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Glossary starting with letter A

Abacus: The word abacus is derived from the Greek word abakos which means a board or calculating tables. Beads are strung on wires or strings held in a frame and they are slid along the wires counting, adding, etc. It was invented by the Chinese in 3000 BC, which was later improved by the Egyptians and the Greeks.

Abbreviation: Abbreviation means a shortened form of a word or phrase used for brevity in place of the whole, consisting of the first letter of word(s), or the first few letters of word(s), followed by a period (full stop). The abbreviations are generally used to save time and space.

Above the Fold: The upper half of a document printed or online that appears higher on the page than the horizontal fold. Articles placed near the top have greater prominence because most languages are read from top to bottom of the writing / reading surface.

Abridgement: Abridgement is a shortened version or edition of a work that preserves the overall meaning and manner of presentation of the original but omits the less important passages of text and usually any illustrations, notes, and appendices. The abridged edition is generally intended for readers unlikely to purchase the unabridged version because of its length, complexity or price.

Abstract: An abstract is a brief summary of the points in an article or a source of information that summarize, classifies, evaluates or describes the important points of a text, article, book, speech, etc.. It enables the reader to quickly determine whether reading the entire text might satisfy the specific information need or not.

Abstracting and Indexing (A & I): A & I is a category of database that provides bibliographic citations and abstracts of the literature of a discipline or subject area.

Academic Freedom: Academic freedom depicts the freeness of the staff employed at institutions of higher education to express their views and teach in the manner of their own choosing, without pressure or interference from administration, religious body or from politics.

Academic Library: The library present in the educational institutions to provide its service to meet the information and research needs of its students, research scholars, faculty, and staff.

Academic Status: Academic status means the recognition at par with the teaching staff of the institution of higher education in terms of ranks, titles, rights and benefits including tenure, promotion, and the right to participate in governance.

Acceptable Use Policy (AUP): An Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) is a set of rules applied by the owner, creator or administrator of a network, website, or service, that restrict the ways in which the network, website or system may be used and sets guidelines as to how it should be used.

Access: The means or opportunity to approach or enter a place. It also means obtaining or retrieving a data or file from a database or a computer.

Access Point: It is the name, heading or code used in bibliographic records as a point of entry or search or browse an organized file or database or library materials.

Accession: Accession means to record the bibliographic details of an item in an accession register or list or an addition of an item to already built collection.

Accession Number: A serial number assigned to an item in the order in which it is added to the accession register or list of already built collection.

Accompanying Material: A related but physically distinct material which is a part of the main material or book.

Accountability: The extent to which a person can be held responsible and answerable for their conduct and quality of their performance of assigned duties and such others in a workplace.

Acid-free Paper: It is a paper which if infused in water yields a neutral or basic pH 7 neutral or slightly greater alkaline.

Acknowledgments: It is the acceptance or giving due recognition of the importance or quality of something which is achieved.

Acquisitions: Acquisitions is the process of selecting, negotiating the pricing, ordering and receiving the library materials or resources through purchase, exchange or as a gift.

Acronym: An abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words that are parts of a phrase or compound term and pronounced as a single word to save time and provide mnemonic value.

Added Entry: It is a secondary entry additional to the main entry usually under a heading for a joint author, title, subject, series, illustrator or translator, by which an item is represented in a library catalogue.

Addendum: It is the matter included in a book after the text has been set. It is printed separately and is inserted at the beginning or end of the text.

Addition: It is the simple extension of an existing array or the action or process of adding something to something else.

Allonym: A false name, especially the name of some person assumed by an author to conceal identity or gain credit, an alias, a pseudonym.

Almanac: An almanac is a publication that includes information such as data and statistics relating to countries, personalities, events and subject such as weather forecasts, farmers’ planting dates, tide tables and tabular information often arranged according to the calendar.

Analog Computer: An analog computer receives inputs that are instantaneous representation of variable quantities and produce output results dynamically to a graphical display device, a virtual display device or in case of a control system, a device which causes mechanical motion. Example includes Analog clock, Speedometer, etc.

Analytical Entry: A bibliographic record for a part of a publication such as a part of a book, or an individual volume of a multi-volume work or monographic series, where each volume has its own unique title.

Annotated Bibliography: An annotated bibliography is a bibliography that gives a summary of the source’s central idea(s) of each of the entries and an evaluation of the source.

Annotation: An annotation is explanatory or critical note or commentary to a text. It is a brief note, usually no longer than a few sentences, added after a citation in a bibliography to describe or explain the content or message of the work cited or to comment on it.

Annual: This is a type of serial publication which is issued once a year.

Anonymous: A work in which the author’s name doesn’t appear or cannot be traced with certainly in catalogues, bibliographies or any other reliable source.

Anthology: A collection of extracts from the works of various authors, usually in the same genre or about the same subject or from the works of an individual author selected for publication in a single volume or in a multi volume set. Anthologies are often limited to a specific literary form (short stories, poetry, plays) or to a national literature, theme, time period or category of author.

Appendix: A group of supplementary or complementary information or material appended to a text that usually related to the material in the main part of the text but not so closely related to it that it should be put into the main text.

Archive: A place in which historical documents and other records which are of value to meet a set aim or goal are systematically organized and preserved. The archival material may or may not be open to the public.

Atlas: An atlas is a collection of maps of Earth or a region of Earth or other planets and their satellites in the Solar System.

Authentication: In online system, the procedure for verifying the integrity of a transmitted message is known as authentication. It can also be a security procedure designed to verify that the authorization code entered by a user to get access to a network or system is valid.

Author: An originator of a creative work, particularly a writer of a text.

Authority Control: Authority control is a process that organizes bibliographic information by using a single, distinct spelling of a name (heading) such as author names and book titles or a numeric identifier for each topic to enable greater efficiency in referencing.

Badan BarmanDr. Badan Barman at present working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Library and Information Science, Gauhati University, Guwahati-781014, Assam, India. He is the creator of the LIS Links ( - India’s most popular social networking website for Library and Information Science professionals. He also created the Open Access Journals Search Engine (OAJSE) (, UGC NET Guide (, Assam Archive ( and LIS Study ( website.

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