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Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science

by Joan M. Reitz
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See: black and white.

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 the volume to open flat. Compare with backstrip and spine. See also: rebacked and tight back.

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 Internet, regional networks are connected to the fiber-optic backbone, smaller networks are connected to regional networks, and so on, down the line. To see examples for various countries, try a keywords search on the phrase "internet and backbone" in Google Images.

Synonymous in bookbinding with spine.

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.

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: holdings.

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.

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 the preceding examples from a Gospel book and a Bible historiale (Getty Museum, MS 65 & 1). In the late Middle Ages, miniatures were often painted against a naturalistic background, as in this miniature from Des Cas des Nobles by the Boucicaut Master (Getty, MS 63).

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 the text block toward the front and back, forming ridges against which the boards of the cover rest. By folding the leaves over each other close to the binding edge, the process also helps maintain the rounded shape of the spine, preventing the leaves from working their way forward. Used since the 16th century, backing also enhances the openability of a volume by creating a slight crease in each leaf near the spine. Click here to see the process illustrated. In edition binding and library binding, backing is done by machine.

Also, a conservation treatment in which an additional layer is applied to a flat item to provide support, usually on the reverse side of a weakened sheet. Also refers to the material added as reinforcement.

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 microfilm or microfiche. In the catalog record, the extent of the back file is indicated in the holdings statement. Synonymous with back number. See also: back set dealer.

See: lining.

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-list. Compare with frontlist. See also: in print, out of print, and out of stock.

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 within a short period of time. Synonymous in this sense with arrears.

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 paginated in arabic numerals continuously with the text. Blank leaves may be included at the end to make up a full section. Synonymous with end matter, postliminary matter, reference matter, and subsidiaries. Compare with front matter. See also: parts of a book.

back number
See: back issue.

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, after which they are canceled. Synonymous in the UK with dues. See also: reorder and short shipment.

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: Periodicals Service Company). Synonymous with back volume dealer.

A typeface or handwriting that inclines to the left of center.

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:\bib\bib.txt referring to the bib.txt file in the bib folder stored on the c:\ disk drive). Also spelled back slash. Synonymous with reverse solidus. Compare with slash.

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 spine. Compare with back. See also: lining.

back title
See: spine title.

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 bilingual atlas published tête-bêche in a single volume.

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 of normal systems. In a more general sense, any strategy designed to be implemented if a preferred method or system fails.

Also, to print the reverse side of a sheet that has already been printed on one side. Also spelled back up.

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 preserved as memorabilia (example: a political campaign button). In AACR2, badges are cataloged as graphic materials.

Also, a removable name tag worn by a library employee who works in public services, identifying the wearer to library patrons. A badge may also indicate the individual's position, enabling the patron to distinguish professionally trained librarians from members of the technical staff. Not all libraries encourage employees to wear badges. For reasons of personal safety, some staff members wish to avoid public display of their real name. Badges are also worn at library conferences to identify attendees, by name and institution, to other participants.

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 services are listed and described in its trade catalogs. Click here to connect to the B&T homepage.

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.

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. Although it is an elusive goal, balance is particularly important in developing public library collections that must meet the information needs and reflect the reading tastes of a wide range of patrons. See also: collection development bias.

balance stripe
See: magnetic stripe.

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 catastrophe in short stanzas with a refrain, usually in the form of a dialogue with action. Repetition over an extended period of time tends to produce variants. Click here to see a 16th-century manuscript collection of love ballads in an unusual heart-shaped binding (Royal Library of Denmark). Synonymous in this sense with folk ballad. See also: saga.

Beginning in 16th-century Britain, broadside ballads about contemporary issues and events were printed on a single sheet of paper and sold in the streets to be sung to well-known popular tunes. In the late 18th century, a new literary form developed in which long narrative poems were written in deliberate imitation of earlier popular ballads (example: Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner).

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.

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 more about the history of ballots, courtesy of Douglas W. Jones, University of Iowa.

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 were recessed to avoid ridges in the spine. In later bindings, false bands were sometimes added for decorative effect.

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 can be transmitted in a fixed amount of time and is often described as narrow or broad, with broadband having greater capacity. During periods of peak use, it may also determine speed of transmission, particularly for large data files (graphics, audio, video, etc.) known as bandwidth hogs. On the Internet, the fiber-optic backbone has highest bandwidth. See also: T1 and T3.

In broadcasting, the width of the band of frequencies or wave lengths assigned (usually by licensing agreement) to a radio or television station for its exclusive use.

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 and Leaves of Grass). Banned Books Week has been celebrated annually in the United States since 1981. Lists of banned books are available in the reference section of most large libraries. Click here to learn about the first book banned in the New England colonies (Springfield City Library). For more examples, see Banned Books Online. Compare with expurgated. See also: censorship, challenge, Index Librorum Prohibitorum, and intellectual freedom.

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, Association of American Publishers, American Society of Journalists and Authors, and National Association of College Stores and endorsed by the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. Libraries and bookstores throughout the country celebrate the freedom to read by displaying recently banned books and books that have been banned throughout history. Click here to connect to Banned Books Week on the ALA Web site.

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 suggesting the content of the site.

Also refers to a newspaper headline of one or two lines, large enough to extend across an entire page or most of a page. Compare with skyline.

In medieval illuminated manuscripts, a decorative motif in the form of an unfurled strip of cloth bearing text (usually an emblem, motto, slogan, etc.) appearing in a miniature or in a border. Click here to see them used in a 14th-century Biblia Pauperum (British Library, King's 5), here to see an example in the 15th-century Gualenghi-d'Este Hours (Getty Museum, MS Ludwig IX 13), and here to see a profusion of banners in a 16th-century genealogy of the royal houses of Spain and Portugal (Getty Museum).

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 formal occasions (see this example).

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 Book of Hours (Cary Collection, Rochester Institute) and here to see a strewn example in the 15th-century Hours of Dionora of Urbino (British Library, Yates Thompson 7). A bar border may begin as an extension of a large initial letter (see the Fleur des histoires de la terre d'Orient, courtesy of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France) and is often embellished, sometimes in gilt, as in the Burnet Psalter (University of Aberdeen Library, AUL MS 25). Bar borders are sometimes used to separate columns of text, as in the 14th-century Image du Mond of Gossouin de Metz (Bibliothèque Nationale de France). Some bar borders support playful bas-de-page scenes. See this example, courtesy of the British Library (Burney 275).

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 Council (UCC). In libraries barcodes are used to identify books and other materials for circulation and inventory and to link the borrower's library card to the appropriate patron record in automated circulation systems. Click here to learn more about barcodes, courtesy of HowStuffWorks. Also spelled bar code. See also: EAN-13 barcode and QR 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 device commonly used by bookstore chains.

bar graph
See: histogram.

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 Denmark.

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 mulberry or breadfruit tree is used. Click here to see a manuscript written on bark cloth by the Batak people of Indonesia, folded accordion-style between wooden boards (Cornell University Library). Also spelled barkcloth.

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 or to the preceding leaf. In conservation, barrier sheets of inferior quality paper bearing letterpress are removed for deacidification and buffering, then reinserted.

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 miles. On most modern maps, the bar scale is calibrated in both miles (or feet) and kilometers (or meters). Click here to see an example on a relief map of the State of Idaho and here to see an example on an aerial photograph. Some bar scales are in two sections, the primary scale to the right of zero and the extension scale to the left of zero, showing the basic unit of measurement divided into quarters, fifths, or tenths, as on this example on a USGS topographic map of Connecticut (to enlarge click on lower right-hand corner of image). Click here to learn more about reading bar scales. Synonymous with graphic scale and linear scale. Compare with representative fraction and statement of equivalency.

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 the same page (see this 14th-century example). Michelle Brown notes in Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Getty Museum/British Library, 1994) that this form of decoration is found in Gothic illumination beginning in the 13th century. Click here to see an example in grisaille in The Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux (The Cloisters) and here for an example in full color in a 15th-century Flemish manuscript (Getty Museum, MS 67). Other examples can be seen by paging through the Murthly Hours (National Library of Scotland).

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 side of raw stock or processed film is normally glossy or semi-glossy, in contrast to the duller emulsion side. Flammable cellulose nitrate, introduced as a film base in the 1890s, was replaced in the early 1950s by slow-burning safety film made of cellulose acetate. Today, polyester plastic is the strongest and most chemically stable film base used. Like emulsions, all film bases are subject to deterioration unless stored under conditions of optimum temperature and relative humidity. Click here to learn more about film base polymers, courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

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, carte-de-visite and cabinet card photographs featuring famous players were collected as mementos. From the 1860s to the 1890s, printed cards became a popular form of advertising. In the 1880s, tobacco companies began using mass-produced baseball cards to stiffen cigarette packs and boost sales. After a lull during the 1920s, chewing gum companies began issuing the cards in the 1930s. Today they are highly collectible. Common sizes are 1.5 x 2.5 inches, 2.5 x 3.5 inches, and 5 x 8 inches. In AACR2, baseball cards are cataloged as graphic materials. Click here to learn more about the early history of baseball cards.

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 spelled baseline.

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, etc.) at different times that may eventually evolve into a spatial database (click here to see an example). In a narrower sense, a topographic map, usually on a scale of 1:10,000 to 1:50,000, used as the basis for other maps. In the United States, the base map is the 1:24,000 7.5-minute topographic quadrangle published in series by the U.S. Geological Survey, popularly known as the quad. Synonymous with mother map. See also: outline map.

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 information science periodicals. Compare with base of notation. See also: add note.

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 used (alphabetic notation), minus the letters O and I, which are easily mistaken for the numerals zero and one. As a general rule, the shorter the base, the longer the notation representing a given class. Compare with base number.

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 documents considered vital sources of information in support of the public's right to know about the activities of the federal government. Proposed revisions in the basic collection are submitted by the Library Programs Service (LPS) to the Depository Library Council (DLC) for approval.

basic search
See: search mode.

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 to the weight of 500 sheets measuring 25 x 38 inches. The basis weight of writing or printing paper is equal to the weight of 500 sheets measuring 17 x 22 inches. Basis Weight and Grammage Conversion Tables of Use in the Publishing Industry are provided online by Editorial & Design Services, Inc. Synonymous with paper substance. Compare with grammage.

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). Known as bâtarde in France and "secretary" in England, bastard hands were written with varying degrees of deliberation and individual style, depending on the amount of speed, elegance, and formality desired. In 15th-century French and Belgian Books of Hours, littera bastarda became a formal book hand in its own right (see this example, courtesy of the Syracuse University Library).

bastard title
See: half title.

See: bastarda.

batch file
A group of computer files which are treated as a single unit in processing.

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 isobaths, with or without hypsometric tint. Click here to see an early bathymetric map of the Mid-Atlantic Grave (NOAA) and here to see a modern example (Gulf of Maine Research Institute).

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 map of Arctic Ocean bathymetry and here to see the use of tint with contours to show the bathymetry of the Great Lakes (National Geophysical Data Center, NOAA). The U.S. Geological Survey provides online information about the bathymetry of Lake Tahoe and Crater Lake.

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 second example (University of Delaware Library), and here to see a third example in the Social History of Children's Literature by Kay E. Vandergrift. Also spelled battledoor.

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 telecommunications, a unit of measurement indicating the number of signaling elements (changes of voltage or frequency) transmitted per second over a communication channel, at slower speeds synonymous with bits per second (bps). At higher speeds, more than one bit may be encoded per second; for example, a speed of 4,800 baud may transmit 9,600 bits per second. For this reason, bps has replaced the term baud as a measure of data transmission speed. The baud rate of a modem is one of the factors determining the speed of an Internet connection in dial-up access. Pronounced bawd. Plural: baud.

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 1870s, the process produced fine quality images, intended to give the appearance of oil painting (see this example, courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London). For more examples, see GeorgeBaxter.com. Synonymous with Baxter print.

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 a particular purpose.

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 landed at Plymouth Rock, 17 copies of The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully Translated into English Metre were printed by Stephen Daye at Cambridge, Massachusetts, on the first printing press in New England, purchased and imported specifically to print the hymnal. Issued in several editions over more than 100 years, the work was known at various times as the New England Book of Psalms and the New England Version of the Psalms. The earliest extant book of size written and printed in the United States, examples of the first edition are extremely rare, but the work is available in facsimile reprint. Click here to view an image of the Bay Psalm Book, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

See: British Broadcasting Corporation.

See: British Board of Film Classification.

See: The Boston Book Review.

See: bulletin board system.

See: Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

See: Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books.

See: Books for College Libraries.

See: Blu-ray.

See: BookExpo America.

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 (example: Pierre de Saint-Cloud's 12th-century Roman de Renart). A more recent example is George Orwell's Animal Farm (1945), written in the same tradition. Compare with bestiary.

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 to see an historiated example containing roundels displaying scenes from the life of David, to whom most of the psalms are attributed (Bodleian Library, MS Lat.liturg.d.42). A similar example can be seen in the 12th-century Shaftesbury Psalter (British Library, Lansdowne 383). See also this interlace example in a 13th-century English psalter (St. John's College, Cambridge University).

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-century Spanish example (The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art).

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 (example: Harry and the Lady Next Door by Gene Zion).

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.

A writer of belles lettres.

Belpré Award
See: Pura Belpré Award.

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 the performance of a hardware or software component. Also spelled benchmark and bench-mark.

In mapping and surveying, a relatively permanent physical object, natural or man-made, bearing a clearly marked point for which elevation above or below a specified datum is known. To see examples of U.S. Geological Survey bench marks, try a keywords search on the term "bench mark" in Google Images. Compare with landmark.

From the Latin benedictus, meaning "blessed." A liturgical book containing a collection of blessings recited for the benefit of congregants after the consecration and before the giving of communion in the Catholic Mass. In early Church history, when blessings were said only by the bishop, a lavishly illuminated benedictional might be made for a specific bishop. In the later Middle Ages, when any priest holding a Mass could give blessings, benedictionals became more common. Click here to page through the 10th-century Benedictional of St. Æthelwold (British Library, MS Add. 49598) and here to view an 11th-century Ottonian example (Getty Museum, MS Ludwig VII 1).

Compensation to which an employee is entitled in addition to salary or wages, such as health and dental insurance, pension or retirement contributions, free tuition, etc., usually specified in the contract or collective bargaining agreement governing terms of employment. Persons employed part-time are usually not entitled to full benefits. Synonymous with fringes. Compare with perk.

Beneventan minuscule
A noncursive book hand characterized by diagonal strokes, letters that touch each other, and ligatures. Beneventan script originated in the Duchy of Benevento and was used in southern Italy and Dalmatia from the 8th to the 13th centuries. Click here to see examples (Schøyen Collection, Oslo). Synonymous with Lombardic minuscule.

A gift of tangible property by will. Library and archival collections are enriched by such gifts, which are often acknowledged by the use of special bookplates, plaques, and memorial names, depending on the size of the gift. Click here and here to read about two library benefactors.

Berne Convention
An international copyright agreement creating an International Union for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works signed in Berne, Switzerland, in 1886, ratified in 1887 by several European countries and their colonies, and revised periodically. By 1974, there were 64 signatories. The United States joined in 1988. To receive copyright protection under the Berne Convention, first publication of a work must occur in a member country. Works published in nonsignatory nations receive protection if published simultaneously in a signatory nation. Protection is for the author's lifetime plus 50 years, except for anonymous or pseudonymous works and cinematographic works for which protection expires 50 years after the work has been made available to the public. Click here to read the text of the Berne Convention, courtesy of the Legal Information Institute, Cornell University. See also: Universal Copyright Convention.

Berners-Lee, Sir Timothy (1955- )
The inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Timothy Berners-Lee graduated from Oxford University in physics and worked in the telecommunications industry in England before he was granted a fellowship in 1984 at CERN, a high-energy physics lab in Geneva. In 1989, he proposed that CERN fund the development of a hypertext data system and spent the next five years facilitating the design of what quickly became a global electronic communications system. In 1994, Berners-Lee moved to the Laboratory for Computer Science at MIT, where he continued to develop Web tools and standards.

Although he has received awards for his work, Berners-Lee elected not to copyright or profit from his invention because he wanted the Web to remain widely accessible. He has been quoted as saying, "You can have an idea...and it can happen. It means that dreamers all over the world should take note and not stop." In December 2003, Berners-Lee was knighted in Great Britain for his achievements, and in 2004, he was awarded the first biennial Millennium Technology Prize of 1 million euro (US$1.2 million) by the Finnish Technology Award Foundation, an independent fund supported by the Finnish government and a number of Finnish companies and organizations.

See: Buildings and Equipment Section.

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 (reference, fiction, nonfiction, young adult, children's books, etc.). Recommended lists are also published in book form (example: Best Books for Beginning Readers by Thomas G. Gunning) for use in collection development. Compare with bestseller.

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 document is available, a copy is inadmissible as evidence in a court of law.

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 phoenix as a symbol of Christ's resurrection. Based primarily on the Physiologus ("The Natural Philosopher"), a Greek text believed to have been written in Alexandria in the 2nd century, bestiaries were particularly popular in 12th- and 13th-century England in versions that incorporated other medieval sources such as the 7th-century encyclopedia of Bishop Isidore of Seville.

Michelle Brown notes in Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Getty Museum/British Library, 1994) that bestiaries were illustrated in a wide variety of styles, and their motifs were often used in other decorative contexts (borders, bas-de-page scenes, mappae mundi, etc.). The 13th-century Aberdeen Bestiary is one of the finest surviving examples (University of Aberdeen, MS 24). Click here to view a different style of illumination in a Flemish bestiary of the same period (Getty Museum, MS Ludwig XV 3) or page through the 12th-century Worksop Bestiary (Morgan Library, MS M.81). Click here to browse a late 13th-century Persian example titled The Benefits of Animals (Morgan Library, MS M.500). Synonymous with Bestiarius, De Bestiis, and Book of Beasts. Compare with beast epic.

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 task. Best practices are identified by examining empirical evidence of success. See, for example, the guideline of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) on Characteristics of Programs of Information Literacy that Illustrate Best Practices (2003). Compare with guidelines and standards.

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 nonfiction, and sometimes in children's literature, based on sales volume over a given period of time (example: The New York Times Best-Seller Lists). Library and Book Trade Almanac usually includes an essay analyzing the previous year's bestsellers. Click here to connect to the Yahoo! list of online bestseller lists. Also spelled best-seller. Compare with classic.

See: bestseller.

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, a feature article in the February 1 issue of Library Journal, membership and conference costs for two library representatives to attend the Public Library Association's biannual conference, and a gala reception at the conference. Beginning in 2011, the two finalist libraries each receive a $5,000 cash prize, PLA membership and conference attendance for two library representatives, and special mention in Library Journal.

Beta Phi Mu (BΦM)
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 is open to graduates of ALA-accredited library schools who have completed the requirements leading to a fifth year or advanced degree (M.L.S. or M.L.I.S.) with a scholastic average of at least 3.75 and in the top 25 percent of their class. An affiliate of the American Library Association, Beta Phi Mu publishes a semiannual national newsletter. Click here to connect to the Beta Phi Mu homepage.

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 see a 19th-century example in brown leather (Rare Books & Texana Collections, Univ. of North Texas Libraries). Also spelled bevelled boards. See also: beveled edge.

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 the British Library's Database of Bookbindings). The edges of mats used in framing are normally beveled at a 60-degree angle. Also spelled bevelled edge.

See: British Film Institute.

See: bibliographic instruction and business intelligence.

Issued twice each year. Also refers to a publication issued twice a year.

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 Religion, and New Catholic Encyclopedia). In publicly supported libraries in the United States, bias in employment practices is prohibited by law. See also: affirmative action and collection development bias.

See: Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC).

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 workshops for other professionals on how to host such groups as a means of drawing more young people into public libraries, capitalizing on the library's potential as a recreational venue. Synonymous with library dating and library speed-dating.

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.

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 the episodes of a program, at least for the first broadcast season.

The sacred scripture of the Christian faith, consisting of the Hebrew Old Testament and the New Testament of the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. In the early Christian period, various Latin translations of Greek and Hebrew versions were used. In the early 5th century, at the behest of Pope Damasus I, St. Jerome completed a new translation, known as the Vulgata, which became the authorized text for the Roman Church. The history of the Bible as a book began in the 4th century when large codices were produced on parchment. The earliest surviving examples include the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus, both in the British Library, and the Codex Vaticanus in the Vatican Library. During the early Middle Ages, corruption of the Vulgate generated attempts to standardize the text, including production in the 9th century of a series of bibles at the scriptorium of Alcuin of York at Tours for circulation among monastic establishments in Europe.

Throughout the Middle Ages, certain books of the Bible were produced separately, especially the Gospels, Pentateuch, Hexateuch, Octateuch, Psalms, and Apocalypse. Prior to the 12th century, most scriptural texts were produced as beautifully illuminated manuscripts, in large format for liturgical use (see the Marquette Bible, courtesy of the Getty Museum, MS Ludwig I 8), but with the growth of universities, a market developed for smaller, less costly bibles written in condensed script. Although biblical texts were translated into the vernacular as early as the 8th century (usually as glosses), vernacular translation did not get fully under way until the mid-13th century. The Latin 42-line Gutenberg Bible was the first book printed in Europe. Click here to see a page from the Tyndale New Testament in English, printed in Germany by Peter Schöffer. The Royal Library of Denmark provides an online exhibition of The Bible Printed in Many Languages. See also a selection of bibles in the Schøyen Collection (Oslo and London). For more information, see The Book: A History of the Bible by Christopher de Hamel (Phaidon, 2001). See also: Atlantic bible, Bible historiale, Bible moralisée, Biblia Pauperum, Coverdale Bible, pandect, picture bible, pocket bible, and thumb bible.

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. Synonymous with Sunday school card.

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 earlier text Historia scholastica, a commentary on Bible excerpts, with emphasis on the role of scripture as a record of historical events. Guiart added further commentary to translation of entire books of the Bible, also emphasizing historical narrative. Even before his death, Guiart's work was expanded by others to all the books of the Bible, including some apocrypha he had not translated. Michelle Brown notes in Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Getty Museum/British Library, 1994) that the illuminated miniatures in Bibles historiales often depict biblical images not found in Latin translations. Click here to view miniatures done in semi-grisaille in a 14th-century French example (Getty Museum, MS 1) and here to see a page from a 15th-century Dutch example (Koninklijke Bibliotheek). Synonymous with historical bible.

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 the Old and New Testaments (typology). Both text and commentary are illustrated, sometimes with long sequences of miniatures. Click here to view a page from a facsimile of the 13th-century Bible of St. Louis from the Cathedral of Toledo (Univ. of Iowa Libraries, Special Collections) illustrated with over 5,000 miniatures in the form of medallions, and here to see a 15th-century French example (Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Fr. 166). Synonymous with Bible allegorisée and moralized bible.

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. Sometimes used synonymously with India paper, of which it is an imitation.

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 The Bookman's Glossary (Bowker, 1983) that this form of book was not superseded by the invention of movable type but continued to be produced into the early part of the 16th century. Extremely rare, fewer than two dozen examples are known to survive.

Latin for "Bible of the Poor," the name was applied by German scholars in the 1930s who assumed that the purpose of the format was to educate the illiterate. However, since even blockbooks were costly to produce in the late Middle Ages, their real purpose may have been to entertain people of moderate means. Click here to browse pages in a illuminated Biblia Pauperum dated 1395-1400 (British Library, King's 5) and here to view a Dutch blockbook example dated 1460-1470 (Koninklijke Bibliotheek).

A publisher's term for bibliographic details (edition, ISBN, CIP, etc.) printed on the verso of the title page (see this example).

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 librarians avoid the "B-words" because the general public is not familiar with the technical terminology of librarianship.

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.

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 Drogin (Rowan & Littlefield, 1989). See also: libricide.

A person who has a profound knowledge of books, bibliography, etc.

Of or relating to the production of books in all their forms. Synonymous with bibliogenesis.

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.

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 a specific field or discipline is a subject bibliographer. See also: Bibliographical Society of America.

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 the quarterly journal Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America. Click here to connect to the BSA homepage

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 facilitate access to the information contained in them. Bibliographic control includes the standardization of bibliographic description and subject access by means of uniform catalog code, classification systems, name authorities, and preferred headings; the creation and maintenance of catalogs, union lists, and finding aids; and the provision of physical access to the items in the collection. See also: authority control.

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 when they are both cited in a third. Citation indexing is based on the principle of bibliographic coupling. Synonymous with citation coupling.

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 databases are general in scope and coverage; others provide access to the literature of a specific discipline or group of disciplines. An increasing number provide the full-text of at least a portion of the sources indexed. Most bibliographic databases are proprietary, available by licensing agreement from vendors, or directly from the abstracting and indexing services that create them.

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 distinguish it from other works by the same author, of the same title, or on the same subject. In AACR2, the bibliographic record representing an item in the catalog includes the following standard areas of description: title and statement of responsibility (author, editor, composer, etc.), edition, material specific details, details of publication and distribution, physical description, series, notes, and standard number and terms of availability (ISBN, ISSN, price). See also: chief source of information and level of description.

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 published at the beginning of each issue of the review journal CHOICE. Compare with literature review.

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 many countries of the world.

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 continue. Their defining characteristic is "updatability." Examples include loose-leaf services, databases, Web sites, and some electronic journals. Beginning in 1995, reconsideration of issues related to seriality resulted in a new model, dividing the bibliographic universe into finite resources and continuing resources, a more accurate reflection of changing patterns in publishing. This new distinction has been adopted in AACR2 2002.

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 appropriate to the discipline, and specific resources and finding tools (catalogs, indexes and abstracting services, bibliographic databases, etc.).

In academic libraries, bibliographic instruction is usually course-related or course-integrated. Libraries that have a computer-equipped instruction lab are in a position to include hands-on practice in the use of online catalogs, bibliographic databases, and Internet resources. Instruction sessions are usually taught by an instructional services librarian with specialized training and experience in pedagogical methods. The University of Texas at Austin Library provides Tips and Techniques for Library Instruction. Synonymous with library instruction and library orientation. Compare with user education. See also: information literacy, Instruction Section, Library Instruction Round Table, lifelong learning, LOEX, one-shot, and teaching style.

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 in FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records), a single concrete exemplar of a manifestation of an expression of an intellectual or artistic work, in most cases a single physical object, such as a copy of an edition of a single-volume monograph. All the items constituting a manifestation normally contain the same intellectual/artistic content and are identical in physical form, but variations can occur subsequent to production, as in the case of a monograph rebound by a library. In some cases, an item consists of more than one physical object, for example, a videorecording released on more than one cassette or a multivolume set of reference books. See also: bibliographic record.

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-readable (example: the MARC record), but prior to the use of computers, the traditional format was the catalog card. Compare with catalog record, check-in record, item record, and order record. See also: brief record, encoding level, full record, and record structure.

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 intellectual integrity of research by crediting persons and organizations whose previous works have contributed to the research. The ANSI/NISO Z39.29 standard for Bibliographic References provides detailed rules and guidelines for the creation of such references (with examples) for a broad audience, including creators of bibliographic references, processors who publish and display references, and the ultimate users of the references.

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 electronic text).

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 commercial databases allow the searcher to use techniques such as Boolean logic, truncation, and proximity to refine search statements. See also: precision, recall, and search strategy.

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 provided by the Library of Congress, the major bibliographic utilities offer software for downloading, editing, and local record creation; authority control utilizing the Library of Congress authority files; and services to facilitate interlibrary loan based on holdings information included in each record. The largest bibliographic utilities in North America are OCLC and A-G Canada Ltd.

Strictly speaking, a systematic list or enumeration of written works by a specific author or on a given subject, or that share one or more common characteristics (language, form, period, place of publication, etc.). When a bibliography is about a person, the subject is the bibliographee. A bibliography may be comprehensive or selective. Long bibliographies may be published serially or in book form. The person responsible for compiling a bibliography is the bibliographer. The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) of the American Library Association has developed Guidelines for the Preparation of a Bibliography. Bibliographies are indexed by subject in Bibliographic Index: A Cumulative Bibliography of Bibliographies, published by H.W. Wilson. Abbreviated bibl. Compare with catalog. See also: Bibliographical Society of America, cartobibliography, discography, and filmography.

In the context of scholarly publication, a list of references to sources cited in the text of an article or book, or suggested by the author for further reading, usually appearing at the end of the work. Style manuals describing citation format for the various disciplines (APA, MLA, etc.) are available in the reference section of most academic libraries and online via the World Wide Web.

Also refers to the art and practice of describing books, with particular reference to their authorship, publication, physical form, and literary content. See also: analytical bibliography, annotated bibliography, biobibliography, current bibliography, degressive bibliography, national bibliography, period bibliography, retrospective bibliography, and selective bibliography.

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 provides a 25-point quiz for self-diagnosis. Compare with bibliolatry.

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.

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 interpretation of the Bible.

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.

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 significance in the passage found.

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 (1776-1845), a writer and bibliographer who helped establish book collecting as a popular pursuit among English aristocracy of the 19th century.

Some bibliomaniacs are driven by apparent obsession to become biblioklepts. In a recent case, Stephen C. Blumberg was convicted on four felony counts, sentenced to five years and 11 months in prison, and fined $200,000 after a collection of 21,000 rare books was found in his home in Iowa, stolen over a period of years from approximately 140 libraries in the United States and Canada. The fact that Mr. Blumberg had a very comfortable independent income from family trusts suggests that his larceny was motivated by the desire to possess rather than profit from his illegal activities. Compare with biblioholism and bibliophile.

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 use. Prior to the mid-20th century, the quantitative study of bibliographic data and usage was known as statistical bibliography. See also: citation analysis and informetrics.

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 effectively. Protection of patron privacy is an important consideration in the use of such data. See also: bibliometrics.

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 bibliomysteries. Also spelled biblio-mystery.

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).

The fine art of binding books by hand, performed by a bookbinder or bibliopegist.

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 Poland.

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. Synonymous with booklover and bibliophilist. Compare with biblioholism and bibliomania. See also: bibliophile edition.

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-quality facsimiles, and works of unusual shape and size. Click here and here to see 20th-century examples, courtesy of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek.

See: bibliophile.

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.

A bookseller, especially one who deals in rare books and editions. See also: antiquarian bookseller.

The psychological study of the interrelationships between authors, books, and readers. See also: bibliotherapy.

A person who hoards books and hides them from others, even to the extent of keeping them under lock and key.

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.

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 Louis XI (1461-1483). Francis I established the legal depository in 1537, and the collection was first classified in 1670 by Nicolas Clément. During the French Revolution, the royal library was proclaimed a national library. After the rise of Napoleon Bonparte in 1799, it became an imperial library until the Republic was re-established in 1870. The creation of a Master Catalog of Printed Books was initiated in 1874 by Léopold Délisle, a medievalist who served as administrator general of the library from 1874 until 1905.

In 1994, the Bibliothèque Nationale (BN) and the newly built Bibliothèque de France (BDF) merged to form a single entity, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, one of the leading libraries in the world. The collections have been brought together in two locations, the "Site Richelieu" and the "Site François Mitterrand." The latter welcomes both scholars (2,000 seats) and the general public (1,700 seats). The Library of Congress hosts the online exhibit Creating French Culture: Treasures from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Click here to connect to the homepage of the BNF.

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 the reader with a particular character in the recommended work, resulting in psychological catharsis, which leads to rational insight concerning the relevance of the solution suggested in the text to the reader's own experience. Assistance of a trained psychotherapist is advised. LibraryBooklists.org provides an online bibliography for Bibliotherapy and Realistic Fiction. See also: readers' advisory.

See: Book Item and Contribution Identifier.

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 gathers data from all the depository libraries, supplementing the more in-depth inspections or self-studies performed every 6-7 years.

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 two leaves or four pages. A number of bifolia, nested one inside the other, usually in groups of four (eight leaves or 16 pages), formed a quire. A manuscript was assembled as a sequence of quires or gatherings, each sewn through the centerfold onto cords (sewing supports) running perpendicular to the spine. Click here to see an example from a 13th-century manuscript of the Decretals of Gratian, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Synonymous with bifolio. Compare with singleton.

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 furnishings for storing big books and other large, flat items.

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 measuring 3 5/8 x 4 1/2 inches, most BLBs were over 400 pages in length, providing a considerable amount of reading for a very modest price, as they originally sold in stores for a dime (later 15 cents). The colorful books featured some of the best-known comic strip, radio, motion picture, and children's classics characters of the day (Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Tarzan, Li'l Abner, Little Orphan Annie, etc.), with a captioned illustration facing each page of text. The first BLB, The Adventures of Dick Tracy published in 1932, preceded the first true comic book by a year. The series was so successful that it was imitated by other publishers. Printed on highly acidic paper and often heavily used, copies of BLBs are hard to find in mint condition. Click here to see an online exhibition of Big Little Books, courtesy of the Broward County Libraries, Florida. More information can be found at Biglittlebooks.com

Big Read, The
Launched in 2007 by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, Big Read is a program designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. Conceived in response to the finding, reported in NEA's 2004 report Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, that literary reading has declined rapidly among all age groups, particularly young people, The Big Read provides citizens an opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities during the same month. Click here to connect to The Big Read homepage.

Also refers to a survey conducted in the United Kingdom by BBC in 2003 to determine the nation's best-loved novel of all time (Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien). Click here to read the results, as reported in Wikipedia.

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 or the library catalog (click here to view image).

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 of objective self-awareness (examples: Tom Jones [1749] by Henry Fielding, The Magic Mountain [1924] by Thomas Mann, and The Tin Drum [1959] by Günter Grass). Synonymous with apprenticeship novel and coming-of-age novel. Compare with Kuntslerroman.

bilinear script
See: majuscule.

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 national languages. Click here to see an example. In some bilingual editions, especially of poetic and dramatic works, the text in the original language is printed facing the translation.

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 in the THOMAS database, a service of the Library of Congress. See also: omnibus bill.

A bill to give the consent of Congress to the removal by the legislature of the State of Washington of the restrictions upon the power of alienation of their lands by the Puyallup Indians : 52d Congress, 1st session, S.2306
Main entry is under the heading for the Senate of the United States.

Also refers to a written statement of the amount owed for goods or services rendered, sent by the seller to the purchaser in expectation of prompt payment. In library acquisitions, the term invoice is preferred.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Access to Learning Award
See: Access to Learning Award.

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.

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 an effort to replace lost and damaged items, even if the patron fails to pay the bill, provided demand exists and a reasonably priced edition is still in print.

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 published in London in the 16th century to warn inhabitants of plague epidemics. Some eventually included other vital statistics, such as age at death, baptisms, and marriages. They were superseded in 1836 by the Births and Deaths Registration Act.

Issued in alternate months (six times per year). Also refers to a serial issued every other month. Compare with semimonthly.

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 memory cells. When data files in digital format are displayed as output, the binary signals are translated back into characters or images. In binary notation, value is indicated by the position of the two digits:

0 0 0 0 position
8 4 2 1 value

Thus the decimal number 15 is expressed in binary as 1111. Click here to see an ASCII Code conversion table from character to binary.

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.

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: loose-leaf.

Also refers to a person trained in the art and craft of binding books and other publications, usually employed in a bindery. Synonymous in this sense with bookbinder. Also used synonymously with bindery. See also: binder's mark and library binder.

In photographic and motion picture film, the substance in the emulsion layer, originally a form of gelatin, that in black and white film holds the image-forming particles and in color film holds the dyes and attaches the emulsion to the film base.

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 is single-ply, made by pressing pulp between heavy rollers to achieve the desired thickness and smoothness. Click here to see a sample. Synonymous in the UK with millboard. Compare with pasteboard.

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 the volume in an appropriate place agreed upon by the library, giving the year and job lot number in which the volume was processed and the name of the bindery, as a guarantee of quality. Most libraries specify that materials used in the binder's mark (paper, ink, adhesive, etc.) must be chemically neutral to prevent deterioration. Click here to see the binder's mark of Wesleys, a major Victorian trade binding firm (British Library) and here to see various binder's marks in situ (Princeton University Library). See also: binder's ticket and signed binding.

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 a printed binder's ticket in situ (Princeton University Library).

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.

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 Zealand). In smaller libraries, materials in need of binding or rebinding (back issues of periodicals, paperback editions, etc.) are sent to a commercial bindery. Click here to see a modern hand bindery. See also: library binder.

In the early Middle Ages, most binding was done in the Catholic monasteries that produced manuscript books. Secular binderies were established in Europe as early as the 12th century near primary markets (towns and cities with universities and government offices), usually in the vicinity of shops owned by booksellers and stationers since most books were bound to the customer's order. Early binderies were often family businesses.

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 spine lettering, description of binding unit, and any special instructions. In some automated serials control systems, bindery information is included in the check-in record. Synonymous with binding record.

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-binding. Books bound in paper covers are called paperbacks. Also refers to the process of fastening the leaves or sections of a publication together by sewing or stitching, or by applying adhesive to the back and then attaching a cover by hand or machine under the supervision of a skilled binder. In large libraries, binding may be done in-house. Smaller libraries usually send materials to a commercial bindery. In any case, most libraries follow an established binding policy. Abbreviated bdg. See also: finishing and forwarding.

In medieval manuscript books, the collated quires were sewn onto leather or hemp cords, and the loose ends of the cords were threaded into grooves cut in the inner surface of the wooden boards and secured with pegs or nails. The spine and outside surface of the boards were covered in damp leather or parchment and the grooves concealed by gluing a leaf, called the paste-down, to the inside of each cover. The cover might then be decorated, usually by blocking or tooling, and metal bosses and cornerpieces added to protect the binding from wear, with one or more clasps attached to the edges to keep the volume tightly closed when not in use. During the early Middle Ages, binding was done in monastic scriptoria, but by the late Middle Ages, this stage of book production was done by the stationer or bookseller.

The tooled goatskin binding on the pocket-sized Stonyhurst Gospel of Saint John, found in the tomb of Saint Cuthbert (died A.D. 687), is believed to be the earliest surviving medieval binding. Click here to view an online exhibition of British bookbindings from the 16th-19th century (Glasgow University Library, Special Collections), and here to see examples of modern British bookbinding (Lilly Library, Indiana University). To find other examples, try the searchable Database of Bookbindings provided by the British Library.

See also: adhesive binding, antique binding, architectural binding, armorial binding, author's binding, Cambridge style, case binding, cathedral binding, champlevé binding, chemise binding, cloisonné, conservation binding, Coptic binding, Cosway binding, cottage binding, custom binding, deluxe binding, dentelle binding, designer binding, desktop binding, easel binding, economy binding, embroidered binding, Etruscan binding, extended binding, fan binding, fanfare binding, fine binding, flap binding, flexible binding, flush binding, gift binding, Greek style, Grolier binding, herringbone, imitation binding, in quaternis, jansenist binding, jeweled binding, lacquered binding, landscape binding, library binding, limp binding, Mauchline binding, mechanical binding, metal binding, mosaic binding, novelty binding, padded binding, painted binding, pamphlet binding, papier mâché binding, paste paper binding, Payne style, peasant binding, plain binding, prelibrary binding, presentation binding, prize binding, publisher's binding, rebinding, reinforced binding, relievo binding, retrospective binding, rocaille, sculptural binding, series binding, shaped binding, specimen binding, spring-back binding, stationery binding, suede binding, temporary binding, treasure binding, vellum binding, and wheel binding.

Also refers to the association of a particular syntax with the data dictionary of a metadata element set. Because of the popularity of XML, many metadata initiatives have developed XML bindings for their metadata standards.

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 outer edges of a book are the head, foot or tail, and fore-edge. Compare with spine.

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. In most circumstances, the publisher will replace such copies at no charge. See also: aberrant copy.

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. For paint, illuminators used glair (clarified egg white), tempera (egg yolk), fish glue, or size made from parchment or gelatin. Choice of binding medium could determine finish. See also: gesso.

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 may be placed in pamphlet covers. Serials permanently retained are usually bound unless converted to microform. Large library systems sometimes have an in-house bindery, but most small and medium-size libraries use a commercial bindery.

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: A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology), the schedule depends primarily on: 1) when the materials to be bound can be spared from the library, 2) the most convenient time for preparing materials for binding, 3) when the binder can accomplish the work with least delay, 4) when a sufficient quantity of materials can be accumulated to make up a shipment of reasonable size, and 5) when the library is prepared to pay the binder for work done. Academic libraries often have a routine schedule for sending serials to be bound.

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 expectations. According to Matt Roberts and Don Etherington (Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology), material specifications include the quality and weight (or size) of paper, cloth (or leather), sewing thread, adhesives, mending tissues, gold, foil, inks, etc., of components such as endpapers, guards, stubs, hinges, inlays, linings, tapes, and covering material. Manufacturing specifications include collation, preparation for sewing, special checking, reinforcing, removal of back folds, scoring, construction and attachment of endpapers, trimming, gluing, blocking, casing-in, inspection, etc. Specifications for workmanship include sewing, rounding and backing, adhesion of materials, turn-ins, squares, corners, trimming, etc.

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 less than the total number of issues published in a year.

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 parchment and vellum as useful material for making new bindings. As a result, many medieval manuscripts survive only in fragments reused as waste material, visibly or concealed, in subsequent bindings. Click here to see examples, courtesy of the Princeton University Library

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, 1772-1924), or longer biographical essays with a list of works written by and about the biographee at the end of each entry (Women in Law: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook). If the subjects are writers, the bibliography may include critical studies (Asian American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook). Also spelled bio-bibliography. Compare with author bibliography.

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 Dictionary), subject-specific (Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology), or limited to persons of a specific nationality (American National Biography), race (Contemporary Black Biography), field or profession (International Dictionary of Anthropologists), or period or gender (Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Greek and Roman Women). Some are published serially (Current Biography Yearbook). Compare with collective biography.

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 autobiographical fiction.

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 directed by John Frankenheimer, based on the 1955 book of the same title by Thomas E. Gaddis. Degree of veracity varies. Casting is usually based on physical resemblance. In an autobiographical film, the subject of the film plays himself or herself (example: Jackie Robinson in The Jackie Robinson Story). Synonymous with biopic and autobiopic.

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 notes in the back matter covering important persons whose names appear in the text. In library cataloging, the presence of a biographical note is indicated in the note area of the bibliographic description, with the name of the author of the note included if given on the item.

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 character and personality of the biographee and placing the subject's life in social, cultural, and historical context. An authorized biography, written with the consent and sometimes the cooperation of its subject, may be less critical than an unauthorized biography.

The literary form was pioneered by the Roman historians Plutarch, Tacitus, and Suetonius (click here to see a copy of the earliest printed edition of Vitae imperatorum by Cornelius Nepos, a Roman writer of the 1st century B.C., courtesy of the Royal Library of Denmark). Click here to page through a 13th-century Anglo-Norman verse life of King Edward the Confessor, illustrated with tinted drawings (Cambridge University Library, Ee.3.59). English literary biography began with James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson, published in 1791. Modern biographers tend to be objective in approach, but classical and medieval biographers often wrote to confirm a thesis or illustrate a moral principle. Also refers to the branch of literature and history in which the lives of actual people are described and analyzed.

Biographical works are indexed annually in Biography Index, published by H.W. Wilson, and in Biography and Genealogy Master Index, published by Gale. Biographical information is also available online via the World Wide Web (see the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online). Abbreviated bio and biog. Compare with autobiography and memoirs. See also: biobibliography, biographical dictionary, collective biography, criminal biography, and hagiography.

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 fibers of which paper and binder's board are composed, causing discoloration and in some cases fusing the leaves. Insects feed on paper, adhesives, and bindings, often leaving excretions that cause further damage and can be difficult to remove. Remedies are generally species-specific. Click here to learn more about biological damage to films, courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

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 facial pattern, signature, etc.) are recorded. Some libraries use biometric scanners to identify patrons accessing the Internet via public workstations, to prevent them from logging on with the library card number or PIN code of a friend or relative. Several European countries are considering mandatory biometric ID cards for their citizens.

An abbreviation of biographical motion picture. See: biographical film

Damage to books or other library materials caused by living organisms, such as insects or mold (see this example).

See: Books in Print.

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, published in the mid-19th century. The category also includes field guides designed for bird identification.

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 third of the image. Often used to depict cities, mountain ranges, and other geographic features of considerable horizontal extent, which are not necessarily drawn strictly to scale. Click here to see a bird's-eye view of New York City in 1856 (UC Berkeley Library), here to see an 1884 bird's-eye-view of Cedar Key, Florida (click on lower right corner to enlarge), and here to see early views of Los Angeles (UCLA Library). The opposite of worm's-eye view. Synonymous with aero map. Compare with panorama.

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). If the person is still living, the birth date is given, followed by a hyphen, and the death date is added later (example: King, Stephen, 1947- ). If the birth and/or death dates are unknown, the abbreviation ca. (circa) is used before the estimated date(s) to mean "approximately." Birth and death dates are also included in the entries in biographical reference works. See also: false date.

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 1924.

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 programs, the child may choose the title from a list prepared by the librarian or provide a book purchased independently of the library (hardcover editions are generally preferred). The child's name and birth date may be indicated on a label or commemorative bookplate affixed to the item. Once the book is available for circulation, the child may also have the privilege of being the first patron to check it out. To learn more about libraries in the United States that offer this program, try a keywords search on the term in Google.

See: Book Industry Study Group.

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, each alphanumeric character is represented by a unique sequence of 7 bits. Although bits are used to measure digital transmission speed (bit rate), the capacity of storage (disks, files, databases, etc.) is measured in bytes. Click here to learn more about bits and bytes, courtesy of HowStuffWorks. See also: bit depth.

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 RGB). In digital audio, bit depth is a measure of the hardware or software processing the audio file.

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 set of bits that determine the individual values of a group of pixels that in combination create the visual impression of a specific shade or hue. The greater the number of bits per dot, the wider the range of possible shades or hues. Number of dots per square inch (density) determines the resolution of a bitmapped image. Resolution may also be expressed as the number of rows multiplied by the number of columns in the map. When documents are scanned into a computer, the image on the page is automatically converted into a bitmapped image that can be viewed on a monitor. Click here to see a bitmap image enlarged. Also spelled bit map. See also: digital imaging.

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 spelled bitrate.

Issued every two weeks. Also refers to a serial issued at two-week intervals. Used synonymously with semimonthly. Compare with semiweekly.

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 such an image. In bibliographic description, the abbreviation b&w is often used. Also abbreviated b-w and b/w. Compare with duotone and process color.

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 system to another.

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 bimonthly BCALA Newsletter. Click here to connect to the BCALA homepage.

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 horrifying events that result in death or suffering. Examples include the novel Catch-22 (1961) by Joseph Heller, the film Dr. Strangelove (1964) directed by Stanley Kubrick, and the television series M*A*S*H (1972-1983). Synonymous with black humor, dark comedy, and gallows humor.

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 technique is used mainly on photograph albums (see this example).

black face
See: boldface.

black letter
See: gothic.

black light work
See: luminescent work.

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 surface) that does not bear written or printed matter. Compare with white space. In a more general sense, any recording medium, such as an audiocassette or videocassette, on which nothing is recorded.

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 books, exercise books, etc. Because the information recorded in official blankbooks may be of permanent value, good-quality paper and durable bindings are generally used. A blankbook should open flat for ease of use. Also spelled blank book.

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 libraries to reduce the amount of time required for selection and acquisition and to speed the process of getting new titles into circulation. Unlike approval plans, most blanket order plans do not allow returns. One of the best-known examples in the United States is the Greenaway Plan. Synonymous with gathering plan. See also: book lease plan.

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.

See: Big Little Book.

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 material to glass-fronted storage cases, and using light sleeves to filter artificial light.

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. Also refers to text cropped too closely in binding.

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.

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 of blind tooling (Special Collections, Glasgow University Library, BD1-d.16). To find other examples, try a keywords search on the phrase "tooled in blind" in the British Library's Database of Bookbindings.

Also refers to a person whose vision is severely impaired, eligible in the United States to receive library services through the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).

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.

Also refers to a copy of an e-mail message sent to one or more persons without including the original sender as a recipient, leaving its source with no direct knowledge that the message has been forwarded to others. Compare with blind carbon copy.

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 cloth or leather), blind stamps are often decorative (see these examples, courtesy of Alibris).

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 be used to index and automatically locate documents.

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 agency, organizational component, or functional area when stored with those of other agencies, components, or areas. In electronic records, a grouping of data maintained as a unit on an external storage medium and accessed by the computer as a unit of input or output.

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 inexpensive alternative to books printed on a press. A well-known example is the Biblia Pauperum ("Bible of the Poor") printed in large quantities during the second half of the 15th century. Fewer than two dozen copies are known to survive. Click here to view a page from a 15th-century blockbook Bible printed in the Netherlands (Special Collections, Glasgow University Library, Hunterian Ds.2.4/10) and here to learn more about blockbooks, courtesy of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek. Also spelled block book. See also: xylography.

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 titles in multiple copies to satisfy initial demand. Also used in reference to the willingness of publishers to repeatedly sign such authors and promote their works, sometimes to the neglect of writers of lesser fame whose works deserve to be read. Synonymous with megabook. Compare with bestseller.

In the motion picture industry, a newly released feature film expected to attract large audiences and sell well on videocassette and DVD, usually because it has won a major award or because its cast includes actors and/or actresses who are stars.

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 diagram of the Albemarle-Pamlico drainage basin in North Carolina and Virginia, courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey, and here to see two examples showing the geological processes in the formation of Oregon Caves National Monument (National Park Service).

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 under conditions prescribed by the library.

Also refers to digital content which cannot be viewed from a user's computer because online access is denied, usually by the installation of Internet filtering software. Public libraries that accept federal funding for Internet access are required by the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) to block pornographic and gambling content on computers used by minors.

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). Michelle Brown notes in Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Getty Museum/British Library, 1994) that metal blocks were first used on leather bindings in Flanders in the early 13th century, and large wooden blocks were used in the Netherlands during the 16th century. Requiring far less time and labor than hand tooling, blocking was the precursor of modern stamping used in case binding. To see examples of blocking on leather, try a search on the keyword "blocked" in the British Library's Database of Bookbindings. Click here to a see its use on a 19th-century cloth binding (Rare Books & Texana Collections, Univ. of North Texas Libraries). Synonymous with stamping.

Also refers to the tendency of the leaves of a book or other bound publication to adhere when exposed to water, producing a solidly fused block. With uncoated papers, the effect can be mitigated by standing the wet volume on end with the leaves fanned open to allow them to air dry. In books printed on coated paper, the leaves can be difficult to separate without damaging the printed surface, especially once drying has commenced. Blocking can be minimized by the use of vacuum freeze drying. Under poor storage conditions, photographic film and magnetic tape may also adhere to neighboring materials or, if on a reel or in layers, to itself.

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-serif. Compare with monoline.

block quotation
See: quotation.

See: Weblog.

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 coating on magnetic tape (A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology by Richard Pearce-Moses).

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 optical sound track, or the use of a small perforation on a negative optical track, to render the noise inaudible. Also refers to the darkened or taped area that silences the noise. On magnetic sound tracks, diagonal splicing reduces the area of splice passing the playback head, but a bloop can result when the track is inadvertently touched by magnetic editing tools. Deblooping of magnetic tracks is done with a small magnet.

A hard copy enlargement of an image on microform. Most libraries provide reader-printer machines for enlarging and making copies of documents available on microfilm or microfiche. Also spelled blow back. Compare with 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 original, for example, a 16mm print made from an 8mm original. Synonymous with enlargement print. The opposite of reduction print.

In document reproduction, any copy made on a scale larger than the original. In the book trade, a greatly enlarged image of a dust jacket, illustration, or specimen page, used in marketing. Also spelled blow up. Compare with blowback.

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 blue covers. Compare with red book.

In a more general sense, any official or semi-official authoritative guide, usually published serially (see this example).

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.

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 (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc.). They are collected by architecture libraries and by archives and special collections for construction projects of historical significance. Blueprints are used by libraries in planning and overseeing the renovation, expansion, and new construction of facilities. To see examples, try a keyword search on the term in Google Images. See also: architectural drawing.

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 cardboard. A strip of black paper (or other opaque material), cut to the length of the card, is taped over one-half of the strips, so tightly that light cannot seep under the edges of the shield. The card is positioned beside the object, facing the light source, and checked regularly for evidence of fading. Date of installation should be noted on the back of the card for future reference.

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 players, Blu-ray provides the highest resolution HDTV is capable of reproducing. Because the blue laser has a shorter wavelength than the red beam used to read standard DVDs, Blu-ray discs have a storage capacity five times greater (50 gigabytes) than standard DVDs. On discs that have become scratched, the greater data compression increases the likelihood of playback problems. According the November 15, 2009 issue of Library Journal, over ten percent of public and academic libraries in the United States circulate Blu-ray discs and the number is growing. Though not a compulsory standard, the Blu-ray Disc Association recommends that Blu-ray disc drives be capable of reading standard DVDs and CDs, for backward compatibility.

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. Brief excerpts from favorable reviews are usually printed on the back of the dust jacket. See also: puff and teaser.

See: Book Manufacturer's Institute.

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 Tourneur). The main feature, shown first, was generally a large-budget production (A-movie) employing well-know actors. The term is still used although the practice of showing two films for the price of a single admission has been discontinued in most theaters. B-pictures typically use less well-known actors and may have limited theatrical distribution. A high proportion are genre films (horror, science fiction, romantic comedy, etc.). For reviews, see B-Movie Central. Synonymous with B-grade and low-budget movie.

See: British National Bibliography.

See: Library and Archives Canada.

See: Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

See: back order.

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 hardwood in England and France to resist worming, beech in Germany and Italy), sometimes beveled or shaped to accommodate clasps (click here to see examples, courtesy of the Princeton Univ. Library). The thickness and weight of wooden boards helped keep leaves made of parchment or vellum pressed flat. The boards were attached to the sewn quires by threading the cords (sewing supports) through channels cut into the boards and then securing them with pegs or nails before the spine and sides were covered in leather or parchment. Until about the 15th century, boards were often cut flush with the sections, but after that time they extended beyond the edges of the book block, forming squares.

With the widespread use of paper following the invention of printing, heavy boards were no longer needed. Pasteboard, made from sheets of paper stuck together, was introduced in the 15th century, and by the late 17th century millboard made from rope-fiber were being used. Strawboard did not come into use in bookbinding until the 18th century. In modern bookbinding, the cover is usually made of binder's board manufactured from various fibrous materials pulped or laminated and pressed into large, flat sheets cut to size in binding. In less expensive editions, strawboard, chip board, or pasteboard is used. See also: conservation board, fiberboard, pressboard, and yawning boards.

In computers, the flat piece of plastic or fiberglass designed to hold microchips and other computer hardware. The main circuit board in most systems is called the motherboard (see this example), and all the component chips that plug into the main board are called cards or boards.

Also refers to a group of prominent persons elected or appointed to serve as trustees responsible for overseeing the policies and major management decisions of an organization or institution, such as a library or library system. See also: editorial board.

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 books or counting books.

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 holdings make it unique among the world's great libraries. Its collections are particularly strong in English literature, history, and typography. The Bodleian has been a copyright depository library since 1662. Click here to connect to the "Bodley" homepage which provides a more detailed history of the library (see "Visitor Information"). See also: British Library, The.

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 for attachment of the case or cover.

In an e-mail message, the text of the message, as opposed to the header (e-mail address of sender, address[es] of recipient[s], subject of message), and any footer.

In typesetting, the small rectangular unit of cast metal bearing a single raised character on one end (the face) from which an impression is taken in letterpress printing. Synonymous in this sense with shank.

Also refers to a group of people with an official function. Library catalogers recognize: corporate body, related body, and subordinate body.

body matter
The text of a work to be printed, as distinct from any display matter (headings, ornaments, illustrations, etc.).

body type
See: text type.

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.

See: 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 include semi-bold, extra-bold, and ultra-bold. Also spelled bold face. Synonymous with bold and black face. Compare with lightface.

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 leaf is applied in other types of gilding (see this example). See also: gesso.

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, is sewn and/or glued to the other folded and gathered sections to form the back of the book. If the sections are not trimmed on a guillotine in binding, the process of opening of the folds with a knife is called "slipping the bolts."

bond measure
See: library bond.

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.

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-Saxon boc (plural bec) or from the Norse bok, meaning "book" or "beech tree," possibly in reference to the wooden boards originally used in binding. Also refers to a literary work or one of its volumes. Compare with monograph.

To qualify for the special parcel post rate classified by the U.S. Postal Service as "media mail," a publication must consist of 24 or more pages, at least 22 of which bear printing consisting primarily of reading material or scholarly bibliography, with advertising limited to book announcements. UNESCO defines a book as a nonperiodical literary publication consisting of 49 or more pages, covers excluded. The ANSI standard includes publications of less than 49 pages that have hard covers. Abbreviated bk. See also: art book, artist's book, board book, children's book, codex, coffee table book, gift book, licensed book, managed book, miniature book, new book, packaged book, picture book, premium book, professional book, promotional book, rare book, reference book, religious book, and reprint book.

Also, a major division of a longer work (usually of fiction) that is further subdivided into chapters. Usually numbered, such a division may or may not have its own title. Also refers to one of the divisions of the Christian Bible, the first being Genesis.

In reference to a musical play, a volume containing the scenario and dialogue without the score.

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 another book published under the same imprint. A book announcement usually includes the title of the work, name(s) of author(s) or editor(s), ISBN, projected date of publication, list price, and prepublication price, if offered. It may also include a blurb or brief excerpts from favorable reviews and a picture of the front cover.

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 Knipe). In some artist's books, the traditional format of the book is not altered (example: an illustrated collection of poems in which the words and images are embossed, rather than printed, on paper). In other works, the artist experiments with format, even to the extent of challenging the concept of reading (example: a book with the leaves made of mirror-foil). Some publishers specialize in this art form (Ron King's Circle Press). The National Art Library at the Victoria & Albert Museum of decorative and applied arts in London holds an extensive collection of books on the history of this form of artistic experimentation.

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, Grolier Club, and Morris, William.

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 valuable books and manuscripts are usually sold by international auction houses such as Christie's and Sotheby's. See also: American Book Prices Current and antiquarian bookseller.

book award
See: literary award.

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. Used by students and library patrons, bookbags stamped with a logo or slogan are often sold as specialty items in library gift shops or by Friends of the Library groups to raise funds. To see examples, try a keyword search on the term "bookbag" in Google Images. Also spelled book bag.

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.).

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 library.

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 a binder but now largely mechanized (see case binding). Medieval mansucript books were bound by hand (click here to learn more about the process). Prior to the 19th century most printed books were sold in sheets to be bound to the customer's order. Only titles for which demand was steady would have been sold ready-bound. Click here to see a collection of bookbinding models, courtesy of the University of Iowa Libraries. See also: conservation binding, custom binding, hand-binding, publisher's binding, and signed binding.

To explore bookbinding digitally, see Victorian Bookbinding (Rare Books & Texana Collections, Univ. of North Texas Libraries), Bound to Please (University of Miami Library), and Hand Bookbindings: Plain and Simple to Grand and Glorious (Princeton University Library), three excellent online exhibits. The National Library of Scotland provides images of Scottish Decorative Bookbinding and see British Bookbindings: 16th-19th Century, courtesy of the Glasgow University Library. The British Library's Database of Bookbindings is keywords searchable.

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 see examples from a collection of bookbinding models owned by the University of Iowa Libraries.

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 of Denmark). Categories of books requiring the protection of a box are those in fragile condition, of considerable rarity or value, in significant bindings or with protrusions that could damage adjacent items, and miniature books and unbound manuscripts. Commercially manufactured boxes of archival quality are available from suppliers in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Custom-made boxes can be ordered from book binders. A box designed for a very small book should be comparable in size to other books on the same shelf, filled in on the inside to the dimensions of the book. Compare with slipcase. See also: conservation box, drop side box, drop spine box, pull-case, and solander.

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, usually in the context of political unrest. The American Library Association provides a Web site on Book Burning. See also Burning Books by Haig Bosmajian (McFarland, 2006) and the online exhibition Fighting the Fires of Hate: America and the Nazi Book Burnings (U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum). See also: biblioclast, censorship, intellectual freedom, and libricide.

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-shelf models are available from library suppliers (see this example, courtesy of Highsmith).

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 the borrower, used in manual circulation systems to maintain a card file of items currently checked out. The book card is reinserted in the book pocket inside the item at check-in (see this example). Some libraries use color-coded book cards to indicate type of material or applicable loan rule. See also: date due slip.

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.

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 cloth
See: cloth.

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 be rejected or returned by the subscriber. To attract new subscribers, an introductory offer of free or heavily discounted titles may be made in exchange for a minimum purchase commitment. Some book clubs offer books of general interest (example: Book-of-the-Month Club); others specialize by genre (mystery, science fiction, etc.), subject (gardening), or academic field or discipline (history). Directory information for book clubs is available in Literary Market Place, a reference serial available in most libraries. Click here to view an online list of Book Clubs by Interest, or try the Yahoo! list of book clubs. See also: birthday book club and book club edition.

Also refers to an informal group of readers who purchase books for circulation and, in some cases, discussion among themselves. Synonymous in this sense with reading circle. See also: online book club.

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 to book club subscribers can usually be distinguished from the trade edition of the same title by the inferior quality of paper and binding, the absence of a price on the dust jacket, and other distinctive markings (click here to learn more about how to identify book club editions, courtesy of My Wings Books). Abbreviated bc or bce.

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 intention of bequeathing them to a library or other institution is a book collector. For a brief but fascinating essay on the "history of book collecting," see the entry under the term in A Dictionary of Book History by John Feather (Oxford University Press, 1986). For the terminology of book collecting, see ABC for Book Collectors by John Carver and Nicolas Barker (Oak Knoll, 2004). Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America provides a Web page for book collectors. See also: bibliomania, bibliophile, and private library.

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 illustrator, subject, period, publisher, or other area of interest. Some collect books on the basis of their physical characteristics, such as a particular style of binding or illustration. Rare books and manuscripts may be collected as an investment. Click here to learn about the shared passion of Henry Clay Folger, Jr. (1857-1930) and Emily Jordan Folger (1858-1936), whose large collection of materials on William Shakespeare and his works became the foundation of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. See also: Grolier Club.

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 publish the work in specified form within a designated period of time. Synonymous with publisher's agreement.

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 example). Transparent models allow the exterior of the binding to be viewed (see this example). Click here to see a mechanical example designed for use in the British Library's digitization of the Gutenberg Bible. See also: preservation book cradle.

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 conservation, activities of libraries and archives, and the writing, illustrating, reviewing, and reading of books. In the United States, the persistence of book culture is evident in the presence of small cafes intended for readers on the premises of large bookstores and in the success of companies that manufacture and sell giftware, decorative items, and accessories for readers.

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 Assyrian king Ashurbanipal (7th century B.C.), is inscribed on a clay tablet now in the collections of the British Library. Medieval book curses sometimes specified excommunication and were often highly imaginative, as in the following example in a volume from the library of the Monastery of San Pedro of Barcelona:

"For him that stealeth, or borroweth and returneth not, this book from its owner, let it change into a serpent in his hand & rend him. Let him be struck with palsy, & all his members blasted. Let him languish in pain crying aloud for mercy, & let there be no surcease to his agony till he sing in dissolution. Let bookworms gnaw his entrails in token of the Worm that dieth not, & when at last he goeth to his final punishment, let the flames of Hell consume him forever."

For more on book curses, see Marc Drogin's Anathema! Medieval Scribes and the History of Book Curses (Allanheld & Schram, 1983).

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, running heads, etc. The book designer sends a specification sheet for all sections of the book (front matter, text, and back matter) with the manuscript to the production department, which is responsible for contracting out and supervising the manufacture of the book. Because the cover or book jacket is viewed primarily as a marketing tool, its design is usually controlled by the publisher's art director, who assigns it to an artist specializing in the design of book covers (see this example, courtesy of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek).

book detection system
See: security gate.

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 pages per hour and converting the text to digital format. The device includes a patented preservation book cradle and automatic page turner so sensitive it can turn single pages of a telephone directory (click here to see images of the scanner). Associated software allows metadata to be created at the time of scanning, as well as optical character recognition transition and multiple format output (TIFF, JPEG, or compact PDF). Popular Science magazine named the APT BookScan one of the 100 best product innovations of 2003 because it makes mass book digitization cost-effective for the first time.

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 area that has recently experienced a natural disaster. The University at Albany Library provides an online Directory of Book Donation Programs.

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. Sometimes the gifts are earmarked for a particular use, for example, distribution to disadvantaged children or shut-ins, or for a specific program, such as the Library War Service during World War I.

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 circulation desk or an exterior wall. Security is an important consideration in the design of an after-hours book drop. Libraries have suffered damage from hazardous materials deposited by malicious persons in book drops. Click here to see a free-standing model and here to see a drive-up book drop. See also: smart book drop.

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 inserted in tracks beneath the front and back edges of the shelving. Bookends manufactured as gift items may be covered in leather, carved in fine stone, or cast in metal and given a decorative finish. They are often sold in matching pairs (see these examples). A search on the term bookends in Google Images reveals a wide variety of styles. Synonymous with book support and end support.

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 the ABA Convention and Trade Exhibit, BEA is held in a different city in the United States each year. Click here to connect to the BEA homepage.

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 Frankfurt Book Fair began in the 1490s and is still the chief market place for publishers who wish to buy and sell intellectual property rights, translation rights, and other privileges to overseas buyers. Also refers to a non-trade exhibition of books and the book arts open to the general public, which may include presentations by authors, illustrators, publishers, binders, etc. See also: BookExpo America.

book format
See: book size.

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 documents. A book hand must be easy to read en masse (entire paragraphs or pages of text) but capable of being written with reasonable speed. Compare with court hand.

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 chronology of book history. Book History Online is an international bibliography of the history of the printed book and libraries, maintained by the National Library of the Netherlands. An online research guide to the History of Books and Printing is provided by the New York Public Library. Synonymous with history of the book. See also: American Printing History Association, Bibliographical Society of America, and Grolier Club.

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 models are available from library suppliers.

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 industry. Since then, the nonprofit organization has been a leader in setting industry standards and conducting research on behalf of publishers, booksellers, libraries, vendors, and manufacturers. Actively engaged in promoting the standardization of e-content, BISG helps manage the Online Information Exchange (ONIX) standard for improved dissemination of electronic materials. Click here to connect to the BISG homepage.

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 reading books rather than from actual experience.

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 purpose is the identification of a part, chapter, section within a chapter, volume within a set, illustration, map, table, or separately enumerated entry or article, as well as materials supplied with the publication (teacher's manual, diskette, book jacket, etc.) that do not have separate ISBNs. The code is intended to identify non-serial items in the same way that the SICI identifies serial items, for the use of persons engaged in functions associated with the publication, such as online retrieval, database linking, document delivery, rights management, etc.

book jacket
See: dust jacket.

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, titles are returned for credit toward new books usually selected from a monthly list provided by the jobber (example: McNaughton Plan). Because leased books arrive fully cataloged and processed for circulation, some public libraries rely on leasing plans for high-demand items. Leasing is also used in academic libraries with limited space for a permanent collection of popular fiction and nonfiction. Synonymous with rental plan. Compare with approval plan and blanket order.

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 adult fiction. In nonfiction, publishers prefer an optimum length of 270 to 320 pages because over-length books cost more to produce (editing, typesetting, proofreading, indexing, printing, binding, and shipping) and the commensurately higher price may discourage sales. Hyphenated when used as an adjective: book-length.

A book of small size or containing little text. Also used synonymously with pamphlet.

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 consume mold, cereal products, and the bodies of dead insects, which makes them a menace to botanical and zoological specimens. Keeping relative humidity low helps to control them in libraries and exhibit spaces. Book lice are prey to book scorpions. They can be exterminated by freezing the infested item. Click here to view an image of book lice. Synonymous with book mites. See also: bookworm.

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.

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 reference books and electronic resources in Reference Books Bulletin, a separate section at the end of each issue. Booklist also includes feature articles, author interviews, bibliographies, and regular columns. ISSN: 0006-7385. Click here to connect to the online version of Booklist. See also: CHOICE and Library Journal.

Information and facts about books, especially their authors and the circumstances of their creation and publication.

book louse
See: book lice.

See: bibliophile.

A man in the business of publishing, making, or selling books. Also, a man of literary or scholarly inclination who is familiar with books.

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 includes companies ranging in size from less than a hundred employees to those employing thousands. BMI sponsors two annual conferences and bestows the Distinguished Master Bookman Award on a BMI member who has made an extraordinary contribution to the book manufacturing industry throughout a long career. Click here to connect to the BMI homepage.

book mark
See: book number.

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 longer than the length of the pages, called a register, is sometimes glued to the top of the spine to serve as a bookmark.

When and where the use of bookmarkers originated had not been established, but a variety of devices are known to have been in use from the 12th century on. Some medieval manuscripts have small finger tabs or knotted strips of parchment (sometimes marked with pigment) attached to the fore-edge (see these examples in a 16th-century printed missal, courtesy of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek). In other volumes linen or silk ribbons, or long strips of parchment, were attached to the headband, sometimes with an ornament or reading device suspended from the free end. Click here to see an online exhibition of paper bookmarks intended as keepsakes, courtesy of the Friends of the Amherst College Library. To explore the variety of bookmarks, try a keyword search on the term "bookmarks" in Google Images.

In computing, to mark a document or a specific location in a document for subsequent retrieval. Most Web browser software includes a "bookmark" or "favorites" option that allows an Internet address (URL) to be archived, enabling the user to revisit the site without having to retype the address or repeat the original search from scratch. See also: social tagging.

See: bookmark.

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 tablet-based measuring device, permitting error-free digital measurement of books and other archival objects (see this example). It is designed to be used in conjunction with the Kasemake CXD boxmaker.

book mite
See: book lice.

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 easily served by the nearest public library. Click here to see a contemporary example (Linebaugh Library System) and here to see bookmobiles of the past, courtesy of the Davidson County Public Library System, North Carolina. Synonymous in the UK with mobile library and in France with bibliobus. See also: rural library.

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 a work mark added to subarrange works of the same author by title or edition (example: H5371m in the Dewey Decimal call number 993.101 H5371m assigned to the book titled The Maoris by Charles Higham). Synonymous with book mark.

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 version of the Divine Office contained in the breviary. By the 12th century, the Book of Hours was being used in private devotion, usually in conjunction with the psalter. By the time its contents became standardized in the 13th century, other sections had been added.

Especially popular in Flanders and France through the end of the 16th century, many fine Books of Hours survive, some magnificently illuminated, usually with depictions of important events in the life of the Virgin, Christ, King David (author of the Psalms), and various saints. Click here to explore a 15th-century French example painted in vibrant color (Getty Museum, MS 48). In the Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux the miniatures are executed in semi-grisaille (The Cloisters). The most famous example is Les très riches heures du Duc de Berry (WebMuseum) containing a picture cycle representing each month of the calendar year. Click here to see a 16th-century printed Book of Hours (University of Sydney Library). For other examples, see the Wellesley College Library online exhibition of books of hours. Synonymous with horae (Latin), Livre d'Heures, and primer.

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 majuscule script, lavishly decorated in Celtic style. Unlike the Lindisfarne Gospels, there is no record of the identity of the monks who created the Book of Kells, and their work remained unfinished, some of the ornamentation appearing only in outline.

Although it may have been brought to Ireland from a monastery founded by St. Columba on Iona, an island between Ireland and Scotland, the 680-page manuscript is named after the Abbey of Kells, located in the Irish Midlands, where it remained from the 9th century until 1541. Since 1661, it has been in the possession of the Library of Trinity College in Dublin. During a major restoration in 1953, it was rebound in four volumes, two of which are on permanent public display under controlled conditions, the pages turned at regular intervals to allow visitors to see and appreciate its beauties.

In 1986, the Swiss publisher Urs Duggelin of Faksimile Verlag was allowed to reproduce from photographs a limited edition of 1,480 high-quality facsimile copies purchased by libraries and private collectors worldwide. Click here and here to view images of some of the fully decorated manuscript pages.

See: audiobook.

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 typically off-white in color, opaque to minimize show-through, and light-weight. For books which are to be retained indefinitely in the collection, librarians prefer permanent papers, acid-free and of high rag content.

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, calligraphic, or illustrated. They should be acid-free and pasted on or tipped in, with the grain of the paper running parallel with the spine of the volume. Former Yale University conservator Jane Greenfield recommends that gummed or pressure-sensitive bookplates be avoided (The Care of Fine Books, Nick Lyons Books, 1988).

Decorative bookplates are a category of gift item sold blank or with the name of the recipient custom-printed in space allowed for the name, sometimes following the Latin phrase ex libris. The earliest known examples appeared in Germany a few years after the invention of movable type. They often expressed gratitude to the donor from the person receiving the book as a gift, a practice still followed in some libraries that receive books as gifts. The presence of a bookplate usually does not affect the value of a book (probably because they are easily removed) and may be useful in establishing provenance.

Bookplate design as an art form began with Albrecht Dürer in the early 16th century. Heraldic bookplates usually bore a coat of arms and/or family motto. Professional mottos and designs commemorating important historical events were also popular, but the mottos on modern bookplates usually praise books or scholarly pursuits. The New York Public Library and the Yale University Library own substantial collections of historically significant bookplates. Click here to view examples from the Thomas Murray collection of bookplates at the University of British Columbia Library. The Department of Special Collections, University of Notre Dame Libraries, is creating a Bookplate Registry. Compare with book label. See also: Bookplate Society, The.

Bookplate Society, The
Founded in Britain in 1972 by a group of serious ex libris collectors, The Bookplate Society is an international society of collectors, bibliophiles, artists, and others interested in the production, use, collecting, and study of bookplates. The organization is the direct descendant of the world's first association of bookplate enthusiasts, the Ex Libris Society (1891-1908) and of its successor, the Bookplate Exchange Club. Click here to see a list of its publications and here to connect to the Society's homepage.

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, plain or with a date due slip printed at the top, the pocket is affixed to the inside cover or endpaper in books, or to some other part in nonbook items. To enable circulation staff to match card to item at check-in, the front of the pocket and the top of the corresponding card are marked with the call number, name of author, and title of item.

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 heavy-duty models, the boards are positioned on a base between two sturdy metal uprights to which a horizontal bar is attached, with a single large screw for increasing the downward pressure of the bar (see this example).

book prize
See: literary award.

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 work, intended audience and market, outline or summary of content, list of proposed chapters or entries, analysis of competing works, approximate length, form of illustration, proposed schedule, and sometimes a sample of the text, accompanied by a cover letter. Book proposals are also used by academic faculty in applying for sabbatic leave. See also: book contract and over the transom.

book rate
See: media mail.

book repair
See: repair.

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, time period, main characters, and plot, and for nonfiction, the subject of the work and a summary of the author's treatment of it. The instructor may also ask the student to give a response to the work. Click here to read the Lakewood Public Library's student guide to completing a book report.

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 cushion for laptop use or bedtime reading. To see examples, try a keyword search on the term in Google Images.

book return
See: book drop.

book review
See: review.

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 print editions and bargains.

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: bookmobile and direct delivery.

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, courtesy of Wikipedia.

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.

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 association of the bookselling industry is the American Booksellers Association whose homepage BookWeb.org includes a searchable Bookstore Directory. Information about book retailers in the United States and Canada is also available in the American Book Trade Directory, published annually by Information Today, Inc. Compare with dealer and jobber.

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 University of California's New Campuses Program, with the assistance of college teachers, librarians, and other advisers. In Fall 2006, the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) in association with Bowker, publisher of Books in Print, issued Resources for College Libraries (RCL), a new core collection of recommended print and electronic titles, successor to the third edition of BCL published in 1988. The online edition of RCL is regularly updated.

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 36 inches. Shelving used in libraries and archives should be adjustable and easy to clean, with at least 1 inch of airspace above the tallest book and no rough edges or protrusions that might damage bindings. In unpolluted areas, bookshelves should be open, except at the ends, to allow maximum air circulation. In heavily polluted areas, shelves with closed backs and glass fronts are preferable and may provide some protection against fire. The bottom shelf should be at least 6 inches above the floor to facilitate cleaning and prevent water damage in the event of flooding.

Bookshelves should be located away from heat sources such as radiators. To avoid damp and condensation, shelving should not be positioned against an exterior wall or beneath water or steam pipes. To avoid exposing books to ultraviolet radiation, shelves should not receive direct sunlight. Many libraries use free-standing adjustable steel shelving with a baked-on finish, available from suppliers in 36-inch widths by height and shelf depth, in a variety of colors. Sloping shelving is available for displaying current periodicals face out. See also: compact shelving, high-density shelving, and warehouse shelving.

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 reinserted without damage. Click here to see a diagram with instructions for making a book shoe, courtesy of the Northeast Document Conservation Center.

See: bookstore.

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: autographed copy.

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, binding type, and ISBN. Published annually by Bowker, BIP includes a directory of publishers in a separate volume. It is supplemented by Forthcoming Books. Bowker also publishes Children's Books in Print and El-Hi Textbooks & Serials in Print annually. BIP is also available online. International Books in Print is published by K.G. Saur and distributed in the United States by Gale.

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 approximately 19 x 25 inches was folded, once to form signatures of 2 leaves (4 pages) known as folio, twice to form 4 leaves (8 pages) known as quarto, three times to form 8 leaves (16 pages) octavo or to form 12 leaves (24 pages) duodecimo, four times to form 16 leaves (32 pages) sextodecimo, etc.

In modern book production, the size of an edition depends on the size of the unfolded sheet used in printing. In the bibliographic description of rare books, the historical dimensions are still used, but in modern book production, size is based on the height and width of the binding. Slight differences exist between American and British practice in the standardization of book sizes. American sizes are given below. Synonymous with book format. See also: exact size.

Name Height & Width
Thirty-sixmo 4 x 3 1/3 inches
Medium Thirty-twomo 4 3/4 x 3 inches
Medium Twenty-fourmo 5 1/2 x 3 5/8 inches
Medium Eighteenmo 6 2/3 x 4 inches
Medium Sixteenmo 6 3/4 x 4 1/2 inches
Cap Octavo 7 x 7 1/4 inches
Duodecimo 7 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches
Crown Octavo 7 1/2 x 5 inches
Post Octavo 7 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches
Medium Duodecimo 7 2/3 x 5 1/8 inches
Demy Octavo 8 x 5 1/2 inches
Small Quarto (usually less) 8 1/2 x 7 inches
Broad Quarto (varies up to 13 x 10) 8 1/2 x 7 inches
Medium Octavo 9 1/2 x 6 inches
Royal Octavo 10 x 6 1/2 inches
Super Royal Octavo 10 1/2 x 7 inches
Imperial Quarto 11 x 15 inches
Imperial Octavo 11 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches

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 in Google Images. Compare with bookstore.

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.

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, etc.). Large trade bookstores may also sell magazines and newspapers, maps, calendars, greeting cards, nonprint media (videocassettes, DVDs, audiocassettes, CDs, CD-ROMs), and reading paraphernalia. Bookstore chains have outlets in most large cities in the United States, offering nearly identical stock (example: Barnes & Noble). College bookstores sell mainly textbooks and trade editions for the use of students. Information on book retailers in the United States and Canada is available in the annual American Book Trade Directory, published by Information Today, Inc. Synonymous with bookshop. Compare with bookstall. See also: bookseller.

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. Individually-owned bookstores often find it difficult to compete with large chains that can offer the consumer significantly lower prices because they buy from the publisher or jobber in large volume.

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 typically strive to identify and meet the unique needs of the community served, often through outreach and a marketing plan. More books are displayed face out on bookstore-style shelving, and interiors are designed to please the eye, with comfortable seating, professionally designed signage, attractive book displays, and a coffee shop or cybercafe for people who like to "hang out" at the library. Portions of the collection may be arranged according to reading interest (health, business and finance, genre fiction, etc.). Sometimes used synonymously with customer-driven library.

book support
See: bookend.

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 booktalk. See also: book signing.

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, jobbers and dealers, and the generally accepted practices, standards, and codes governing their activities. Statistics on the U.S. book trade can be found in Library and Book Trade Almanac, available in the reference section of most larger libraries. Directory information can be found in the annual American Book Trade Directory, published by Information Today, Inc.

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, feature articles, regular columns, analysis of current trends and issues, and information about book production/distribution, book fairs, and book signings. In the United States, the leading book trade journals are Publisher's Weekly published by Reed Business Information and BookWeb.org's Industry Newsroom from the American Booksellers Association.

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 of models, try a keywords search on the term in Google Images. Compare with book caddy. See also: reshelving cart.

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 awards and book gifting to children. Click here to learn more about Booktrust.

Book Week
See: Children's Book Week.

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 to see a 14th-century miniature of Charles V of France seated at such a lectern, courtesy of the Library of Congress and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Agostino Ramelli's more elaborate 16th-century version is unlikely to have been widely used.

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 condition known as worming (see this example). Their presence is indicated by small piles of cream-colored dust (excreta).

Former Yale University conservator Jane Greenfield recommends an ingenious method of trapping the adult beetles in her book The Care of Fine Books (Nick Lyons Books, 1988): apply a coat of flour paste to the outside of several glass evaporating dishes no more than three inches in diameter to enable the insects to climb up the slippery sides; then deposit a teaspoon of wheat flour in the center of each dish and place the dishes on low bookshelves in the room containing signs of their presence. Attracted to the flour, the adult beetles will be unable to fly away because the take-off area inside the dish is too small. Bookworms can also be exterminated by freezing the infested item. Also spelled book-worm. Compare with book lice. See also: fumigation.

Also, a slang expression used as a term of disparagement for someone who prefers reading over most other activities and can usually be found with his or her nose in a book.

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. Three logical commands (sometimes called "operators") are available in most search software:

The OR command is used to expand retrieval by including synonyms and related terms in the query. See also: logical sum.

Search statement: violence or conflict or aggression

The AND command is used to narrow search results. Each time another concept is added using "and," the search becomes more specific. In some online catalogs and databases, the "and" command is implicit (no need to type it between terms). In other interfaces, keywords will be searched as a phrase if not separated by "and." See also: logical product.

Search statement: violence and television and children

The NOT command is used to exclude unwanted records from search results. See also: logical difference.

Search statement: television not news

When two different Boolean commands are used in the same search statement, parentheses must be included to indicate the sequence in which they are to be executed (syntax). This technique is called nesting.

Search statement: television and (violence or aggression) and children

For a detailed discussion of Boolean logic, please see the entry by Gwyneth Tseng in the International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science (Routledge, 2003). Click here to see Boolean logic illustrated with Venn diagrams (Ithaca College Library), and here to learn how it works in computer searching, courtesy of HowStuffWorks. See also: proximity and truncation.

In computing, a slang term borrowed from the expression "to pull oneself up by one's bootstraps," meaning to start a computer, causing the files in its operating system to automatically begin executing. Application programs are "loaded" rather than "booted." Synonymous with boot up. See also: cold boot and reboot.

The unauthorized recording of a previously unreleased performance, for distribution in violation of the rights of the artist or copyright holder. Bootleg recordings are usually illicit audience recordings of live performances or material created in private or professional recording sessions but never released. A thriving underground market exists for such recordings. Compare with counterfeiting. See also: pirated edition.

A program that causes the first piece of software installed on a computer (usually the operating system) to load when the power is switched on, enabling the CPU to begin executing instructions. The word bootstrap originally referred to a leather strap or tab attached to the back of a boot to help the wearer pull it on--hence the expression "to pull oneself up by one's bootstraps." In computing, it has spawned boot, cold boot, reboot, etc.

Continuous ornamentation running parallel with the edges of a page or cover of a book or other printed publication, or around a block of text or illustration. A border can consist of one or more unbroken rules, plain or embellished, or units of geometric or organic design arranged in an unbroken repeating pattern. Click here to see a gilt border on a 19th-century American leather binding (Princeton University Library). See also: mourning borders.

In medieval manuscripts, decorative borders evolved from pen flourishes and extenders on decorated initial letters, as in this example (Getty Museum, MS Ludwig XV 3) into elaborate foliate (Cary Collection, Rochester Institute), zoomorphic, anthropomorphic, and/or zoo-anthropomorphic (Getty, MS 37) designs occupying the margins and sometimes the space between columns of text. Borders are sometimes decorated with grotesques and drolleries, as in this example from the 15th-centry Prayer Book of Charles the Bold (Getty, MS 37). A full border surrounds text and miniatures on all four sides. In especially ornate manuscripts, borders may be historiated and/or gilded (Getty, MS 63 & 48). This example is done in a style called rinceaux (Getty, MS 22). Click here to view a floral border in a 16th-century Flemish Book of Hours done in strewn trompe l'oeil style (Getty, MS Ludwig IX 18), and here to see a border done in grisaille against a gilt background (Getty, MS 37). Borders can also be pen-flourished, as in this leaf from a 15th-century copy of the Dialogues of Gregory the Great (British Library, Burney 320). Compare with frame. See also: acanthus, bar border, classical border, partial border, and strewn border.

In cartography, the area of a map or chart lying between the neat line and the edge of the surrounding margin or frame. On older maps, the border is often decorated. Click here to see a foliate example on a 19th-century map of California and here for a strapwork example on a map of Florida (University of Florida Libraries). Ancillary maps sometimes appear in the border or margin of a main map.

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 and formats.

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 library patrons are registered borrowers--in most public libraries and publicly supported academic libraries in the United States, unregistered persons may use reference materials and items in the circulating collection without removing them from library premises. The library privileges to which a borrower is entitled are indicated by the individual's borrower status. See also: delinquent borrower.

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 are designed to protect the borrower's confidentiality by deleting transaction history as soon as items are returned and fines paid. See also: blocked.

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 registered users generally enjoy the same privileges, but in academic libraries, certain privileges, such as length of loan period, may not be the same for faculty and students. In special libraries, privileges may depend on a person's rank in the parent organization.

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 period
See: loan period.

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 time, interlibrary loan, use of special collections, etc. They may be suspended if fines remain unpaid. In most public libraries, all registered users enjoy the same privileges, but in academic libraries, certain privileges, such as length of loan period, may depend on borrower status. In special libraries, borrowing privileges may be determined by a person's rank in the parent organization.

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 protect the sides from abrasion, because books were usually stored flat instead of on end. Click here to see plain but prominent bosses on a 15th-century binding (Bibliothèque Municipale d'Abbeville), and here to view smaller decorative bosses combined with a centerpiece and matching cornerpieces on a 16th-century blind-tooled leather binding (Special Collections, Glasgow University Library, BD7-e.26). To see other examples, try a keyword search on the term "bosses" in the British Library's Database of Bookbindings. Compare with shoe.

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 (see this example, courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London). See also The Art of Botanical Illustration, courtesy of the University of Delaware Library, and the Catalog of Botanical Illustrations, courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

boudoir photograph
See: glamour photograph.

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 be bounced by an e-mail filter.

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.

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).

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 on BTSB because the bindings are so sturdy that the pages usually wear out first. Click here to connect to the BTSB homepage.

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 century from which passages considered "unfit to be read by a gentleman in the presence of ladies" were omitted. He produced a similar edition of the Old Testament. Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales and Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels have received the same kind of treatment. Synonymous with expurgate. See also: censorship and unexpurgated.

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.

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 in Print, Magazines for Libraries, Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory, etc.). Bowker has also served as the official ISBN agency for the United States since 1968. Click here to connect to the Bowker homepage. See also: Bowker, Richard Rogers.

Bowker Annual Library and Book Trade Almanac, The
See: Library and Book Trade Almanac.

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 comprehensive index of books published in the United States. In 1879, he purchased Publishers Weekly, which Leypoldt had created in 1873, assuming editorial control of the trade journal after Leypoldt's death in 1884. During this period, Bowker also helped found a liberal movement within the Republican Party known as the "Mugwumps" who were instrumental in preventing the nomination of Ulysess S. Grant for a third term. In 1880, he traveled to England to start the British edition of Harper's Magazine.

Bowker is also known for his interest in international copyright law and his success as a businessman. In 1911, he consolidated his business and publishing interests in the R.R. Bowker Co., a leading publisher of reference books on libraries and the publishing industry. Bowker remained an active member of the ALA throughout his life but refused its presidency three times because he felt the position should be held by a librarian. He finally accepted the title Honorary President when he was in his seventies. Although he eventually lost his sight, in his later years he published a book of essays titled The Arts of Life and two volumes of verse.

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 parallel rules, printed around a block of type, sometimes with embellishment at the corners. Type matter set apart in this manner is said to be boxed-in. See also: book box.

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.

See: box.

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 undertaken. Synonymous with consignment list and container list.

See: B-movie.

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 sections in parallel ranges, over the aisles, to reduce side-to-side sway, particularly in geographic areas prone to earthquake.

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 15 pages long).

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 by Samuel C. Bradford in 1934, who proposed the formula 1:n:n² to describe the phenomenon, based on his examination of a bibliography of geophysics. He found that a few core journals provide 1/3 of the articles on a given subject, a moderate number of less-than-core journals provide a further 1/3 of the articles on the subject, and a large number peripheral journals provide the remaining 1/3 of the articles. The pattern exists in the literature of the natural sciences but not in the humanities and social sciences. Identification of the core journals in a scientific specialization can therefore facilitate not only the research process, but also serials collection development. Click here to learn more about Bradford's Law, courtesy of Wikipedia. Synonymous with Bradford's Distribution, Law of Scatter, and Law of Scattering.

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 persons to read by touch. The most widely used tactile medium in the world, Braille is employed by libraries in the United States for signage and materials for readers with visual impairments that prevent them from reading conventional print. The form of Braille used in mathematics is called Nemeth code. In AACR2, materials for the visually impaired are indicated in the general material designation, as in [music (braille)]. The Braille Book Review is available online, courtesy of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). Click here to learn more about Braille, courtesy of the New York Institute for Special Education (NYISE). See also: Moon type.

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 1897 gothic novel Dracula. Click here to see list of recent and past winners.

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 library. A branch library is usually managed by a branch librarian who may have responsibility for more than one branch. In a public library system, new branches may be sited on the basis of a comprehensive plan for the entire city, county, region, or library district served by the system. Compare with affiliated library. See also: bookmobile and books-by-mail.

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 (example: Coca-Cola versus Pepsi-Cola). When registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a brand or part of a brand is known as a trademark.

See: blocking.

See: Business Reference and Services Section.

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. See also: book contract.

See: gap and nongap break.

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 separate volumes (antiphonal, psalter, lectionary, etc.). Its purpose may have been to provide poorer communities of clerics with the texts required to conduct services. Because of its size, it was originally used only by the members of monastic establishments, but the Franciscans and Dominicans produced a portable breviary that could be used for private devotion.

Although its contents vary slightly with the use of a particular region, it is divided into the calendar, temporale (Proper of Time), sanctorale (Proper of Saints), and Common of Saints. Hand-copied medieval breviaries were often beautifully illuminated. Compare the 14th-century Breviary of Chertsey Abbey (Bodleian Library, MS Lat. liturg. d.42) with the Stowe Breviary of the same century (British Library, Stowe 12). See also the Breviarum Romanum published in Venice in 1478 by the printer Nicolaus Jenson (Special Collections, Glasgow University Library, Hunterian Bf.1.18). The lay counterpart of the breviary is the Book of Hours, used in personal devotion.

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 maintained onsite or remotely, in print or nonprint formats. The opposite of library without walls.

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 a letter of authority, especially one sent by the pope to the members of a Roman Catholic religious community.

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 item. In most catalogs and bibliographic databases, search results can be displayed in both formats.

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.

To convert to British English the style and spelling of a work written in (or translated into) American English. Compare with americanize.

British Board of Film Classification (BBFC)
A corporation that issues government-enacted content ratings (called Classification Certificates) for theatrical motion pictures and videorecordings shown in theaters and offered for rental or sale to the public in Britain. Based in London, the BBFC employs full-time examiners who assign to each film or video one of the following ratings:

U (Universal) - suitable for audiences aged 4 years and over
PG (Parental Guidance) - unaccompanied children of any age may watch; some scenes may be unsuitable for some children
12 - no person younger than 12 may watch in a cinema unless accompanied by an adult or rent or buy on videotape
15 - no person younger than 15 may watch in a cinema or rent or buy on videotape
18 - no person younger than 18 may watch in a cinema or rent or buy on videotape
R18 - a special, legally restricted classification primarily for explicit videos of consenting sex between adults, which may be supplied to adults only in licensed sex shops, of which there are currently about 90 in the UK (no mail order)

Click here to connect to the BBFC homepage.

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 become a major patron of the arts. In 1936, the BBC Television Service was launched, only be to be closed down during World War II, but the BBC emerged from the war with an enhanced reputation for the quality of its news broadcasts.

Today, individuals and businesses in Britain that use or install equipment to receive or record television programming are required to pay an annual license fee in support of the BBC, which is run by a 12-member board of directors appointed by the queen in council to monitor performance standards and appoint a director-general and upper-level management. Many of the television programs and series shown on PBS in the United States are co-produced with or acquired from the BBC. Click here to connect to the BBC homepage. See also: public television.

British Film Institute (BFI)
Established by Royal Charter as a registered charity in 1933, BFI is devoted to promoting understanding and appreciation of Britain's film and television heritage and culture. In 1934, BFI received its first annual grant from the Cinematograph Fund (administered by the Privy Council) and assumed editorial responsibility for the magazine Sight & Sound. In 1935, the Institute set up the National Film Library, now named the National Film and Television Archive (NFTA), the largest moving image archive in the world. In 1951, BFI built and managed the Telekinema, a special theater that showed 3-D and other experimental films for the Festival of Britain and was eventually converted into the National Film Theater owned and operated by the Institute, which today screens over 1,000 motion pictures annually. BFI also owns and operates an IMAX Cinema in London and sponsors the London Film Festival, which runs for two weeks every autumn, showcasing the best in contemporary cinema from around the world at venues across London. The Institute also maintains a national library on film and television. Charged with promoting media literacy, BFI produces a range of resources for teachers and hosts conferences, seminars, and workshops for learners of all ages. Click here to connect to the BFI homepage. See also: American Film Institute.

British Library, The
Located mainly in London, the British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom (UK), created in 1973 by an act of Parliament that merged the British Museum Library, the National Central Library, and the National Lending Library for Science and Technology (Patent Office Library). In later years, the British National Bibliography, the National Sound Archive, and the India Office Library and Records were added to the institution. In 1997, its constituent parts were brought together in a new building at St. Pancras, with the exception of the Newspaper Library which remains at Colindale. Covering all known languages and periods of history, its collections are a resource for scholars worldwide. The British Library is also the legal depository for UK publications. Click here to connect to the homepage of the British Library. See also: Bodleian Library.

British National Bibliography (BNB)
The most comprehensive record of books and first issues of serials published since 1950 in the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland, the BNB has been the responsibility of the British Library since the library's inception in 1973. Since 1990, bibliographic records created in accordance with international cataloging standards have been contributed by all the legal depository libraries in the UK, with CIP data on forthcoming titles provided by the Bibliographic Data Services. Coverage is selective, with emphasis on mainstream monographs available through regular book-buying channels. Research reports and non-trade monographs are recorded separately in the British National Bibliography for Report Literature. The BNB is available weekly in print, monthly on CD-ROM, and online. Click here to learn more about the BNB.

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 corner of a page can withstand folding in each direction twice. Encapsulation is used to preserve individual sheets but is not practical for entire volumes. In the preservation of brittle books, digital reformatting is replacing conversion to microforms. Synonymous with embrittled.

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 undertaken with extreme care. Synonymous with embrittled book.

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 connection, but the threshold has varied from T1 (1.5 Mbps) to T3 (45 Mbps).

Also, data transmission in which a single medium (wire) is capable of carrying more than one signal at the same time, as opposed to baseband, capable of transmitting only one signal at a time. Cable TV is an example of a broadband medium (adapted from Webopedia).

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 of communication service (cable television). Also refers to a radio or television program or announcement once it has been transmitted to its audience. Click here to connect to the Web site of the Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC). The opposite of narrowcast. Compare with anycast and multicast. See also: telecast and webcast.

In the most general sense, to make any message widely known.

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 States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled in November, 2003 that all new television receivers using the ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) standard were to include this new functionality by July 1, 2005. In March, 2004, the American Library Association and other advocacy groups filed suit against the FCC, contending that the regulation would deny libraries and consumers the right of fair use under U.S. copyright law and restrict interoperability between playback devices. In a setback for Hollywood, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled on May 6, 2005 that the FCC exceeded its authority in prohibiting the manufacture of computer and video hardware without "content protection" technology. Click here to learn more about the issue, courtesy of Wikipedia.

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 in general categories by logical abridgment, even when more specific class numbers are available, for example, use of the class 641.5 Cooking instead of the subclass 641.5945 Italian cooking for a cookbook consisting of recipes for Italian food.

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 may have more than one broader term, for example, "Documentation" and "Library science" under "Cataloging." Also abbreviated B. Compare with narrower term and related term.

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 (Baltimore Museum of Art). Sometimes used synonymously with broadside. Also refers to a full-size newspaper, as opposed to a tabloid.

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 printed on July 4, 1776 by John Dunlap of Philadelphia in what has become known as the Dunlap Broadside. Also used in 16th-century England to distribute ballads and other poems. Sometimes used synonymously with broadsheet. The American Memory project at the Library of Congress provides online access to its collection of broadsides in An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides. See also Confederate Broadsides (Wake Forest University Library) and the The Word on the Street, courtesy of the National Library of Scotland. The University of Toronto Libraries provide a searchable digital image collection of Canadian Pamphlets and Broadsides. See also: handbill.

In modern usage, a separately published item consisting of a large sheet printed on one or both sides, folded down the center for mailing and meant to be read unfolded. Sometimes restricted to a sheet on which the text is printed from side to side across the fold. Also refers to the substance of the matter printed in such a format.

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 Broadway Avenue between 41st Street and 53rd Street in New York City--comparable to London's West End theatre district. Also called the Great White Way. Compare with Off-Broadway.

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 foliate example made in Nuremberg in the 18th century, courtesy of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, and here to see a zoomorphic example, also made in the 18th century, courtesy of the Rijk Museum of the Netherlands.

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 cataloged separately unless they are of historical interest or issued by a government agency and selected for inclusion in a government documents collection. Used synonymously with pamphlet.

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 detached board.

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 in a Web document, an error message appears on the screen. The tendency of links in a hypertext document to become nonfunctional over time is known colloquially as link rot.

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 length of the binding edge.

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.

bromide print
See: gelatin silver print.

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 of silver removed. After the resulting "matrix" is soaked in water, an oil-based lithographic ink is applied in any color using special brushes. Because oil and water do not mix, the unhardened gelatin, which absorbs water when soaked, repels the ink, producing highlights, and the hardened gelatin absorbs ink, producing shadows in a print made on paper. The bromoil process was a favorite of Pictorialist photographers of the early 1900s (Edward Steichen, Alfred Steiglitz, etc.) because it rendered a grainy, atmospheric image more akin to drawing than to photography. The process has undergone a revival that began in the 1970s. The Bromoil Homepage provides a gallery of works by contemporary bromoil photographers, or try a keywords search on the term "bromoil print" in Google Images. Click here to learn more about the bromoil process.

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 for the eye to scan a list of headings in search of related information. See also: serendipity.

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 to items on the same subject, which groups them together on the shelf.

In information retrieval, to conduct a directed search in a dynamic but casual way. A clearly formulated query may determine the initial point of entry into an index or database, but searches that begin systematically often give way to an exploratory approach as new terminology is revealed by the results retrieved. Some researchers consider printed indexes to be more browsable than electronic databases because page format allows the user to scan with ease the headings and entries that precede and follow the initial point of access.

Also, to search for information available on the World Wide Web in a casual, serendipitous manner. Hypertext is designed to facilitate online browsing by providing embedded links to related documents and electronic resources (this online dictionary is an example). Compare with surf. See also: Web 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, designed to facilitate searching for information available on the Internet.

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" in the toolbar of a browser will cause the Web page displayed on the screen to be retrieved from its original remote address, rather than from the cache. Most browsers allow the user to specify the length of time search history will be retained before it is automatically deleted.

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 disciplinary interests or curriculum requirements. Some libraries have enhanced these areas by the addition of a cafe or beverage dispensers and comfortable seating. In an increasingly online environment, the future of browsing collections remains uncertain.

See: Bibliographical Society of America.

B side
In the music recording industry, the side (tune) of a two-sided audiorecording considered less likely to be a commercial success than the A side.

BT (or B)
See: broader term.

See: Bound to Stay Bound.

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 books, etc.). Click here to see an example of a buckram binding.

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 systems, budgeting can be a major source of frustration for librarians and library administration. See also: line-item budget, operating budget, and zero-base budget.

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 processing data more quickly than output can be printed. A buffer may be a section of memory reserved for a specific processing function or a portion of general memory allocated and deallocated as needed.

In papermaking, a substance or mixture of substances added to paper stock in manufacture to control the acidity or alkalinity of the product. In document preservation, a substance or mixture used to maintain the acidity or alkalinity of paper (or of a solution) at an optimum level. The term is conventionally used to describe an alkaline reserve.

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. Non-buffered paper is required for certain types of photographic prints.

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 pollution. Extent of buffering (alkaline reserve) is indicated as a percentage of the paper weight, usually no more than 2-3 percent.

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 circuitry. Compare with glitch.

Also refers to an electronic eavesdropping device installed in a telephone receiver, or in some other hidden location, usually for the purpose of espionage.

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 architecture; construction and renovation; interior design and organization; furniture and equipment; heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and lighting; maintenance of library property; and bookmobile planning and design. Click here to connect to the BES homepage.

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 subject of the work.

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 in pages per inch. Publishers sometimes "bulk" a short text by printing it on thick, low-density paper. India paper and bible paper are used to reduce the bulk of a large volume.

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 examples).

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 library system, or even outside the system.

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).

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 Innocent VIII in 1488 (Cornell University Library).

In printing, word processing, and Web page design, a small graphical element, usually in the shape of a:

  • small circle,
  • large dot,
  • square,
  • diamond, or
  • other shape.

used to emphasize a part of a text or to itemize an unnumbered list. Such a list is said to be bulleted.

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 Atomic Scientists). In a more general sense, any brief report on the latest developments in an ongoing process or situation, issued in print or nonprint format. Abbreviated bull. See also: bulletin board.

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 library users (sometimes with responses from the library administration), and other information pertinent to library operations. Some libraries use a kiosk for this purpose. Library bulletin boards may be kept locked (example) or unlocked (example). See also: bulletin board system.

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 that the user must dial with the aid of a communications program. Bulletin board systems have been largely superseded in the United States by the World Wide Web but are still used in parts of the world that lack direct access to the Internet. Compare with mailing list.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, The (BCCB)
Published since 1945, BCCB provides concise summaries and critical evaluations of current books for children, written mostly from galley proofs. Each review provides information on content, reading level, strengths and weaknesses, and quality of format, as well as suggested use in curriculum. Published monthly (except August), each issue also includes a front page editorial and a section featuring bibliographies, reviews of new professional books, and abstracts of research articles. BCCB also publishes an annual selection of the year's most distinguished children's titles. ISSN: 0008-9036. Click here to connect to the BCCB homepage.

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.

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 ephemera is widely used in political campaigns, but has also become a means of communicating humor (example) and satire (example).

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 the U.S. Census Bureau.

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 purpose is to amuse and entertain, rather than to inform. Compare with parody.

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.

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 (or tooth of any carnivore), smooth piece of bone, or agate mounted in a handle was used by the illuminator to polish to a brilliant shine the metallic leaf applied to the gilded portions of an initial letter, decorative border, or miniature.

See: burnish.

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 in the deterioration of quality of service. Also spelled burn-out.

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 an aid to memory in face-to-face exchanges with colleagues, clients, prospective customers, etc. The back of a business card is usually blank. Click here and here to see 19th-century examples, and here to see a 20th-century example. For the history of business cards, see trade card.

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, undertaken to gain sustainable competitive advantage in the market place. BI involves the extraction and analysis of information from multiple sources of relevant data, to gain strategic knowledge on which to base risk assessment and decision-making. BI applications include query and reporting, data mining, online analytical processing (OLAP), statistical analysis, forecasting, and decision support systems. BI focused specifically on a company's external environment (markets and competitors) is competitive intelligence. When covert methods are used, BI becomes industrial espionage.

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 business department of a college or university, administered to serve the curriculum needs of the business faculty and the information needs of students enrolled in courses in business, management, accounting, and related fields. The collection usually includes books, periodicals, and reference materials on business, as well as company reports, economic and business statistics, business-related periodical indexes and databases, etc., managed by a business librarian. Compare with corporation library.

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 information services, BRASS serves as a medium for sharing information and concerns among interested librarians, publishers, and other suppliers of business reference sources, and seeks to improve the quality of business reference services and information through its programs and projects. Click here to connect to the BRASS homepage.

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, are collectible (historic example).

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). Buying guides usually begin with a discussion of evaluation techniques, then provide detailed analysis of possible selections, usually broken down by type of work. The relative strengths/weaknesses of available alternatives may be presented in tabular format to facilitate comparison. Also used synonymously with consumer guide.

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.

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: jargon.

See: biblio-.

A line of type usually printed at the beginning or end of a newspaper or magazine article to indicate its authorship. See also: date line.

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 can encode a single character, for a total of 256 possible characters. In ASCII text, the characters are alphanumeric. Disagreement exists about the origin of the term. It may be an abbreviation of binary table or binary term or derived from the expression "by eights."

1 byte = 8 bits
1 kilobyte (K) = 1,024 bytes
1 megabyte (MB) = 1,024 kilobytes or approximately 1 million bytes
1 gigabyte (GB) = 1,024 megabytes or approximately 1 billion bytes

Text and image files are usually measured in kilobytes, portable storage and program files in megabytes, and hard disk capacity in gigabytes. Click here to learn more about bits and bytes, courtesy of HowStuffWorks.

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