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Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science

by Joan M. Reitz
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QR code
An abbreviation of Quick Response code. A type of two-dimensional barcode invented in 1994 by a subsidiary of Toyota for use in the automotive industry (see this example). QR codes have far greater data storage capacity than standard UPC barcodes and can be decoded at high speed. QR codes storing addresses and Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) may appear on almost any object (books, periodicals, signage) to direct users to additional information (example). Click here to learn more about QR codes, courtesy of Wikipedia, and here to learn how QR codes are used in libraries.

See: quadrangle.

quad-centered photograph
The second exposure in a series of three consecutive aerial photographs taken of the area covered by a quadrangle used as a unit in mapping. The first exposure is taken directly above one of the boundaries of the quadrangle, the second directly above the center of the quad, and the third above the opposite boundary. The quad-centered exposure is made from an altitude that permits coverage of the entire area of the quad.

A four-sided area of the earth's surface bounded by parallels of latitude and meridians of longitude, used as a unit of area in mapping. The dimensions of a quad are not necessarily the same in both directions. The 1:24,000 7.5-minute topographic quadrangle is the base map used by the U.S. Geological Survey, the largest mapping agency in the United States. Each USGS quad bears a name, often based on a distinctive feature of the area mapped (see this example). The Earth Sciences & Map Library at UC Berkeley is working to provide online access to the historic topographic quadrangles produced by the U.S. Geological Survey from 1895 to the present (see Historic Topographic Maps of California). Maptech provides historic topographic quads for the northeastern United States. Click here to learn more about quadrangles. See also: quad-centered photograph.

Sound reproduced by an audio device simultaneously from four separate channels with four amplifiers or speakers. Because quadraphonic sound separation produces a more realistic result than monaural or stereophonic sound recording, its developers envisioned it replacing stereo but it failed to do so.

Issued every four years. Also refers to a serial publication issued every four years. See also: annual, biennial, triennial, quinquennial, sexennial, septennial, and decennial.

quadrilinear script
See: minuscule.

Paper ruled from side to side and top to bottom in small squares, like graph paper.

Evidence that a person applying for employment has passed the requisite examinations or acquired the education, experience, and skills necessary to meet the requirements stated in the position description. Usually used in the plural: qualifications.

In Dublin Core and some other metadata schemes, the process of using qualifiers to provide additional information about a metadata element.

In Dublin Core and some other metadata schemes, a term added to provide information about the value of a metadata element. In Dublin Core, qualifiers may refine the meaning of an element or identify encoding schemes that aid in interpreting the element value. In subject indexing, see parenthetical qualifier.

Also, a word or phrase added to a heading in an index to distinguish it from other headings with the same spelling but different meaning.

quality of service
The degree to which the services provided by a library or library system meet the needs of its users and the standards established by the profession, usually assessed statisticcally and on the basis of qualitative feedback (user surveys, suggestion box, etc.). Quality of service is affected by budgetary constraints, management policies, design and condition of facilities, personnel decisions, and employee morale. Abbreviated QoS. See also: LIBQUAL+.

quality paperback
See: trade paperback.

An acronym for quasi-autonomous non-gvernmental organization, an independent advisory body established and funded by a government, but having separate legal powers within a restricted area of activity. Synonymous in the U.K. with non-departmental public body (NDPB).

quantity discount
A discount offered by a publisher or jobber to booksellers and libraries on orders for a minimum number of copies of the same item or a minimum number of assorted titles. Large libraries are usually in a better position than small libraries to take advantage of such offers.

quarter binding
A style of bookbinding in which the spine is bound in a different material than the sides, usually a more durable covering such as leather, often in a contrasting color, extending no more than one-eighth of the width of the boards. Click here to see a 19th-century example in quarter calf with marbled paper boards and here to see an example with the spine in cloth, courtesy of the British Library's Database of Bookbindings. Compare with full binding, half binding, and three-quarter binding. See also: quarter cloth and quarter leather.

quarter cloth
A book with the spine bound in cloth and the rest of the cover in some other material, such as paper, often in a contrasting color (see this example, courtesy of Flickr.com). Compare with half cloth. See also: quarter leather.

quarter leather
A book with the spine bound in leather and the rest of the cover in some other material, such as cloth, often in a contrasting color (see these examples, courtesy of Sangorski & Sutcliffe). Compare with half leather. See also: quarter cloth.

Issued four times a year. Also refers to a serial issued every three months, usually in spring, summer, fall, and winter. Most scholarly journals are published quarterly (examples: Shakespeare Quarterly and Quarterly Review of Film and Video).

quarto (4to)
A book, approximately 13 inches in height, made by folding a full sheet of book paper in two right-angle folds, producing signatures of four leaves (eight pages). The precise size of each leaf in a quarto edition depends on the size of the original sheet. Some early editions are known by the number of leaves in their sections, for example, the Quarto Edition of Shakespeare's plays. Compare with folio, octavo, duodecimo, and sextodecimo.

Also refers to an early edition of a one of Shakespeare's plays, issued separately before the First Folio was published seven years after the playwright's death in 1616. The first of his plays to be published was Titus Andronicus, issued in a quarto edition in 1594. Thought to be Shakespeare's working drafts, rehearsal copies, or versions recorded from memory by actors, the quartos are believed to be closer than the First Folio to the way the works were actually written and performed. They are of interest to Shakespeare scholars because the various versions of the same play reveal that some lines, now famous, changed over time. Cheaply produced and available for as little as sixpence, the quartos were not issued in large numbers because they were not particularly profitable. Click here to see digital images and compare texts of the quartos owned by the British Library, mostly from collections acquired by King George III and the 18th-century actor David Garrick.

A word or phrase not precisely the same in meaning as another term, which is nevertheless treated as synonymous in a given indexing language, for example, the term "Library science" used for (UF) "Librarianship" in the Library of Congress Subject Headings list. Synonymous with near-synonym.

quatern book
In hand-binding, the binder traditionally bound the thirteenth book at no charge, presumably as an incentive to place larger binding orders, but by the early 19th century, this custom was restricted in England to all the copies of a single title delivered to the bindery at the same time and was not carried over into machine binding.

In bookbinding, a gathering consisting of four sheets of paper, parchment, or vellum folded once to create eight leaves, used in assembling some manuscript books and early printed books. See also: quinternion, sextern, and ternion.

An ornament or illustration resembling a four-lobed leaf or flower, commonly used in medieval architecture (especially in stained-glass windows) and in miniatures painted in illuminated manuscripts (see this example in a 14th-century Bible historiale, courtesy of the Getty Museum, MS. 1). Click here to see examples in a 14th-century French chronicle (Bibliothèque Nationale de France) and here to page through quatrefoil miniatures in a French breviary of the same century (Morgan Library, MS M.75).

A request submitted as input in a search of an online catalog or bibliographic database to retrieve records or documents relevant to the user's information need(s). Some information storage and retrieval systems allow queries to be submitted in natural language, but most systems require the user to formulate search statements in the artificial language used for indexing and in syntax acceptable to the search software. The query is an approximation of the information need that provides the impetus for the search.

Also refers to the symbol ? used by the copy editor or by the printer's reader in the margins of a proof to indicate to the author the need for clarification of a detail in the text.

A list of written questions carefully formulated to be administered to a selected group of people for the purpose of gathering information (feedback) in survey research. In libraries, patrons are sometimes asked to fill out a questionnaire designed to assess the perceived quality and usefulness of services and resources. The results are then compiled and analyzed for use in self-assessment and planning (see this online example).

A temporary storage location in a computer, reserved for data awaiting processing, usually organized chronologically (first-in-first-out) or according to some other pre-established priority. Also refers to a line of people waiting to be served or a series of tasks waiting to be executed, usually in the order in which they arrived or were received.

Quill & Quire
A monthly magazine published in Toronto since 1935, providing news and reviews of books published in Canada. The June and December issues include the Canadian Publishers Directory as a free supplement. ISSN: 0033-6491. Click here to connect to the online version of Q&Q.

quill pen
A writing implement made by cutting back the plume and shaping the thick end of one of the flight feathers of a large bird, such as a goose or swan, used prior to the invention of the dip fountain pen in the 18th century for writing documents and for copying manuscripts by hand. Using a quill pen was a two-handed operation in the Middle Ages, with a knife held in the spare hand for making corrections (see this illumination in a 12th-century Gospel book, courtesy of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Netherlands). A quill pen had to be sharpened repeatedly because the nib wears and often breaks with use. Click here and here to learn more about the cutting of quill pens.

Issued very five years. Also refers to a serial publication issued every five years (example: Biography and Genealogy Master Index). See also: annual, biennial, triennial, quadrennial, sexennial, septennial, and decennial.

In bookbinding, a gathering consisting of five sheets of paper, parchment, or vellum, each folded once to create 10 leaves, used in assembling some manuscript books and early printed books. See also: quaternion, sextern, and ternion.

Originally, a gathering consisting of two or more (usually four) parchment or vellum bifolia nested one inside another to form eight leaves (16 pages), convenient for hand-sewn books (see this example). Michelle Brown notes in Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Getty Museum/British Library, 1994) that quire numeration (numbers written on the final verso to facilitate collation in binding) began in late Antiquity, and quire signatures (numbers and/or letters written within a quire to facilitate internal arrangement) began around 1400. When paper came into widespread use after the invention of printing from movable type, its thinness enabled more sheets to be included in a gathering. In modern usage, the term is synonymous with gathering, section, and signature. Also refers to one-twentieth of a ream, equal to 24 sheets of handmade paper or 25 sheets of machine-made paper.

The minimum number of members who must be present for business to be conducted at a formal meeting governed by the rules of parliamentary procedure. When a quorum is not present, a meeting may proceed without formally transacting business.

Words or passages reproduced from a written work or repeated verbatim from an oral statement. Because words and phrases taken out of context may give a misleading impression of the whole, care must be taken in selecting quotations. A passage quoted incorrectly is a misquotation. In publishing, the accuracy of quotations is checked by the editor. Collections of literary quotations are available in the reference section of most libraries. Bartlett's Familiar Quotations is available online from Bartleby.com.

In printing, brief quotations are set in the text, enclosed in "quotation marks." Long quotations, called block quotations, are set apart from the main text by indention and/or printed in a smaller type size without quotation marks, preceded and followed by a blank line. A very long quotation is an excerpt. To avoid copyright infringement, quotations in a written work should be documented in footnotes or endnotes. In an oral statement, the source should be verbally acknowledged as a courtesy to the original author. Synonymous with quote. See also: permission.

In acquisitions, a general term for a library's request that a publisher or vendor state the price of an item, and for the seller's response.

Arabic for "recital." The sacred text of the Muslims, consisting of revelations made by Allah through the angel Gabriel to Mohammad, who delivered them orally from A.D. 610 until his death in 632. Put into writing after his death and canonized by the Third Caliph, Uthman, in the codex of Medina, the Qur'an is made up of 114 surahs or chapters. Like the Christian Bible, the Arabic text, copied in many forms, has served as a vehicle for the development of the arts of calligraphy, illumination, and fine binding. Click here to see a 19th-century illuminated example, courtesy of the National Library of Indonesia. Images of leaves from precious Qur'an manuscripts are also provided by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Timeline of Art History. Also spelled Koran and Quran.

The layout of keys on a standard keyboard, devised by newspaper editor Christopher L. Sholes in the early 1870s. The term is derived from the first six letters on the top row, reading from left to right: Q-W-E-R-T-Y.

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