Information Literacy Terms

Some Information Literacy Terms and their Definitions: Information literacy is a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information" (ACRL, 2000). Go to the ACRL Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education site to obtain more detailed information on these standards.

  • ACADEMIC SEARCH PREMIER: An example of an electronic general/interdisciplinary periodical index. Search it to find citations & abstracts and many full-text articles. A good starting place with several subjects represented (e.g., news, business, education, science). For a more in-depth search for a specific subject, select a subject index such as ERIC.
  • BIBLIOGRAPHY: A list of citations used as reference sources for the creation of a speech or a paper.
  • BIOGRAPHY: A history or account of a person's life.
  • BOOLEAN OPERATORS: Connecting words such as AND, OR, NOT that help you to expand or limit your search by connecting your topic and each of your main points. Based on a process known as Boolean logic, developed by English mathematician George Boole (1815-64).
  • CITATION: Standard publication information for documenting a source used in the preparation of a speech or paper. The information includes elements such as the author, title, and date. The type of source determines the information elements required.
  • CONTROLLED VOCABULARY: Official indexing terms used by the organizers of a database to describe each concept so that all items on the same topic have the same descriptor or subject heading. In contrast to Internet searching, controlled vocabularies organize the information in a database (such as Library of Congress Subject Headings in our Online Catalog, or descriptors or subject terms in electronic or paper indexes). Your search results will be more focused and relevant, since you will be searching directly in the descriptor field.
  • DATABASE: A collection of knowledge that may be in paper or electronic format (as well as other formats) (e.g., a book in paper format, or a computerized system such as Academic Search Premier).
  • FIND ARTICLES: A link on the University Libraries' Home Page that leads to an alphabetical listing and a subject listing of our library subscription databases/indexes to find articles, business data, music resources, and more.
  • FIND FULL TEXT JOURNALS: A link on the University Libraries' Home Page that provides the full text holdings of magazines, newspapers, journals, periodicals, and many other serials available in the Rider University Libraries' electronic databases and the serials collections located in Moore and Talbott Libraries.
  • ERIC: A subject index to the content of educational journals and reports from 1964-present.
  • EVALUATION OF INTERNET SITES: Elements, such as the author of the article, organization responsible for the site, and date published or updated, that you should you look at on an Internet site to determine the reliability of the information found at the site.
  • INTERLIBRARY LOAN (ILL): A Library service that allows you to request books and articles from other libraries. (See the Interlibrary Loan link on the Libraries' home page.)
  • INTERNET SITE: A location on the Internet at which an individual or organization provides information to others often including links to other related locations (e.g., web, gopher, ftp).
  • JOURNAL: Describes a specialized periodical aimed at a professional audience such as JAMA, written primarily for the medical profession.
  • MICROFILM: Film bearing a photographic record on a reduced scale of a printed article. The film is viewed with a microfilm reader and may be printed using the reader.
  • NATURAL LANGUAGE: Words or phrases (including slang and popular language) that describe the information need, but are not limited to controlled vocabulary used by a database.
  • NESTING: When parentheses are used to group synonymous words or phrases with the Boolean operator OR. This is an effective method of expanding a search so that at least one of the items within the parentheses must be present in the search results; e.g., musicians and (women or female) and (discrimination or bias).
  • ONLINE CATALOG: Electronic catalog allowing users to check on the holdings and availability of books, music scores, audiovisuals, and more at Rider University Libraries.
  • PERIODICAL: A magazine that is published on a periodic (regular) basis.
  • PERIODICAL INDEX: A subject arrangement of citations (references) to the content of periodical articles, covering a limited time period. The index may be in paper or electronic format.
  • PERIODICALS ROOM: On the main floor of Moore Library where most back issues of periodicals are kept in paper or microfilm format arranged in alphabetical order by periodical title.
  • READERS' GUIDE TO PERIODICAL LITERATURE: A general periodical index available in paper format providing citations to the content of articles from 1890-present.
  • REFERENCE ROOM: On the main floor of Moore Library where reference books may be located, as well as the Reference Desk, computer lab, and public access terminals.
  • SEARCH STATEMENT: For an online resource, creating a search query by combining the topic and main points of the information need using Boolean operators and, possibly, truncation and nesting; e.g., Robin Williams and (comed* or actor*)
  • SEARCH STRATEGY: Defining the topic and main points of an information need and determining the appropriate resources to search.
  • SERIAL: Another word used to describe a periodical, magazine, or journal. The publication is arranged in a series and published in installments.
  • SOCIAL SCIENCES FULL TEXT: A subject index to the content of journal articles in the social sciences (including anthropology, criminal justice, economics, ethics, gender studies, minority studies, political science), most available full text.
  • TRUNCATION: A search technique in electronic databases that allows you to search for multiple endings of root words; e.g., in Academic Search Premier, if you type swim* you will find swim, swimming, swimmer, etc. Truncation symbols for our databases are on the Databases page.
  • UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES' HOME PAGE: Library Home Page -- From here, access the Online Catalog (for Moore and Talbott Libraries), Databases, Subject Guides, & more.
  • WILSON OMNIFILE FULL TEXT: Another example of an electronic general/interdisciplinary periodical index. Search it to find citations & abstracts and many full-text articles. Also a good starting place with several subjects represented (e.g., news, business, education, science). For a more in-depth search for a specific subject, select a subject index such as Social Sciences Full Text.