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Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science

by Joan M. Reitz
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See: Program for Cooperative Cataloging.

See: National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators.

See: North American Industry Classification System.

See: National Agricultural Library.

name authority file
An authorized list giving the preferred form of entry for names (personal, corporate, and geographic) used as headings in the library catalog and any cross-references from variant forms.

name index
A list of the personal names appearing of a work, arranged alphabetically by surname, with reference to the page number(s) on which each name can be found in the text. Not all books have a separate name index--personal names may be included in a general index or in the subject index. When present in a single-volume work, the name index is part of the back matter. In a multivolume work, it is usually found at the end of the last volume. Compare with author index.

See: flag.

name-title added entry
In AACR2, an added entry in the library catalog giving the name of a person (or corporate body) and the title of a work, for the purpose of identifying: (1) a work that is included in or the subject of the work being cataloged; (2) a larger work of which the work being cataloged is part; or (3) another work to which the work being cataloged is in some way related. Synonymous with author-title added entry.

See: National Association of Media & Technology Centers.

In the context of manuscript production, the slight texture on writing material that causes the nib of the pen to grip the surface and allows the ink to sink in. Because the parchment and vellum sheets used by medieval scribes tended to be greasy, the surface had to be prepared by rubbing it with an abrasive substance called pounce to raise the nap before the work of copying commenced. Compare with tooth.

See: normal administrative practice.

See: National Archives and Records Administration.

The telling of a story or an account of events, in speech or writing, usually in the first or third person. Most documentary films and television programs include a scripted narration, with the name of the narrator given in the credits.

A written or spoken work in the form of a story or account (real or imagined) told by one or more narrators as a continuous, episodic, or broken series of related events, usually in the first or third person. Narratives can be short, as in a brief anecdote, or as long as a full-length novel. A narrative poem is one that relates a story (ballad, epic, etc.). The narrative structure of a work is the sequence and voice in which the author unfolds events, for example, in a series of flashbacks. For examples, see Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938 and First-Person Narratives of the American South, 1860-1920, courtesy of American Memory, Library of Congress.

narrative poetry
A story written entirely in metered verse, including any dialogue. The category includes epics, ballads, idylls, and lais.

In a work of fiction, nonfiction, or drama, the person who relates the story or account to the audience (a character in the action who serves as narrator is known as the viewpoint character). In documentary films and television programs, the person who reads the scripted narration, whose name usually appears in the credits. In audiorecordings, the person who reads the textual portion of the work. In audiobooks, celebrity narrators or the original author may be employed to boost market appeal.

The shape of a book in which the width of the cover is less than two-thirds its height, a format commonly used in the design of field guides and travel guides. Click here to see a late 19th-century example (British Library). Compare with square. See also: oblong and portrait.

Selective use of communication media to target a highly specialized audience, in contrast to a mass media broadcast intended to reach as many listeners or viewers as possible. See also: multicast.

narrower term (NT)
In a hierarchical classification system, a subject heading or descriptor representing a subclass of a class indicated by another term, for example, "Music librarianship" under "Librarianship." A subject heading or descriptor may have more than one narrower term (also "Comparative librarianship" under "Librarianship"). Also abbreviated N. Compare with broader term and related term. See also: hyponym.

See: North American Serials Interest Group.

See: North American Sport Library Network.

National Agricultural Library (NAL)
Established as a federal library in 1862 under legislation signed by President Abraham Lincoln, NAL is part of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). With a collection of over 3.3 million items, NAL is the primary source of agricultural information in the United States and the largest agricultural library in the world. Located in Beltsville, Maryland, NAL works closely with libraries at land-grant universities to improve access to, and utilization of, agricultural information by researchers, policymakers, educators, farmers, consumers of agricultural products, and the general public. Click here to connect to the NAL homepage.

National Ambassador for Young People's Literature
A two-year position, filled by an author of books for young people, who travels the United States to promote young people's literature as a means of enhancing awareness of the importance of reading, education, and lifelong learning. Named by the Librarian of Congress on the basis of recommendations from a selection committee representing the book community, the National Ambassador is sponsored by the Children's Book Council (CBC) and the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress. The first National Ambassador, writer Jon Scieszka, was succeeded in 2010 by Katherine Paterson, two-time winner of the National Book Award and the Newbery Medal. Click here to learn more about the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.

national archives
The central archives of a nation, charged with collecting, preserving, and managing documents and records of historical significance to its citizens and government. The first national archives was established in France in 1790. In democratic nations, the operation of national archives is governed by legislation. In the United States, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has statutory responsibility for the preservation of archival information of national importance. Compare with national library. See also: National Archives, The.

National Archives, The (TNA)
Established in April 2003 when the Public Record Office and the Historical Manuscripts Commission were combined, the National Archives of England, Wales, and the United Kingdom is responsible for managing the records of central government and the courts of law. Its archival collection is the largest in the world, spanning an unbroken period from the 11th century to the present. The National Archives selects and preserves government records of historical value, advises government departments and the general public on best practices in records management, and is active in the development of electronic records management and in the digitization of paper records and other media. Click here to connect to the homepage of The National Archives.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
The national archives of the United States, a federal agency established by Congress in 1934 to oversee the management of all federal records, including the public's right of access to documents and information not specifically exempted under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). NARA's 33 facilities house approximately 21.5 million cubic feet of original textual materials collected from the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Its collections also include nonprint materials, such as motion pictures, sound and videorecordings, maps and charts, aerial photographs, architectural drawings, computer data sets, posters, etc. NARA is administered by an Archivist of the United States appointed by the president with the approval of Congress and advised by a National Archives Council. Click here to connect to the NARA homepage. See also: National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators and National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA)
Founded in 1984, NAGARA is a nationwide association of local, state, and federal archivists and records administrators and individuals with an interest in improving the management of government records. Its members are local, state, and federal archival and records management agencies. NAGARA publishes the quarterly newsletter NAGARA Clearinghouse. Click here to connect to the NAGARA homepage. See also: National Archives and Records Administration.

National Association of Media & Technology Centers (NAMTC)
A nonprofit association devoted to assisting specialists responsible for managing media and technology centers, through networking, advocacy, and support activities intended to enhance equitable access to nonprint media, technology, and information services to educational communities. Membership in NAMTC is open to regional, K-12, and higher education media and technology centers, as well as commercial media vendors. Click here to connect to the NAMTC homepage.

national atlas
A book of maps of a nation, usually containing at least one overview map, individual maps of the major administrative units (states, counties, departments, etc.), and various thematic maps of the entire country, showing demography, land use, economic activity, etc., printed in uniform style and format on a fairly consistent scale, sometimes with an index of place names (gazetteer) in the back. National atlases often contain statistical information about the country in the form of tables and graphs, and may be published in association with a national mapping agency or government department. Click here and here and here to see the frontispiece and two double spreads in the first national atlas of England and Wales, published by Christopher Saxton in 1579, based on a monumental survey conducted from 1574-1578 by the authority of Queen Elizabeth I (courtesy of the Library of Congress). For contemporary examples, see the National Atlas of the United States and the Atlas of Canada.

national bibliography
An ongoing list of the books and other materials published or distributed in a specific country, especially works written about the country and its inhabitants or in its national language, for example, Canadiana and the British National Bibliography (BNB), which since 1950 has provided a weekly list of new titles published in Great Britain. The focus of national bibliography has traditionally been print materials (books, serials, pamphlets, maps, printed music, government documents, etc.), but nonprint media including works created in digital formats are also listed in some countries.

As noted in the International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science (Routledge, 2003), current national bibliography was originally undertaken by the book trade to facilitate commerce (as exemplified by the Cumulative Book Index in the United States) but since the early 1950s, the regular listing of new publications has been regarded as the proper function of a national agency, usually operating within the national library. Retrospective national bibliography has been accomplished in part by publication of the catalogs of the national library, based on collections established by copyright deposit. Projects such as the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) have extended retrospective bibliography beyond the holdings of national libraries.

For a non-English language example, see the National Bibliography of Indian Literature, 1901-1953 (NBIL), digitized by the Center for Research Libraries as part of its Digital South Asia Library project.

national biography
A publication containing biographical information about people of noteworthy accomplishments living in or associated with a particular country. Most national biographies are multivolume reference works.

American National Biography in 24 volumes, edited by John A. Garraty. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Also refers to the branch of biography devoted to describing and analyzing the lives of important people living in or associated with a country.

National Board Certification (NBC)
Certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization devoted to maintaining rigorous standards for teachers in the United States. Established in 1987, NBPTS provides a national voluntary system for certifying teachers, based on a series of performance-based assessments. The organization is governed by a board that includes classroom teachers, school administrators, school board leaders, governors and state legislators, higher education officials, teachers union leaders, and business and community leaders. Click here to learn about National Board Certification of library media specialists, courtesy of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) of the American Library Association. The ALA has published Achieving National Board Certification for School Library Media Specialists: A Study Guide (2005) by Gail Dickinson. Click here to connect to the NBPTS homepage.

National Board of Review of Motion Pictures (NBR)
Founded in 1909 to protest New York City Mayor George McClennan's revocation of moving-picture exhibition licenses on Christmas Eve 1908, NBR is a nonprofit organization, without ties to the commercial motion picture industry, dedicated to supporting film (domestic and foreign) as both art and entertainment. To avoid government censorship, NBR became the unofficial clearinghouse for new films and from 1916 until the 1950's thousands of motion pictures contained "Passed by the National Board of Review" in their titles. NBR presents film awards annually in over 25 categories, provides educational film programs, and awards scholarships and grants to promising film students and directors. Click here to connect to the NBR homepage.

National Book Award
An honor awarded since 1950 by the National Book Foundation, a consortium of book publishing groups, to enhance public awareness of exceptional books written by Americans. Awards are given in five categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young people's literature, and the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Decisions are made by an independent panel of five judges. The prize in each category is $10,000 and a crystal sculpture. Click here to see an annotated list of prizewinners past and present compliments of Powells Books. See also: Pulitzer Prize.

National Book Festival
Organized annually since 2001 by the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, the National Book Festival is a two-day event held on the Mall in Washington, D.C., usually in early autumn. Nationally published authors, illustrators, and poets are invited to lecture, read from their works, give interviews, and sign their books, and librarians from libraries across the United States are invited to represent their states. Usually hosted by the First Lady, the National Book Festival is funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and corporate sponsors. Click here to connect to the homepage of the National Book Festival.

National Circulation Interchange Protocol (NCIP)
Information standard Z39.83, developed by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) to support circulation activities among independent library systems, including patron and item inquiry, and to update transactions in circulation and interlibrary loan (hold, reserve, checkout, renew, and check-in), self-service applications, online payment, direct consortial borrowing, and controlled access to electronic resources. The NISO Standards Committee based its work on the Standard Interchange Protocol (SIP) developed by the 3M company to support self-checkout systems. Implementation is expected to facilitate the development of open systems in information exchange. Click here to learn more about the NCIP.

National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS)
An independent agency within the executive branch of the U.S. federal government, established in 1970 to advise the president and Congress on national library and information policy, conduct studies of library and information needs, assess the adequacy of current resources and services, promote research, develop plans for meeting the nation's information needs, and help coordinate library-related activities at the federal, state, and local levels. In 2008, the activities of the Commission were consolidated into the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Click here to connect to the IMLS homepage.

National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP)
A program led by the Library of Congress and partially funded in 2000 by the U.S. Congress to assess the current state of digital archiving and preservation and to develop a national strategy for the preservation of digital content. Sometimes shortened to Digital Preservation Program. Click here to learn more about the NDIIPP.

National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP)
A joint project of the Library of Congress (LC) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to create an Internet-based searchable database of U.S. newspapers, with descriptive information and digitization of selected historic pages. The goal of the project is to digitize, over a 20-year period, historically significant newspapers published between 1836 and 1922 in the 50 states and U.S. territories and to make the results freely accessible in a database maintained at the Library of Congress. The NDNP builds on an earlier LC/NEH initiative known as the United States Newspaper Program (USNP). Click here to read the NEH description of the project and here to connect to the NDNP homepage.

National Elevation Dataset (NED)
Shaded relief raster data available from the U.S. Geological Survey at a resolution of 1-arc second (approximately 30 meters) for the contiguous United States, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico and at 2 arc-seconds for Alaska (see this example). The NED is designed to provide digital elevation data for the entire country in seamless form with a consistent datum (NAD 83), elevation unit, and map projection. It can be combined with other digital data sets, such as digital line graphs, to provide additional detail. Click here to learn more about the NED. See also: digital elevation model.

National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
An independent grant-making agency established in 1965 by the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, NEH supports research, education, and public programs in the humanities, with attention to the diverse heritage, traditions, and history of the United States and the relevance of the humanities to current conditions and events affecting American society. Each state has a Humanities Council that establishes its own guidelines and application deadlines. The state councils support a variety of projects, including library reading programs, lectures, conferences, seminars and institutes, media presentations, and museum and library traveling exhibitions. The national office is located in Washington, D.C. Click here to connect to the NEH homepage.

National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services (NFAIS)
Founded in 1958 at the instigation of the director of BIOSIS, NFAIS has a membership of 55 leading nonprofit, commercial, government, and academic producers and distributors of online bibliographic databases and other digital information services for research and professional use, as well as organizations that provide access to electronic databases in a wide range of disciplines. NFAIS publishes the monthly NFAIS Newsletter. Click here to connect to the NFAIS homepage.

National Film Preservation Board (NFPB)
Established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, NFPB is an advisory board authorized to assist the Librarian of Congress in preserving archival materials related to 25 films selected each year for the National Film Registry as culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant. Click here to connect to the NFPB homepage. See also: International Federation of Film Archives and National Film Preservation Foundation.

National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF)
A nonprofit organization created by Congress to support nationwide efforts to preserve the film heritage of the United States and improve access to film for study, research, education, and exhibition, NFPF began in 1997 with the support of grants from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Film Foundation. In 2000, the organization began distributing federal matching grants to film archives to preserve endangered films and collections. Click here to connect to the NFPF homepage. See also: National Film Preservation Board.

National Film Registry (NFR)
A list of up to 25 films selected each year by the Librarian of Congress, with the assistance of the National Film Preservation Board, for preservation in the archives of the Library of Congress. The films must be at least 10 years old but need not be feature-length or have been released to a theater audience to be eligible for selection. The National Film Preservation Act of 1988 authorizes the Board to consider the broadest possible range of films in its deliberations. Click here to connect to the NFR homepage which includes a list of Registry films for the current year.

National Genealogical Society (NGS)
Founded in 1903 with headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, NGS is a service organization devoted to collecting, preserving, and disseminating genealogical information, encouraging interest in genealogical research, fostering careful documentation of genealogical data, and promoting education and training in the field of genealogy. NGS publishes the journal NGS Quarterly and the NGS Newsmagazine. Click here to connect to the NGS homepage.

National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC)
A 15-member statutory body established by Congress in 1934 and affiliated with the National Archives and Records Administration(NARA), NHPRC supports a wide range of activities to preserve, publish, and encourage the use of documentary sources created in every medium, from quill pen to computer, relating to the history of the United States. Chaired by the Archivist of the United States, its membership includes representatives of the three branches of the U.S. federal government as well as representatives of professional associations of archivists, historians, documentary editors, and records administrators. NHPRC grants are administered through the State Historical Records Advisory Boards (SHRABs) chaired by NHPRC-designated State Historical Records Coordinators. Click here to connect to the NHPRC homepage. See also: Council of State Archivists.

National Information Standards Organization (NISO)
A nonprofit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop voluntary standards in library science, information science, publishing, and other information services, NISO is designated by ANSI to represent U.S. interests to the Technical Committee on Information and Documentation of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). NISO standards are listed in the reference section at the end of Library and Book Trade Almanac. Click here to connect to the NISO homepage. See also: Z39.50.

national library
A library designated and funded by a national government to serve the nation by maintaining a comprehensive collection of the published and unpublished literary output of the nation as a whole, including publications of the government itself. Most national libraries are also responsible for compiling a national bibliography, and some serve as the legal depository for works protected by copyright in the country. The national library of the United States is the Library of Congress, located in Washington, D.C. Three other libraries--the National Agricultural Library, the National Library of Education, and the National Library of Medicine--contain national collections in specific subject areas. Click here to connect to the Yahoo! list of national libraries of the world, or try National Library Catalogues Worldwide, maintained by the University of Queensland, Australia. The national libraries of Europe are accessible via The European Library. Compare with national archives. See also: Bibliothèque Nationale de France, the British Library, Library and Archives Canada, and National Library of Australia.

National Library Legislative Day
An event cosponsored by the District of Columbia Library Association (DCLA) and the American Library Association (ALA) every year in May to bring librarians, library trustees, board members, and other friends of libraries to Washington, D.C., to talk with their representatives and senators about key issues of concern to the library community. Each year, the ALA's Washington Office prepares information on important legislative issues (copyright and intellectual property, Internet and telecommunications, access to government information, appropriations and funding for library programs, etc.) for discussion with Legislative Day participants in an all-day briefing. The following day, library advocates take their messages to their members of Congress. An annual public service award is given by FOLUSA on National Library Legislative Day to a member of Congress who provides leadership and demonstrates commitment to library priorities. In 2004, awards were presented to both Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for their commitment to modifying the USA Patriot Act to protect civil liberties. Click here to learn more about National Library Legislative Day.

National Library of Australia (NLA)
Established in 1901, the NLA moved from Melbourne to Canberra in 1927, following the opening of the Federal Parliament building, and in 1968 to its new and permanent home on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin, uniting collections formerly dispersed around Canberra. In addition to its Main Reading Room, the NLA has separate reading rooms for collections of Asian materials, manuscripts, maps, pictorial works, rare books, newspapers, oral history, music, and ephemera. The national library also has an active publishing program and is a member of the MARC Advisory Committee. Click here to connect to the NLA homepage.

National Library of Education (NLE)
The largest library in the world devoted solely to the collection, preservation, and effective use of research and other information in the field of education. Located in Washington, D.C., the NLE was established with the purchase of the private collection of Henry Barnard, the first U.S. Commissioner of Education following his resignation in 1870. Since then, its growth has been funded by the federal government. It serves the U.S. Department of Education, Congress, and the Office of the President, as well as the general public, and is the center of a national network of libraries, archives, and other information providers in education. Click here to connect to the NLE homepage.

National Library of Medicine (NLM)
The largest medical library in the United States, administered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Located in Bethesda, Maryland, NLM is home to over 7 million items, including one of the world's finest medical history collections of old and rare medical works. For the past 125 years, NLM has published the Index Medicus, a subject/author guide to articles published in 4,000 journals. It also provides public access to an online version of its MEDLINE bibliographic database at no charge under the title PubMed. A new service called PubMed Central provides open access to a central digital archive of full-text journal articles in the life sciences. Click here to connect to the NLM homepage.

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS)
A national library program administered by the Library of Congress that produces and distributes Braille and recorded library materials at no charge to eligible borrowers through a national network of cooperating regional and local libraries. Established by Congress in 1931 to serve blind adults, NLS was expanded in 1952 to serve visually impaired children, in 1962 to provide music materials, and in 1966 to serve individuals with other physical impairments that prevent them from reading print of standard size. Click here to connect to the NLS homepage.

National Library Symbol
Originally designed by Ralph E. DeVore for the Western Maryland Public Libraries, the generic figure of a human being reading a book (see this example) was endorsed at the 1982 annual conference of the American Library Association (ALA) as the standard symbol representing all types of libraries in the United States to increase public awareness of libraries as an institution by its utilization on directional signs and promotional materials. In 1985, the symbol was accepted by the Federal Highway Administration for inclusion in the manual setting standards for highway signs. Click here to learn more about the symbol's history.

National Library Week (NLW)
Sponsored for the first time in 1958 by the National Book Committee and the American Library Association (ALA), National Library Week is an officially recognized seven-day period in the spring of each year during which special attention is given to promoting libraries of all types in the United States. Most public libraries celebrate the event by displaying posters and exhibits, issuing press releases, and sponsoring book talks and other promotional activities. In the United Kingdom, a similar event, National Libraries Week, is celebrated in the fall of each year. Click here to connect to the National Library Week Web site. See also: National Library Workers Day.

National Library Workers Day (NLWD)
A special day during National Library Week (NLW) reserved for formal recognition of the contributions of all library workers (librarians, support staff, and others), NLWD was established in 2003 by an ALA-APA Council resolution adopted at the annual conference of the American Library Association in Toronto.

National Medal for Museum and Library Service
Honorary awards made annually by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services to outstanding institutions that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. To be selected, an institution must demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service, exceeding the expected levels of community outreach and core programs generally associated with its services. The National Museum and Library Services Board reviews nominations and makes recommendations to the IMLS Director, who makes the final selection. Winners are announced in the fall of each year. Click here to learn more about the nomination process and to view a list of past award winners.

National Music Publishers Association (NMPA)
The largest music publishing trade association in the United States, with over 800 members, the National Music Publishers Association is devoted to protecting, promoting, and advancing the interests of small and large music publishers and their songwriter partners. Click here connect to the NMPA homepage. See also: Music Publishers Association.

National Public Radio (NPR)
Created in 1970, following passage of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, NPR is a privately and publicly funded nonprofit membership media organization providing mainly news and cultural programming to a national syndicate of almost 800 public radio stations in the United States. The individual member stations are not required to broadcast all NPR programs that are produced. Click here to connect to the NPR homepage.

Also refers to the segment of the FM broadcast band (88-92 MegaHertz) set aside by the U.S. federal government for the use of schools, colleges, civic entities, and others who devote some of their programming to education, the arts, and other nonprofit enterprises.

National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB)
Mandated by the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the NRPB is an advisory group bringing together professional organizations and individuals with expertise in the preservation of recorded sound, charged with developing a comprehensive national program to ensure the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America's sound recording heritage. Appointed by the Librarian of Congress, the Board consists of one member and one alternate from each of seventeen organizations representing composers, musicians, musicologists, librarians, archivists, and the recording industry, and as many as five "at-large" members, also appointed by the Librarian of Congress. The Board formulates selection criteria for the National Recording Registry, also established by the National Recording Preservation Act, and assists the Librarian in the review and recommendation of nominations for the Registry. Click here to connect to the NRPB homepage.

National Recording Registry (NRR)
A list of fifty sound recordings selected each year for their cultural, historic, or aesthetic importance, or as a reflection of American life, by the Librarian of Congress at the recommendation of the National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB) for special preservation by the Library of Congress. Registry recordings may be a single item or group of related items, published or unpublished, and may contain music, non-music, spoken word, or broadcast sound. Click here for lists of titles included in National Recording Registry since its inception and here to read the criteria for Registry selection.

National Science Digital Library (NSDL)
A digital library of collections and services funded by the National Science Foundation and intended to become a comprehensive, online source of digital resources for use in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. Click here to connect to the NSDL homepage.

National Storytelling Network (NSN)
Formed in 1998 when the National Storytelling Association (NSA) split into the National Storytelling Network and Storytelling Foundation International (SFI), NSN is a membership organization dedicated to advancing the art of storytelling wherever it can contribute to the quality of life. An affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA), NSN sponsors the annual National Storytelling Conference in cooperation with its local and regional members. NSN also publishes Storytelling Magazine and hosts the StoryNet Web site. SFI, on the other hand, receives its funding by providing educational and training services and from grants and donations. SFI sponsors the annual National Storytelling Festival, first held in 1973, and is building the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

national survey
A government agency that specializes in mapping, surveying, and providing scientific information about the topography, geology, and natural resources of a country. In the United States, the national surveys are the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Geodetic Survey (NGS). Click here to read a history of the U.S. Geological Survey. The Geological Survey of Japan provides the Directory of Geoscience Organizations of the World.

National Technical Information Service (NTIS)
Located on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., NTIS is an agency within the Technology Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce that is the largest centralized source of scientific, technical, engineering, and business information produced or sponsored by U.S. and international government agencies. Its collection of over 3 million items includes technical reports, statistics, business information, publications of the U.S. military, multimedia training programs, computer software, and electronic databases. The NTIS is also the maintenance agency for the Standard Technical Report Number (STRN). Click here to connect to the NTIS homepage.

National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
Established in 1978, NTIA is the agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce responsible for advising the President on telecommunications and information policy issues. NTIA�s policies and programs are largely devoted to expanding broadband Internet adoption and access in the United States and to ensuring that the Internet continues to enhance innovation and economic growth. Click here to connect to the NTIA homepage.

National Union Catalog (NUC)
A series of printed catalogs issued by the Library of Congress that began in 1948 as an author list of printed cards and titles reported as held by other libraries in North America--a heroic pre-digital attempt to create a union catalog of national scope to facilitate resource sharing. The 754-volume National Union Catalog, Pre-1956 Imprints + Supplement (also known as Mansell after its publisher) was issued between 1968 and 1981. The 125-volume National Union Catalog, 1956-1967 continues the pre-1956 imprints set. A microform version of the NUC was published in 1983. Since 1990 the NUC has been compiled in a much more limited way because it no longer includes materials entered into the large online databases maintained by national bibliographic utilities, such as OCLC WorldCat. However, a study reported by Jeffrey Beall and Karen Kafadar in the September 2005 issue of College & Research Libraries found that 27.8% of records sampled in Mansell were not in WorldCat, affirming the value of Mansell as a resource for library research. See also: National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections.

National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC)
A cooperative cataloging program sponsored by the Library of Congress since 1959, NUCMC provides cataloging of archival and manuscript materials at no charge to repositories in the United States that meet its eligibility guidelines. MARC records are created by NUCMC catalogers in the OCLC WorldCat national-level database, based on cataloging data supplied by eligible repositories. Click here to connect to the NUCMC homepage.

natural history book
A book providing scientific information about the flora and/or fauna of the earth, and in some cases their ecosystems, usually based on the author's personal observations, often profusely illustrated (sometimes by the naturalist), designed for study and/or aesthetic appreciation, rather than for use in the field. Birds of America by John James Audubon (1785-1851) is a classic example. Johns Hopkins University provides the online exhibition Animal Vegetable, and Mineral: Natural History Books by Ten Authors. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia provides these examples. See also John Gould: His Birds and Beasts (University of Kansas). Compare with field guide. See also: bird book and herbal.

natural language
A human language in which the structure and rules have evolved from usage, usually over an extended period time, as opposed to an artificial language based on rules prescribed prior to its development and use, as in a computer language. In search software designed to handle input expressed in natural language, the user may enter the query in the same form in which it would be spoken or written ("Where can I find information about Frederick Douglass?" as opposed to the search statement "frederick douglass" or "su:douglass"). Ask is an example of a natural-language Internet search engine. Compare with controlled vocabulary.

natural scale
See: representative fraction.

nature film
A documentary motion picture of any length in which wildlife, plant life, geologic activity, meteorological or astronomical phenomena, or a particular ecosystem is interpreted for the lay viewer, usually from an appreciative point of view using footage shot in the field, as distinct from a science film in which the treatment is didactic and aimed at students who generally have some familiarity with the subject. The films in the PBS NATURE series are examples. See also: ethnographic film.

nature print
A highly accurate impression taken from a biological specimen (plant, insect, fossil, etc.) by printing directly from the natural object or by pressing it into a solid surface, such as wood softened by steam or a soft metal plate. By applying several colors individually by hand to appropriate areas of the plate, all the colors can be printed together in a single pull of the press (click here and here to see botanical examples). Click here to learn more about nature printing, courtesy of the University of Delaware Library.

nautical atlas
A book of charts of seas, coastlines, or other waterways, often rendered in uniform style and sometimes accompanied by text. Click here to see a colorfully-illustrated 16th-century French example and here to see a 17th-century Dutch example, courtesy of Koninklijke Bibliotheek.

nautical chart
A special-purpose map designed to meet the special requirements of navigation at sea or on some other waterway, by indicating soundings, currents, and characteristics of the bottom; showing adjacent coastal areas, islands, ports, and known navigational hazards; and providing other information of interest to mariners, such as tidal data, magnetic variation in the charted area, etc. Click here to see a contemporary example showing the Bay of Fundy and here to see a manuscript example from a 17th-century portolan atlas showing the coasts of Spain and North Africa (Library of Congress). To see other examples, browse the Charts and Maps collection at the National Maritime Museum (NMM) in Greenwich, England. Synonymous with hydrographic chart. See also: pilot.

The use of hypertext links, icons, menu options, and search engines displayed on a Web page to move to other resources available on the Internet or to other pages within the same Web site. When the user proceeds in a casual way, the activity is called surfing; when the approach is purposeful, it is a search. See also: navigation bar and search history.

navigation bar
A series of options, usually in the form of clickable buttons, icons, or text links arranged in a row across the top or bottom of the screen or window, or along the right- or left-hand side, indicating the main categories under which the information contained in the subpages of a Web site is organized. In a well-designed site, the navigation bar is repeated on each subpage to enable the user to select from the list of main options without having to return to the initial page. Compare with toolbar.

See: National Board Certification.

An abbreviation of National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. See: National Board Certification.

See: National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.

See: National Circulation Interchange Protocol.

See: National Commission on Libraries and Information Science.

See: no date.

See: Nippon Decimal Classification.

See: National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program.

See: electronic theses and dissertations.

See: National Digital Newspaper Program.

See: new edition pending.

Data stored offline in a digital storage and retrieval system, but available for online use in a comparatively short time due to the nature of the storage device (usually removable hard drive, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM). Nearline retrieval is not instantaneous, normally requiring a few seconds.

neat line
A line, usually grid or graticule, marking the outer edge of a map or chart, separating its detail from any border or margin. The neat line on a quadrangle map is formed by the meridians and parallels marking its outer limits (click here to see historic examples). On most maps, the neat line is a thin rule in black or dark-colored ink. Click here to see the neat line, border, and narrow margin on a map of Niagara Falls published in 1894, with detail slightly overedge at top and bottom (Perry-Castañeda Library). Also spelled neatline. See also: bleeding edge.

Nebula Awards
Awards given for the best works of literary and dramatic speculative fiction published in the United States, presented annually since 1965 by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) in five categories: novel, novella, novelette, short story, and script. There is no cash prize--winners receive a transparent block containing a glittering spiral nebula (see this example). Click here to connect to the Nebula Awards homepage. See also: Hugo Awards.

necklace book
A small miniature book, usually containing blank leaves covered in leather or metal, made to be worn about the neck as a pendant suspended from a chain, ribbon, or thong, sometimes as a piece of jewelry. To see examples, try a keywords search on the term "necklace book" in Google Images.

See: National Elevation Dataset.

needs and offers (N&O)
A list of federal government documents discarded by selective depository libraries in compliance with the retention requirements of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and offered to other depositories, or a list of titles sought by depository libraries hoping to fill gaps and develop document collections by acquiring discards from other depositories. The national Needs and Offers List is currently maintained by the Chester Fritz Library at the University of North Dakota, which has been a federal depository library since 1890.

need to know
In information security systems, the underlying principle restricting access to sensitive or classified materials to persons who have an essential and justifiable need to be informed. Under conditions of extreme secrecy, such a need may be substantiated by various levels of security clearance and the issuance of identification (badges, passwords, etc.).

The image that results when standard photographic or motion picture film is developed, producing tonal values (black, gray, and white) that are the reverse of the original subject and of any positive print of the same image (see this example). Negative color film reverses not only the tonal values but also the colors of the subject, making them appear complementary to the original hues (red as green, blue as yellow, etc.). Click here to see examples of a color negatives. Not intended for display or projection, a negative can also be produced from positive film in the lab. See also: calotype, duplicate negative, glass negative, internegative, master negative, print master, and reversal film.

negative print
A photographic print in which the tonal values are the opposite of those of the subject (light for dark and dark for light). Click here to see an example, courtesy of Flickr.com. In a negative print made from color film, both the tonal values and the colors of the subject are reversed, making them appear complementary to the original hues (red as green, blue as yellow, etc.).

See: National Endowment for the Humanities.

Nemeth code
See: Braille.

A new word coined from an existing term or terms (example: netiquette from "network" and "etiquette"), or a new meaning given to an existing word (example: "quark" from Finnegans Wake used in physics as the name of a subatomic particle). Acronyms are neologisms. Also refers to the use of such a new word or meaning.

See: new edition pending.

In Boolean searching, the use of sets of parentheses to embed a logical operation within another logical operation to indicate the sequence in which the logical commands are to be executed by the computer (syntax). In the following example, the Boolean "or" command will be executed first, followed by "not" and then "and."

Search statement: children and violence and ((television or media) not cartoon*)

Terms of sale in which a publisher specifies that a book must be offered at no retail discount or reduction in price. Synonymous with net published price. Compare with non-net.

A shortened form of Internet.

net borrower
A library that borrows more items via interlibrary loan than it lends to other libraries over a designated period of time. Small libraries are more likely to be net borrowers than large libraries. The opposite of net lender.

See: webcast.

A neologism formed by shortening the phrase network etiquette. The rules of civility and good manners that apply to communication via the Internet, an environment in which the visual cues available in face-to-face communication and the auditory cues perceptible in voice communication are lacking. Click here to connect to Virginia Shea's Netiquette Home Page. See also: e-mail, flame, shouting, and smiley.

net lender
A library that lends more items via interlibrary loan than it borrows from other libraries during a designated period of time. Net lenders are more likely than net borrowers to charge a fee for interlibrary loan service, and some very large libraries do not participate in interlibrary loan to avoid becoming net lenders. In the OCLC interlibrary loan system, each time the status of an item requested is updated to "shipped," a small credit is given per transaction to the lender, providing some compensation to libraries that are net lenders.

net neutrality
In network design, the principle that an electronic public information network, such as the Internet, will be maximally useful if all content, sites, and platforms are treated equally. In the United States, Congressional legislation has been introduced to allow discrimination by broadband carriers on the basis of quality of service (tiering). Critics maintain that, to remain neutral, the Internet must forward packets on a first-come, first-served basis, without regard for quality of service. Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, is one of the chief proponents of net neutrality: "The neutral communications medium is essential to our society. It is the basis of a fair competitive market economy. It is the basis of democracy, by which a community should decide what to do. It is the basis of science, by which humankind should decide what is true."

net price
A bookseller's cost for a book or other publication, usually the publisher's list price or suggested price, less any discounts or allowances. Cost of shipping is usually added to net price.

net pricing
In bookselling, a method of price setting in which no cover price is printed on the item or on the dust jacket. Instead, the publisher sets the wholesale price without reference to a suggested retail price, and each bookseller or jobber is free to establish its own resale price, which may vary from one seller to another. According to The Bookman's Glossary (Bowker, 1983), this controversial practice began in 1979 and is used most often in the college textbook market.

Netscape Navigator
A popular software program designed to facilitate browsing for information available at sites on the World Wide Web. Netscape Navigator allows the user to bookmark Web sites for future reference, and to print and download search results, and includes many other user-friendly features. Its primary competitor in the Web browser market is Internet Explorer from Microsoft. Before AOL purchased Netscape Communications in 1998, the company formed a nonprofit arm, The Mozilla Organization, to convert Netscape Navigator to an open source Web browser known as Mozilla Firefox. Click here to connect to the Firefox homepage.

The argot of Internet enthusiasts ("netiquette," "flaming," "mouse potato," etc.). Other examples can be found in NetLingo: The Internet Dictionary. Netspeak's peculiarities include selective inattention to current norms of spelling and grammar, use of all-lowercase letters, infrequent punctuation, informality of tone, frequent use of abbreviations and acronyms, and turning nouns into verbs ("blogging," "spamming," etc.). See also linguist David Crystal's A Glossary of Netspeak and Textspeak published in 2004 by Columbia University Press. Also spelled NetSpeak. Synonymous with net lingo. Compare with textspeak.

A group of physically discrete computers interconnected to allow resources to be shared and data exchanged, usually by means of telecommunication links and client/server architecture. Most networks are administered by an operations center that provides assistance to users. The largest "network of networks" in the world is the Internet, allowing users of computers of all types and sizes to communicate in real time. See also: CD-ROM network, extranet, intranet, local area network, and wide area network.

Also, two or more organizations engaged in the exchange of information through common communication channels, usually for the purpose of accomplishing shared objectives. When the organizations are libraries, the arrangement is a library network (example: National Network of Libraries of Medicine). Compare with consortium.

In communications media, a chain of television or radio broadcasting stations that share a significant portion of their programming, either because they are owned by the producer of the programming (the network) or because they are independent affiliates compensated by the network for broadcasting its programs. At one time, the major television networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and PBS) had a virtual monopoly of television programming in the United States, but they have lost market share to the cable networks. Click here connect to the Yahoo! list of links to television network Web sites.

The art of developing contacts within a profession and using them to advance one's work and career. Librarians do this by meeting colleagues at library conferences, participating in colloquia and round tables, volunteering to serve on committees, running for elective office, joining electronic discussion lists, etc.

From the Greek word pneuma, meaning "breath." One of a set of graphic signs used from the 7th to 14th centuries as musical notation in liturgical works (antiphonals, graduals, hymnals, missals, etc.) to denote movement of melody in the early chant and plainsong incorporated into medieval Church services. Originally written above the text without staves, neumes indicated neither precise pitch nor length of note, serving as a reminder of melody already familiar to the singers. Because the form of neumes was not standardized, considerable regional variation existed in Europe. Beginning in the mid-11th century, they were written on a four-line staff. In the late 12th century, square notation replaced the earlier pointed and curved signs in France and Italy.

For more information about the history of neumes, see the entry under the term in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (Grove, 2001). Click here to see neumes between the lines of a 12th-century Austrian gradual (Dartmouth College Library, MS 002490) and here to see them in a 13th-century German gradual (Morgan Library, MS M.711). Examples of regional variation are provided by the Schøyen Collection (Oslo and London). Click here to see the later square notation written on staves (Getty Museum, MS Ludwig VI 3). See also: Hufnagel.

new adult reader
A person of mature years who has recently learned to read, usually by enrolling in an adult literacy program. Public libraries try to meet the needs of new adult readers by selecting materials appropriate to their reading level and by developing services to acquaint them with available information resources.

new age book
A generic term used in publishing to refer to contemporary titles written on subjects once outside mainstream American culture, such as holistic health and alternative medicine, nontraditional exercise and fitness techniques, natural foods and alternative diets, self-help psychology, astrology and numerology, and non-Western spiritual practices (yoga, meditation, tai chi, etc.). New age books are selected mainly by public libraries. Synonymous with mind, body and spirit (MBS).

The Newberry
Located in Chicago, the Newberry Library is a privately funded independent research library devoted primarily to the humanities. Free and open to the public, it contains an extensive noncirculating collection of rare books, maps, manuscripts, and other materials related to the civilizations of western Europe and the Americas. The Library was established in the late 19th century at the bequest of the wealthy Chicago businessman and philanthropist Walter Loomis Newberry. Click here to connect to the homepage of The Newberry.

Newbery, John (1713-1767)
The English writer, publisher, printer, and bookseller who first recognized the potential commercial market for books written specifically for children. Newbery began publishing works for children in 1744 with A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, containing rhyming fables and rules of conduct, followed by the didactic favorite The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes (1765), which may have been written by his friend Oliver Goldsmith. Illustrated in color, the titles in his inexpensive Juvenile Library series were very popular in England. He also published the first children's encyclopedia, The Circle of the Sciences in seven volumes (1745-1748) and the first children's periodical, The Lilliputian Magazine (1751). Newbery's contribution to children's literature is commemorated in the Newbery Medal, awarded annually since 1922 to the most distinguished children's book by an American author published in the United States during the preceding year.

Newbery Medal
A literary award given annually since 1922 under the auspices of the American Library Association (ALA) to the author of the most distinguished children's book published in the United States during the preceding year. Sponsored by the family of Frederic G. Melcher, the medal is named after John Newbery (1713-1767), the British publisher who first issued books written specifically for children. Click here to see a list of Newbery Medal winners. Compare with Caldecott Medal. See also: Carnegie Medal and CLA Book of the Year for Children.

A slang term for a person who is a newcomer to e-mail, electronic mailing lists, newsgroups, the World Wide Web, or the Internet in general, or to any computer application or system. See also: novice.

new book
A new title issued for the first time, usually in hardcover, announced by the publisher in book trade journals and review publications and promoted through book signings, author interviews, etc. Recently published titles make up a publisher's frontlist. Some new books make the bestseller list. Compare with backlist. See also: missionary book and new title notification.

Also refers to a title recently added to a library collection. Public libraries often display the dust jackets of new books on a bulletin board or kiosk, or shelve them in a special location for a few weeks, to allow patrons to browse them separately before they are integrated into the general collection. New fiction bestsellers may be ordered in multiple copies or given a shorter loan period for a few months to increase availability.

new construction
A completely new library facility, designed from scratch and constructed from the ground up, as opposed to the renovation or expansion of an existing structure. New construction allows the architect to use state-of-the-art design concepts and the latest materials, furnishings, and equipment, within the constraints imposed by the project budget. The old facility is usually converted to some other purpose once the library has moved to its new location. New library construction is reported annually in Library Journal and Library and Book Trade Almanac. Click here to connect to a Web site on Planning and Building Libraries, maintained by School of Library, Archival and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia.

new edition
See: revised edition.

new edition pending (NE or NEP)
A code used on a publisher's invoice to indicate that a new edition of the title ordered is in preparation but has not yet been issued.

new library
An institutional library created from scratch or with the donation of one or more significant private collections. Most new libraries created in the United States are branch public libraries sited in areas of demographic growth, or academic libraries at newly created campuses. Core lists are helpful in collection-building. Also used synonymously with new construction.

New Members Round Table (NMRT)
Established in 1931 as a round table of the American Library Association, NMRT assists persons who have been ALA members for under 10 years to become active in the Association and in the library profession at the national, state, and local levels. In addition to providing a resume review service and a mentoring program, NMRT sponsors the electronic mailing list NMRT-L. Click here to connect to the NMRT homepage.

new release
A media item (motion picture, videorecording, audiorecording, etc.) that has just been issued, shown, or offered for sale to the general public for the first time. See also: release date and rerelease.

As censorship weakened during the English Civil War of 1642-1651, publication of news as a profit-making industry began with broadsides and small pamphlets from four to forty pages in length, called "newsbooks" (see these examples, courtesy of the Folger Shakesepare Library). Generally devoted to a single topic per issue, newsbooks provided accounts of current events (politics, natural disasters, murders and other crimes) in much the same manner as a tabloid newspaper.

Information about current events and topics of general interest transmitted over television airwaves or cable transmission lines.

new series
In AACR2, a term used in the numeric and/or alphabetical, chronological, or other designation area of the bibliographic record to indicate that a serial publication has been given a new numbering sequence without a change in its title proper.

An Internet message board, usually devoted to a specific topic, to which a participant may post comments or queries, then view the replies of other participants, responses to the replies, and so on. A sequence of related postings is called a discussion thread. The most common types are Usenet and NetNews, which use the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP). Unlike e-mail mailing lists, most newsgroups are unmoderated, so postings are not filtered on the basis of content, nor are they limited to a list of registered subscribers. Click here to learn more about newsgroups, courtesy of HowStuffWorks. The CyberFiber Newsgroups Directory or the Google Groups search engine can be used to locate newsgroups on a specific topic.

A serial publication consisting of no more than a few pages, devoted to news, announcements, and current information of interest primarily to a specialized group of subscribers or members of an association or organization who receive it as part of their membership, for example, The National Teaching & Learning Forum available in print and online. Newsletters are listed in the Oxbridge Directory of Newsletters. Most periodical indexes and bibliographic databases do not cover newsletter content. See also: electronic newsletter and library newsletter.

news library
A type of special library maintained in the offices of a newspaper publisher, or other news agency, that includes in its collection newspaper and magazine clippings, photo files (sometimes with negatives), maps, pamphlet files, microforms, reference materials, and online databases related to news and current events. Most are open to subscribers and librarians at the discretion of the news librarian, usually by appointment. News libraries are listed in The International Directory of News Libraries, a serial published in cooperation with the News Division of the Special Libraries Association (SLA).

A general interest magazine devoted to the publication of news and editorial comment, usually on a wide range of subjects, from politics to entertainment (examples: U.S. News & World Report and Maclean's in Canada). Most newsmagazines are published weekly and sold at newsstands, in bookstores, and by subscription. Some are available in an online version (examples: Bloomberg Businessweek and Time Online Edition). See also: newspaper.

A serial publication, usually printed on newsprint and issued daily, on certain days of the week, or weekly, containing news, editorial comment, regular columns, letters to the editor, cartoons, advertising, and other items of current and often local interest to a general readership. Some national newspapers are issued twice daily in early and late editions or in different editions for different regions of the country.

According to Warren Chappell, writing in A Short History of the Printed Word (Knopf, 1970), the first modern newspaper of regular publication was Avisa Relation oder Zeitung published by Johan Carolus of Strasbourg beginning in 1609. The British Library provides a list of online resources on newspaper history. Because they can be used to influence public opinion, newspapers are subject to censorship in some countries. In the United States, newspapers once fiercely independent are increasingly owned by mass media conglomerates. Under such conditions, editorial decisions may be subject to pressure from commercial interests.

In libraries, current issues of newspapers are normally available in print, but the back files are usually converted to microfilm or microfiche (or digitized) to conserve space. Most national and regional newspapers offer at least a portion of their content online (example: New York Times). Information on local, regional, and national newspapers can be found in the annual Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media, available in the reference section of most academic and large public libraries.

In the United States, some dailies publish their own printed indexes (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, etc.). The editorial content of a few major dailies is also indexed in general periodical databases. National and regional newspapers are indexed in specialized newspaper databases (example: NewsBank). The National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) is a partnership between the Library of Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to preserve and catalog newspapers published in the U.S. for research purposes (see Chronicling America, a searchable database of historic American newspapers). Compare with newsmagazine. See also: Acta Diurna, headline, masthead, National Digital Newspaper Program, news library, and newspaper index.

newspaper index
A list of the editorial content (news stories, articles, editorials, and columns) published in one or more newspapers, usually arranged alphabetically by subject (including names). Indexes to major U.S. dailies are available in print (example: New York Times Index). Newspaper indexes are also available online (DataTimes and Newspaper Abstracts in OCLC FirstSearch).

newspaper library
See: morgue.

newspaper rod
See: stick.

A neologism coined by the journalist and writer George Orwell in his anti-utopian novel 1984 (published in 1949) to refer to the artificial language of government slogans, especially authoritarian propaganda. The term is also applied to euphemisms used by politicians, bureaucrats, and military personnel in public pronouncements to evade public scrutiny and deflect criticism of their actions (example: incursion instead of "invasion") and by broadcasters to lull audiences into complacency.

A grade of coarse, absorbent, unsized paper made primarily from groundwood pulp, used in printing newspapers and newsletters to keep costs down. Because newsprint is bulky, yellows quickly, and becomes brittle with the passage of time, libraries convert newspaper back files to microfilm or microfiche and provide reader-printer machines for enlarging and making hard copies.

A short film, 10 to 20 minutes in length, providing brief documentary-style coverage of a series of news events or topics of general interest. Newsreels preceded the feature film in commercial movie theaters until the 1950s when television broadcast news replaced them. In the United States and Europe, the newsreel was an important propaganda tool during World Wars I and II. They are preserved in archival film collections (example: Moving Image Research Collections at the University of South Carolina).

news service
A method of pooling news-gathering resources, first developed in the mid-19th century when six highly competitive New York City newspaper publishers decided to cooperate to lower the expense of collecting and transmitting international news via telegraph to the United States. Most wire services operate through overseas bureaus to which news reporters submit their copy and photographs. Click here to read an online history of the Associated Press (AP) news service, and here to view the Yahoo! list of news services. Directory information for news services is available in Literary Market Place. Synonymous with news agency, newswire, and wire service. See also: press release.

news story
An article published in a newspaper, newsmagazine, or online news service, reporting the details of a current event or the latest information on a topic of general interest. News stories are usually short and often unattributed. See also: byline.

new title
See: new book.

new title notification
A free service offered by some book publishers and vendors, informing prospective buyers via e-mail of the availability of new publications on a prepublication or on-publication basis. Some sellers allow the customer to limit notifications to a specific interest profile (see this example). Click here to connect to the AcqWeb list of publishers and vendors providing new title notifications.

new use
Recorded music or film incorporated into a medium other than the one for which it was originally intended, for example, a song from a commercially released sound recording used in the sound track of a motion picture (example: "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones, used in Lawrence Kasdan's 1983 film The Big Chill).

New York Library Club, The
Founded by Melvil Dewey and eleven other metropolitan area librarians in June of 1885, the New York Library Club was seen by Dewey and its first president, Richard Rogers Bowker, as an informal forum of librarians and interested parties from related fields. Early meetings included discussions of library policies and procedures, new collections, and preservation concerns. Today, the Club acts as a network of area librarians and related professionals, awards an annual scholarship to a library and information science graduate student in a local school�s program, and holds events in various venues, to bring members and colleagues together and to showcase the variety and characteristics of the libraries in New York City. The Club�s archives are held in the Manuscripts and Archives Division of the New York Public Library's Humanities & Social Sciences Library. Click here to connect to the homepage of the New York Library Club.

New York Public Library (NYPL)
The largest public library system in the United States, the New York Public Library was created in 1895 by the merger of the Astor Library, created in 1849 through the generosity of John Jacob Astor, with the Lenox Library, founded by James Lenox, and the assistance of a $2.4 million trust established by Samuel J. Tilden to "establish and maintain a free library and reading room in the city of New York." Librarian John Shaw Billings was named the first director. The jewel in the crown of the NYPL is the landmark building of beaux-arts design, located at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan on the site of the former Croton Reservoir. The largest marble structure ever attempted in the United States, the building was completed in 1911 at a cost of $9 million. While it was under construction, the NYPL established its circulating department after consolidating with the New York Free Circulating Library in February 1901. One month later, philanthropist Andrew Carnegie offered $5.2 million for construction of a system of branch libraries throughout New York City, if the City would agreed to supply the sites and fund operating expenses. Today, the NYPL is composed of four specialized Research Libraries supported largely by private funds and 85 neighborhood Branch Libraries serving the boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island, with collections totaling 6.6 million items, operated mainly from public funds allocated by the city and state of New York. The Library's facilities are used by more than 15 million people annually and it has 1.86 million registered cardholders. Click here to connect to the NYPL homepage.

New York Review of Books (NYRB)
Published since 1963 in 20 issues per year by NYREV, Inc., NYRB provides in-depth commentary on literature, culture, politics, and science in the form of lengthy book reviews written for the educated reader by well-known authors and scholars. NYRB also includes announcements of new books published by trade and university presses. ISSN: 0028-7504. Click here to connect to the online version of NYRB. See also: New York Times Book Review and Times Literary Supplement.

New York Times Book Review (NYTBR)
One of the most influential review publications in the United States, NYTBR is published weekly as part of the Sunday edition of the New York Times newspaper. It is also available by subscription as a separate section. Reviews are long and scholarly, written for the educated reader by well-known writers and scholars. Some publishers consider it the most important medium in the country for advertising new trade books. ISSN: 0028-7806. Click here to connect to NYTBR online. See also: New York Review of Books and Times Literary Supplement.

New York Times Co. v. Tasini
See: Tasini decision.

See: National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services.

See: National Film Preservation Board.

See: National Film Preservation Foundation.

See: National Film Registry.

See: National Genealogical Society.

See: National Historical Publication and Records Commission.

In bookbinding, a stub-like extension along one edge of a folded map, chart, diagram, etc., by which it is tipped into a book along the gutter, allowing the illustration to be fully viewed when the volume is open. Also refers to the writing point of a pen.

niche database
An electronic database designed to provide information about a very specific topic, as opposed to a range of topics, usually for a limited audience. An example is Thomson's SDC Platinum, providing current and historical data on mergers and acquisitions of domestic and international companies, new issues, and venture capital funding.

niche publishing
The activities of small presses and divisions within large publishing companies that limit their scope to a relatively narrow subject area (example: auto repair manuals or travel guides) or type of literature (genre fiction), producing publications intended to meet the needs of a specific market segment. Some niches are broader than others.

A familiar name of a person, usually a diminutive form of the full given name (example: Bill for William). Also, a popular name sometimes given in derision or to highlight a special attribute of the person (Wild Bill). Corporate entities can have nicknames (Big Apple for New York City). Information on nicknames can be found in the latest edition of the Pseudonyms and Nicknames Dictionary published by Gale. Compare with conventional name. See also: epithet and sobriquet.

Nielsen ratings
A system for measuring the size and composition of audiences who view television programming in the U.S., developed in the 1950s by Nielsen Media Research. The ratings are based on self-recorded information gleaned from viewer diaries and on data automatically recorded by small devices called "set meters" installed in television receivers located in selected households, allowing market researchers to monitor viewing habits on a minute-to-minute basis. Nielsen ratings are reported in some national daily newspapers. Click here to connect to the Nielsen homepage.

night photograph
A photographic image taken outdoors between the hours of dusk and dawn, sometimes using special production techniques, such as artificial light or long exposure (see this night sky by Robert Knapp). Excluded from the category are daytime or indoor available-light photographs in which the impression of darkness is due to limited light.

nihil obstat
A Latin phrase meaning "nothing hinders" appearing on the verso of the title page of works that have been examined by officials of the Roman Catholic Church and found to contain no offense that merits censorship, still used in books that present official Catholic doctrine (example: New Catholic Encyclopedia). See also: imprimatur and Index Librorum Prohibitorum.

NIH Public Access Policy
A national policy introduced in 2008, requiring researchers who accept grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to deposit reports of their publicly-funded research in the open access database PubMed Central (PMC) within twelve months of publication in a peer-reviewed journal. On December 16, 2011, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) co-sponsored the Research Works Act (H.R. 3699) in the U.S. House of Representatives, containing provisions which would prohibit open access mandates for federally funded research. The bill is supported by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) but opposed by the American Library Association (ALA) and by some members of the AAP. Click here to learn more about the NIH Public Access Policy.

In bookbinding, the step in which the text block and case (or covers) are pressed firmly together to expel air from between the leaves, giving the volume its desired shape. When done after sewing to reduce swell before the covers are applied, the process is called smashing.

Nippon Decimal Classification (NDC)
A system of library classification based on the 100-category Dewey Decimal Classification system, maintained by the Japan Library Association since 1956 for use primarily in cataloging Chinese- and Japanese-language books. Synonymous with Nippon Decimal System.

See: National Information Standards Organization.

nitrate decay
The chemical deterioration of cellulose nitrate film base over time, an irreversible process that can be retarded by proper storage. The International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) identifies five stages of decay: (1) the image fades, a brownish discoloration appears in the emulsion, and a faint noxious odor is emitted; (2) the emulsion becomes sticky to the touch; (3) the emulsion softens and blisters as gas bubbles appear, producing a stronger odor; (4) the film congeals into a solid mass, emitting a highly noxious odor; and (5) the film disintegrates into a brownish powder. Click here to see examples, courtesy of the National Film Preservation Board. Once nitrate film reaches stage 3, it cannot be preserved through duplication. Nitrate film in stages 4 and 5 is a hazardous waste and should be disposed of in an authorized manner. Compare with acetate decay.

nitrate film
See: cellulose nitrate.

See: National Library of Australia.

See: Library and Archives of Canada.

See: National Library of Education.

See: National Library of Medicine.

See: National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

See: National Library Week.

See: National Library Workers Day.

See: National Music Publishers Association.

See: New Members Round Table.

See: newsgroup.

Nobel Prize in Literature
A highly prestigious literary award established and funded in 1900 by Alfred B. Nobel, who made his fortune from the invention of dynamite. The Nobel Prize in Literature is given annually by the Swedish Academy in Stockholm to "the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most distinguished work of an idealistic tendency." Click here to see a list of past prizewinners. Wikipedia provides a List of Nobel Laureates in Literature. See also: National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize.

no date
A phrase, abbreviated n.d., used in library cataloging to indicate that the publication date is unknown because no date can be found in or on the item. If the correct date is ascertainable from other sources, it is indicated as a bracketed interpolation in the edition area of the bibliographic description (example: [1965]). In AACR2, if dates of publication and distribution are unknown, the cataloger may use date of copyright or manufacture (example: c1966). If no date of publication, distribution, copyright, or manufacture can be ascertained, the cataloger may supply an approximate date of publication, as in: [1965?], [ca. 1960], [196-?], [1965 or 1966], [18--?], etc.

From the Latin nodus, meaning "knot" or "knob." In botany, the point on the stem of a plant from which a leaf or twig grows. In communications, a junction point in a network, such as a personal computer connected to a LAN or a terminal connected to a mainframe. Each node has its own unique network address and the capacity to send, receive, and store messages. In an indexing language, the point in a tree structure at which two or more lines meet.

noir fiction
From the French noir meaning "darkness." A subgenre of modern crime fiction in which the setting is grimly urban and the characters are often petty, amoral criminals or weak, down-and-out individuals caught in a web of disillusionment, pessimism, and despair (example: The Postman Always Rings Twice [1934] by James M. Cain). See also: film noir.

In physics, any unwanted or unmodulated energy (audible or inaudible) accompanying a signal, especially random and persistent disturbance that obscures or interferes with transmission. Intensity is expressed as signal-to-noise ratio. In communication, any distortions, distractions, irrelevancies, etc., that interfere with the transfer of desired information. See also: Dolby.

noise management
Techniques used in libraries to mitigate the level of noise caused by high traffic and by users who do not regard the library as a quiet refuge, such as the designation of specific spaces for group study, establishment of "quiet zones" (including private study rooms), improvement of signage, and use of furniture designed to encourage quiet study and construction materials that deaden sound.

nom de plume
French for pen name, a name assumed by a writer, usually to disguise identity. Synonymous with pseudonym. According to The Bookman's Glossary (Bowker, 1983), the term is also used in reference to a fabricated byline adopted by one or more writers.

See: terminology.

non-adhesive binding
A method of binding used mainly in conservation in which no adhesive is used in direct contact with the book block. Some forms of non-adhesive binding use no adhesives at all (see the various volumes of Non-Adhesive Binding by Keith A. Smith).

nonaffiliated user
A person who uses the facilities and resources of an academic library but is not a registered student or member of the institution's faculty or staff. Most college and university libraries in the United States permit individuals lacking affiliation to use certain resources on-site, but each library determines its own policy with regard to borrowing privileges and other services for nonaffiliated users. The term also applies to users of a special library who are not connected in some way with the host organization. The corresponding term in public libraries is nonresident user.

A collective term for library materials that have physical form but are not bound in codex form like a book, including, but not limited to, maps and other cartographic materials (except atlases), graphs, prints, pictures, photographs, slides, filmstrips, motion pictures, videorecordings, sound recordings, kits, models, realia, etc. The category does not include electronic resources. Compare with nonprint. See also: audiovisual.

A serial title for which the publisher or vendor will not accept a cancellation or grant a refund once the subscription has been purchased or renewed.

Materials that may not be charged to a borrower account except by special arrangement but are usually available for library use only, including reference books, periodical indexes, and sometimes the periodical issues and volumes themselves. Whether materials in special collections are designated circulating or noncirculating depends on the policy of the individual library or library system, but their use is nearly always restricted to library premises.

Recurring information, materials, or records that are no longer up-to-date, for example, corporate annual reports from previous years or earlier editions of a reference serial, often retained in libraries and archives for their archival value. Noncurrent holdings of print newspapers and periodicals, called back files, are often converted to microfilm or microfiche to conserve space. The opposite of current. Compare with outdated.

Prose literary works describing events that actually occurred and characters or phenomena that actually exist or existed in the past. In a more general sense, any piece of prose writing in which the content is not imagined by the author. In libraries that use Library of Congress Classification (LCC) or Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), nonfiction is shelved by call number. Compare with fiction. See also: documentary and faction.

nonfiction film
A motion picture that presents actual rather than imaginary (fictional) people and situations. The category includes documentaries, educational films, ethnographic films, nature films, travel films, promotional films, newsreels, and some animated and cartoon films.

nonfiction novel
A narrative of an actual historical event, or sequence of events, that closely follows established facts but also includes fictional elements, such as conjectural dialogue or one or more characters not known to have participated in the action. The event is usually contemporary or from the recent past. The author may leave to the reader the task of distinguishing the real from the imaginary. Truman Capote's In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences (1965) is an early example. See also: faction.

nonfiling character
A character, such as the apostrophe, ignored in arrangement when it appears in a word, phrase, heading, or descriptor. For example, under most filing rules, the letters of the initial articles "a," "an," and "the" are ignored at the beginning of a title. In the MARC record, the number of nonfiling characters at the beginning of a title or heading is specified in the indicator at the beginning of the field. Synonymous with nonsorting character.

nongap break
A hiatus in the publication or numbering of a serial title despite the fact that no items issued are missing. This may occur when publication ceases temporarily and later resumes under the same or a different title, sometimes with a change of numbering. Compare with gap.

Copies of a work (usually a textbook) that a bookseller is permitted by the publisher to sell in bulk quantities to schools for educational use at a discretionary discount. Compare with net.

Materials published in a format other than writing or print on paper, including microfiche and microfilm, slides, filmstrips, films, videorecordings, audiorecordings, and information in digital formats such as machine-readable data files. Most nonprint library materials require special equipment for listening and/or viewing. Compare with nonbook.

A person who is unable to read, usually due to mental or physical disability or poor reading skills, or who chooses not to read, having never acquired the habit or for lack of motivation. Some nonreaders enjoy looking at publications, such as magazines, graphic novels, and comic books, that contain an abundance of pictorial content. Also spelled non-reader. Compare with reluctant reader.

nonrepeatable (NR)
A MARC field that may appear only once in the same bibliographic record, for example, the 250 field reserved for the edition statement and other information pertaining to edition. A nonrepeatable subfield may occur only once in a field. The opposite of repeatable.

nonresident's card
A borrower's card issued to a person who does not reside within the legal boundaries of the district or geographic area served by the library or library system, usually upon payment of a modest fee, renewable at regular intervals.

nonresident user
A person who uses the facilities and resources of a public library without residing within the legal boundaries of the district or geographic area it serves. In the United States, nonresidents are usually allowed to use most resources on-site, but each library or library system determines its own policy with regard to borrowing privileges and other services for nonresidents. Some public libraries will issue a nonresident's card upon presentation of valid identification and payment of a modest fee. The corresponding term in academic and special libraries is nonaffiliated user.

See: returns.

nonsense verse
Whimsical, light, humorous, often rhythmical poetry, usually intended for young people, in which the characters and actions are absurd and the meaning ambiguous or fanciful. Although word play is often used in nonsense verse, it is not a necessary ingredient, as this chorus from Edward Lear's The Jumblies shows:

Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live.
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue
And they went to sea in a sieve.

Limericks are one of the best-known forms of nonsense verse.

nonsorting character
See: nonfiling character.

nonsubscription serial
A serial publication not available on subscription or standing order because the publisher requires that each part or volume be ordered individually.

A library or other participant in the OCLC interlibrary loan network that does not respond to requests from other libraries to borrow returnable materials. In the OCLC WorldCat database, the OCLC symbols of nonsuppliers appear in lowercase in the holdings display attached to the bibliographic record for an item, in contrast to the symbols suppliers, which appear in uppercase.

See: nontraditional student.

nontraditional student
A student who enrolls at an institution of higher education after several years of little or no contact with the system of formal education. Nontrads are usually older than traditional students who enter college directly out of high school and complete their undergraduate degree without a break. Because nontrads often lack the library skills of their younger classmates, they may require instruction and reference assistance at a more basic level, but once they gain self-confidence, they can be highly motivated. Compare with adult learner.

nonverbal communication
Information conveyed without the use of speech, by means of visual cues such as clothing and body language (gesture, facial expression, eye contact, posture, etc.).

See: not our publication.

normal administrative practice (NAP)
The concept in archives that records such as draft documents, duplicates, and multiple copies of publications may be routinely destroyed when no longer needed, provided no information of enduring value to the organization is lost in the process.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
Adopted in 1997 by the Office of Management and Budget as the industry classification system used by statistical agencies of the U.S. federal government, NAICS (pronounced nakes) was developed by the Economic Classification Policy Committee of the OMB, in cooperation with Statistics Canada and the Instituto Nacional de Estadística Geografía e Informática (INEGI) of Mexico to replace the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) used since the 1930s.

Based on a new concept that classifies businesses by the processes they use to produce goods and services, NAICS is designed to reflect expansion of the service and technology sectors, provide comparable statistics across the three countries covered by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and be compatible with the International Industrial Classification System (ISIC) developed by the United Nations. Click here connect to the NAICS homepage.

North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG)
Established in 1985, NASIG is an independent organization that facilitates the sharing of information and ideas among individuals involved with serial publications, including serials publishers, librarians, subscription agents, producers and vendors of catalog software and periodical indexes/databases, representatives of bibliographic utilities, educators, and binders, mainly in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. NASIG sponsors an annual conference, hosts the electronic mailing list NASIG-L , and publishes the NASIG Newsletter. Click here to connect to the NASIG homepage.

North American Sport Library Network (NASLIN)
Founded in 1989, NASLIN is dedicated to facilitating communication and resource sharing among sports libraries, archives, and information services through conferences, educational programs, and other cooperative projects. Its members are librarians, archivists, and information specialists involved in the publication, acquisition, organization, retrieval, and dissemination of information related to all aspects of sports, physical education, and recreation. NASLIN publishes the semiannual newsletter NASLINE. Click here to connect to the NASLIN homepage.

north pointer
A standard graphic device in the form of a small cross or arrow pointing to the north, printed on maps, charts, blueprints, plans, etc., usually in or near the legend to indicate compass orientation. Click here to see an example on a map of Afghanistan (Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection) and here to see another example on a map of Havana, Cuba. Compare with compass rose.

See: not on shelf.

See: logical difference.

notable book
See: best books.

The set of characters (numerals, letters of the alphabet, and/or symbols) used to represent the main classes and subdivisions of a classification system. In library cataloging, the class notation assigned to a bibliographic item represents its subject and is the first element of the call number, determining its position on the shelf relative to items on other subjects. For example, the class notation assigned to the title Censorship: Opposing Viewpoints (edited by Tamara Roleff) is 363.31 in Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) and Z658.U5 in Library of Congress Classification (LCC). See also: base of notation, expressive notation, faceted notation, mixed notation, mnemonic notation, and pure notation.

Also refers to the symbols used to write music, as in a music score, and to express mathematical concepts.

notched binding
In some adhesive bindings, shallow parallel grooves are cut into the binding edge of the sections perpendicular to the spine to enlarge the surface area exposed to the adhesive. Although notching strengthens the binding of a book, the additional adhesive has the disadvantage of restricting openability.

Making a "V" cut into the edge of motion picture film to remove damaged perforations, rather than making the repair with a splice, a practice that should be avoided because, by weakening the stock, it often leads to further damage.

In writing and printing, a statement explaining a point in the text of a work or giving the source of a quotation or idea that does not originate with the author. Notes are usually numbered consecutively and may be listed as footnotes at the bottom of the same page as the text to which they refer or as endnotes at the conclusion of an article, chapter, or book. See also: shoulder note and side note.

Also refers to a statement in the note area of the bibliographic record giving the contents of the work, its relationship to other works, and any physical characteristics not included elsewhere in the bibliographic description. If there is more than one note, each is given in a separate paragraph. See also: biographical note.

In Dewey Decimal Classification, an instruction, definition, or reference in the schedules explaining the scope and use of a class or its relationship to other classes. DDC includes over 20 different types of notes. See also: add note and footnote.

note area
The area following the physical description in a bibliographic record giving the contents of the work, its relationship to other works, and any physical characteristics not included in preceding areas of bibliographic description. Each note is given a separate paragraph in fields 5XX of the MARC record (with XX in the range of 01-99), for example, the 520 field reserved for the annotation or summary note.

In modern usage, a loose-leaf or spiral binder with flexible or inflexible board or plastic covers, usually filled with blank leaves (ruled or unruled) for making notes. Some notebooks have a pocket folded across the lower edge inside the front and/or back cover for holding loose papers.

Historically, blankbooks or loose sheets were often used for making notes. In ancient Rome, small parchment notebooks, probably developed from wooden tablets, were extensively used in keeping accounts. In some cases, a notebook published as the work of an important historical figure is actually a collection of papers assembled after the person's death (example: the Leonardo Da Vinci Notebook in the collections of the British Library).

In computing, the term is used synonymously with laptop.

A formal announcement or warning, given in advance, of intention to end an agreement, especially by an employer of intention to terminate employment. In A Guideline for the Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure of Academic Librarians approved in June 2005 at the annual conference of the American Library Association, the recommended period of advance notice is 3 months before the end of the first year of probationary service for librarians employed less than 9 months, at least 6 months for librarians employed for 9-18 months, and at least one year for librarians employed longer than 18 months or tenured.

notification slip
A printed form sent to the acquisitions department of a library by an approval plan vendor to announce a new book that meets the needs profile established by the library. Under most plans, rejection of the title by the library within a designated period of time will prevent shipment. See also: slip plan.

not on shelf (nos)
An item listed as available in a library catalog that cannot be located in correct call number sequence in the stacks. When this occurs, the patron may request that the library staff conduct a search for the item. If it is not found, the circulation status is changed to "missing" in the item record, and a replacement copy may be ordered or the bibliographic record removed from the catalog. See also: misshelved.

notorious book
A written work that has acquired a reputation, usually unfavorable. A prime example is Malleus Maleficarum ("The Hammer of Witches") by Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger, first published in 1487 (University of Sydney Library). For 300 years, it was the leading manual used by Catholic and Protestant clergy in the detection and persecution of witches and witchcraft. Click here to learn more about the history of the work in Wikipedia and here to read the text of the 1928 edition. Synonymous with infamous book.

not our publication (NOP)
A term used on a publisher's invoice to indicate that the title ordered cannot be supplied because the library or bookseller apparently ordered it from the wrong publisher.

not returnable (NR)
A term used on a publisher's invoice to indicate that a book or other item cannot be returned once it has been received by the library or bookseller placing the order.

not yet published (NYP)
A term used on a publisher's invoice to indicate that the title ordered cannot be immediately supplied because it is in the process of being published and will be available at some time in the future.

From the Italian novella, meaning "a new little thing." In most European languages, the word for novel is roman, derived from the literary tradition of medieval romance. The origins of the modern novel can also be traced to the picaresque narratives of 16th-century Spain, of which Cervantes' Don Quixote is a well-known example.

As a literary form, the novel of incident began in 1719 with the publication of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, followed shortly by Moll Flanders. The novel of character originated in 1740 with Pamela by Samuel Richardson. Since then, the form has evolved into many styles and genres (see Bildungsroman, epistolary novel, gothic novel, graphic novel, historical fiction, Kunstlerroman, psychological novel, roman à clef, and sentimental novel). The British Library provides an online exhibition on The Victorian Novel.

Strictly speaking, a novel is a fictional prose narrative involving people and events that exist in the imagination of the novelist. This is true even of historical fiction, which is an imaginative attempt to reconstruct events known to have occurred in the past. There is no upper limit on the length of a novel, but a fictional narrative of less than 30,000 to 40,000 words is considered either a novelette or short story. Greater length gives the novelist a freer hand in the development of character, plot, and setting. Most novels are divided into chapters, usually reflecting major divisions in the narrative. Long novels may be divided into "books," each containing two or more chapters. Compare with novella. See also: archetypal novel and Booker Prize.

A novel of 30,000 to 50,000 words (example: Sweet Smell of Success by Ernest Lehman). Synonymous with short novel. Compare with novella. See also: short story.

novel in letters
See: epistolary novel.

A novel based on a literary work originally created in another form, often as a dramatic work, for example, The Wave by Morton Rhue, based on a teleplay by Johnny Dawkins that was based on a short story by Ron Jones. Novelizations are often published as paperback originals to help merchandise a specific production. In AACR2, a novelization is cataloged under the name of the novelist, with added entries for the author and title of the work on which it is based. See also: dramatization.

An Italian word meaning "short story" or "tale." A short prose narrative comparable in length to a novelette or long short story, which often relates a surprising fictional event (example: Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway). A novella often has a moral (Billy Budd by Herman Melville) that is sometimes obscure (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad), and may be written in satirical style (Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth). Although it is not unusual for novellas to be published separately in slim volumes, they are often included in collections with one or more works of similar length and/or short stories. Compare with novel.

novelty binding
A bookbinding of unconventional shape and/or covering material (carved ivory, papier-mâché, mother-of-pearl, fur, snakeskin, etc.), fashionable during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Click here to see an unusual 16th-century heart-shaped prayer book (Saxon State Library) and here to see a book of heraldic monograms in the shape of a shield, designed by the 19th-century binder John Leighton (British Library). See also this example from the Russian Imperial Collection, a history of the Czar's regiment bound in a hussar's uniform with ribbons of the orders of St. Andrew and St. George (Library of Congress).

novelty work
A work made from materials uncommon for its format, with unusual attachments, in an unconventional shape, or with other uncommon features (Thesaurus for Graphic Materials II), for example, a postcard made of leather, a luminescent poster, or a hidden image work. Novelty works are often collectible. Synonymous with exotic work. See also: pop-up book and novelty binding.

A person who uses an unfamiliar computer system for the first time, as opposed to an experienced user. In the design of Web sites and graphical user interfaces, libraries and computer software companies may employ usability assessment techniques to judge the user-friendliness of a new system. In a more general sense, any patron for whom research techniques or library procedures are new and often confusing. Special consideration must be shown at the reference desk.

An abbreviation indicating that no place of publication is provided in the imprint.

See: National Public Radio.

See: not returnable.

See: National Recording Preservation Board.

See: National Recording Registry.

An abbreviation of note signed. See also: letter signed.

See: National Science Digital Library.

See: National Storytelling Network.

NT (or N)
See: narrower term.

See: National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

See: National Technical Information Service.

See: National Union Catalog.

See: National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections.

A quantity that can be counted, represented by a word, numeral, or combination of numerals--cardinal numbers indicate how many (1, 2, 3, 14, 154); ordinal numbers indicate relative position in sequence (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 14th, 154th). In text, the numbers zero to nine are usually spelled out, but numbers greater than nine are given in numerals. Also, to assign a number to each item in a series, for reference and to indicate sequence, as in the foliation or pagination of a book. Abbreviated no.

Also refers to a uniquely numbered and dated issue or part of a serial, series, or other work issued in installments (fascicles). See also: back issue, current issue, and number book.

number book
A form of book, common in the 18th and 19th centuries, published in numbered parts or installments, usually at regular intervals. See also: serialized.

number building
In Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), when no existing class in the schedules precisely represents the subject of a work, the cataloger must construct a class number, in accordance with established rules, by adding to a base number further notation found in the tables or in another part of the main schedules. For example, the addition of the decimal fraction .5 from the table of standard subdivisions to the base number 020 for "Library and information sciences" to construct the class number 020.5 representing the "Periodicals" in library and information sciences. See also: built number.

numbered copy
A copy of a book published in a consecutively numbered limited edition, bearing a copy number assigned by hand by the publisher, as well as an indication of the total number of copies printed, usually in the colophon or in a certificate of issue on the verso of the leaf preceding title page. See also: overrun.

The identification of each of the successive items of a publication (issues, parts, volumes, etc.) by the assignment of a numeral, letter, or other character, or combination of characters, with or without an accompanying word ("volume," "number," etc.) and/or chronological designation (AACR2). Not all serial publications are numbered. See also: issue number and volume number.

In writing and printing, a character or set of characters used to represent a number (example: the arabic numeral 9 or the roman numeral IX). General rules for the use of numerals in library cataloging are given in Appendix C of AACR2.

numeric and/or alphabetic, chronological, or other designation
In library cataloging, the material specific details area of the bibliographic description in which the publication history of a serial is given, usually in the form of an open or closed entry, as distinct from the holdings statement indicating the issues owned by a specific library or library system.

nursery rhyme
A short metrical verse or ditty originating in the oral tradition of a specific culture, taught to very young children to help them learn to speak or count. Some nursery rhymes are derived from adult sayings that had a double meaning in the cultural context in which they originated. In an accumulative rhyme the phrases repeat, with additions as the verse progresses. Nursery rhymes are usually published in collections shelved in the juvenile section of a public library or in the curriculum room of an academic library. Laura Smolkin has created A Rhyme a Week: Nursery Rhymes for Early Literacy. Click here to read The Real Mother Goose. See also: limerick.

See: not yet published.

See: New York Public Library.

See: New York Review of Books.

See: New York Times Book Review.

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