built into the circulati
book fair
A trade exhibition, usually held annually, at which book publishers and distributors display their products in spaces called booths leased for that purpose. The first international book fair was held in Lyon, France, in the late middle ages. The Frankfur
book hand
A style of handwriting used by scribes to produce books before the invention of the printing press, less formal than the lapidary script used on permanent monuments but more formal than the cursive hand used for writing letters and other informal documen
book history
The study of the origins and development of written works, from the cuneiform clay tablets and papyrus scrolls of Antiquity, through the manuscripts and incunabula of the Middle Ages, to modern printing and publishing. Click here to view an online chrono
book holder
A piece of equipment, usually made of metal or plastic, designed to hold a book open and upright, usually at about a 60- to 70-degree angle from the surface of a desk or table, leaving the hands of the reader free for writing or typing. Collapsible model
Book Industry Study Group (BISG)
Established in November 1975 at the annual conference of the Book Manufacturers Institute, BISG published a Report on Book Industry Information Needs in April 1976 confirming the feasibility of a program of major research studies by and about the book in
Book Item and Contribution Identifier (BICI)
A variable length code currently under development by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) to uniquely identify logical components or items within a book or publication to which an ISBN has been assigned, regardless of medium. Its purpo
book label
A card, strip, etc., smaller than a bookplate, usually made of paper, affixed to the inside of a book, in most cases to indicate ownership.
book lease plan
An acquisitions plan offered by some book jobbers that allows a library or library system to lease an agreed-upon number of popular fiction and nonfiction titles, usually for a fixed monthly fee. After a prescribed period of time, or a decline in demand,
book length
In the publication of fiction, novels for adults are generally 80,000 to 120,000 words long, with 50,000 words considered by publishers to be the absolute minimum. Novels for young adults are usually 20,000 to 40,000 words long--considered a novella in a
book lice
A species (Liposcelis divinatorius) of minute (one-sixteenth-inch) soft-bodied, wingless insects of worldwide distribution that damages old books by feeding on the glue and paste in bindings. Usually gray, white, or translucent in color, book lice also c
book lift
A fixed mechanical device similar to a dumb waiter, designed to transport books from one floor or stack level to another in a library, without having to use a stairway or full-size elevator (see this example).
book light
A very small electric light designed to attach, usually by means of a clip, to the cover of a book for reading in dark places (airplane seat, bed, tent, etc.) without disturbing others. To see examples, try a keywords search on the term in Google Images.
book list
A selected list of books, usually on a specific topic or in a particular genre, arranged in some kind of order (by author, title, subject, theme, etc.), that may include brief descriptive annotations, used mainly in readers' advisory.
Book Manufacturer's Institute (BMI)
Founded in 1933, BMI is a national trade association of the book manufacturing industry in the United States, serving as an intra-industry communications link between book manufacturers, publishers, suppliers, and governmental bodies. Its membership incl
book measure
A three-sided tabletop unit, usually made of wood, with a sliding mechanism for measuring the dimensions of books for the purpose of archival box-making (see this example). In 2006, AG/CAD Limited introduced the Kasemake CXD Digital Book Measure, a table
book number
The portion of the call number following the class notation, added to distinguish a specific item within its class. A book number is composed of an author mark appended by the cataloger to subarrange works of the same class by name of author, followed by
Book of Hours
A book of common prayers for the Catholic laity, said at the eight canonical hours of the day and night, introduced in France in the 10th century. Originally intended for ecclesiastical use, its main text, the Little Office of the Virgin, is a shorter ve
Book of Kells
Considered by many to be the most beautiful illuminated manuscript produced in medieval Europe, the Book of Kells was copied by hand and decorated by Celtic monks, probably around A.D. 800. The Latin text of the four Gospels is written in Insular majuscu
book paper
A grade of paper suitable for printing books, pamphlets, periodicals, catalogs, etc., as opposed to various other grades (newsprint, tissue paper, wrapping paper, etc.). Book papers vary in content, color, finish, opacity, weight, and permanence, but are
book pocket
A three-inch-wide strip of stiff paper with a small pocket folded and glued across the bottom third of its height to hold a book card, used in libraries with manual circulation systems (see this example). Available ungummed or with a self-adhesive back,
book press
A mechanical device consisting of two thick composite boards with a long screw at each of the four corners, used like a sandwich to apply pressure to a book, to ensure that glued or pasted surfaces adhere properly in binding, rebinding, and repair. In he
book proposal
A plan for a prospective book submitted by the author (or the author's literary agent) to a publisher for consideration, sometimes at the publisher's invitation. A book proposal usually includes: tentative title, brief discussion of scope and purpose of
book report
A factual description of a book, usually submitted in fulfillment of a school assignment, including a brief bibliographic description (title, name of author, publisher, date of publication, etc.) and in the case of fiction, an account of the setting, tim
book sale
Libraries often dispose of discarded materials and unused gifts at an annual or ongoing public sale, sometimes organized by a Friends of the Library group, which uses the proceeds to benefit the library. Library book sales are a good place to find out of
book scorpion
A species of small (one-eighth- to one-quarter-inch) stingless arachnid (Chelifer cancroides), also known as the false scorpion, that diets on tiny insects such as book lice that damage books by feeding on paper and bindings. Click here to learn more, co
book scout
A person in the business of scouring obscure or remote bookshops, secondhand stores, and book sales in search of books and editions desired by librarians, private collectors, and antiquarian booksellers. See also: scout.
book shoe
An inexpensive sleeve made to measure from thin card stock, cut and folded to fit unobtrusively around a book to protect and support the binding while it rests on the shelf, leaving the spine and head exposed to allow the volume to be easily removed and
book signing
An event scheduled at a retail bookstore or library at which the author and/or illustrator of a new book is available to autograph copies of his or her work(s), sometimes scheduled in conjunction with a book talk or a reading from the text. See also: aut
book size
The height and width of a book, usually measured in inches or centimeters from head to tail and from spine to fore-edge of the cover. Historically, the size of a printed book was determined by the number of times a full sheet of printing paper measuring
book stamp
A wood, metal, or rubber stamp used to make an inked impression on the cover, edge, endpaper, or title page of a book, usually as a mark of ownership (click here to see an examples on ex-library copies).
book stock
The total number of books in a library's collections, subject to growth through acquisition and to diminution through loss, damage, theft, weeding, etc. Synonymous with book collection. See also: inventory.
book stop
A narrow ridge or ledge along the lower edge of the sloping top of a dictionary stand, atlas case, or lectern allowing an open book or sheaf of papers to rest at an angle convenient for reading without sliding off.
book talk
An event, usually scheduled in a library, bookstore, or educational institution, at which the author, a librarian, or other interested person discusses a book and reads excerpts from it to encourage readership and promote reading in general. Also spelled
book trade
The operations and arrangements that exist in a specific country for the manufacture, distribution, and sale of books to the public, including publishers and their associations, printers and binders, retail booksellers and their trade associations, jobbe
book trade journal
A periodical issued by publishers, booksellers, and others engaged in the book trade for the purpose of announcing and promoting newly published titles. Book trade journals also include trade news, bestseller lists, author interviews, book reviews, featu
book truck
A wheeled metal or wooden cart with two or three shelves, used by a page or other library staff member for transporting books and other materials from one area of the library to another, available in various sizes from library suppliers. To see a variety
book wheel
A form of movable lectern used in the Middle Ages, consisting of a bookrest (often circular in shape) of a size sufficient to accommodate more than one open book, which could be rotated by the user to bring each volume into reading position. Click here t
bookbag
A sturdy carrying sack, usually made of canvas or heavy nylon fabric with firmly attached straps of sufficient strength to handle the weight of a number of books and related items. Some designs are open at the top, others have a flap or zippered closure.
bookbin
A wheeled box for transporting books, sometimes with a bottom equipped with a spring mechanism to allow the space inside to fill gradually as books and other materials are returned by patrons to a book drop built into the circulation desk or wall of a li
bookbinding
The process of fastening the leaves of a manuscript or book together in a particular order and enclosing them in a protective cover (forwarding), then applying lettering and decoration to the cover (finishing), formerly done by hand by a tradesman called
bookbinding model
The binding for a book, made by a skilled binder as a replica to exemplify a particular historic period, national tradition, or craft context, or as the production dummy for a hand-bound edition, typically containing only blank leaves. Click here to
bookcase
A set of two or more single- or double-sided shelves in a rigid frame, used to store books, periodicals, videocassettes, and other materials. In libraries, bookcases are usually made of wood or metal with fixed or adjustable shelves.
bookend
A rigid barrier placed at the end of a row of books, periodicals, videocassettes, etc., to keep them upright on the shelf, usually a T- or L-shaped movable piece of metal, wood, or hard plastic. Libraries sometimes use hanging bookends made of bar metal
BookExpo America (BEA)
The largest book fair in the United States, BEA is an exhibition of books in all formats (plus retail multimedia), a forum for educating persons involved in the book trade, and a center for negotiating rights to intellectual property. Formerly known as t
bookish
Pertaining to a book, or to books and reading in general, usually in the literary sense. Also refers to a person who is fond of reading books or excessively studious. As a term of disparagement, any person whose knowledge of life is acquired largely by r
booklet
A book of small size or containing little text. Also used synonymously with pamphlet.
Booklist
A trade journal for librarians published since 1905 by the American Library Association, Booklist reviews nearly 4,000 books for adults in 22 issues per year, plus 2,500 titles for children and young adults, 1,000 nonprint titles, and approximately 500 r
booklore
Information and facts about books, especially their authors and the circumstances of their creation and publication.
bookman
A man in the business of publishing, making, or selling books. Also, a man of literary or scholarly inclination who is familiar with books.
bookmark
A narrow strip of paper, leather, ribbon, or other thin, flexible material placed between the pages of a book to mark a place. Hand-crafted decorative bookmarks are sometimes given as gifts. In older and more expensive editions, a piece of narrow ribbon
bookmobile
A large motorized van equipped with shelves to accommodate a small library collection and a desk for a librarian or paraprofessional member of the library staff, serving as a traveling branch library in neighborhoods and communities too remote to be easi
bookplate
A small paper label or similar device affixed to a book, usually on the inside of the front cover or on the front endpaper, providing a space to record the name of the owner or some other identification. Bookplates can be printed, engraved, typographical
bookrest
A portable device similar to the music rest on a piano, designed to be placed on a desk or table to hold a book at an angle convenient for reading. Bookrests are also available in metal for attachment to indoor exercise machines and in the form of a soft
Books for College Libraries (BCL)
A list of approximately 50,000 titles recommended for a core collection for academic libraries serving undergraduates, first published by the American Library Association (ALA) in 1967. The first edition was based on an initial selection made for the Uni
Books in Print (BIP)
A multivolume reference set that lists books currently published or distributed in the United States, by author, title, and subject (ISSN: 0068-0214). Entries include information useful to acquisitions librarians such as publisher, price, edition, bindin
books-by-mail
Circulation of library materials via the postal system to registered borrowers who request items by telephone or post, usually from a mail-order catalog, a service provided by public libraries serving rural areas and homebound patrons. See also: bookmobi
bookseller
A person in the business of selling new books and related materials to the retail trade at the full net published price, especially one who owns a bookstore. Also refers to anyone in the business of selling used books. In the United States, the trade ass
bookshelves
A set of thin, flat pieces of rigid material set horizontally at right angles into a frame or wall, to hold books and similar items. To take the weight of a full row of books without sagging, a bookshelf usually requires upright supports at least every 3
bookstall
A small open-air retail book outlet, usually found in airports and railway stations and at fairs and markets. In France, quay-side bookstalls have been an important part of Parisian culture for centuries. To see examples, try a keyword search on the term
bookstore
An enclosed store devoted to the retail sale of books, usually in both hardcover and softcover. Some bookstores specialize in used books, rare books, children's books, or materials on a specific subject or in a particular genre (science fiction, comics,
bookstore chain
A bookseller that has retail outlets in more than one location, often in more than one city or country, typically offering a similar selection of merchandise in each location (example: Barnes & Noble). Most large bookstore chains also sell online. Indivi
bookstore model
A philosophy of public librarianship based on the success of large bookstore chains, that focuses on the library patron as customer and seeks to attract users by creating an ambiance that is user-friendly. Libraries operating on the bookstore model typic
Booktrust
Formerly known as the National Book League, Booktrust is an independent British charity established in 1992 to promote books and reading by people of all ages. Booktrust has received U.K. government funding since 2004. Its programs include literary award
bookworm
The larval form of a variety of flying beetles that damages books and other printed materials by feeding on digestible materials in paper, paste, glue, sewing thread, boards, and leather, leaving small holes in leaves and bindings, a highly undesirable c
Boolean
A system of logic developed by the English mathematician George Boole (1815-64) that allows the user to combine words or phrases representing significant concepts when searching an online catalog or bibliographic database by keywords.
Boolean Operator
Named after the British mathematician George Frederick Boole (1815-1864), who developed a system of logic to show the relationship among terms or concepts.  The three primary Boolean operators - AND, OR, and NOT - can be used to group search terms.  They are primarily used in keyword searches.  To learn more about Boolean operators, see the Boolean Logic tutorial.
born digital
An informal term for a work created from scratch in electronic form, for example, a hypermedia thesis or dissertation, or an electronic journal that has no print counterpart. Preservation dilemmas are posed by the rapid obsolescence of digital equipment
borrower
A person who checks out books and other materials from a library. Most libraries require users to register to receive the borrowing privileges associated with a library card. Some form of identification is usually required of new applicants. Not all libr
borrower account
A patron's ongoing transactions with a library, including items currently checked out, overdues, unpaid fines, holds, etc. Library staff can check the status of an individual's account by examining the patron record. Most automated circulation systems ar
borrower status
The borrowing privileges to which a registered borrower is entitled, determined by borrower type as indicated in the patron record. Each library establishes its own list of borrower categories to reflect local conditions. In public libraries, all registe
borrowing library
A library or institution that requests and receives materials from another library, usually on interlibrary loan. Compare with lending library. See also: net borrower.
borrowing privileges
The rights to which a library borrower is entitled, usually established by registering to receive a library card. Such privileges normally include the right to check out books and other materials from the circulating collection for a designated period of
boss
One of a set of plain or embellished metal knobs or raised cleats firmly attached to the outside of a book cover, usually at the center and/or corners. Bosses were used on medieval bookbindings from the 13th to the 15th century, as decoration and to prot
botanical illustration
A picture, print, or plate showing plants or plant life drawn or painted in realistic style, often in considerable detail, for the purpose of scientific illustration, documenting botanical specimens, advertising horticultural products, or as decoration (
bounced
An undeliverable e-mail message returned to the sender's mailbox, usually because the recipient's e-mail address was incorrectly typed, the user unknown to the mail server, or the e-mail box full. Incoming messages incorrectly identified as junk mail may
bound as is
An incomplete or defective volume bound in the condition in which it is received by the binder, usually in compliance with specific instructions from the library as indicated on the binding slip.
Bound to Stay Bound (BTSB)
Established in 1920 as a family-owned business, BTSB is the leading vendor of prelibrary bound children's books to school and public libraries in the United States, providing a list of 18,000 books and media items. For heavily used titles, libraries rely
bounding lines
In manuscripts, marginal lines hand-ruled to guide justification of the text and its decoration (initials, borders, etc.), as in this example (British Library, Egerton 1151).
bowdlerize
To change the text of a literary work by altering or deleting words or entire passages considered objectionable. Derived from the name of the Reverend Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825), who published an edition of the works of Shakespeare in the early 19th cent
bowed
The condition of a book bound in boards that have warped away from the book block or toward it, usually as a result of changes in humidity or differences in the expansion/contraction of the covering material and the paste-down. The solution is rebinding.
Bowker
Founded in New York City in 1872, Bowker specializes in publishing reference works on libraries, publishing, and the book trade. Now affiliated with ProQuest, the company is known for its long-standing reference serials (Books in Print, Children's Books
Bowker, Richard Rogers (1848-1933)
A literary editor who, with Frederick Leypoldt and Melvil Dewey, founded in 1876 the publication Library Journal. In the same year, he helped found the American Library Association and with Leypoldt began publication of American Catalogue, a comprehensiv
box
In printing, a square or oblong area within a larger area of type, or between two columns, delineated by rules or white spaces that set apart the text and/or illustration contained in it. Also refers to a square or rectangular border of one or more paral
box list
An initial list of the contents of an archival box, usually made at the time the materials are packed for transfer, identifying the contents and giving a date range if applicable, used for control and access until a more complete inventory can be underta
boxed
A set of books or other documents stored in a close-fitting box-shaped container, usually to keep the volumes together and provide protection but sometimes for decorative effect (see this example). See also: slipcase.
bracing
Heavy metal rods attached in the form of a large X to the uprights across the back of a section of single-sided shelving, or down the middle of a double-sided section of free-standing shelving, to reduce lengthwise sway. Metal braces are also attached to
bracketed interpolation
Description added to a bibliographic record inside square brackets [ ] to indicate information that has been provided by the cataloger, usually because it is not available in or on the item itself (example: [15] p. to indicate that an unpaginated work is
Bradford's Law
The bibliometric principle that a disproportionate share of the significant research results on a given subject are published in a relatively small number of the scholarly journals in the field, a pattern of exponentially diminishing returns first noted
Braille
A tactile system of embossed print invented in 1829 by blind Parisian Louis Braille in which the letters of the alphabet are represented by combinations of six raised dots arranged in columns three dots high and two dots wide to enable visually impaired
Bram Stoker Awards
Annual literary awards given in various categories since 1988 by the Horror Writers Association to English-language works published in the preceding year, in recognition of superior achievement. The awards are named in honor of Bram Stoker, author of the
branch library
An auxiliary service outlet in a library system, housed in a facility separate from the central library, which has at least a basic collection of materials, a regular staff, and established hours, with a budget and policies determined by the central libr
brand book
A reference volume containing illustrations of the symbols used in identifying ownership of branded livestock, usually within a given jurisdiction (see this example).
brand name
The part of the name or logo associated with a specific product or service, which can be vocalized, usually letters, words, and/or numerals identifying and distinguishing it from varieties of the same product or service marketed by competing companies (e
breach of contract
Failure to keep the terms of an agreement or contract. Some employment contracts include penalties for breach of certain provisions, such as length of notice required at time of resignation, but enforcement is usually at the discretion of the employer. S
breviary
A liturgical book containing the Divine Office, the prayers said by the clergy of the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Church at the canonical hours of the day and night. The breviary was created in the 11th century by combining several formerly s
bricks-and-mortar
The traditional library, functioning for millennia as a physical repository (warehouse) for the permanent storage of tangible items, as opposed to the modern concept of the library as an institution dedicated to providing access to information mainta
brief
An outline of the evidence and arguments supporting one side of an argument. In a more general sense, any concise statement in written form. In law, a summary statement of the main points of an oral or written argument presented in court. Also refers to
brief record
An abbreviated display of a bibliographic record in an online catalog or database, omitting data elements contained in some of the less essential fields and subfields, in contrast to the full record providing a complete bibliographic description of the i
bright copy
A copy of an older book that is as fresh and new as the day it was published, a condition likely to command a higher price in the market for antiquarian and used books than a copy of the same edition showing signs of wear. See also: mint.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
An independent broadcasting service that began daily wireless transmission in 1922, supported by individual licenses sold at 10 shillings apiece. By the end of the 1930s, the number of licenses had increased to nearly 9 million, and the BBC had becom
brittle
The condition of being easily broken or shattered. In time, acid papers turn yellow and become brittle, tearing easily and even crumbling under normal use (click here and here to see examples). For paper, the standard test of brittleness is whether the c
brittle book
A volume in which the paper has deteriorated to the point of fragility and is likely to break upon handling (see these examples). The leaves need not be discolored, but yellowing is common (see this example). Preservation of brittle books must be underta
broad classification
A classification system in which the main classes are not extensively subdivided, for use in small libraries that do not require close classification to organize their collections effectively. In Dewey Decimal Classification, the classification of works
broadband
High-speed data transmission, commonly used in reference to Internet access via cable modem, DSL, or wireless network, which provide higher bandwidth than a slower dial-up (modem) connection. For years, the term has been used loosely for a higher-speed c
broadcast
Simultaneous transmission over the airwaves of information in the form of electromagnetic signals to all who own the equipment (radio or television receiver) necessary to receive the signal or via a cable system to those who have paid for a specific type
broadcast flag
A sequence of status bits embedded in the data stream of a digital television (DTV) program that can be turned on or off by broadcasters to prevent copyright infringement, restricting unauthorized redistribution of digital content. In the United
broader term (BT)
In a hierarchical classification system, a subject heading or descriptor that includes another term as a subclass, for example, Libraries listed as a broader term under School libraries. In some indexing systems, a subject heading or descriptor m
broadsheet
A long, narrow unfolded sheet of paper printed on one or both sides, used mainly for advertising purposes and formerly to disseminate religious or political views. Click here to see an illustrated example printed in Nuremberg, Germany in the 16th century
broadside
Originally, a large sheet of paper printed across one side only, intended to be read unfolded or posted, bearing a royal proclamation or official notice, but later used to disseminate news or political views. The Declaration of Independence was first pri
Broadway
In theatrical production, the premier showcase in the United States for presenting live shows (musicals, plays, and other dramatic works), comprising about 40 professional theaters, each seating an audience of at least 500, located on or adjacent to Broa
brocade paper
A type of decorated paper in which an embossed pattern is pressed into colored or uncolored paper in real or imitation gold or silver foil, using thick copper plates or cylinders bearing the design in positive or negative relief. Click here to see a foli
brochure
From the French word brocher (to stitch). An independent nonserial publication consisting of a few leaves of printed material stitched together but not bound, usually issued in paper covers. Considered ephemera in most libraries, brochures are not ca
Brodart
A commercial company that supplies books, furniture, equipment, supplies, and automation services to libraries of all kinds, largely through its printed trade catalog. Click here to connect to the Brodart homepage. See also: DEMCO, Gaylord, and Highsmith
broken hinge
A book in which the reinforcing material along the fold separating the two halves of one of the endpapers has torn, leaving the text block detached from the cover (see this example), a condition that can be repaired without rebinding. Compare with detach
broken link
A link in an HTML document that is not functioning properly, usually because the link address is incorrect or the Web site is no longer available or has been moved to another server without providing a forwarding address. When a broken link is selected i
broken spine
A book from which the material covering the binding edge of the text block has become detached from at least one of the boards along the joint (see this example), a condition that often requires rebinding, especially if the text block has split along the
broken up
A book disassembled to enable its parts (usually plates or other illustrations) to be sold separately. Copies of the Gutenberg Bible have been broken up, and the leaves sold separately.
bromoil print
The result of a photographic process introduced in 1907 by E.J. Wall in which a normal enlargement is made on bromide paper and then chemically bleached to remove the silver image. Bleaching also hardens the gelatin emulsion in proportion to the amount o
browsability
The ease with which a library catalog, index, bibliographic database, or other list of resources can be searched in a casual, unsystematic manner. A printed index is often more browsable than its online counterpart because the page format makes it easy f
browse
To look through a library collection, catalog, bibliography, index, bibliographic database, or other finding tool in a casual search for items of interest, without clearly defined intentions. To facilitate browsing, libraries assign similar call numbers
browser
A person who searches a library collection, catalog, index, bibliography, bibliographic database, or other list of resources in a casual, unsystematic manner. See also: serendipity.Also refers to a type of application software called a Web browser, desig
browser cache
The portion of microcomputer memory reserved by Web browser software for storing the contents of Web pages previously visited by the user, reducing the amount of time required to revisit a page using the same machine. Clicking on Reload or Refresh
browsing collection
A collection of current issues of periodicals, recently added books, and general interest materials, usually housed in a designated room or space near the entrance to an academic library, to induce library patrons to read outside their focused disciplina
buckram
A strong, durable book cloth consisting of a heavy woven base in cotton, linen, or jute filled with starch or impregnated with pyroxylin, used to cover volumes for which heavy use is anticipated (bound periodicals, periodical indexes, children's picture
budget
The total amount of funds available to meet a library's expenditures over a fixed period of time (usually one or two years). In most budgets, funds are allocated by category of expenditure, called lines. In chronically underfunded libraries and library s
buffer
In computing, temporary storage (usually RAM) used for data while it is being processed or for special purposes such as the transfer of data between two system components that have different operating speeds, for example, a printer and a CPU capable of p
buffered paper
Printing paper to which an alkaline substance, such as calcium carbonate or magnesium carbonate, is added in manufacture to neutralize any acid produced internally as a result of aging or introduced by acid migration or exposure to atmospheric pollution.
buffering
In papermaking, the addition of an alkaline substance such as calcium carbonate or magnesium carbonate to the pulped fiber to neutralize any acid that may develop as paper ages or that is introduced through acid migration or exposure to atmospheric pollu
bug
In computing, a slang term for a persistent error in software or hardware. Once it has been located, a software bug can be corrected by altering the program, a process known as debugging. To correct a hardware bug, it is usually necessary to reconfigure
Buildings and Equipment Section (BES)
The section of the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) within the American Library Association (ALA) responsible for matters concerning physical structures for housing all types of libraries, including site selection; planning and archi
built number
In Dewey Decimal Classification, a class number constructed according to add instructions stated or implied in the schedules or tables. Number building is employed only when there is no existing class in the schedules that precisely represents the subjec
bulk
The thickness of a book without its cover, normally less after binding than in its unbound state. Also, the thickness of a sheet of paper in relation to its weight, as measured in thousandths of an inch. The thickness of printing papers is also measured
bulk dates
In archives, the earliest and latest dates of the majority of the materials in a collection, indicative of its chronological or period strength, especially when the researcher is likely to be misled by the inclusive dates (click here and here to see exam
bulk lending
The lending of a large volume of materials by one library to another, usually for a period of time longer than the normal borrowing period. Books published in large print and audiobooks are sometimes loaned in bulk to the branch libraries within a public
bulk subscription
A subscription for a substantial number of copies (usually 10 or more) of the same serial title, sent to a single address for subsequent distribution (ALCTS Serials Acquisitions Glossary, Chicago, 1993).
bull
Narrowly speaking, a document, letter, edict, or decree issued by the pope, to which his official seal (Bulla) is affixed. Also refers to any statement of belief or doctrine, whether ecclesiastical or not. Click here to see a papal bull distributed by In
bullet
In printing, word processing, and Web page design, a small graphical element, usually in the shape of a: small circle, large dot,square,diamond, orother shape.used to emphasize a part of a text or to itemize an unnumbered list. Such a list is said to be
bulletin
A periodical, usually in the form of a pamphlet, issued by a government agency, society, or other institution, containing announcements, news, and information of current interest, usually more substantial than a newsletter (example: Bulletin of the Atomi
bulletin board
A flat notice board, usually attached to a wall near the entrance to a library, used to display announcements of forthcoming events, dust jackets removed from new books recently added to the collection, reading lists, comments and suggestions from librar
bulletin board system (BBS)
An online messaging system and discussion forum that allows users to post notices and comments to members of an interest group connected to the same network. A BBS is similar in function to a Web site but lacks graphics and has its own telephone number t
bumf
An abbreviation of bumfodder (toilet paper). British slang for printed matter, such as pamphlets, forms, documents, or memoranda, especially of an official nature, which are considered of little interest or importance. Also spelled bumph.
bumped
The condition of a binding that has at least one corner bent, compressed, or rounded by forceful contact with a hard surface, such as the floor in a fall from a bookshelf (click here to see examples, courtesy of My Wings Books).
bumper sticker
A self-adhesive sticker, usually about 3 x 13 inches in size, bearing a printed and/or graphic message, intended for display on the bumper of an automobile, but often displayed in other places (see this example). Introduced in the mid-1900s, this form of
bureau
An office or department within an organization or government agency, responsible for collecting and disseminating information, usually on a specific topic, in a particular field, or of a certain type, for example, demographic information in the case of t
burlesque
From the Italian word burla, meaning mockery. A crude form of satire in which the style of a work, or of an entire genre, is ridiculed by trivializing a serious subject or dignifying a trivial one, usually in the form of a stage performance. The purp
burn
To copy data onto a blank writable CD or DVD, using special software, usually for the purpose of transporting the content or creating multiple copies.
burnish
In bookbinding, to rub the colored or gilt edges of a volume with a smooth hard tool, called a burnisher, until the surface gleams elegantly in the light. Left unburnished, a gilt edge is antique. In the production of medieval manuscripts, a dog's tooth
burnout
Physical and mental exhaustion caused by working hard for too long, sometimes out of excessive devotion to a demanding project. When overwork is chronic in a workplace, the effect on staff morale may be felt in high rates of absenteeism and turnover and
business card
A small (2 x 3 inch) printed or engraved card, identifying a working person by name, title, company affiliation (often with logo), and contact information, such as business address, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail address, and Web site URL, offered as
business intelligence (BI)
The process of gathering information about customer needs and decision-making processes, the competition and competitive pressures, industry conditions, and general economic, technological, cultural, and political trends affecting a company's success, un
business library
A branch of a metropolitan public library system that serves the specialized information needs of persons engaged in business, usually located in or near the commercial or financial district. Also, a separately administered library associated with the bu
Business Reference and Services Section (BRASS)
The section of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) within the American Library Association (ALA) representing the interests of reference librarians, business information specialists, and others engaged in providing business reference and i
button
A badge or ornament, often disc-shaped, stamped or printed with a slogan or design and intended to be worn, as on a lapel (see this example). Some campaign buttons displaying the name and/or image of a candidate, or the party affiliation of the wearer, a
buy-out
In publishing and the recording industry, the outright purchase of all legal rights in a work or property from the copyright holder for an agreed sum, as distinct from the payment of royalties over a period of time.
buying guide
A publication intended for professional librarians, providing authoritative guidance on the purchase of a specific type of resource (example: Purchasing an Encyclopedia: Twelve Points to Consider published by the American Library Association in 1996). Bu
buzzword
A trendy or stylish word or phrase, often connected with a specialized field, used more to create an impression than for purposes of elucidation (example: digital library). See the Buzzword Generator. Synonymous with fashion word and vogue word. See also
byte
The common unit of computer storage used in digital computers of all types and sizes, composed of eight binary digits called bits. Hardware specifications for computers (microcomputers to mainframes) are indicated in bytes. Each unique sequence of 8 bits