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Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science

by Joan M. Reitz
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An abbreviation of see also.

See: Society of American Archivists.

A paid leave of absence granted to an academic professional for the purpose of research or scholarly or creative endeavor, usually for one semester or a full academic year, following six or seven years of full-time service, sometimes involving travel. At many colleges and universities, applications are evaluated on a competitive basis by a faculty committee or in some other manner determined by institutional governance. Librarians employed in academic libraries may be eligible for sabbatic leave, depending on the provisions of the contract governing terms of employment.

See: Program for Cooperative Cataloging.

A liturgical book containing prayers recited by the celebrant during the consecration of the Eucharist at high Mass (other parts were contained in the evangelary, gradual, and epistolary). Michelle Brown notes in Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Getty Museum/British Library, 1994) that by the end of the 13th century the sacramentary had been superseded by the missal, a new book combining the various texts in a single volume, introduced during the Carolingian period to standardize Church ritual. Click here and here to view two leaves from a beautifully illuminated 9th-century Carolingian sacramentary (Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Lat. 2290) and here to page through an 11th-century Ottonian sacramentary (Getty Museum, MS Ludwig V 2).

sacred text
A written work revered by people who believe in one of the world's organized religions. In library cataloging, such works are entered under a uniform title (Bible, Torah, Qur'an, Vedas, etc.). Most libraries in the United States keep at least one English translation of the Bible in the reference collection, usually with commentaries, concordances, etc. The sacred books of the other major world religions may be available in the circulating collection of academic libraries, especially at universities offering a major or graduate degree in comparative religion. Compare with liturgical work. See also: scripture.

A method used to bind magazines and pamphlets in which the leaves are secured by round wire staples driven completely through the back fold at two or more places, usually by machine. Metal staples were introduced in about 1875. Unlike side-stitching, the method allows the leaves to open flat, but its strength is not sufficient to bind publications of more than about 100 pages. Over time, metal staples may rust, staining the pages and causing the adjacent paper to disintegrate. Preservation requires that the staples be removed and the section(s) properly sewn. Synonymous with stapling and saddle-wire stitching. Compare with fold sewn.

safety film
An umbrella term applied to all motion picture film made with a nonflammable plastic base. Beginning in the 1890s, most 35mm film was manufactured with a base of highly combustible cellulose nitrate, which made handling film a hazardous occupation. In the early 1950s, nitrate film was replaced with slow-burning cellulose acetate. Today, noncombustible polyester film is used in most commercial film production and many old prints have been preserved by transfer to safety base.

From the Old Norse word for "thing said," a lengthy narrative in prose or verse, telling of adventure and heroic events, usually involving the history of a legendary Norse lineage. Click here to see a leaf in a 13th-century copy of the historical Heimskringla sagas of Iceland. In modern usage, any long, complicated tale in which the plot has many unexpected twists and turns, particularly one recounting the fortunes of an extended family (example: The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy).

sailing card
A small printed card, usually 4 x 6.5 inches in size, used by shippers of the 1850s and 1860s to attract passengers and cargo to ships preparing to depart, often bearing a picture of the vessel (Thesausurus for Graphic Materials II). Use of this form of ephemera declined with the advent of steamships and the resulting demise of the clipper ship. Click here to see an example. Synonymous with ship card.

See: Project SAILS.

A sum of money paid to an employee on a regular basis (weekly, biweekly, monthly) for performing a specific job. In the United States, most full-time librarians and technical support staff are salaried. Statistical information on salaries for librarians employed in the United States and Canada is reported annually in Library Journal (usually in the October 15 issue) and in Library and Book Trade Almanac. The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) publishes the ARL Annual Salary Survey covering over 12,000 professional positions in ARL libraries. Compare with wages.

See: Substance Abuse Librarians & Information Specialists.

salted paper print
Invented by William Henry Fox Talbot in 1840 as a result of his experiments with "photogenic drawing," salt prints were the earliest positive photographic prints, made by immersing a sheet of high-quality writing paper in a solution of sodium chloride (table salt) and coating one side with a solution of silver nitrate to produce light-sensitive silver chloride. Placed inside a frame under a calotype or glass negative, the paper was exposed to ultraviolet light (sunlight) and then fixed by washing to dissolve the unexposed silver salts. Because they are contact prints, salted paper prints are the same size as the negative. Embedded in the fibers of the paper, rather than on a surface layer, the image appears grainy and mottled when affected by the texture and any imperfections in the paper negative. Glass negatives produced a much sharper image. Salted paper prints are usually a warm brown color with limited tonal range. They were superseded as a photographic medium by the albumen print, invented in 1850, which gave clearer definition. Click here to see examples (Getty Museum) and here to see another selection, courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Click here to learn more about the process, courtesy of James M. Reilly.

salt print
See: salted paper print.

Measures taken to recover materials, equipment, and furnishings damaged outside of normal use, for example, by water as a result of a major leak or flood. Salvaged materials may require special conservation procedures such as vacuum freeze drying or fumigation. Items not salvageable are usually discarded. Also refers collectively to the materials recovered.

same size
Instructions from the publisher to the printer to reproduce an illustration submitted as copy without enlargement or reduction in size.

Publications officially censored in the former Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.), produced clandestinely by a variety of means and passed by hand from reader to reader among friends to avoid punishment (example: The Chronicle of Current Events dedicated to defending human rights). Click here to see examples.

In a more general sense, clandestine publishing by private individuals or groups in a country where the state has a monopoly of publishing and exercises strict censorship.

sample book
An album or other volume containing specimens, usually of a commercial product such as cloth, yarn, leather, wood, wallpaper, or paint, from which the customer may make a selection. Click here to see a 19th-century French example containing samples of dyed yarn (University of Delaware Library) and here to see a 20th-century example containing fabric samples, courtesy of Fabrics.net. Typefaces and printing papers are also displayed in sample books. Also, a book containing models of designs and lettering for the use of medieval scribes (see this example, courtesy of The Lilly Library at Indiana University).

sample issue
An issue of a periodical, usually the first of an entirely new publication, sent at no charge by the publisher to a potential subscriber for inspection. In libraries, such copies are usually received and evaluated for selection by the serials department. In academic libraries, they may be routed to the appropriate department of the teaching faculty for evaluation.

See: Standard Address Number.

A penalty imposed by an employer on an employee for cause, whether minor, as in the case of a formal reprimand, or major, as in a suspension of service for a specified period of time. Sanctions are usually imposed as a result of proceedings governed by established procedures, including proper employee notification of the basis for the action.

A style of typeface, often used for headlines, that lacks short finishing projections, called serifs, at the end of each main stroke (see this illustration). Also spelled sanserif. See also: block letter.

See: Systems and Services Section.

The use of sarcasm, irony, and wit to expose to ridicule the weaknesses or foibles of a person, group, or institution, often used to call public attention to a moral lapse or abuse of public trust, to damage the reputation of the victim for political or personal reasons, or as entertainment (example: An Ideal Husband, a comic drama by Oscar Wilde). See also: caricature, cartoon, lampoon, and libel.

To preserve a data file by copying it from main memory (RAM) to a permanent storage medium, such as a hard disk or floppy disk, at the end of a session on a computer. Unsaved data may be lost when the application is closed or the computer powered down.

sawn-in cords
See: sunk bands.

See: sensitive but unclassified.

The ability of a system, network, or process to handle changes in amount of work (throughput) efficiently. Typically, scalability depends on the system's ability to be expanded or upgraded to accommodate increased demand.

The ratio of distance shown on a map, globe, relief model, section, aerial photograph, or other cartographic item to its corresponding dimension on the ground or to another graphic representation. On maps and charts, the scale is usually printed beneath the title or in the legends in the form of a bar scale, representative fraction (example: 1:24,000), or statement of equivalency (One Inch = 500 miles). As a general rule, resolution (the capacity to depict detail) is enhanced as map scale increases, which means that geographic features will be represented in greater detail when mapped at a scale of 1:10,000 than at 1:100,000 or at a scale of 1:100,000 than at 1:1,000,000. Digital images of printed maps do not necessarily preserve scale. When a map is cataloged by a library, the statement of scale is given in the mathematical data area of the bibliographic description. Click here to learn more about map scale. The U.S. Geological Survey also provides information about map scales. See also: intermediate-scale map, large-scale map, small-scale map, and vertical exaggeration.

Also, the ratio of the size of a model or reproduction to the size of the original object. Also refers to the size of an item relative to others of its class. Compare with reduction ratio.

In printing, a very rough preliminary layout of text and illustrations, especially of advertising or promotional material.

In data processing, a peripheral device that reads and converts handwritten or printed text, graphics, or barcodes into digital format (a bitmap) for processing or display on a computer screen, without actually recognizing the content. In libraries, optical scanners are used to create digital images of materials for interlibrary loan, document delivery, and electronic reserves and in circulation to read the barcode on the patron's library card and on items in the collection. Some barcode scanners require an external decoder. Click here to learn more about scanners, courtesy of HowStuffWorks. See also: book digitizer.

The separation of entries on the same subject in a catalog or index, a condition that occurs when entries are made under (1) both the singular and plural forms of a heading, (2) variant forms of a name or title, or (3) a broad heading in one instance and a more specific heading in another. Scatter may also occur when there is inadequate control of synonyms or lack of precision in the assignment of subject headings or descriptors. Scatter is reduced by authority control and vocabulary control.

scatter border
See: strewn border.

See: completeness.

scatter note
A note in a classification schedule instructing the cataloger to classify works in multiple locations. In Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), the instruction is given in a class-elsewhere, see-reference, or relocation note, for example, the instruction under 023.7 (Title and job descriptions) to class titles and job descriptions for specific types of library positions in 023.2-023.4 (Types of positions).

In a list of pre-coordinate indexing terms, a note indicating that a term is used as a subheading under one or more categories of headings, for example, the note in the Library of Congress Subject Headings list under the heading "Catalogs, Union" indicating that "Union lists" is used as a subdivision under "types of printed or non-book materials, e.g. Italian imprints--Union lists."

scatter proof
In printing, a proof showing more than one illustration on the same sheet, not as they will be placed in the final page layout, used for checking color (see this example).

See: Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

An outline or sketch of the plot of a dramatic work (play, opera, ballet, etc.) indicating the order of scenes and the characters involved in the action. Compare with treatment.

See: photogram.

See: classification schedule.

schedule reduction
The elimination of some of the provisions made in a previous edition of a classification schedule, resulting in the discontinuation of certain class numbers, usually because the literature on the subject has dwindled significantly or because the class represents a distinction no longer recognized in the discipline or field.

A clear, simple line drawing or diagram used in textbooks and technical books to illustrate an operating principle or mechanism (or one of its parts). To see examples, try a search on the keyword "schematic" in Google Images. See also: schematic map.

schematic map
A special-purpose map on which features are represented in highly simplified or diagrammatic form. Designed to convey information of limited scope, a schematic map requires the skills of a graphic artist who tailors the design to a specific class of potential users based on queries that the content might be expected to answer. Click here to see a schematic map of the railroads in Greater Pittsburgh, designed for travelers, and here to see a schematic map of the city of St. Petersburg, Russia, designed for tourists. Compare with cartogram.

A librarian engaged in the pursuit of serious scholarly interests for personal reasons and to benefit the institution with which he or she is affiliated, the library profession, or the humanities, for example, Dr. James A. Pegolotti, retired public services librarian (Western Connecticut State University) and author of Deems Taylor: A Biography (Northeastern University Press, 2003). The last two Librarians of Congress, Daniel J. Boorstin and James H. Billington, have been published historians. New York University's (NYU) Graduate School of Arts and Science and Long Island University's (LIU) Palmer School of Library and Information Science collaborate in a dual master's degree program intended to prepare students for careers in academic and research institutions, cultural organizations, and other research settings. For more on this subject, see The Scholar-Librarian: Books, Libraries, and the Visual Arts (Oak Knoll/Boston Athenaeum, 2005) by Richard Wendorf. Compare with renaissance librarian.

scholarly book
A publishing term for a book that is: (1) written in a scholarly style (2) about a specialized subject, (3) aimed at a relatively narrow, clearly defined market segment, (4) sold primarily within that market, (5) often purchased on the basis of imprint, (6) not price-sensitive, (7) not highly profitable for the publisher, (8) usually published by a university press or the publishing arm of a scholarly society, (9) reviewed mainly in scholarly journals, and (10) indexed, with a bibliography or list of references for further reading at the end. Scholarly books normally generate little income from the sale of subsidiary rights but attract a more sustained readership than most trade titles (adapted from Bodian's Publishing Desk Reference, Oryx Press, 1988). See also: monograph.

scholarly communication
The means by which individuals engaged in academic research and creative endeavor inform their peers, formally or informally, of the work they are engaged in or have accomplished. Following a tradition that began with the Academy in ancient Athens, scholars communicate by writing monographs and journal articles for publication, presenting conference papers that may subsequently be published in proceedings and transactions, submitting reports in fulfillment of grant requirements, creating and maintaining Web sites for the academic community, and corresponding with peers via e-mail and electronic mailing lists. Broadly defined, the process includes not only the creation and dissemination of scholarly works but also evaluation of quality (peer review) and preservation for future use. One of the goals of academic libraries is to facilitate scholarly communication in all its forms. Click here to read the statement of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) on Principles and Strategies for the Reform of Scholarly Communication (C&RL News, September 2003). See also: Information Access Alliance and SPARC.

scholarly journal
See: journal.

scholarly press
A publisher that specializes in books on academic subjects written by scholars who are experts in their field. Some scholarly presses also publish journals. A scholarly press may be associated with an institution of higher learning (example: Yale University Press) or not (example: Ashgate). Compare with university press.

Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)
An international alliance of approximately 200 universities, research libraries, and library associations, SPARC was created in 1998 by several Association of Research Libraries (ARL) directors to address the pricing practices and policies of scientific, technical, and medical (STM) journal publishers. The coalition seeks to educate faculty on academic serials issues, fosters competition in the scholarly communication market, and advocates fundamental changes in the system and culture of scholarly communication. Click here to connect to the SPARC homepage. See also: Open Archives Initiative.

A marginal note explaining, interpreting, or commenting on a text, especially an annotation added by a classical grammarian on a passage from a work by Greek or Latin author of Antiquity. Plural: scholia. See also: exegesis.

In the context of medieval manuscripts, a book made for the purpose of teaching and learning, mainly in an ecclesiastical or academic setting, often containing marginal notes made by the reader. From the 12th century on, the production of textbooks increased with the growth of European universities. Copied from authorized exemplars available for hire from stationers under the pecia system, schoolbooks included biblical texts and commentaries, grammars, legal and medical texts, scientific treatises, and classical works in Greek and Latin. Abecedarii designed for juvenile instruction are also included in this category. Click here to view selection of medieval schoolbooks (Cornell University Library).

In modern usage, an educational book published for use in school classrooms. Also spelled school book.

school edition
An edition of a book issued for use in school classrooms. The text may differ from the standard edition in having been simplified, condensed, or otherwise emended, and school editions may also include glossarial or explanatory matter and exercises or learning activities not found in other editions. School editions may be issued in series (example: Cambridge School Shakespeare).

school librarian
See: library media specialist.

school library
A library in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves the information needs of its students and the curriculum needs of its teachers and staff, usually managed by a school librarian or media specialist. A school library collection usually contains books, periodicals, and educational media suitable for the grade levels served. Click here to connect to the Libweb directory of special and school libraries in the United States. Synonymous with learning resources center, library media center, and school library media center. See also: American Association of School Librarians, International Association of School Librarianship, and School Library Journal.

school library edition
A special edition of a serial publication, issued specifically for distribution to school libraries. In August 2005, American Libraries reported that tobacco advertisements will be removed from school library editions of Time, Newsweek, People, and Sports Illustrated under an agreement between publishers, tobacco companies, and the state attorneys general. The action follows a similar agreement, reached in 2003, under which publishers provide classroom editions of magazines for schools, containing no tobacco advertising.

School Library Journal (SLJ)
Published since 1961, first by Bowker and now by Media Source, Inc., SLJ is a monthly trade journal and review publication for school, children's, and young adult librarians. In addition to regular columns, feature articles, and news of interest to the profession, SLJ reviews approximately 4,000 new trade books for children and young adult readers each year and over 1,000 educational media titles, including CD-ROMs. The reviews are short but evaluative, written by and for librarians. Click here to log on to the homepage of School Library Journal. ISSN: 0362-8930. Previous title: Junior Libraries.

school library media center
See: school library.

school prize binding
See: prize binding.

Science and Technology Section (STS)
Established in 1961, STS is the section of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) within the American Library Association (ALA) that provides a forum for librarians in scientific and technical fields to achieve and maintain awareness of the impact and range of information with which they work. STS also seeks to enhance the accessibility and active use of scientific and technical information. The section publishes the electronic journal Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship (ISTL). Click here to connect to the STS homepage.

science fiction (SF)
A highly imaginative form of fiction or motion picture based on scientific speculation, usually depicting life and adventure in the future or on other worlds, not outside the realm of possibility, sometimes prophetically (example: 1984 by George Orwell) or as a commentary on existing conditions (Brave New World by Aldous Huxley). Science fiction is so popular that most large cities in the United States have at least one bookstore specializing in the genre. Science fiction readers communicate through fanzines (see Science Fiction Review) and at conventions. Click here to view an online exhibition of early science fiction (Monash University Library). See also Science Fiction Society Pulp Magazines, courtesy of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Serious enthusiasts prefer the abbreviation SF, rather than sci fi. Compare with fantasy. See also: apocalyptic fiction, Arthur C. Clarke Award, and Hugo Awards.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA)
Founded in 1965 by American science fiction writer Damon Knight, SFWA is a professional association for authors of science fiction, fantasy, and related genres, dedicated to informing, supporting, and promoting its members and to defending their professional interests. SFWA also presents the annual Nebula Awards for the year�s best literary and dramatic works of speculative fiction published in the United States. Click here to connect to the SFWA homepage.

scientific illustration
An illustration of a living organism or naturally occurring object, executed with accuracy and in considerable detail, suitable for scientific study or identification (see these examples, courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution). Component parts may be labeled or numbered, with an accompanying key (example).

See: Society of Composers and Lyricists.

In journalism, an exclusive news story which a reporter is, by initiative or good fortune, the first to uncover or which no other competing newspaper has reported. In publishing, the signing of an important author to write for a newspaper or publisher.

The area or field within which a specific activity occurs. Also, the range or extent of action, observation, meaning, inquiry, etc. In libraries, the range of subjects or fields covered in a catalog, index, abstracting service, bibliographic database, reference work, etc. Compare with coverage. See also: scope note.

scope note (SN)
A brief statement included in an entry in a list of subject headings or in a thesaurus of indexing terms to indicate the intended use or meaning of the term in the indexing language and any special rules for assigning it in indexing. Scope notes are usually added for clarification or to restrict the use of a term to one of several possible meanings. Not all terms require a scope note, but if one is given, it normally precedes any synonyms (UF), broader terms (BT), narrower terms (NT), or related terms (RT). Compare with parenthetical qualifier.

In Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), a note in the schedules indicating that the subject represented by a class number is broader or narrower than the heading implies.

A record of a musical work in which the parts to be played or sung are written or printed in musical notation on separate staves, vertically aligned to enable them to be read at the same time. A score written or printed on unbound sheets of paper is called sheet music. See also: autograph score, chorus score, close score, condensed score, full score, miniature score, part, piano score, short score, underscore, and vocal score.

To make a linear indentation on a piece of paper or card to allow it to turn or fold more easily without damaging the fibers. When done with a dull rule or disk, the process is called creasing. When a sharp rule is used, the fibers are partially broken, producing an effect similar to perforation, which allows the paper to tear more cleanly along the fold. In binding, to compress the fibers of a leaf in a line along the inner edge to allow the volume to open more easily.

Also, the practice of composing music, with special reference to music for film and television, usually composed after the footage is shot. Also refers to the result of such activity.

Scott O'Dell Award
An annual award of $5,000 to the author of a meritorious work of historical fiction published in the previous year for children or young adults, established in 1982 by writer Scott O'Dell to encourage other writers, particularly new authors, to focus their talents on historical fiction. Selected by the Scott O'Dell Award Committee, the book must be set in the New World, published in the United States, and written in English by a citizen of the United States. Click here to see a list of past winners of the Scott O'Dell Award.

A person with experience in the book trade, employed by a publisher to seek out new writers and illustrators whose early works show promise and to explore with them possibilities for new books. In the motion picture industry, producers also employ such persons to locate books, manuscripts, etc., with potential for film adaptation. Compare with book scout.

A blankbook, usually of large size, containing unprinted leaves for mounting or inserting photographs, pictures, clippings, letters, invitations, and other memorabilia, usually to preserve them for sentimental reasons. Click here to see a 20th-century example (Metropolitan Museum of Art) and here to see an example of an online scrapbook, courtesy of the town of Auburn, Wisconsin. The Library of Congress provides the searchable Lewis Carroll Scrapbook. Click here for advice on how to make archival scrapbooks, courtesy of the Florida Bureau of Archives and Records Management. Compare with album. See also: memorabilia.

A scrape or abrasion to either the base or emulsion side of motion picture film that appears in projection as a distracting line, a type of damage that is difficult to repair. Scratches can be avoided by handling film only by the edges with gloves on a smooth, clean surface and by using proper projection equipment that is in good repair. Click here to learn more about scratching, courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. See also: scratch print and wet gate printing.

In phonograph records, the noise produced when the spiral groove in the vinyl surface has been abraded. A deep scratch may cause the stylus in the arm of the phonograph player to skip backward repeatedly.

scratchboard drawing
A white line drawing made by scratching with a stylus or other sharp tool through a coating of black India ink on a sheet of cardboard or hardboard coated with white China clay (see this example). When multiple layers of clay are used, each of a different color, the amount of pressure exerted on the implement determines which color is revealed. Developed in the 19th century, scratchboard drawing was used in single-color book and newspaper illustration, and for medical, scientific, and product illustration in the 20th century. Synonymous with scraperboard drawing.

scratch print
Motion picture or video footage that has been intentionally scratched to discourage unauthorized duplication, for example, sample footage from a stock footage library sent on approval. If used by the film editor or director, a clean copy is sent for use according to terms specified by agreement. Also refers to a duplicate of a workprint of a finished motion picture, usually black and white, made without corrections for lighting for use in dubbing and sound mixing, not for release. Also spelled scratchprint. Synonymous with slash print and slop print.

In American journalism, a large front-page newspaper headline, crafted to draw the reader's attention to the article printed beneath it (see this example). Sensational screamers are abundant in tabloids. Also used in punctuation in reference to the exclamation mark.

screen capture
See: screencast and screenshot.

A term coined in 2004 in reference to a digital videorecording of computer screen output, often including voice-over narration. Useful for demonstrating and teaching software applications and Web site features, especially in computer based training (CBT) systems, screencasting requires software (either a desktop client or Web-based service) designed to capture and synchronize video and audio files and compress the data into a format that can be shared. Although software such as Lotus ScreenCam was developed as early as 1994, large file size and limited editing were cumbersome. More recent software supports compact file formats and provides more sophisticated editing capabilities. See also: screenshot.

screen dump
The process of saving as a file, or sending to a printer, a copy of the image displayed on the monitor of a computer, usually to create a record that can be used to document and/or diagnose a malfunction. Synonymous with screen capture.

A story written in a form suitable for motion picture or television production or adapted for that purpose from an existing novel, short story, stage play, or other work by a screenwriter whose name is given in the credits. Synonymous with film script and motion picture play. Compare with teleplay. See also: script and treatment.

screen printing
A method of stencil printing in which the areas of a design to be left unprinted are masked on the underside of a screen made of fabric, plastic, or woven metal stretched tightly across a frame. Ink or paint is forced through the holes in the unmasked areas onto the printing surface by hand using a squeegie or by machine. Each color must be applied separately using a different stencil. Screen printing is often used for signs and posters when vivid colors are desired and for printing on surfaces such as glass, metal, plastic, wood, etc. Examples of screen printing can be seen in the online exhibition What Is a Print? from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Click here to learn more about the process in Wikipedia. Synonymous with serigraphy and silk screen.

screen saver
A utility program that blanks out the image displayed on the monitor of a computer, or replaces it with a continuously changing pattern, to prevent ghosting, the permanent etching of a still image on the monitor. Most screen savers can be set to commence after a designated period of inactivity and remain on the screen until the mouse is moved or a key is depressed, restoring the original image. Screensavers are available free at many sites on the Web (see Freesaver.com).

An image of the content displayed on a computer monitor (or on some other visual output device), viewable as a graphics file. On a Windows platform, a screenshot can be created by pressing the Print Screen button, usually located in the top row of the keyboard, to copy the image to the clipboard from which it can be pasted into a document in word processing or into an image editor. The mouse cursor does not appear in the screenshot. When the Alt and Print Screen keys are pressed simultaneously, the image is copied of the active window only. Used synonymously with screen capture. See also: screencast.

The person responsible for writing the screenplay for a motion picture, videorecording, or television program or the scripted narration for a documentary, whose name is usually given in the credits. In library cataloging, the name of the screenwriter is entered in the note area of the bibliographic record representing the item.

screwball comedy
An American feature film genre, popular during the Great Depression, in which the plot typically involves a wacky battle of the sexes, often between a confident, upper-class female and a passive, weak, or confused male (example: It Happened One Night [1934] directed by Frank Capra). This type of romantic comedy is also characterized by farcical situations, eccentric characters, and witty, fast-paced repartee (example: The Philadelphia Story [1940] directed by George Cukor).

scribal copy
A written work produced by hand by an experienced copyist usually working from an exemplar, as distinct from the original manuscript produced by the author or at the author's dictation. Before the invention of the printing press in the mid-15th century, production of multiple copies was done entirely by scribes.

A professional penman who copied manuscripts by hand before the invention of printing from movable type. Throughout Antiquity, scribes and notaries were members of a profession (click here and here to see examples from ancient Egypt). During the Middle Ages, most copyists were attached to a court or chancery (official record office) or were monks working in the scriptoria of Catholic religious establishments, often as part of a team that included parchmenters, illuminators, and binders.

With the rise of universities in the 12th century, scribes and illuminators of both sexes began to function independently in urban centers, often in association with stationers. Christopher de Hamel notes in Scribes and Illuminators (University of Toronto Press, 1992) that a medieval scribe could be an author, student, notary, moonlighting royal clerk, parish priest unable to live on his stipend, book collector making a copy for personal use, or even an inmate working toward release from debtor's prison. Some scribes were women. Click here to view St. Jerome at his writing desk in a miniature from a late 15th-century French manuscript (Brigham Young University Special Collections) or here to see a monastic scribe at work in the 12th-century Eadwine Psalter (Trinity College, Cambridge University). See also: calligraphy.

A container in the shape of a cylinder with a removable lid, used by the ancient Romans for storing manuscripts in the form of scrolls. See also: capsa.

A category of ephemera consisting of money issued as a substitute for legal tender (currency) by a business, military organization, or local government, usually as a form of credit against wages or as small change when real money is not available, for example, in time of war or severe economic crisis (see this example issued in the United States during the Great Depression).

The text of a play, motion picture, videorecording, or television or radio program indicating the lines to be spoken by each character, with directions for staging the work (see this example, courtesy of the Lilly Library, Indiana University). Compare with acting edition and promptbook.

Also refers to a set of alphabetic, syllabic, or ideographic characters used in writing one or more languages (see Ancient Scripts of the World). In early majuscule scripts, the letters are of uniform height (uppercase). Majuscule is bilinear, its letterforms bounded by two horizontal lines. In the minuscule scripts adopted in the 8th century, the letters are of unequal height (lowercase), some having ascenders and descenders. Minuscule is quadralinear, bounded by four horizontal lines. As Michelle Brown notes in Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Getty Museum/British Library, 1994), the form and function of a medieval manuscript book determined the general appearance of the script (its aspect), the speed and care with which it was written (ductus), and the devices employed to conserve space (abbreviations, etc.).

Classified by time period, the scripts used in Europe were subject to far stricter conventions than personal handwriting because they were used for book production. With considerable overlap, the following succession of scripts occurred from Antiquity through the medieval period, ending with the advent of printing from movable type: square capitals, rustic capitals, uncial, half uncial, Insular majuscule, Carolingian minuscule, Anglo-Saxon minuscule, gothic, and humanistic. Less formal hands, written with greater speed and less lifting of the pen, are cursive. Bastard scripts, a fusion of formal and cursive, exhibit greater variability. In the early 15th century, efforts by the Italian humanists to reform medieval scripts inspired many early typefaces. Click here to learn more about the history of scripts and here to explore an online exhibition of paleography, courtesy of the Schøyen Collection (Oslo and London). See also: chancery script.

In printing, a typeface or font that has the appearance of continuously flowing handwriting or calligraphy.

In computer programming, a program or set of instructions associated with a particular event or condition, interpreted or carried out by another program, rather than by the processor. Programming languages conceived as script languages include Perl and JavaScript, often used by Web servers to handle forms input. Also refers to the set of rules used by a filter to eliminate unwanted content sent to an Internet user, for example, the rules governing a filter designed to reject e-mail spam.

scriptio continuo
Latin for "continuous writing." In Antiquity and the early Christian period, writing was in capital letters with no word or sentence division and no punctuation. In scriptio continuo, the preceding sentence would look like this:


Click here to see an example in the Codex Sinaiticus, a Greek Old and New Testament of the mid-4th century. In some manuscripts, raised points or full stops were used between words to make the text easier to read. Use of a space to separate words did not become standard practice until the late 8th century. Synonymous with scriptura continua.

The room or area of a medieval monastery reserved for the preparation of manuscripts, in some establishments a single large room, in others partitioned into individual cells. Standard furnishings included a sloping writing desk for each copyist, equipped with chalk, pumice, inkhorns (one for each color of ink), plummet, pens and brushes, and a sharp knife, straight edge, pointed stylus, and ruling stick. A scribe might work independently until a book was completed or as part of a team that included illuminators, correctors, and binders. After the parchment or vellum sheets were ruled, the text was written, then rubricated, illuminated, corrected and cleaned, and bound. To minimize distraction, silence was maintained while work was in progress. Click here and here to see photographs of existing scriptoria and here to see an illustration of a medieval scriptorim in use. Plural: scriptoria. See also: armarian.

scriptura continua
See: scriptio continuo.

Originally, any written composition, but the term is now used mainly for the Old and New Testaments of the Christian Bible, sometimes in the plural (Holy Scriptures). In a more general sense, any religious or sacred text or record. Click here to browse the Getty Museum's online exhibition of medieval scripture books.

The author of the text of a television or radio program or film. Compare with playwright and screenwriter.

Originally, a manuscript in the form of a length of papyrus, usually rolled around a sturdy wooden rod (umbilicus) with knobbed ends, sometimes with a vellum tag attached to one end for identification. In Antiquity, texts were written in columns on sheets of papyrus glued together in a continuous roll called a volumen by the Romans (papyrus tends to delaminate when folded). Click here to see an image of one of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The codex (book of bound leaves) replaced the scroll after animal skin (parchment and vellum) came into widespread use as a writing surface. Centuries later, the Chinese made scrolls from paper (see Diamond Sutra). Scrolls are still used in Jewish synagogues to preserve the Torah (see this 17th-century Esther Scroll, courtesy of the Jewish Theological Seminary Library). Click here to view a beautifully illuminated 17th-century vertical scroll of the Bahagavata Purana in Sanskrit on silk paper (John Rylands University Library, Manchester) and here to see a 17th-century Armenian manuscript prayer scroll, also on paper (Special Collections, Glasgow University Library). See also: capsa, scrinium, scroll cover, and scroll map.

Also refers to a design motif in the form of a scroll appearing in the margin or within a miniature in a medieval illuminated manuscript. Examples can be seen in the 15th-century Hours of Pierre de Bosredont, courtesy of the Morgan Library (MS G.55). In the 13th-century Morgan Apocalypse, hand-drawn scrolls are used to display text within the borders of miniatures (MS M.524).

Also, to cause the text or images on a computer screen to move vertically or horizontally by typing strokes on a keyboard or by using a pointing device such as a mouse to manipulate a scroll bar along one side, or across the top or bottom, of a window or frame in a graphical user interface.

scroll cover
A cylindrical container designed to protect a manuscript in the form of a scroll, usually made of wood, sometimes covered in leather. A long slit is sometimes made in the wood from end to end through which the scroll can be pulled, then rewound around a wooden rod in the center of the cylinder. Click here to see a 14th-century example (Royal Library of Denmark) and here to see a modern example by the book designer Richard Minsky. Also refers to a piece of fabric used in Asian cultures for wrapping a scroll manuscript. Click here to see an 18th-century example from the Qing dynasty in China (Metropolitan Museum of Art).

scroll map
A map of elongated format made in the form of a roll, usually showing a linear feature such as a road, mountain range, or coastline. Click here to see an 18th-century manuscript map showing the Tokaido, the primary land-sea route from Edo (Tokyo) to Nagasaki, and here to see a scroll map of the coast of China, both courtesy of the Library of Congress. See also: strip map.

The condition of a book with a binding so badly scraped that it has become frayed or roughened in places. Compare with rubbed.

sculptural binding
A bookbinding in the form of an object, natural or man-made, often related in theme to the content of the book. Click here to see a 20th-century binding in the shape of a pear, designed by the Czechoslovakian binder and conservator Jan Bohuslav Sobota for Solomon's Song of Songs (Southern Methodist University). Compare with shaped binding.

An abbreviation of selective dissemination of information. See: current awareness service.

A stamp, carved cylinder, signet ring, etc., used to make an impression in molten wax to secure a letter or other document, confirming the identity of the sender and/or authenticity of the contents. The gummed envelope eliminated the need for sealing wax. Click here to see an example of an ancient Mesopotamian cylinder seal (ca. 2,800 B.C.) and its impression (Oriental Institute, University of Chicago) and here to see other examples from the Schøyen Collection (Oslo and London). The Metropolitan Museum of Art also provides images of cylinder seals and stamp seals in its collections. Click here to see the Great Seal of Queen Elizabeth I, courtesy of the National Archives of the UK. Also refers to the impressed design or mark itself (see this 17th-century example), a broken seal indicating that the document has been opened, and to the impression used as a symbol, usually representing a government or institution (click here to learn about the 175-year history of the seal of Amherst College).

Also, a soft but coarse-grained leather made from the skin of a seal. According to The Bookman's Glossary (Bowker, 1983), leather made from the skin of a very young or baby seal, called pin seal, is finer-grained and has a lustrous finish. Click here to view black sealskin used on a 19th-century Art Nouveau silver binding from the collections of the British Library.

See: seal.

A systematic effort on the part of a library user or librarian to locate desired information by manual or electronic means, whether successful or not, as opposed to browsing a library collection casually with no clear intention in mind. See also: mediated search, search statement, search strategy, and serendipity.

Also refers to an attempt by a member of the circulation staff of a library, sometimes at the request of a patron, to find an item listed as available in the catalog but not in its correct location on the shelf. See also: missing.

In employment, the formal process of seeking qualified candidates to fill a vacant position, often undertaken by a search committee composed of staff members and/or supervisors who will work closely with the new employee. In libraries, national searches are usually announced in professional publications, such as American Libraries, College & Research Libraries News, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

An electronic resource running on software designed to allow the user to type a word, phrase, or string of words or phrases as input to find all the records, entries, or text containing the search term(s). Most online catalogs and bibliographic databases can be searched by author, title, subject heading (descriptor), and keywords. Boolean logic and truncation are permitted in a keywords search in most library catalogs and databases; wildcard and proximity searching in some.

search behavior
The manner in which a library user proceeds with a search for information once the research topic has been selected, including choice of search tool(s) and access point (author, title, subject, or keywords), selection of heading(s) or search term(s), formulation of search statement(s), evaluation of results, modification of search strategy in response to results, decision as to when the information need is satisfied, and any efforts to obtain professional assistance. Search behavior is studied by analyzing transaction logs recorded by automated catalogs and databases, and through direct observation and subjective reports of users.

search committee
A group of people, usually three or more library staff members, elected or appointed to assist in the process of selecting a candidate (or list of candidates) to fill a vacant position in the library. Their responsibilities may include drafting the position description, posting the vacancy, evaluating applications, selecting candidates for interviewing, drafting interview questions, conducting interviews, and selecting and recommending finalist(s) to library administration.

search engine
Originally, a hardware device designed to search a text-based database for specific character strings (queries) typed as input by the user. More recently, computer software designed to help the user locate information available at sites on the World Wide Web by selecting categories from a hierarchical directory of subjects (example: Yahoo!) or by entering appropriate keywords or phrases (Google, Hotbot, etc.). Most Web search engines allow the searcher to use Boolean logic and truncation in search statements. Results may be ranked according to relevance or some other criterion. Functionality varies, but many search engines provide both basic and advanced search modes. For more information about search engines, see the entry by Mark Hepworth and Ian Murray in the International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science (Routledge, 2003) or try HowStuffWorks. See also SearchEngineWatch.com. See also: crawler and metasearch.

search history
A feature of some search software systems and Web browsers that allows the user to view a consecutive list of all the searches executed during the current search session or all the sites visited in a browsing session. Some systems allow the user to select a previous search from the list and re-execute it or print or save the search history, if desired.

search mode
Most bibliographic databases provide a basic approach for novices and more advanced methods for experienced users. In basic mode, keywords typed as input are located by default in predetermined fields of the bibliographic record (usually in the title, abstract, and full-text). In some databases, the user may also limit search results within certain parameters and decide whether the system will search for all words, any words, or the exact phrase as entered. In advanced mode, most search software allows the user to specify the fields to be searched and provides a wider range of limit options. Some Web search engines are also designed to allow the user to select advanced search, rather than the default, which is usually basic mode (see Google Advanced Search).

search service
A business that specializes in locating out of print books at the request of libraries and private collectors, often a dealer in used, old, or rare books. Acquisitions librarians sometimes rely on such services when a replacement copy is needed for a title still in demand but no longer in print. See also: Abebooks and Alibris.

search software
A computer program designed to execute a search for information when queried by a user. User-friendly search software provides both a menu-driven interface for novices and a command-driven interface for experienced searchers. Sophisticated search software permits the use of Boolean logic, nesting, truncation, wildcard, and proximity operators in search statements and allows the user to limit search results by various parameters. Compare with search engine. See also: functionality.

search statement
In information retrieval, an information need or query entered as input in a form acceptable to the search software used by the retrieval system. Most online catalogs, bibliographic databases, and search engines allow Boolean logic, nesting, truncation, wildcard, and proximity operators to be used in keyword(s) search statements and permit the user to limit search results. See also: controlled vocabulary and natural language.

search strategy
In information retrieval, a systematic plan for conducting a search. In most cases, the first step is to formulate a clear and concise topic statement. The next step is to identify the main concepts in the topic. Then the most appropriate finding tools for the subject must be identified and located. Lists of authorized subject heading(s) and descriptors in the appropriate indexing systems can then be consulted to find preferred terms to represent the main concepts.

In computer-based information retrieval, keywords can be combined using Boolean logic to form one or more queries expressed in syntax acceptable to the catalogs, bibliographic databases, and search engines most likely to contain information on the subject. If the initial results of a search are unsatisfactory, the user can modify the search statement by adding related terms or substituting broader terms to expand retrieval, or by substituting narrower terms to restrict retrieval. In most systems, limiting can be employed to restrict retrieval to entries that meet specific parameters. See also: heuristic, proximity, and truncation.

search term
A word or phrase representing one of the main concepts in a research topic, used alone or in combination with other terms in a search statement, to query an online catalog, bibliographic database, or search engine and retrieve relevant information. A search term can be a keyword or phrase supplied by the user, an authorized subject heading or descriptor selected from a prescribed list, or a word or phrase found in a thesaurus, for example, The Contemporary Thesaurus of Search Terms and Synonyms by Sara Knapp (Oryx, 2000).

Sears subject heading
A subject heading from a list created by Minnie E. Sears, first published in 1923 for use in school libraries and small public libraries. Although it is based on Library of Congress subject headings, the Sears List of Subject Headings published by H.W. Wilson is narrower in scope and its headings are more general. Small libraries supplement it with LC headings as needed.

An scene, made by photographic or artistic means, in which the ocean or seashore is the principal subject; the maritime equivalent of a landscape. Also, a genre of art in which the principal subject is the maritime environment. To see examples, try a keyword search on the term in Google Images. Compare with marine.

One of the annual cycles in the publishing industry. When publishers introduce their frontlist in the spring and fall of each year, the previous year's frontlist titles move to the backlist. New and backlisted titles are described in the seasonal publisher's catalog distributed by mail to libraries and booksellers.

seasonal catalog
See: season.

sea story
A novel or short story in which the setting is a sea voyage or marine environment and the characters are usually seamen and ship's officers (example: Moby-Dick; or, the Whale [1851] by Herman Melville). Sea stories can be further classified as adventure (The Sea-Wolf [1904] by Jack London), science fiction (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea [1870] by Jules Verne), or historical fiction (C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower series). Synonymous with seafaring tale.

secondary binding
When potential sales of a new book are difficult to predict, the publisher may decide to bind an edition in batches over a period of years. The color or quality of the binding material and the lettering on the spine may differ slightly from one batch to another. To distinguish the primary binding from subsequent bindings, the order in which the batches were bound must be determined, if possible.

secondary copy
A federal document distributed to a depository library in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) that is (1) a duplicate (including reprints), (2) superseded (including preprints), (3) an unrequested publication sent by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) by mistake, or (4) in the depository holdings of the highest State Appellate Court libraries. A depository has the option of offering secondary copies to the regional library or on state-wide discard lists at the discretion of the regional library. If the document is of value and not needed at the state level, the proper procedure is to offer it through the national Needs and Offers List and then to any public library or educational institution in the vicinity. If a reasonable effort is made and no recipient found, the library may dispose of such an item at its own discretion.

secondary entry
See: added entry.

secondary source
Any published or unpublished work that is one step removed from the original source, usually describing, summarizing, analyzing, evaluating, derived from, or based on primary source materials, for example, a review, critical analysis, second-person account, or biographical or historical study. Also refers to material other than primary sources used in the preparation of a written work. Compare with tertiary source.

secondary values
In archives, the values of records for the activities of users other than the office of record or its successors. Compare with primary values.

secondhand book
See: used book.

secondhand bookstore
See: used bookstore.

In library cataloging, a separately published part of a bibliographic resource usually representing a subject category within the whole and indicated by a topical heading or an alphabetical or numeric designation or both (AACR2). Also, a similar division within a law book. Also refers to one of the separately folded parts of a newspaper, for example, the Entertainment Section.

In printing, a unit of paper that when folded, gathered, and sewn or glued together with similar units constitutes the book block, usually a single folded sheet but in some cases one-and-a-half or two sheets or one sheet with an extra leaf added. Strictly speaking, a section is a signature to which any plates and/or inserts have been added. Click here to see the unbound sections of a book.

In Dewey Decimal Classification, the third level of subdivision, represented by a three-digit notation not ending in zero (example: 947 for works on the history of Russia). There are 1,000 sections in DDC (10 x 10 x 10). Further subdivision is indicated by the addition of a decimal fraction (947.084, history of the Russian Revolution). Click here to see a table of the thousand sections in DDC. See also: division and main class.

In cartography, a scale representation of a vertical surface (usually a plane) showing both the profile where it intersects the ground (and any large bodies of water) or a conceptual model, and the underlying structures along the plane of intersection (AACR2). In a geologic section, the underlying structures are usually rock formations, sedimentary strata, and deposits of oil or water (aquifers). Also, in the United States Public Land Survey, the unit of subdivision of a township, usually a quadrangle 1 mile square containing approximately 640 acres, with boundaries that conform to meridians and parallels within established limits. A township consists of 36 sections (6 X 6) bounded by range lines. Click here to see a Michigan example.

In library shelving, the vertical unit between two uprights in a single- or double-faced range. In the United States, a standard section is 7.5 feet high and 3 feet wide. Synonymous in Britain with tier.

Also refers to one of the subdivisions of a major division of the American Library Association (ALA), for example, one of the subdivisions of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) or the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), many of which have their own newsletters, electronic discussion lists, specialized programming, preconferences, etc. Click here to see a complete alphabetic list of ACRL sections and here to see a list of RUSA sections.

section title
See: divisional title.

secundo folio
The opening word or words of text on the second leaf of a manuscript. Because these words differ from one manuscript copy to another, depending on size of script, text area, and folio, the practice originated during the Middle Ages of using them in cataloging as a fixed point, to distinguish multiple copies in a way that the opening words (incipit) could not. Under the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI), secundo folio is a Phrase-Level Descriptive Element. Abbreviated sec. fol.

In computing, the technology developed to prevent unauthorized persons, particularly hackers and crackers, from gaining entry to protected systems and files, including data encryption, virus detection, firewalls, and the authentication of authorization codes (usernames, passwords, PINs, etc.). In a more general sense, all the measures taken by an agency, company, organization, or institution to prevent unauthorized persons from accessing confidential information.

In the operation of libraries and archives, a general term encompassing all the equipment, personnel, practices, and procedures used to prevent the theft or destruction of materials and equipment and to protect patrons and employees from the harmful actions of persons intent on mischief. Large libraries and library systems often appoint a library security officer (LSO) to develop and implement a security plan. See also: key control, security audit, security guard, and security system.

security audit
A thorough on-site inspection in which a person (or persons) trained and experienced in library security critically examines and analyzes all the existing security systems and procedures used in a library to ascertain current status, identify deficiencies or excesses, and make recommendations based on findings. A professional security audit may include the analysis of crime statistics, an assessment of insurance needs, and discussion of sensitive topics, such as internal theft and personal security issues.

security camera
Video surveillance systems are used by some libraries to prevent theft and discourage inappropriate and illegal behavior, especially in areas housing special collections. Most systems provide real time surveillance through a central monitoring facility. Cameras are generally located to view service desks, exits, and areas prone to vandalism or other activities that violate library policy. Signs may be posted at entrances, warning library patrons that video cameras are in use. Privacy concerns have a led at least one library system in the United States to remove its security cameras (see this article).

security gate
A device installed near the entrance and/or exit of a library, usually in the form of a swing-arm or pair of uprights positioned in such a way that persons entering or leaving the premises must pass through a magnetic detection system designed to trigger an alarm if an attempt is made to remove library materials without checking them out (see this example). Less obtrusive laser systems are also available. Some security gates include a counter that provides traffic statistics.

security guard
An employee responsible for patrolling the premises of a library to discourage disruptive behavior and illegal activities, such as vandalism and the unauthorized removal of materials (theft), and to deal with individuals who do not comply with library policies and rules. Most security guards wear uniforms and are trained to handle problem patrons and various types of emergency situations. Synonymous with security officer.

security paper
Paper manufactured with a special watermark or other features which render tampering or counterfeiting difficult, used mainly for printing official documents, such as passports and certificates.

security strip
See: magnetic strip.

security system
An electronic alarm system installed at the entrance and exit of a library facility to detect the unauthorized removal of library materials (theft). Most security systems use a swing-arm or pair of uprights called a security gate, activated by a magnetic strip affixed to each item, which must be desensitized by circulation staff at the time the item is checked out to avoid triggering the alarm. Some security systems include a counting device for gathering statistics on traffic patterns.

A cross-reference in a library catalog, index, or reference work directing the user from a synonym (or other equivalent term) to the preferred heading or descriptor for a given name, place, or subject (example: Beyle, Marie Henri see Stendahl, 1783-1842). Synonymous with search under. Compare with USE.

see also
A cross-reference in a library catalog, index, or reference work directing the user to a heading under which related information can be found on a given subject (example: Treaty of Versailles, 1919 see also Paris Peace Conference, 1919). Abbreviated SA. Synonymous with search also under. See also: related term.

See: Slavic and East European Section.

In printing, a condition in which the matter printed on the reverse side of a leaf is visible through the paper.

In Dewey Decimal Classification, the indication of logical breaks in a number by means of a typographical device, such as a slash or a prime mark used to indicate the end of an abridged class number or the beginning of a standard subdivision (DDC).

seismic upgrade
Renovation of an existing library facility to meet current safety standards intended to minimize potential damage or loss caused by a major earthquake. When structural changes are required, a seismic upgrade can be costly, but for older library builidings in earthquake-prone areas (e.g., parts of California), it is often necessary. Click here and here to see examples. Synonymous with seismic retrofit.

The process of deciding which materials should be added to a library collection. Selection decisions are usually made on the basis of reviews and standard collection development tools by librarians designated as selectors in specific subject areas, based on their interests and fields of specialization. In academic libraries, selection may also be done by members of the teaching faculty in their disciplines. Very large academic and public libraries may use an approval plan or blanket order plan to assist selectors. Library patrons also recommend titles for purchase, especially in libraries that provide a suggestion box. The opposite of deselection. See also: selection aid and selection criteria.

selection aid
A publication used by librarians to develop a balanced collection of materials to meet the information needs of library users. The category includes bestseller lists, best books lists, core lists, national bibliographies, and review publications intended specifically for librarians (Booklist, CHOICE, Library Journal, School Library Journal, etc.).

selection criteria
The set of standards used by librarians to decide whether an item should be added to the collection, which normally includes a list of subjects or fields to be covered, levels of specialization, editions, currency, languages, and formats (large print, nonprint, abridgments, etc.). Selection criteria usually reflect the library's mission and the information needs of its clientele, but selection decisions are also influenced by budgetary constraints and qualitative evaluation in the form of reviews, recommended core lists, and other selection tools. See also: collection development policy.

Chosen in preference to another or others on the basis of a special characteristic or quality. In library research, a finding tool such as an index or bibliography that covers only a portion of the available literature, usually limited to sources that meet certain pre-established criteria (quality, currency, reading level, degree of specialization, etc.). Compare with comprehensive.

selective bibliography
A bibliography that includes only a portion of the relevant literature, usually based on predetermined selection criteria, such as the needs of a particular group of users, desire for current versus retrospective material, or an evaluation of quality.

selective depository library
A depository library in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) that receives only item numbers that fulfill the primary needs of users within the geographic area it is designated to serve, usually based on its stated mission. Most depository libraries are selective, receiving only a percentage of the total number of government publications available free of charge from the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). Click here to read the FDLP's Collection Development Guidelines for Selective Federal Depository Libraries (September 1994). Compare with regional depository library.

selective dissemination of information (SDI)
See: current awareness service.

selective housing
A depository library in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) is permitted to store a percentage of its depository publications at other libraries or institutions for an extended period, while remaining responsible for their receipt, initial processing, and disposition. Selective housing is normally undertaken to (1) improve access and enhance use of the materials, (2) alleviate overcrowded conditions, and/or (3) allow the depository to select an extensive series for which there would otherwise be insufficient space. The selective housing site is expected to abide by all FDLP rules and regulations and is furnished with copies of appropriate instructions and manuals.

Materials selectively housed remain the property of the U.S. government and are governed by all public access, custody, maintenance, and public service requirements. If the library director of the depository does not administer the selective housing site, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) must be drawn up between the director and the custodian of the site outlining mutual responsibilities and procedures, with signed copies sent to the regional librarian and the Library Programs Service (LPS) of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO). The bibliographic records of the lending library should indicate where the documents are housed, those of the receiving library their source, and the documents should be clearly marked "depository."

See: selection.

The act of depositing a digital copy of a document on a publicly-accessible Web site by uploading it to an institutional repository or other open archive. Open access can also be achieved by publishing in an open access journal.

The process in which an individual, department, program, school, or institution examines the outcomes of its policies, practices, and priorities to ascertain whether it is realizing its goals and objectives, or meeting pre-established standards, often conducted for purposes of promotion, tenure, strategic planning, or accreditation. Formal self-evaluation may occur in conjunction with peer-evaluation. Synonymous with self-study.

An automated circulation system that allows registered borrowers to check out circulating materials on their own without the assistance of library staff, usually by means of a unique barcode or RFID tag attached to each item (see this example). Self-checkout is part of a trend toward self-service in library operations.

Reference made in a written work to one or more of the author's previous publications (book, periodical article, conference paper, etc.), an accepted practice in scholarly communication, provided important works written on the subject by other authors are not neglected or ignored.


A pamphlet or periodical covered in the same paper stock used to print the text, rather than a heavier grade of paper.

self-destructing e-book
In February 2011, HarperCollins announced a new policy limiting access to library e-books to 26 circulations per copy in the United States. The decision prompted some libraries and library consortia to suspend purchase of e-books published by HarperCollins. It also added fuel to the ongoing debate over e-book acquisition models for libraries.

self end
In bookbinding, an endpaper that is not separate from the text but rather part of the first or last section and therefore of the same paper stock as the text.

self-help publication
A book, audiotape, or videotape intended to assist the reader, listener, or viewer in solving a personal problem, for example, finding the best treatment for a physical illness/condition or the answer to a legal question without having to pay for professional services. Some publishers specialize in self-help publications (example: Nolo Press, providing legal books for laypersons). Compare with how-to publication.

The editing, design, printing, and marketing of a work at the author's own expense, without the assistance of a commercial publisher, often undertaken out of devotion to the subject. Sophisticated desktop publishing software and high-quality photocopiers have made this option easier and less expensive than it once was. Also refers to the electronic publication of a work by its author, usually installed on a server publicly accessible over the Internet.

It can be difficult to get self-published works reviewed. Because libraries select largely on the basis of reviews and order materials through regular market channels, this type of work is rarely added to library collections. Compare with vanity publisher. See also: zine.

Library functions that can be initiated, controlled, and/or executed by the patron without the assistance of library staff, including self-checkout, patron-initiated interlibrary loan service, and online catalogs that allow users to view their own patron records, place holds, renew items on loan, etc. Synonymous with disintermediated service.

A uniform list of self-assessment questions to be answered by a depository library at intervals of 6-7 years to allow the U.S. Government Printing Office to determine if the library is in compliance with the regulations of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). If the library's responses warrant further examination, an on-site inspection is scheduled by a librarian employed by the GPO. The self-study is available as an online form at the FDLP Web site (click here). See also: Biennial Survey.

Also, a method of instruction in which people study at their own pace, usually at home, often using courses or information available on video or the Internet.

self work
A literary or other work of which the subject is the life of its author/creator. The category includes autobiographies, diaries, journals, logs, commonplace books, keepsakes, scrapbooks, etc. Click here to learn more about self works, courtesy of the University of Delaware Library. See also: album amicorum.

See: wrappers.

semantic factoring
An indexing technique in which a compound heading or descriptor is divided into its constituent parts (example: "Annotated bibliography" --> Annotation + Bibliography). In some cases, semantic factoring yields false drops (Library + Research --> "Library research" and "Research library").

semantic relation
The connection in meaning between two or more concepts and between the terms (subject headings or descriptors) used to represent them in an indexing language. Semantic relations can be classified as follows:

Relation Description Example
Active Action, process, or operation directly performed by one on the other Scanner / Barcode
Associative Linked conceptually but not hierarchically Library statistics / Bibliometrics
Causal One responsible for occurrence of the other Acquisitions / Collection growth
Generic Genus to species Library / Academic library
Hierarchic One a logical subclass of the other Bookbinding / Binding
Locative One located at, in, or on a place specified by the other Mainz Psalter
Partitive Part to whole Chapter / Book
Passive One influenced by or subjected to the action of the other with no reciprocal influence Library collection / Selection criteria
Antonymous Opposite in meaning Selection / Deselection
Syonymous Having the same or nearly the same meaning Booklet / Pamphlet


The branch of linguistics concerned with the meaning of the words, signs, and symbols that constitute the elements of change and evolution in a spoken or written language. Also, the branch of semiotics that deals with relationships of meaning between signs, and between signs and their referents, within a system of communication. See also: semantic relation.

semantic Web
Sir Timothy Berners-Lee (1999): "I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web--the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A �Semantic Web�, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The �intelligent agents� people have touted for ages will finally materialize."

The past tense of the French verb semer, meaning "to sow." A style of bookbinding in which the surface of one or both covers is decorated in a pattern created by the regular repetition of one or more small ornamental motifs, usually in gilt, against an open ground. A fleuron is often used for this purpose. Click here to see a 19th-century example (Glasgow University Library) and here to see a 17th-century example with a centerpiece (Princeton University Library). To see other examples of this style, try a search on the keyword "semis" in the British Library's Database of Bookbindings. Compare with à repetition.

Issued at intervals of six months. Also refers to a serial issued every six months. Synonymous with half yearly and twice yearly. Compare with biennial.

Archival materials too old to be considered current but still useful and therefore retained for a certain period, usually in a location reserved for intermediate storage, pending final disposition.

A binding in boards made of thin, flexible card or some other material that bends easily (bibles are often bound in this way). The flexible boards are not always attached to the covering material. Compare with limp binding.

Issued twice each month or every two weeks. Also refers to a serial issued twice a month, with the possible exception of certain issues (example: Library Journal). Synonymous with biweekly. Compare with bimonthly.

From the Latin word for "seed." An idea or work so original when first expressed, composed, created, released, or published that it has considerable influence on the thought and work of contemporaries and on succeeding generations of writers, scholars, or artists who may give it further development in their own works. In fiction, a seminal work may give rise to a new genre or subgenre--a prime example is Truman Capote's In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences (1965), the work that established the nonfiction novel as a genre. Click here to see a copy of The Virginian, A Horseman of the Plains (1902) by Owen Wister, the novel that established many of the conventions of the western.

The systematic study of the linguistic and nonlinguistic signs and symbols used in both natural and artificially constructed languages. The three branches of semiotics are: (1) pragmatics (how signs are used by those who make use of them), (2) semantics (relationships of meaning between signs and their referents), and (3) syntax (how signs are combined). Each of the branches has theoretical, descriptive, and applied aspects.

Works such as reports, internal documents, theses, etc., that are difficult if not impossible to purchase through regular market channels because they were never intended for publication, but which may be obtainable via interlibrary loan, document delivery service, or some other method of retrieval. Compare with unpublished. See also: gray literature.

Issued twice each week. Also refers to a serial publication issued twice a week. Synonymous with twice weekly. Compare with biweekly.

To transmit data from one node to another on a computer network, as in the exchange of e-mail messages or the export of bibliographic data from an online catalog or bibliographic database to an e-mail account. Also refers to the command in a computer program that initiates such a transmission. The opposite of receive.

See: older adult.

The numerical position of an individual with respect to longevity of employment, which may be a factor in certain personnel decisions (assignment of duties and responsibilities, promotion, layoff, etc.).

sensitive but unclassified (SBU)
A designation added to a government document by the Bush administration providing notice to a federal agency that the public document should be closely scrutinized before it is released through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The May 2006 issue of American Libraries reported that Department of Defense Under-Secretary Robert Rogalski informed members of the House Subcommittee on National Secutiry, Emerging Threats, and International Relations in March 2006 that any one of the DOD's 2.5 million employees has the authority to classify a document as SBU. According to American Libraries, no uniform classification exists across federal agencies for this category of document. See also: reclassification.

The application of the appropriate disposition schedule to a group or collection of archival records.

sentimental novel
A work of serious fiction, popular in 18th-century England and 19th-century America, in which the author portrays the afflictions of one or more heroes and/or heroines of unblemished character to demonstrate the rewards of virtuous conduct (example: Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe). Synonymous with domestic novel.

separately paginated
Numbering the pages of each volume or part of a set, or of each issue of a single volume of a periodical, in a separate sequence, starting with number one. Compare with continuous pagination. See also: magazine pagination.

separately published
An item issued by a publisher or distributor as an independent entity, usually under its own title and copyright, as opposed to a work published in a collection or as a serial, for example, the individual works in a monographic series, each published under a separate title.

Federal government documents distributed to depository libraries through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) in separate packages instead of regular depository boxes, with the shipping list number printed on the mailing label for identification, usually because the items are too large or need special handling. Separates include maps, charts, and posters in tubes; microfiche; pre-packaged publications; and over-sized items shipped by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) or contractors. Special shipping lists that include only separates, clearly marked and separately numbered, are sent to the depository with regular shipments after the separates have been shipped. Procedures for claiming separates are the same as for regular shipments.

In printing, a dark brown ink used to give illustrations an old-fashioned appearance (see this example). Originally prepared from secretion of the cuttlefish, sepia ink was used in classical and medieval manuscripts for writing and for small sketches. In modern photography, sepia tones are used for special effect (example). Also used in reference to a drawing or photograph done in a brownish tint.

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

A work of narrative fiction, in most cases a novel, that is complete in itself but continues a previous work in plot, setting, and characters. A sequel usually (but not always) begins where the action in the previous work left off and is usually (but not always) written by the author of the work it continues (example: Let the Circle Be Unbroken by Mildred D. Taylor, a sequel to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry). A literary work may have more than one sequel. Click here to browse Juvenile Series and Sequels, courtesy of the Mid-Continent Public Library. The Bettendorf Public Library in Iowa provides a list of Young Adult Books in Series and Sequels. For adult fiction, see Sequels: An Annotated Guide to Novels in Series by Janet and Jonathan Husband (American Library Association, 1997). The opposite of prequel. Compare with continuation and spin-off. See also: trilogy.

In a more general sense, anything that follows; a subsequent series of events or course of affairs.

The arrangement of a series of entries or items in prescribed order based on a predetermined system of priority, for example, reverse chronological order. In computing, sequential access refers to data stored in a manner that allows pieces of it to be accessed only in a certain order, as in the medium of magnetic tape. Compare with random access memory.

sequential locator
See: locator.

A liturgical book (or portion of a gradual or troper) containing extended melodies (sequences) sung by a soloist between the Alleluia and the Gospel lesson at Mass (see this example, courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). Synonymous with sequentiale.

A word coined by the English writer Horace Walpole in The Three Princes of Serendip to refer to the knack of making fortunate discoveries unexpectedly, by accident or coincidence. In information retrieval, this usually depends on the ability of the browser to recognize the relevance or utility of data not actively sought at the time it is encountered. Flexibility is one of the qualities of a good researcher. See also: heuristic.

A publication in any medium issued under the same title in a succession of discrete parts, usually numbered (or dated) and appearing at regular or irregular intervals with no predetermined conclusion. In AACR2 2002, serials are classified as a type of continuing resource. See also: seriality.

Serial publications include print periodicals and newspapers, electronic magazines and journals, annuals (reports, yearbooks, etc.), continuing directories, proceedings and transactions, and numbered monographic series cataloged separately. When serials split, merge, or are absorbed, a title change may occur. Most libraries purchase serials on subscription or continuation order. See also: nonsubscription serial, provisional serial, pseudo-serial, reference serial, serial bibliography, and serial index.

A specific serial title is identified by a unique International Standard Serials Number (ISSN) and key title, assigned and maintained by the International Serials Data System (ISDS), a network of national serials data centers. Serials and annuals are listed in Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory published annually by ProQuest and in The Serials Directory published by EBSCO. A library's holdings of a serial title are indicated in an open or closed entry in the serial record representing the item in the catalog. The librarian responsible for managing a serials collection is a serials librarian. Ann Ercelawn of the Vanderbilt University Library maintains the Web site Tools for Serials Catalogers. See also: CONSER, North American Serials Interest Group, serials control, Serials Section, serials vendor, and United Kingdom Serials Group.

Also refers to a multi-episode adventure film, usually divided into about 15 short "chapters" in which the daring exploits of a hero or group of characters are depicted in formulaic fashion, often ending in a "cliffhanger" that directs the attention of the audience to the next episode (examples: Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe [1940] with Buster Crabbe and Adventures of Captain Marvel [1941] with Tom Tyler), a genre that remained popular with motion picture theater audiences until production ceased in the early 1950s.

serial bibliography
A bibliography published in successive parts, at fairly regular intervals, usually limited to a specialized field of study (example: Bibliography of Asian Studies, published every one or two years).

serial cancellation
Notice given to a publisher or subscription agent that a library no longer wishes to subscribe to a specific serial publication. In recent years, the relentless increase in journal subscription prices and the inability of acquisitions budgets to keep pace with inflation have forced academic and research libraries to cancel periodical subscriptions to maintain balance between expenditures for serials and monographs. The scientific disciplines most affected by such cuts because they are more serial-dependent than the arts and humanities and because average subscription price is highest for scientific journals. Some serials are noncancellable. See also: serials review.

serial index
An index to the content of a publication issued in successively numbered parts, usually a cumulative author and/or title index compiled by the publisher, appearing at the end of the last issue of the publication year. Most magazines (and some journals) do not provide such an index.

Serial Item and Contribution Identifier (SICI)
A variable length code assigned to identify serial items (example: individual issues) and contributions (example: articles) contained in a serial publication, independent of distribution medium (print, microform, digital). Defined in the ANSI/NISO Z39.56 standard, the SICI consists of three parts (item segment, contribution segment, and control segment), all of which are required. Because the SICI employs the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) to identify serial title, assignment of the ISSN is a prerequisite. Implementation of the SICI standard by serial publishers provides unique identifiers for serial items and contributions to libraries and other members of the bibliographic community engaged in serials control and use. Compare with Book Item and Contribution Identifier.

When library collections consisted primarily of materials printed on paper, a fundamental distinction was made in cataloging between monographic and serial publications, but certain types of print publications, such as loose-leaf services and monographs with serial supplementation, were not easy to classify by this simple dichotomy. Problems of definition were further complicated with the advent of regularly updated bibliographic databases and Web sites modified or updated on a regular or irregular basis. In 1997 Jean Hirons, CONSER Coordinator at the Library of Congress, and Crystal Graham, serials librarian at the University of California, San Diego, presented a paper on "Issues Related to Seriality" at the International Conference on the Principles and Future Development of AACR in Toronto, proposing a new model of the bibliographic universe in which resources in any medium are classified as either "finite" or "continuing," a distinction adopted in AACR2 2002. See also: bibliographic hermaphrodite.


Finite resources (complete as first issued or intended to be complete in a finite number of parts or revisions)
Multivolume sets
Electronic texts
Maps, sound recordings, software, etc.
Successively issued (in discrete parts)
Supplemented monographs
Integrating (updated over time, with updates incorporated into the resource without remaining discrete)
Revised e-texts
Some loose-leaf services
Continuing resources (not complete as first issued and intended to be ongoing, though not necessarily indefinitely)
Successively issued
Serials (including electronic magazines and journals)
Most loose-leaf services
Web sites

*Adapted from "Teaching Seriality: A Major Educational Challenge" by Arlene G. Taylor in The Serials Librarian 41 (2002): 78.

A work published in installments, usually at regular intervals. During the 18th and early 19th centuries, books were often published in numbered parts or fascicles, but by the late 19th century most serialized works appeared in consecutive issues of newspapers and magazines (see this example). In modern publishing, serialization is the publication of a work in installments, before or after its appearance in book form. See also: number book and serial rights.

serial number
A number identifying the place in sequence of a publication issued as part of a series. Also refers to a unique identification number assigned to a serial title for identification purposes, such as the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN).

serial record
A bibliographic record created to represent a serial publication in a library catalog, including as elements of bibliographic description the title, place of publication, name of publisher, publication history, physical description, frequency, indexing, subject headings, and ISSN. Library holdings, subscription source, payment record, and binding history are usually indicated in a separate item record. The CONSER program is a major source of high-quality serial records. See also: aggregator-neutral record.

serial rights
Under copyright law, the subsidiary rights of an author or publisher to control the publication of a work in installments, usually in a magazine or newspaper. Serial rights can be sold or transferred by the owner. The holder of first serial rights may publish sections of a book in a periodical before the work is issued as a book. The holder of second serial rights may publish sections of a book in a newspaper or magazine after the work is issued in book form.

serials control
A general term encompassing all the activities involved in managing a serials collection, including but not limited to receiving, claiming, invoice processing, binding, circulation, and record maintenance (bibliographic, check-in, bindery, etc.), usually accomplished by the serials department of a library, manually or with the aid of an automated serials control system.

serials desk
A service point, usually located near the periodicals section in a library, staffed by a person trained to assist patrons in locating serials and using equipment for making copies of articles (photocopiers, microform reader-printers, etc.) (see this example). Synonymous with periodicals desk.

Serials Directory, The
A directory issued annually by EBSCO in print, online, and on CD-ROM, providing bibliographic information and pricing for a classified list of over 140,000 serials currently published in the United States and internationally. Indexed alphabetically by serial title, ceased title, ISSN, and peer-reviewed title, The Serials Directory is usually shelved in the reference section of large libraries. ISSN: 0886-4179. See also: Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory.

Serial Set
See: U.S. Congressional Serial Set.

serials list
A list of all the serials held by a library, including any titles that have ceased publication or been canceled for which the library retains back files, usually arranged in alphabetical order by title, with holdings indicated in open and closed entries and with cross-references to and from changed titles. See also: serial record.

serials review
A systematic examination of a library's serials list to identify titles to be retained and subscriptions to be canceled, usually conducted by a serials librarian or serials department, ideally with input solicited from persons likely to be affected by the decisions. Titles suggested for addition or substitution may also be considered, depending on the amount budgeted for serials. In some libraries, serials reviews are scheduled on a regular basis (usually every one to three years), but in others, the process occurs irregularly. Decisions are based on usage, subscription price, importance to the discipline, and availability of full-text in online databases.

Serials Section (SS)
The section of the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) within the American Library Association (ALA) responsible for distributing information concerning serials in reports and discussion at general meetings and through publication. The Serials Section also encourages specialized training for librarians in the field of serials and coordinates activities within ALCTS and the ALA with respect to serial publications. Click here to connect to the SS homepage.

serials vendor
A commercial company in the business of supplying serial publications to libraries and related institutions, including subscription agents, continuation dealers, back set dealers, and journal reprint suppliers. Click here to see the Yahoo! list of serials vendors. See also: EBSCO.

serial title
The name of a publication issued in successive parts, usually printed on the front cover and in the masthead of each issue or on the title page of a monographic serial. In electronic serials, the title appears on the welcome screen. Serial title is uniquely identified by the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN). Title changes are more frequent in serials than in other types of publications. In most libraries in the United States, periodicals are shelved alphabetically by title.

A group of separately published works related in subject and/or form, issued in succession (numbered or unnumbered) by a single publisher or distributor, usually in uniform style, each bearing, in addition to its own title, a collective or series title applied by the publisher to the group as a whole. The individual volumes or parts may not share the same author or editor, nor is it necessary for them to be published at regular intervals. The series title is given on a separate series title page, usually the verso of the leaf bearing the half title. It also appears at the top of the title page or on a page following the title page. Some reference books are published in open-ended series (example: Contemporary World Issues from ABC-CLIO). In library cataloging, information describing series (title proper, statements of responsibility, ISSN, number, etc.) is given in the series area of the bibliographic record. Books in a Series is a readers' advisory service for children, provided by the Monroe County Public Library, Indiana. Abbreviated ser. Compare with serial. See also: continuation order, film series, map series, monographic series, record series, subseries, and television series.

The term is also applied to each of two or more volumes of essays, articles, lectures, or other writings, similar in character and issued in sequence, for example, Among My Books, second series, by James Russell Lowell (AACR2).

Also, a separately numbered sequence of volumes within a serial publication (example: Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series).

In typography, all the type fonts available in a given typeface, usually ranging in size from 5 points to 80 points. Compare with type family.

series area
See: series statement.

series author
A writer of works separately published as individual titles within a group of items (example: J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series of books for children).

series binding
A style of binding repeated by the publisher on all the volumes issued in a series of works (see these examples, courtesy of Juniper Books).

series statement
The area of bibliographic description reserved in library cataloging for information concerning the group of which a work issued as one of two or more separately published items is a member, including the title proper of the series, statements of responsibility concerning the series, ISSN, and number within the series (if the items are numbered). In the MARC record, series statements are entered in fields tagged 4XX.

series title
A collective title applied to a group of separately published materials issued in succession in uniform style by a single publisher or distributor. In books, the series title is usually printed on the verso of the leaf bearing the half title, often with a list of previously published works in the same series. In the bibliographic record, the title proper is given in the series statements (MARC fields 4XX).

series title page
An added title page appearing before the main title page in a work issued as part of a group of publications, giving the title proper of the series and, in some cases, additional information, such as a list of previously published titles in the series, names of authors, dates of publication, numeric designations, etc. (see this example). The series title page is usually the verso of the page bearing the half title.

A term used by the English since 1825, probably derived from the Dutch Schreef, meaning "flick of the pen." A fine, short line crossing or projecting as a finishing touch from the end of one of the main strokes of a letter of the Latin alphabet in a typeface that includes such extensions (see this illustration). Warren Chappell describes the serif as "a terminal device, functionally employed to strengthen lines which otherwise would tend to fall away optically" (A Short History of the Printed Word, Knopf, 1970).

Marc Drogin notes in Medieval Calligraphy: Its History and Technique (Allanheld & Schram, 1980) that serifs evolved from the brief perpendicular line used by the ancient Greeks to end most straight or curved strokes, adopted by the Romans in the mid-1st century B.C. The practice continued in the form of a small foot at the ending of, or the lead into, letters of the scripts used in copying medieval manuscripts. Serifs enhance the legibility of printed and handwritten text matter. The opposite of sans-serif and block letter. See also: wedge-serif.

See: screen printing.

See: comedy-drama.

A host computer on a network, programmed to answer requests to download data or program files, received from client computers connected to the same network. Also refers to the software that makes serving clients possible over a network. Servers are classified by the functions they perform (application server, database server, fax server, file server, intranet server, mail server, proxy server, terminal server, Web server, etc.).

server farm
A collection of linked Internet servers, generally used for Web hosting. Because server farms are not as reliable at mainframe computers, their design includes redundancy and other features that compensate for server failure.

service area
The geographic area served by a public library or library system, from which it derives a major portion, if not all, of its funding, usually through taxation. See also: library district.

service book
See: liturgical work.

service charge
A fee added by some jobbers to orders placed by libraries for materials sold by the publisher at little or no discount or for special services provided by the jobber in filling the order, usually on an item-by-item basis. Also refers to a fee charged by a subscription agent for filling orders for periodical subscriptions, usually 5 to 10 percent of the total annual amount paid by the library for subscriptions.

service contract
An arrangement in which the supplier (or some other service provider) agrees to regularly maintain and repair one or more pieces of equipment after any warranties have expired, usually in exchange for payment of an annual or monthly fee. Libraries enter into such agreements to keep photocopiers, microform reader-printer machines, security devices, automation equipment, etc., in working order. Synonymous with service agreement.

service copy
A third-generation microfilm copy, produced from a print master to be cataloged, stored, and used as an information source in a library. See also: master negative.

A teaching strategy that integrates meaningful community service with formal instruction and reflection, to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities by exposing students to situations in which their studies can be applied in solving real-life problems.

service mark
A word, phrase, logo, or other graphic symbol used in advertising to identify a service, rather than a product or product line. In actual practice, the term trademark is generally used in reference to both trademarks and service marks. When a service mark is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the same standardized registration symbol (®) as for trademarks may be used to indicate ownership by the registrant. Before a service mark is registered, a superscript "SM" may be used for the same purpose (see this example). Also spelled servicemark.

service point
A fixed location within a library or information center staffed to provide a specific service or services to users. Examples include the circulation desk, reference desk, serials desk, interlibrary loan office, etc.

Two or more related bibliographic items in any format, published or issued as a single entity in uniform style and cataloged as a unit, for example, a multivolume dictionary or encyclopedia (see this example). Normally, all the volumes in a set are published at the same time, but there are notable exceptions (example: Dictionary of American Regional English). Compare with series. See also: set discount and volume number.

In a more general sense, any group of entities that together constitute a whole. In information retrieval, the group of entries or records retrieved in response to a query, containing the keywords or indexing terms specified in the search statement. In most bibliographic databases, retrieval sets can be combined in a keywords search using Boolean logic to produce a logical product, logical sum, or logical difference. See also: subset.

set design drawing
An original graphic delineation made for the design or documentation of stage settings for theatrical, film, broadcast, or other performing arts productions (Thesaurus for Graphic Materials II). See this example by Russian artist Alexandre Benois for the original Paris Ballets Russes production of Igor Stravinsky's ballet Petrouchka. Scenic designers (scenographers) have been drawn from a wide range of backgrounds.

set discount
The price charged by the publisher when all the volumes in a multivolume set are ordered at the same time, as opposed to the higher price charged per volume when one or more volumes are purchased separately. The price difference is usually 5 to 20 percent.

set format
A uniform style of printing and binding established by the publisher for all the titles published in a series, which cannot be altered.

See: offset.

The overall locale and historical period in which the action in a narrative work occurs. In a specific scene or episode, the setting consists of the actual physical surroundings (indoors or out), an element of the atmosphere. For example, the general setting of the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare is medieval Denmark, with the sword fight at the end of the play set inside the castle at Elsinore. In a theater production, the setting is the scenery and properties, synonymous with the French term mise-en-scene. See also: character and plot.

Also refers to the position of an indicator that controls the operation of a machine, for example, the option on a photocopier allowing the user to enlarge or reduce the size of an original.

A method of binding in which the sections of a publication are held together with thread, usually machine-stitched through the back fold before the lining is glued to the back. In quality binding, the sewn sections are stitched to two or more sewing supports (usually narrow cloth tapes) spaced at intervals across the binding edge of the text block. Sewing allows the leaves to open without pulling loose, as they often do in adhesive bindings. Hand-sewing is used today only in custom binding. Click here or here to see use of the sewing frame in hand-binding. For a detailed description of the modern process, see the entry on "Machine sewing" in Geoffrey Glaister's Encyclopedia of the Book (Oak Knoll/British Library, 1996). Compare with stitching. See also: all along, chain stitch, kettle stitch, oversewing, side sewing, two on, unsewn, and whipstitching.

sewing supports
In hand bookbinding, narrow strips of material to which the sewn sections are attached, spaced at regular intervals perpendicular to the binding edge. In older bindings, the collated quires were sewn to cords of flax or hemp, producing a series of raised bands in the covering material at right angles to the spine, unless sunk by the binder into grooves sawn across the back of the sections. Cords replaced the leather thongs used to attach boards to book block in the earliest codex bindings (click here and here to see examples).

In medieval manuscript books, the cords were often thin strips of leather, sometimes split to allow sewing in a figure-eight for maximum strength. The ends of the cords were recessed in channels cut into the wooden boards and secured with pegs or nails, firmly attaching the text block to the boards. The channels were concealed by a leaf of parchment or vellum glued to the inside of each board. Click here to see steps in the process of sewing and lacing in in hand-binding (Leaves of Gold). In modern bookbinding, cords have been replaced by cloth tapes in quality bindings or omitted entirely in trade editions in which the case is attached to the sections by the paste-downs.

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

sexploitation film
A feature film in which nonexplicit sexual content (usually scenes of partial or complete nudity) is incorporated into the storyline to attract a larger viewing audience, for example, American Pie (1999) pitched to adolescents. See also: pornography.

In bookbinding, a gathering consisting of six sheets of paper, parchment, or vellum folded once to create 12 leaves, used in some manuscript books and early printed books. See also: quaternion, quinternion, and ternion.

sextodecimo (16mo)
A small book, approximately six inches in height, made by folding each sheet of book paper to form signatures of 16 leaves (32 pages). See also: folio, quarto, octavo, and duodecimo.

sexual harassment
Any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors (explicit or implicit), or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when submission to such conduct is made a condition of employment or used as the basis for employment decisions affecting the recipient, or when such conduct interferes with an employee's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. Libraries deal with sexual harassment by formulating and disseminating clear policies, screening applicants carefully, providing in-service training, keeping complete and accurate personnel records, and taking appropriate disciplinary action. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) provides basic Facts About Sexual Harassment. See also: hostile work environment.

See: science fiction.

See: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

See: Standard Generalized Markup Language.

A design or writing produced on a surface, such as parchment or plaster, by scratching through an upper coat of pigment to reveal an underlying layer of contrasting color or the natural color of the surface.

In printing, variation in the color or black and white texture of a printed page, produced by adding black to the ink (see these examples). Compare with hue and tint.

shaded letter
In printing, an outline letter made to appear three-dimensional by the presence of a dark shadow along the same side of each stroke, used mainly in display work.

shaded relief
A technique used in cartography to render terrain in three dimensions on a map, chart, or model by the addition of graded shadows that appear as if cast by high ground in light shining from the northwest, often used in combination with contours to indicate relief. The deeper the shadow, the steeper the terrain. Click here to see an example in color on a map of the Deer Creek Watershed in the northern Sacramento Valley, California. Shaded relief can also be done in black and white (U.S. Geological Survey). Click here to see an example with contours.

The untanned skin of a shark or ray used as a covering material in bookbinding, usually green in color and covered with small hard bumps. Jane Greenfield notes in ABC of Bookbinding (Oak Knoll/Lyons Press, 1998) that the word may be derived from "chagrin," the French term for goatskin with a hard pimpled grain. To see examples, try a search on the keyword "shagreen" in the British Library's Database of Bookbindings.

A book in which the leaves are beginning to come loose but are still attached to the binding, usually caused by loosening of the sewing threads or wear on the hinges, a condition more advanced than started but not yet sprung. See also: tight.

shape book
A book with covers and book block cut to the shape of a picture or design printed on the front cover, a common format in children's board books. Click here to see a 19th-century example cut to the shape of a chromolithograph of Red Riding Hood, courtesy of the University of Delaware Library. To see other examples, try a keywords search on the term "shape book" in Google Images. Compare with shaped binding.

shaped binding
A binding that is not rectangular or square in shape, comparatively rare in the history of book production. In modern publishing, this type of binding is a novelty, used mainly for children's books. Click here to see an unusual 16th-century heart-shaped prayer book (Saxon State Library) and here to see a 19th-century book of monograms in the form of a shield, designed by John Leighton (British Library). Compare with sculptural binding and shape book.

shared authorship
See: shared responsibility.

shared cataloging
See: cooperative cataloging.

shared responsibility
In AACR2, a work in which two or more persons or corporate bodies collaborate to create the content, each performing the same type of activity, with the contribution of each participant either distinct or indistinguishable from that of the others. Synonymous with shared authorship. Compare with mixed responsibility. See also: joint author.

Software available over the Internet that the user may download and try on the "honor system" before deciding to purchase. Payment of a nominal registration fee is expected following a reasonable trial period, entitling the user to receive documentation, technical support, and updated versions as they become available. Click here to connect to the Shareware.com collection of shareware. Compare with freeware.

Sharing and Transforming Access to Resources Section (STARS)
The section of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) within the American Library Association (ALA) that represents the interests of librarians and library staff involved with interlibrary loan, document delivery, remote circulation, access services, cooperative reference, collaborative collection development, remote storage, and other shared library services, as well as publishers, producers, and suppliers of products and services that support resource sharing. Click here to connect to the STARS homepage.

sharing violation
An attempt by a computer user to open a data or program file currently in use in another application, an action that generates a message on the screen saying the file must be "closed" before it can be used in another application.

See: Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing.

Said of a book in which the edges of the sections have been trimmed so closely in binding that the text is touched but not cut into. Compare with cropped.

The skin of a sheep, used in medieval book production to make parchment and vellum and in bookbinding. When converted to leather, it is comparatively soft and loose-fibered, easily separated into layers. Jane Greenfield notes in ABC of Bookbinding (Oak Knoll/Lyons Press, 1998) that it can be prepared to resemble goatskin and makes a durable covering material for books when properly processed. Click here to see an 18th-century example, courtesy of the British Library's Database of Bookbindings. See also: roan and skiver.

As used to describe an item cataloged in AACR2, a single whole piece of thin, flat opaque or transparent material other than a broadside, bearing printed and/or handwritten matter on one or both sides. In printing, a unit of paper as manufactured, whether printed or blank. In hand papermaking, a unit of paper the same size as the physical mold used to make it. In microforms, a single piece of fiche (microfiche, superfiche, ultrafiche), usually 4 x 6 inches in size. See also: sheet map and sheet music.

sheet map
A map printed on one side of a single sheet of paper, with or without explanatory matter printed on the reverse side. In libraries, sheet maps are usually stored flat or folded in a map case that has wide shallow drawers. Click here to see a Map of the Province of New York in two sheets, made by John Montresor in 1775, and here to see a hand-colored geologic sheet map of an area on the border of Westmoreland and Yorkshire, issued in 1889 by the Geological Survey of England and Wales (Library of Congress).

sheet music
A musical work written or printed on one or more unbound sheets of paper. Libraries usually place sheet music inside a protective folder or binder in physical processing to keep the sheets together. Click here to to see early printed sheet music for "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key (Library of Congress). The American Memory Project at the Library of Congress hosts African-American Sheet Music, 1850-1920 and Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920. Mary Kay Duggan has created a searchable database of 19th-Century California Sheet Music. Click here to learn more about the history of sheet music in Wikipedia. See also: score.

shelf back
See: spine.

shelf capacity
The average number of volumes that will fit on a bookshelf, depending on the width of the shelf from upright to upright, the average depth (thickness) per volume, and the portion of each shelf left empty to facilitate reshelving. Total stack capacity can be computed by multiplying shelf capacity by the number of available shelves in the library stacks. See also: cubook.

A permanent deformation in the binding of a book that develops when it is allowed to lean at an angle against a shelf upright or nearby volume for a prolonged period of time (see this example). The condition is caused by the force of gravity and can be prevented by using a sturdy bookend at the end of each row on shelves that are not full. Also known as spine lean. Compare with cocked.

shelf dummy
A piece of wood, cardboard, or plastic in the shape of a book, placed on a shelf in a library, bearing a spine label that directs the user to the location of a title shelved out of normal sequence. Shelf dummies are often used in reference stacks to indicate the location of items shelved in ready reference and in periodical stacks to indicate that back files are shelved elsewhere, for example, in microfilm or microfiche cabinets. Compare with dummy book.

shelf guide
A sign or label attached to the end or edge of a shelf in a library indicating its contents, usually by call number, or alphabetically by title (periodicals) or last name of author (fiction). Synonymous with shelf label.

shelf height
The vertical distance between two shelves. Adjustable shelving allows the distance to be altered to accommodate items of varying height. Average shelf height is one of the factors determining stack capacity. See also: oversize.

shelf life
The average length of time an item owned by a library, such as a book, audiocassette, videocassette, or CD, is likely to remain in usable condition before it must be replaced due to normal wear. See also: library binding.

A nonpublic catalog of a library collection containing a single bibliographic record for each item, filed in the order in which the items are arranged on the shelf (usually by call number), used for inventory because it contains the most current information on copy and volume holdings. Card shelflists are being phased out by libraries that have converted their catalogs to machine-readable records.

shelf mark
Historically, a mark or code written on or affixed to a manuscript or printed book, indicating its proper physical location in a specific library, precursor of the call number. Shelf marks are helpful to bibliographers and antiquarians in identifying individual manuscripts. Click here to see a shelf mark on the front cover of a 15th-century Latin reader (Royal Library of Denmark) and here to see one on the fore-edge of the sections (Princeton Univeristy Library).

shelf reading
Periodic examination of the arrangement of books and other materials in the stacks of a library to ensure that items are in correct call number sequence on the shelf, usually performed during slack periods by a student assistant or staff member called a page. An item shelved out of order may be lost to users until the shelves are read. Synonymous with shelf checking. Compare with inventory.

The result of outsourcing in which the vendor supplies library materials (books, media, periodicals, etc.) already processed and in condition suitable for shelving, by prior agreement with the library, usually for an additional fixed charge per item. The materials arrive cataloged, bearing the library's ownership mark, with call numbers on spine labels, ready for circulation. Some vendors are also prepared to affix preprinted barcodes and security strips and to check-in serials remotely.

A slang term used by librarians for an item in the circulating collection that is seldom, if ever, checked out or a reference book that is rarely used. In public libraries with limited shelf space, items with low circulation are eventually weeded, but in the collections of academic and research libraries, where accumulation is a priority, they may be retained indefinitely.

The length of time an item remains on the shelf of a library between uses. First shelf-time is the period that elapses before its first use, determined by recording the date on which it was first shelved. Closed-end shelf-time is the length of time between the last two uses. Open-end shelf-time is the period since the last use of the item and the date on which the collection is examined, usually for the purpose of weeding (adapted from Weeding Library Collections: Library Weeding Methods by Stanley J. Slote, Libraries Unlimited, 1997).

The condition of a book that shows visible signs of having been repeatedly removed from and replaced on the shelf, usually along the lower edges of the binding, on the sides of the dust jacket or covers, or at the head of the spine. In libraries, the most shelf-worn volumes are often well-loved children's books, standard dictionaries, general encyclopedias, and other heavily used reference books. Library binding can lengthen the shelf life of a book.

A resin secreted by an insect native to India and Thailand, used as a colorant, glaze, sealant, and finish. Phonograph records were made of shellac in the era of 10-inch wide 78 rpm discs (see this example), prior to the introduction of vinyl in the 1950s.

shell gold
Gold leaf ground to a powder, combined with binding medium gum arabic, and allowed to harden in a pan, used for illuminating manuscripts, restoring gold tooling, and achieving powdered effects on leather bindings, so named because it was originally sold in half a mussel shell. Shell gold is still available from booksellers and art suppliers (see these examples, courtesy of Betsy Porter).

See: bookshelves.

shelving by size
Storing books by height rather than by subject classification, usually in four or more groups ranging from the smallest to the largest. The method increases shelf capacity by up to 25 percent, but when subject access is sacrificed, browsing capability is diminished. For this reason, shelving by size is used mainly in storage locations inaccessible to the public. See also: double shelving, flat shelving, and fore-edge shelving.

A free service, currently hosted by the Centre for Research Communications (CRC) at the University of Nottingham, which provides a searchable database of publisher's policies regarding the self-archiving of peer-reviewed journal articles and certain conference series, on the Web and in open access repositories. Click here to connect to the SHERPA/RoMEO homepage.

The length of time spent working at one job in any 24-hour period, no more than 8 hours for full-time employment in most workplaces. Also refers to the length of time a person performs a particular task before being relieved by the next person scheduled to do the same work. Librarians scheduled at a service point such as the reference desk may rotate shifts, especially in the evening and on weekends.

The laborious process of moving an entire collection, or sections of a collection, from one location to another in the stacks of a library, usually to create shelf space in classifications that have become overcrowded.

The delivery of materials, equipment, or supplies ordered from a publisher, jobber, dealer, or supplier to a library by post or some other method. Also refers to the charge for delivery, usually included as a separate amount on the invoice. Directory information on shipping services is available in annual reference serial Literary Market Place. See also: consolidated shipment, drop shipment, reshipment, and short shipment.

shipping list
A printed form sent by a vendor or supplier with a shipment of goods, listing its contents, to allow the customer to compare items shipped against those that were ordered, not to be confused with an invoice. Synonymous with packing list and packing slip.

In the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), a list of government publications included in a shipment from the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) or a contractor, listing each document's SuDocs number and item number. Separate categories of shipping lists are generated for (1) paper documents, (2) microfiche, (3) eletronic resources, and (4) separates, numbered consecutively within each format. Shipping lists are available online via the FDLP Desktop.

In commercial papermaking, a tiny piece of incompletely cooked wood fibre in chemical pulp, sometimes visible as a small spot in the finished paper.

One of a set of four metal sheaths custom-fitted to the corners of a large hand-bound book to protect the leather binding, usually made of brass or silver, plain or decorated.

The process of recording moving images on light-sensitive film or a still image on film or photographic plate using a camera. A single film sequence or exposure is known as a shot. In motion picture production, the term shoot refers to a day's filming or to the entire process of filming a work.

See: short film.

Some operating systems allow the user to create an icon or pointer on the desktop that can be double-clicked to directly access a program or document, without having to click the Start button and select the application or filename from a menu or directory system.

short discount
In the book trade, a discount less than the one normally allowed by the publisher, jobber, or bookseller, usually 5-35 percent. Professional books, textbooks, and reference books are normally sold at short discount, as are items on special order. Compare with long discount.

short film
Any motion picture originally released theatrically or direct to video with a running time of less than 40 minutes (three reels or less). The category includes cartoons, newsreels, documentaries, and experimental films, but not condensed or shortened versions of works originally of feature length. A prime example is the Holocaust documentary Nuit et Brouillard [Night and Fog] by the French director Alain Resnais, released in 1955. The once common practice of showing one or more shorts before a feature film is now rare in commercial movie theaters--short films are shown mainly at film festivals. Yahoo! provides a list of short film festivals. Synonymous with short and short subject.

shorthand edition
An edition of a written work transcribed from the original text using a phonetic system of rapid writing introduced in 1837 by Sir Isaac Pitman (1813-1897) in which special symbols are used to represent various sounds in the language. John Robert Gregg developed a rival system in 1888. Shorthand editions were popular in the late 19th and early 20th century. Click here to see editions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Sign of the Four in Pitman Shorthand and Gregg Shorthand (Lilly Library, Indiana University).

short list
A small group of candidates chosen from a larger group, from which the final selection is made in filling a vacant position, awarding a prize, or determining the winner of a competition. Also spelled shortlist.

short loan
See: reserves.

short novel
See: novelette.

short page
In printing, a page with fewer lines of type matter than the specified number, as at the end of a chapter. In contemporary books, the unfilled space is usually left blank, but in older editions it was sometimes adorned with a printer's ornament. Compare with long page.

See: short shipment.

short score
A sketch of an ensemble work in which the composer sets forth the main elements on a few staves, with the intention of elaborating the themes at some time in the future. Compare with close score and condensed score.

short shipment
An order shipped with one or more items lacking, usually because they were out of stock at the time the order was filled. The absent titles, known as shorts, are usually placed on back order to be shipped as soon as they become available.

short short story
A fictional prose narrative of 500 to 1,500 words, containing all the elements of a short story in very concise form (example: "The Mad Woman" by Guy de Maupassant). See also: conte.

short story
A work of short fiction, usually 2,000 to 10,000 words in length, in which the author limits the narrative to a single character (or group of characters) acting in a limited setting, usually at a single point in time, to achieve a unified effect (example: "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman). Short fiction is published in literary magazines and collections. Stories considered outstanding by editors and critics may be anthologized following initial publication. Short stories published in collections are indexed in Short Story Index published annually by H.W. Wilson. Yahoo! provides a list of short story Web sites. Compare with novelette and short short story. See also: conte, fable, O. Henry Awards, Rea Award for the Short Story, and tale.

short subject
See: short film.

short title
An abbreviated title of a book or other publication, usually enough of the full title to enable the item to be identified in a catalog or bibliography or on a price list or order form. Also spelled short-title. See also: English Short Title Catalogue and Short-Title Catalogue.

short title catalogue
A bibliographic resource that lists printed items in abbreviated entries, retaining the most important words in their titles (example: Nineteenth-Century Short Title Catalogue covering English-language books printed between 1801 and 1919). Short title catalogues typically cover early modern books and pamphlets, which often have long descriptive titles. Click here to see the Wikipedia list of short title catalogues. Also spelled catalog.

Short-Title Catalogue (STC)
Compiled by A.W. Pollard and G.R. Redgrave, Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, and Ireland, and of English Books Printed Abroad, 1475-1640 was published in 1926 by the Bibliographical Society, London. Revision and enlargement of the first edition, begun by W.A. Jackson and F.S. Ferguson, was completed by Katherine F. Pantzer from 1976 to 1986. Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and British America, and of English Books Printed in Other Countries, 1641-1700, compiled by Donald G. Wing of the Yale University Library as a continuation of Pollard and Redgrave's work, was published in three volumes by the Index Society, New York, from 1945 to 1951. See also: English Short Title Catalogue.

shot list
A complete itemization of the individual scenes in a motion picture, listed in order of appearance, with a brief description of the content and any unusual visual or technical characteristics (slow motion, fast motion, freeze frame, etc.), created by a film repository to serve as a more detailed guide than the catalog record, which should alert the user to the availability of the tool.

In bookbinding, the ridge along the binding edge of the text block, made to accommodate the boards of the cover by bending the backs of the sewn sections from the center toward the front and back, a process called backing, done with a hammer in hand-binding, and by machine in commercial binding, after the back has been rounded and before the lining is applied. Also called an abutment, flange, groove, or ledge.

shoulder note
A note written or printed on the outer corner of the head margin of a page, usually in handwriting or a type size (or style) that distinguishes it from the text (see this example, courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh Libraries).

When specific words within an e-mail message (or its entire text) are typed in uppercase, THE TONE MAY BE INTERPRETED AS RUDE by its recipient(s). See also: flame and netiquette.

See: window card.

show print
See: release print.

A printing defect in which text or illustration printed on one side of a leaf is visible through the paper from the other side, usually the result of a mismatch between paper stock and ink on the part of the typographer. See also: opacity.

A piece of office equipment designed to destroy records printed on paper by slicing them into long, very thin strips, used in some libraries to dispose of inactive records containing confidential information about patron accounts (contact information, circulation history, etc.).

The gradual contraction of motion picture film from its original dimensions (length and width), caused by loss of moisture in processing or during extended storage (see acetate decay). Shrinkage is measured by a device called a shrinkage gauge that compares the distance between sprocket holes in the shrunken film with the standard distance for new film stock of the same gauge and expresses the difference as a percentage. Because shrinkage rarely occurs uniformly, it can cause image distortion and stress in projection. Once it has progressed beyond a certain point, the film can no longer be projected using standard equipment because the distance between perforations no longer matches the distance between teeth on the sprocket. Click here to learn more about shrinkage, courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. See also: crazing, cupping, and redimensioning.

shrink-wrap license
Licensing terms stated in a notice printed in or on the package containing a new software product, which the manufacturer considers the purchaser to have accepted by the act of removing the plastic wrapper from the container ("breaking the seal") and keeping the product. Such agreements often include provisions and restrictions that have not been uniformly enforced by the courts, because they give software publishers more rights than are permitted under federal copyright or patent law. The controversial Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) would allow software publishers to embed non-negotiable, enforceable contract terms in this type of mass-market license. Also spelled shrinkwrap. See also: click-on license.

See: homebound.

In indexing, a descriptor or subject heading that shares a broader term (one level up in hierarchy) with one or more other descriptors in the same indexing language. The meanings of sibling terms may overlap (example: "Children's librarians" and "School librarians" under the broader term "Librarians"). Compare with orphan.

The Latin word for "thus" written inside square brackets [sic] or parentheses (sic) after a quotation to indicate that a misspelled word or grammatical error has been reproduced verbatim. In continental Europe, the exclamation mark (!) is used for the same purpose.

See: Standard Industrial Classification.

See: Serial Item and Contribution Identifier.

Originally, one side of a 78 rpm phonograph record, containing just one song. When 7-inch vinyl 45 rpm singles became widespread, the terms A side and B side were coined to differentiate the songs on opposite sides of the disc. The term remains in use as a synonym for a single recorded song.

Information printed alongside a text and set apart visually, usually inside a box or by shading. Sidebars are used in magazines, textbooks, popular reference books, how-to books, etc., to present related or supplementary material that the author does not wish to include in the main text. Compare with side note.

side note
A note written or printed on one of the side margins of a page, opposite the passage of text to which it refers, usually in script or type that distinguishes it from the text. A cut-in side note is set in from the left- or right-hand margin, with text surrounding it on three sides. Synonymous with marginal note. Compare with gloss. See also: scholium.

The outer surface of the upper and lower boards of a book, usually covered in a protective material such as leather, cloth, or paper. See also: side title.

side sewing
In binding, to fasten sections or loose leaves together by sewing the entire text block through the side along the binding margin in a single pass, a method that considerably restricts openability. The ANSI standard for library binding specifies that a lock-stitch be used in side sewing and does not recommend the method for text blocks over one-half-inch thick or when the binding margin is less than three-quarter-inch wide. Synonymous with stab sewing. Compare with fold sewn.

A method of binding in which flat wire staples are driven by machine through the entire thickness of the sections of a publication, parallel with the back fold, close to the binding edge. Used primarily for textbooks and periodical issues of more than one section, the method is stronger than saddle-stitching but does not allow the leaves to open easily. For this reason, side-stitched publications must have a wide gutter margin. Synonymous with side-wire stitching. Compare with side sewing.

side title
The title impressed on the outside of the front cover of a book, or written or printed on a label pasted to the cover, sometimes a shortened version of the title proper printed on the title page. Click here to see an example on a 19th-century binding designed by John Leighton (British Library). Jane Greenfield notes in ABC of Bookbinding (Oak Knoll/Lyons Press, 1998) that a vellum label in a small brass plate was popular during the 16th century in northern Europe. See also: binder's title and cover title.

A lettered board or graphic symbol intended to identify a place or building, provide information, or give directions, notice, or warning (see this example).

A collective term for all the static visual symbols and devices posted in a library to direct patrons to specific resources, services, and facilities and to inform them of library hours, policies, programs, and events, including their size, design, and placement. Signs that are clear, concise, consistent, courteous, and appropriately placed can significantly reduce the number of directional questions received at the reference desk and make using the library less stressful, especially for inexperienced patrons (see this example).

To comply with ADA requirements, many libraries in the United States have added Braille to signs posted within physical reach of users (see these examples). In libraries that serve a significant number of non-English-speaking patrons, signs may be provided in more than one language (example). An effort is made in new construction and major renovations to avoid a piecemeal approach by incorporating the style and placement of signs into the overall interior design.

A government or agency that has the legal right to sign an official document, such as a treaty or trade agreement. Also refers to the person whose signature appears on such a document.

In printing, a single sheet of paper folded one or more times to become, with the addition of any plates or other inserts, one section in a bound publication. In modern book production, signatures are usually in multiples of 8 pages, with 32 pages the norm. According to The Bookman's Glossary (Bowker, 1983), the term originated when signatures, folded by hand, were initialed by the person doing the folding, to facilitate error tracing. In modern printing, a signature mark called a register is applied by the printer to alert the binder to the order in which the folded sheets are to be gathered.

Also refers to a person's name, written in his or her own hand, usually appearing at the end of an original document, such as a letter or legal instrument (see Thomas Jefferson's signature on a Promise of Freedom for his slave James Hemings). Verification of a signature's authenticity may require expert analysis. See also: forgery and signatory.

In e-mail messages, a standard ending that usually includes the sender's full name, position, affiliation, contact information, and sometimes a brief quotation or favorite saying. Synonymous in this sense with footer.

In written music, a symbol or symbols appearing at the beginning of a staff to indicate key and/or time.

signature marks
A stepped series of small marks printed on the edges of the sections of a book as a visual aid to the binder in gathering the sections in correct sequence. When printed on the binding edge, the marks are covered by the spine; when printed on one of the other edges, the marks are removed in trimming. In older editions, signature marks sometimes appear as a combination of letters and numerals, usually centered at the foot of the page (see this example, courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh Libraries).

signature tune
A melody associated with a particular commercial enterprise, product or service, radio or television program, band, performer, or dignitary, used to audibly cue the audience (example: "Hail to the Chief" to announce the entrance of the President of the United States). Used synonymously with theme song.

An entry in a reference work or an article in a periodical that includes the name of the author (or authors), usually given at the beginning or end of the text. Also refers to a copy of a limited edition bearing the signature of the author or illustrator in the statement of limitation. In a more general sense, any written document, such as a letter or legal instrument, that indicates the identity of the person who wrote it, usually by the presence of a signature. The opposite of unsigned. See also: byline.

signed binding
A binding that bears the name, initials, or cipher of the binder, usually tooled in blind or gilt at the foot of the spine, on the upper cover, or on one of the turn-ins; stamped in ink on one of the endpapers; printed on a trade label pasted inside the cover or on a stub or ticket bound into the volume; or incorporated (less frequently) in the edge painting. Click here to see an example, courtesy of the British Library. To see other examples, try a search on the keyword "signed" in the British Library's Database of Bookbindings. See also: binder's mark.

signed edition
An edition (usually a limited edition) in which the individual copies bear the signature of the author or illustrator (see this example, published in 1972, courtesy of the University of Pittsburgh Libraries).

French for "mark of return." A graphic symbol used in the margin of a manuscript and in the text to associate a location in the text with material provided in the margin, especially a correction adding a sentence or passage omitted by the scribe.

See: register.

sign language
A method of nonverbal communication devised to assist the deaf, in which a system of manual, facial, and other body movements is used to express words, thoughts, and feelings. Click here to connect to the online American Sign Language (ASL) Fingerspelling Dictionary. British Sign Language (BSL) is not the same as American Sign Language. Print dictionaries of sign language are available in the reference section of libraries.

silent film
Any motion picture produced without sound, usually from the period before talkies were introduced (1895 to about 1927). Also refers to the entire body of motion pictures produced during this early period. Classic American examples include the early films of comedians Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton and the works of D.W. Griffith. When early silent films were shown to live audiences, the movie theater usually hired an orchestra or pianist to provide musical accompaniment. Projection speed for silent films is usually 16 fps (frames per second). In library cataloging, lack of sound track is indicated by the abbreviation si. in the physical description area of the bibliographic record for a film. Click here to learn more about the silent film era. See also: intertitle.

A graphic representation of one or more persons or objects usually shown in profile in a single hue against a contrasting background (typically black on white), named for the French Minister of Finance, Etienne de Silhouette (1709-1767), whose hobby was to cut profiles from black paper. Portrait silhouettes were popular from the early 18th to the late 19th century when photography made portraiture available to the masses (see this example, courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania Library). Originally made by filling in an outline taken from a shadow cast by a candle onto a sheet of paper, a silhouette can be cut, drawn, painted, printed, or photographic. Also called shades.

silhouette animation
A stop-motion film animation technique, inspired by European silhouette cutting and shadow play, in which the subjects are cardboard cutouts, seen as black silhouettes against a lighter background when backlighted. For each frame, the position of one or more of the articulated subjects is altered incrementally, giving the illusion of continuous motion when the footage is played back at the standard 24 frames per second. Examples can be seen in YouTube.

silhouette paper
A form of decorated paper in which silhouettes, often in the form of trailing leaves and/or flowers, were cut from thin leather impregnated with dyes (usually red, yellow or green) and subsequently printed between the two halves of a folded sheet of paper. The printed surface was then brushed with a high-protein vegetable extract and matte-finished by working it with a polishing stone. Sometimes a thin, narrow layer of gold was added to highlight the outlines of the silhouettes before polishing. According to the National Library of the Netherlands, this type of paper originated in Iran and was subsequently developed in Turkey. Click here to see a 16th-century example, courtesy of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek.

silica gel
Silicon dioxide in hard granular or beaded form, used as a desiccant because of its hygroscopic properties. Highly porous, its crystalline structure adsorbs and holds moisture by physical rather than chemical means, without swelling or changing shape. Capable of adsorbing up to one-third its weight in water, silica gel can reduce the relative humidity in a closed container to about 40 percent. Conservators use it to control moisture in small enclosed spaces (exhibition cases, storage boxes, etc.). Non-indicating silica gel is white and remains white as it adsorbs moisture. Indicating silica gel impregnated with moisture-sensitive cobalt chloride turns from blue to pink when saturated. Packaged in oven-safe containers, the gel can be dried for reuse by heating it above 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The substance is inert, nontoxic, and nonflammable and has a very high melting point. Click here to learn more about how silica gel works, courtesy of HowStuffWorks.

A fine lustrous textile made from the cocoon of the silkworm, used in Asia (especially China, India, and Japan) as a support for manuscripts and paintings, usually in the form of a scroll (see this example, courtesy of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France). In preservation, chiffon silk is used to reinforce paper in a process called silking. Click here to learn more about silk in Wikipedia. See also: moiré.

The process of laminating chiffon silk, Japanese tissue, or some other gossamer material to one or both sides of a sheet of paper or a leaf in a book, to make an almost invisible repair or for purposes of preservation. The result is said to have been silked. De-silking is the process of removing such material from the surface of a sheet or page. Click here to see a portion of a silked document magnified, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

silk screen
See: screen printing.

A small nocturnal wingless insect (Lepisma saccharina) of light gray-blue metallic color, with three long tail bristles and two long antennae (see this example). Silverfish feed on polysaccharides, including the starches in books (example). Although they are considered pests because they damage property, silverfish do not transmit disease.

silver print
See: gelatin silver print.

In communications, a channel that has the capacity to transmit signals in one direction but not in the other. Compare with duplex.

simplified edition
An adaptation that makes the text of a previously published work easier to read, usually for a specific age group or category of reader, by substituting less difficult words, shortening the narrative, and adding a glossary, commonly used in ESL (English as a second language) instruction. Compare with abridgment.

simultaneous publication
Publication of the hardcover and paperback editions of a new book at the same time. Normally, the softcover edition is published months or even years after the cloth edition. Compare with parallel publishing.

simultaneous submission
Submission of a completed manuscript by the author or the author's agent to more than one publisher at the same time. A journal publisher's policy concerning simultaneous submission is usually stated in its guidelines for contributors.

simultaneous user
A person who accesses a bibliographic database or other online resource at the same time as other users. Licensing agreements usually specify the maximum number of users who may log on simultaneously at a given subscription rate. Most vendors have designed their proprietary search software to deny access when the limit is exceeded.

sine loco
A Latin phrase meaning "without place." In library cataloging, the abbreviation s.l. is used inside square brackets [s.l.] in the publication, distribution, etc., area of the bibliographic description to indicate that the place of publication is unknown. Compare with sine nomine.

sine nomine
A Latin phrase meaning "without name." In library cataloging, the abbreviation s.n. is used inside square brackets [s.n.] in the publication, distribution, etc., area of the bibliographic description to indicate that the name of the publisher or distributor is unknown. Compare with sine loco.

singing cowboy
In film and television, a subgenre of the western, popular from the mid-1930s through the 1950s, in which the protagonist is a well-behaved, nonviolent cowboy of tender heart who dresses more elegantly (white hat) than most tuneless cowboys and whose vocal skills are just as important if not more important than his marksmanship. Periodic pauses in the plot (usually 5-10 in each film) allow for vocal interludes, as in a musical. Examples include the feature film Song of the Gringo (1936) and the television series The Roy Rogers Show (1951-1957).

Originally, a short recording (usually a single tune) released on a phonograph record. Due to the technical limitations of the 10-inch wide 78 rpm shellac discs widely used by 1910, early recordings were limited in duration to about three minutes. In 1949, RCA introduced the more durable 7-inch wide 45 rpm vinyl disc, which reproduced sound with higher fidelity. The first 45 rpm records were monaural, with short recordings on both sides of the disc (A side and B side). By the early 1970s, nearly all 45 rpm records were stereophonic. Synonymous with record single. Compare with record album. See also: cassette single.

single index
An index compiled all at one time to facilitate access to the content of a single publication, for example, an index at the back of a book or at the end of the last volume of a multivolume reference work. Compare with cumulative index and open-end index.

In the bibliographic sense, a single leaf (folio) bound into a book where one would expect to find conjoint leaves. A singleton is usually one-half of a bifolium, severed to allow one of the pair to be interleaved out of normal sequence in the collation, but it can also be an additional leaf hand-copied or printed separately from the gathering for insertion in it.

In printing, the amount of space left blank above the first line of type at the top of a page of text, for example, at the beginning of a chapter or other major division of a book. See also: headpiece.

sister library
A library that enters into a voluntary partnership with a library from another culture for the purpose of encouraging multicultural exchange and international understanding. In 1999, the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) and Sister Cities International (SCI) embarked on a major initiative, Sister Libraries: A White House Millennium Council Project, chaired by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, to pair public and school libraries in the United States with similar libraries worldwide, with focus on programs for children and adolescents. Many sister libraries are in locations already affiliated through SCI, an organization for sister city, county, and state programs in the United States (see this example). NCLIS support for the project ended in 2000. Click here to learn more about the sister libraries, courtesy of the American Library Association.

See: situation comedy.

site license
Permission granted to a company, agency, organization, or institution by a software producer or vendor to use a software product under specified conditions on all the computers at a designated IP address, or range of IP addresses, usually in exchange for payment by the licensee of an annual fee. Pricing may be based on number of users in the community, number of simultaneous users, potential number of users of specific content, or a combination of factors. Compare with software license.

site selection
The process of choosing a suitable location for a new library building. Because the cost of designing and constructing a library is high, and the structure is usually intended to be permanent, choice of site is carefully considered, usually by a planning team based on analysis of a list of possible options. For academic libraries, the decision may be governed by the institution's comprehensive development plan. Public libraries are often sited on the basis of demographic projections, availability of transportation, and proximity to other public facilities. For more on this topic, see the Library Facility Siting and Location Handbook by Christine M. Koontz (Greenwood, 1997). Synonymous with siting.

See: site selection.

situation comedy
An upbeat fictional work for television, typically broadcast in a series of 30-minute episodes in which a continuing cast of characters, in the same relationships to each other and in the same setting (usually home or office), face unusual circumstances (example: I Love Lucy with Lucille Ball). Humor lies in their predictable reactions to challenges. A laugh track is added to sitcoms not recorded with a live studio audience. See also: domestic comedy.

Substances such as resin, gelatin, glue, or starch added to paper stock in manufacture to promote the bonding of cellulose fibers or as a coating to fill pores in the surface after sheets have been formed. Size makes paper less permeable to water, preventing the ink used in printing from bleeding. It also gives definition to the printed image. Some types of size are acidic and contribute to the deterioration of paper. See also: alum rosin and book size.

Paper treated in manufacture with a substance that makes its surface less porous, reducing its capacity to absorb moisture. Blotting paper is left unsized. Also refers to book cloth treated with a stiffener. See also: resized.

The process of sorting a number of books into batches of similar height and/or width in preparation for some kind of treatment or processing, such as the application of clear plastic jacket covers. See also: book size. Also used synonymously with size.

skeleton staff
The minimum number of employees required to operate a library, usually those necessary to staff essential service points and maintain security. Libraries chronically understaffed may be forced to operate with minimal staff in the evening and on weekends or remain closed.

A brief essay, story, or play developed in less detail than a more complete work of the same literary form. A character sketch captures the essence of one or more individuals, with little or no plot. Also refers to a drawing that provides a rough outline of its subject without adding much detail, usually done rapidly, in a single sitting, sometimes as a study for a more elaborate treatment of the same subject. Click here to view three figure studies in red chalk by Raphael (Metropolitan Museum of Art) and here to see a 20th-century pencil and crayon portrait by Jan Toorop (Koninklijke Bibliotheek). For more examples, see The Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. Musical sketches are sometimes done by composers (see this example by Mozart, courtesy of the Cornell University Library). See also: courtroom sketch, sketchbook, and sketch map.

A blankbook containing leaves of drawing paper for making drawings, sketches, or paintings. Also, such a book when it is filled with drawings. Click here to see an example by the artist John Constable, courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Synonymous with sketchbpad.

sketch map
A simplified map of an area drawn freehand (without measurements), usually with pen or pencil and often from memory, showing the spatial relationships of significant features without accurately preserving scale or area. Examples vary greatly in the amount of detail provided. Compare this simple example with this detailed sketch map of the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, both courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The surreptitious or unauthorized use of an electronic reading device to obtain radio frequency identification (RFID) data from an unsuspecting person in possession of an object that has an embedded microchip (RFID tag). Anti-skimming technologies are being developed.

A thin disc-shaped plastic protector, made of patented cleanable polycarbonate film, designed to snap tightly onto the data side of a standard-sized compact disc to protect it from scratches and abrasion (see this example). The disc can be read through the transparent protective layer by a computer, DVD or CD player, or game console. Because disc skins are fairly high-priced, they may not be cost effective for large media collections. Tradename: d-skin. Synonymous with disc protector.

A binder's term for a thin, dressed leather made from the hair side of an animal skin (usually sheepskin) split with a sharp-bladed implement, used on less expensive bookbindings in England after 1768 when the technique was first introduced (Geoffrey Glaister, Encyclopedia of the Book, Oak Knoll/British Library, 1996).

In newspaper publishing, any headline printed across the top of the first page above the flag. Compare with banner.

See: sine loco.

See: Special Libraries Association.

See: libel.

An informal or colloquial expression peculiar to a specific group, often unintelligible to outsiders but sometimes decipherable from its context, for example, the term "mimbo" used (in some circles) to refer to an unintelligent male person. Slang expressions are subject to linguistic fashion. Most serious authors use slang terms only in dialogue or when writing informally. In libraries, dictionaries of slang are available in the reference section (example: A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English by Eric Partridge). Yahoo! provides a list of slang dictionaries. Compare with argot, idiom, and jargon.

slanted abstract
An abstract written to represent a specific portion of a document, or a particular perspective on its content, usually for the benefit of a specialized audience, for example, an abstract of a scientific paper on the effects of global warming on climate, written for the benefit of the petroleum industry. An example can be seen in the appendix of the ANSI/NISO Z39.14 Guidelines for Abstracts. Compare with critical abstract.

slapstick comedy
A fictional theatrical work in which broad humor is derived from the physical antics of the actors--simulated falls, chases, collisions, fights, pie throwing, and physical gags (example). Although vigorous physical comedy has a long theatrical history, beginning with Greek and Roman drama, modern slapstick comedy began in the music halls and vaudeville theatres of the late 19th century and achieved wider scope in the early 20th century in the black and white, silent motion pictures directed by Mack Sennett and Hal Roach, featuring such comedians as Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, the Keystone Kops, and the Three Stooges.

See: State Library Agency Section.

In writing, printing, and computing, a character in the form of a line slanting diagonally from upper right to lower left, used to indicate division, fractions, and ratios (miles/hour); to combine dates (1905/06); to indicate alternatives (and/or); and to separate the parts of an Internet address (http://www.myuniversity.edu/library). Synonymous with forward slash, solidus, and virgule. Compare with backslash.

A subgenre of horror in which extreme violence is highlighted for its shock value. Slashers typically feature a psychotic male killer who uses a blade or other cutting tool to murder multiple victims, one by one, until he is subdued or killed, often by a survivor who resists or is lucky (example: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre [1974] directed by Tobe Hooper).

Slavic and East European Section (SEES)
Established in 1963, SEES is the section of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) within the American Library Association (ALA) that represents over 300 librarians and specialists involved in Slavic and East European studies. In addition to Russia and the countries of Eastern and Central Europe, the section is concerned with aspects of library service related to the study of the Baltic, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. Click here to connect to the SEES homepage.

In the retail book trade, a trade book that sells slowly when first published but develops a strong, steady market over a period of months or even years. In libraries, a new book that circulates slowly when first added to the collection but in time attracts a strong, steady readership. In the antiquarian book trade, a valuable item priced well below its market value in a dealer's catalog or on the shelf because the seller is unaware of its actual worth.

Similarly, a tune, album, motion picture, or play, not an obvious hit when first produced or released, which has the potential to become popular over time.

A transparent plastic covering designed to fit snugly over the paper dust jacket of a hardcover book. Applied by a library staff member during physical processing, plastic sleeves are used in public libraries to a greater extent than in other types of libraries to protect book covers from wear and to enhance their visual appeal.

Also, the paper envelope provided by the manufacturer of a phonograph record to protect the disc from dust and abrasion as it is removed from and replaced in the jacket or album, sometimes with a wide circle cut from the center or replaced with transparent material, to allow the record label to remain visible (see these examples). In a more general sense, a protective envelope for any bibliographic resource (AACR2).

A term used in publishing to describe a heavily illustrated consumer magazine of high circulation, printed in color on glossy paper, for sale at newsstands, in bookstores and supermarkets, and by subscription (example: Cosmopolitan).

A small transparent, positive still image in color or black and white, produced on film or glass, usually mounted in a rigid cardboard or plastic frame of standard size (2 x 2 inches), for projection one at a time on a screen using a slide projector, with or without recorded sound (modern stereographs, such as Viewmaster reels, are also included in this category). Slide projectors designed to take carousels in which dozens of slides are queued often have an automatic advance that can be activated remotely by the presenter. Models intended for professional use may include a microprocessor that enables individual slides to be accessed randomly. Slides may also be viewed using a slide viewer, a smaller hand-operated device with built-in rear-screen projection (see this example). More expensive models have audio and automatic advance capability similar to slide projectors. Click here to see an image of a 35mm carousel slide projector/viewer. Compare with filmstrip. See also: lantern slide, microscope slide, and microslide.

In computing, one of a numbered sequence of screens created using presentation software, such as PowerPoint, for display with the aid of a projector, usually as part of an oral presentation.

slide mount
A rigid cardboard or plastic frame, usually of standard size (2 x 2 inches), designed to hold a single slide to protect it from damage and make it easier to label, store, and handle.

slide projector
See: slide.

slide viewer
See: slide.

sliding royalty
Payment received by an author from his or her publisher, in which the per unit rate, usually calculated as a percentage of list price, increases with the number of copies sold.

A sturdy cardboard box covered in paper, cloth, or leather, designed to snugly contain a book or set of books, with the front open to expose the spine(s), leaving the spine title(s) visible. Some have thumbholes cut into each side to facilitate use. Intended to keep volumes together and protect them from damage, slipcases are more common in deluxe editions and videocassette sets than in trade book editions. A single book may be given a chemise inside the slipcase to protect the sides of the cover from abrasion. A double slipcase is divided by a partition, allowing two volumes to be encased without contact. Click here to see a single-volume example (courtesy of Alibris) and here to see a multivolume example. Also spelled slip-case. Compare with pull-case and solander. See also: double slipcase.

slip plan
In acquisitions, a type of approval plan in which a printed or electronic form, called a notification slip, is sent by the vendor, describing each new book that meets the library's profile, as opposed to automatic shipment of the item itself. Some vendors provide a multipart form with a tear strip, for use as order slip, file copy, etc. Electronic slips may include the table of contents of the work, a digital image of the front cover, and review information.

slip proof
See: galley proof.

See: School Library Journal.

A catchword or phrase closely identified with a political campaign, political party, or other group, or used to advertise a specific product or service (see this example). Slogans generally are not copyrighted.

slope diagram
A graphic scale in the form of a triangle displayed in the margin of a map to enable the user to determine degree of slope between contours, with the base of the triangle representing horizontal distance, the side representing vertical distance, and slope as the hypotenuse. Slope can also be expressed as a percentage, for example, a 30 percent slope has a vertical rise of 3 feet for every 10 feet of horizontal distance. It can also be expressed in degrees or as a gradient. Click here to learn more about how slope is calculated. See also: slope map.

slope map
A map showing the degree of steepness of terrain over a portion of the earth's surface, usually as a percentage, indicated by tint or shading, keyed to a legend, for example, 20 percent = a vertical rise of 2 feet for every 10 feet of horizontal distance. Click here and here to see examples of slope maps. Synonymous with clinometric map. Compare with relief map. See also: slope diagram.

slow fire
The gradual disintegration of books and other materials printed on acid paper, as a result of yellowing and embrittlement. The term is taken from the title of the documentary film Slow Fires: On the Preservation of the Human Record made in 1987 by Terry Sanders.

slow motion
A special effect used in motion picture and video photography in which the action appears slower than normal in playback because it was filmed at an accelerated rate and then projected at normal speed. Abbreviated slomo.

small capital
A capital letter of x-height, about two-thirds as large as the full-size capital of the same type size, used for emphasis in printed text. Abbreviated small cap. Abbreviated s.c. See also: lowercase and uppercase.

small libary
A library that serves comparatively few patrons, usually on a limited budget. To be eligible for the annual Best Small Library In America award, sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a public library must serve a population of less than 25,000. The annual Library Journal Index of Public Library Service rates public library performance by category of annual expenditure, with $10,000-$49,999 and $50,000-99,999 being the smallest. Small libraries are organized in the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL). See also: rural library.

small order surcharge
An amount added by some publishers to an order of less than a fixed value or quantity, to compensate for the higher per-unit cost of handling and shipping. The opposite of volume discount.

small press
A small publisher of comparatively limited resources, functioning independently of the commercial publishing "establishment" and consequently more likely to issue works outside the cultural mainstream. Most small presses employ fewer than a dozen people and publish no more than 20 to 30 new titles each year. Synonymous with little press.

Small Press, the trade publication of small publishers, provides approximately 100 reviews of small press books in each bimonthly issue. Directory information on small presses is available in Literary Market Place and Writer's Market, or try the Yahoo! list of literary small presses. See also: niche publishing.

small-scale map
A systematic representation on a two-dimensional surface of a relatively large land area, such as a country, continent, or the world, at a representative fraction of 1:250,000 or smaller, providing only a limited amount of detail. Click here to see a topographic map of Fort Clatsop, Oregon, at 1:250,000 and here to browse topographic maps of Utah at various scales (Utah Geological Survey). Click here to learn more about map scales. Synonymous with geographic-scale map. Compare with intermediate-scale map and large-scale map.

smart book drop
A secure bin or box for returning library materials, designed to read the RFID tag attached to each item as it is returned and automatically cancel the loan. Smart book drops also display the return status and print a receipt for the patron. Some models can be integrated with automated sorting systems.

A device that combines a cell phone with features typically found on a personal digital assistant (PDA) or hand-held computer, such as text messaging, e-mail, data storage, Web browsing, an MP3 player, still and video cameras, video viewing, and often video calling.

See: nipping.

A whimsical sequence of punctuation marks and special characters arranged to suggest the expression on a human face, used in e-mail and on message boards to symbolically communicate emotion or humor. Frequently used examples include:

:-) Smiling
;-) Ironic smile
:-( Not amused
:( Very angry
:O Yelling
:D Laughing

For more smileys, see The Unofficial Smilie Dictionary. Also spelled smilie. Synonymous with emoticon.

smooth spine
The spine of a book that lacks the raised bands produced by unrecessed sewing supports, not to be confused with the flat back of a book not rounded in the process of binding.

SMPTE code
See: time code.

Short Message Service, a text messaging service component of telephone, Internet, and wireless mobile communication systems, using standardized communications protocols that allow the exchange of short text messages of up to 160 characters between fixed line or mobile phone devices. SMS text messaging is currently the most widely used data application in the world. Click here to learn more about how SMS works.

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, the standard TCP/IP e-mail protocol used on the Internet, originally designed for ASCII text but subsequently enhanced to permit the attachment of other file types. See also: MIME and POP.

See: sine nomine.

See: scope note.

snail mail
A slang term for mail sent via the postal service, rather than electronically via e-mail, text-messaging, or some other channel. Synonymous with p-mail.

Leather made from the tanned skin of one of the larger species of snake (python, water snake, etc.), used as a covering material in hand-binding and for decorative bands on books bound in other kinds of leather (see this inlaid example by Richard Minsky).

A photograph of small size, in color or black and white, made quickly and spontaneously without artistic pretensions, using amateur equipment, such as the Kodak Brownie box, usually as a memento of people, events, or places visited and often preserved in a photograph album. See also: Polaroid.

soap opera
A fictional television series, generally broadcast in the daytime on weekdays, with a storyline that follows events in the lives of a continuing cast characters. Romance predominates, but some soap operas also include adventure, intrigue, or supernatural events. At the end of each program, the action is typically left unresolved, or partially resolved, to induce viewers to watch the next episode. Most episodes are 30 minutes long, but some popular soaps have been expanded to 60 minutes. A few soap operas have been very long-lived, for example, Days of Our Lives, aired continuously by NBC since 1965.

A nickname, assumed name, or other imaginative appellation applied to a person (example: Sachmo), group (Copperheads), place (Dixie), thing (Old Ironsides), or institution (Uncle Sam). An author is occasionally known by such a name (The Bard). Compare with pseudonym.

See: Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada.

social networking service
An electronic service (usually Web-based) designed to allow users to establish a personal or organizational profile and contact other individuals for the purpose of communicating, collaborating, and/or sharing content with them. Most services allow members to restrict the visibility of their profile information to registered service members only, people on an established list of contacts, or particular groups of service users. Examples include Bebo, Facebook, Twitter, and Buzz from Google. Synonymous with social network service.

social problem film
A fictional motion picture or television program intended to dramatize a specific social ill (alcoholism, drug addiction, poverty, etc.) or draw attention to a social or political issue of general interest, such as intolerance, corruption, or corporate greed. Examples include the American feature films The Lost Weekend (1945), On the Waterfront (1954), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), and The China Syndrome (1979).

Social Responsibilities Round Table (SRRT)
Established over 25 years ago as a permanent round table of the American Library Association (ALA) to make the organization more democratic and to establish progressive priorities for the library profession, SRRT has been particularly active on issues involving civil and economic rights. SRRT publishes the quarterly SRRT Newsletter and is affiliated with the Alternative Press Center (APC), which publishes of the Alternative Press Index. Click here to connect to the SRRT homepage.

social science data set
A file of structured data, usually statistical in nature, for use in social science research. The most common types contain census and survey data. Archives of social science data sets are available online, often by subscription. The University of Amsterdam provides Social Science Data Archives maintained by Holly Ackerman. Also spelled social science dataset. See also: codebook.

social tagging
A system, developed in 1996, that allows Internet users to store, classify, share, and search lists of bookmarked resources. For more information on this topic, see the entry on Social Bookmarking in Wikipedia.

A corporate entity consisting of a group of people who meet periodically to share a common interest, especially one that is academic or professional. The most comprehensive directory of such organizations is the Encyclopedia of Associations, available in the reference section of most libraries in the United States. Click here to connect to an online directory of scholarly societies in North America maintained by the University of Waterloo Library. Abbreviated soc. Synonymous with association. See also: dues, proceedings, and transactions.

Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP)
An organization that grew out of the Association of Scientific Journals (ASJ) and the Innovation Guide project of the National Science Foundation during the 1970s, SSP is devoted to advancing scholarly communication and publishing and the professional development of its members through education, collaboration, and networking. Its members include scholarly book and journal publishers, librarians, manufacturers, booksellers, and Web editors. Click here to connect to the SSP homepage.

Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP)
Created in 1991, SHARP provides a global network for book historians. Its membership includes literature professors, historians, librarians, publishing professionals, sociologists, bibliophiles, classicists, booksellers, art historians, reading instructors, and independent scholars from over 20 countries. SHARP sponsors an annual conference, maintains an online discussion forum, and publishes the quarterly newsletter SHARP News. Click here to connect to the SHARP homepage.

Society of American Archivists (SAA)
Founded in 1934, SAA is the oldest professional organization of archivists in North America, dedicated to promoting the identification, preservation, and use of records of historical value. SAA publishes the newsletter Archival Outlook and the semiannual journal American Archivist. Click here to connect to the SAA homepage. See also: Academy of Certified Archivists.

Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)
Founded in 1971 by a group of Los Angeles-based writers for children, SCBWI acts as a network for the exchange of knowledge between professional authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, literary agents, librarians, educators, booksellers, and others involved with literature for young people. Organized in more than 70 regional chapters, SCBWI has over 22,000 members worldwide who write and illustrate for young readers in all genres, from board books to young adult (YA) novels. SCBWI sponsors two annual international conferences, publishes the bimonthly SCBWI Bulletin, and provides market information to its members. SCBWI also presents the annual Golden Kite Award for best fiction and nonfiction books for young readers, and the Sid Fleischman Award for humor. Click here to connect to the CSCBWI homepage.

Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL)
Established in 1983, SCL seeks to advance the interests of Hollywood's professional motion picture, television, and multimedia music composers, songwriters, and lyricists. Many of its members have won or been nominated for Academy Awards, Emmy Awards, and Grammy Awards. Precursors of the SCL were the Screen Composers Association (CSA) formed in 1945 and the Composers and Lyricists Guild of American (CLGA) certified in 1955 by National Labor Relations Board as the recognized bargaining agent in negotiations with the studios, until 1984 when the NLRB ruled that composers and lyricists were independent contractors, not employees, and therefore not entitled to union status. Click here to learn more about the SCL.

Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers of Canada (SOCAN)
Created in 1990 by the merger of two former Canadian performing rights organizations--the Composers, Authors and Publishers Association of Canada (CAPAC) and the Performing Rights Organization of Canada (PROCAN)--SOCAN is the Canadian copyright collective responsible for administering the performance rights of more than 100,000 composer, author, and music publisher members by licensing the use of their music in Canada. SOCAN collects license fees on their behalf and distributes royalties to them. Click here to connect to the SOCAN homepage. See also: American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).

soft copy
An unprinted digital data file. The opposite of hard copy.

A publication bound in covers that are not rigid, usually a paperback, but the term also includes limp and flexible bindings. Most periodicals are issued in softcover. For trade books that sell well in hardcover, a lower-priced softcover edition is usually issued at a later date. Pulp fiction and some trade titles are published initially in softcover without a hardcover edition (see paperback original). Used synonymously with paperback and paperbound.

soft focus shot
In photography, an exposure intentionally made without sharp focus, to create a slightly blurred effect (see this example). Professional portraits are often done in soft focus to flatter the subject or create a romantic look. See also: retouched.

A generic term for computer programs and their associated documentation, as opposed to data used as input and generated as output. In computing, data is "processed"--software "runs." A software product consists of a set of instructions written by a programmer, distinct from the manufactured hardware used to run it. The term includes systems programs such as operating systems (OS), database management systems (DBMS), utilities that control the operation of the computer itself, and application programs designed to process data and accomplish specific tasks for the user. See also: search software and Web browser.

software license
A formal agreement between the producer and purchaser of a software product concerning permissible use, especially with regard to sharing and making copies. Software piracy is the unauthorized copying of licensed software, usually for sale in a country other than the one in which it is copyrighted. Compare with site license.

A box in the shape of a book, wide enough to stand upright, hinged to fold open at the front or side, with a clasp or spring catch, used for storing books, pamphlets, maps, plates, papers, and other documents. Named after Daniel C. Solander, the 18th-century Swedish botanist who designed it for storing specimens at The British Museum, this type of container is virtually dustproof and waterproof. Click here to see diagrams of two designs, courtesy of Conservation OnLine, and here to see an actual example. Compare with pull-case and slipcase.

solarization photograph
A photographic image in which positive and negative tonal values have been reversed in some or all areas, usually as a result of prolonged overexposure (see this example by Man Ray). The term includes negatives and prints that exhibit the Sabattier effect caused by exposure to white light during darkroom development (Thesaurus for Graphic Materials II).

solicited gift
A gift of materials that the library or its parent institution wants and works to acquire, usually from the person (or estate of the person) who owns them, as distinct from an unsolicited gift that arrives unexpectedly. Because gift collections are often valuable, considerable time, effort, and legal expertise may be required to negotiate the transaction. Receipt of a solicited gift is often celebrated at a reception in honor of the donor(s), with appropriate media coverage and publicity for the institution. The materials may be housed separately or distinguished in some other way. If the collection is archival, the donor may specify restrictions on use.

See: slash.

A long sequence of lines addressed by an actor or actress, not to the other players on stage but directly to the audience, revealing private thoughts, feelings, or intentions. Perhaps the best known example is the "To Be or Not to Be" speech in Shakespeare's Hamlet in which the protagonist expresses the personal dilemma posed by the unexpected allegation of murder made by his father's ghost. A shorter speech intended to be inaudible to the other characters in a scene is an aside. Compare with monologue.

Also refers to a nondramatic work in which the author addresses himself (or herself) directly to the reader or to some other listener, for example, The Soliloquies of Saint Augustine.

solo librarian
A librarian solely responsible for managing a small library, without the assistance of other paid staff. Solo public librarians often rely on the assistance of volunteers from the community served. Running even a small library single-handedly requires energy, initiative, versatility, and self-sufficiency. Judith Siess reports in the February 1999 issue of American Libraries that nearly 80 percent of public libraries serving populations under 25,000 are staffed by only one professional librarian, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Education. Solo librarians are organized in the Solo Librarians Division of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) and in the Independent Librarian's Exchange (ILEX), a section of the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) of the American Library Association (ALA). Compare with independent librarian. See also: one-person library.

A style of hand-binding, used mainly for Christian devotional books, characterized by blind tooling on black or dark-colored leather. To view examples, try a search on the keyword "sombre" in the British Library's Database of Bookbindings.

An accompanied or unaccompanied musical composition for one or more voices, in which the words (called lyrics) are augmented by tonality and rhythm. The category includes many genre, for example, art songs, sacred songs, folk songs, and popular songs. Songs with more than one voice to a part are considered choral works. Songs are often published in collections, in score and in recordings. Compare with aria. See also: ballad, carol, theme song, and title song.

An album of favorite songs and poems, written or copied by hand, often illustrated with images of cupids and other symbols of romantic love, popular during the 16th and 17th centuries when singing was an important part of courtship. Hybrid songbooks containing album amicorum contributions and coats-of-arms were not unusual during this period (see this example, courtesy of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek).

Also refers to a collection of songs published under a single title, in print (sometimes from the original sheet music) or as a sound recording. The selections are often from a distinct historical period (example: The Civil War Songbook), by a particular songwriter (The Definitive Bob Dylan Songbook), or related thematically (Elvis Presley Christmas Songbook). Compare with songster.

song folio
In music publishing, a collection of songs, usually written by the same songwriter, performed by the same vocalist, or of the same genre or time period, offered for sale as a single unit (see this example).

An inexpensive collection of ballads and verse published during the 18th and 19th centuries in the form of a broadside or chapbook (see this example). Songsters did not necessarily include musical notation because the lyrics were often intended to be sung to melodies familiar to the general public. Click here to view a small selection of pocket songsters. Compare with songbook.

The person who writes the lyrics and/or composes the music for a song. In the past, most songwriters wrote, composed, arranged, and played their own songs (example: Paul McCartney), but in the modern music industry, pressure to produce popular hits has encouraged the distribution of responsibility among two or more individuals. In the United States, songs written after 1934 may be copied or performed publicly only by permission of the authors. Under U.S. copyright law, the legal right to grant such permissions may be bought, sold, or transferred. In the case of hit tunes, such rights can become a source of royalty income for the songwriter and publisher.

A lyric poem of 14 lines, written in iambic pentameter. A sonnet sequence is a group of sonnets written by a single poet, usually on a common theme. The form originated in Italy in the 13th century. The most common rhyme schemes were developed by Petrarch and Shakespeare. Click here to see an autograph fair copy of Percy Bysshe Shelley's Ozymandias, written in 1817 on a leaf of his notebook (National Library of Australia). To find other examples, try Sonnet Central.

Sophie Brody Award
Established in 2005, the Sophie Brody Award is an annual literary award given to the U.S. author of the most distinguished contribution to Jewish literature for adults. Works of fiction and nonfiction published in the United States in the preceding year are eligible. Funded by Arthur Brody and the Brodart Foundation, the award is named for Mr. Brody's late wife, a philanthropist and community volunteer who held major leadership positions in the Jewish community. Click here to learn more about the Sophie Brody Award.

In the book trade, an attempt to increase the value of a book by "improving" its condition, usually by adding missing leaves from another copy, transferring it to a binding originally created for another book (remboîtage), restoring it, etc., a practice not considered dishonest if prospective buyers are informed of the alterations.

See: Staff Organizations Round Table.

In a search of a online catalog or bibliographic database, the default display is normally alphabetical order by author or title, or reverse chronological order by publication date. However, in some online catalogs and databases, the user may select the sequence in which results will be displayed, usually from a list of options, either before or after the search is executed. Compare with ranking. See also: arrangement.

sound archives
A permanent collection of sound recordings preserved for research purposes (example: Stanford Archive of Recorded Sound). Materials collected include wax cylinders, shellac and vinyl phonograph records, audiotape, digital compact discs, etc. One of the earliest comprehensive archives of sound recordings was established in the early 20th century by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). See also: International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives.

sound characteristics
The auditory qualities of motion picture film, indicated in library cataloging in the physical description area of the bibliographic record. In AACR2, the abbreviation sd. (sound) or si. (silent) is used to indicate the presence or absence of a sound track (example: 1 film reel (28 min.) : sd.). If a silent film is known to have been shot at the speed of sound film, the characteristic si. at sd. speed is entered in the catalog record.

sound disc
See: compact disc and phonograph record.

sound effect
A natural or artificially produced or enhanced sound or sound process, used in the production of sound recordings, motion pictures, television programs, live performance, animation, video games, or other media to emphasize content or to make a specific narrative or creative point without using speech (example: the off-stage sound of a door slamming or of a gunshot). Synonymous with audio effect.

sound effects recording
An audiorecording, often from a library collection of similar recordings, containing a variety of sound effects for use in theatre and film production and in the creation of other recordings.

In nautical terms, the depth of water at a given point on the floor of a body of water (ocean, sea, lake, river, etc.), formerly measured with a lead-weighted line but now mainly by acoustic means (echoes). On a nautical chart, a measurement in feet or fathoms of the depth of water at a particular point (especially along a coast, in a harbor, or at the mouth of a river), reduced to the tidal datum given in the title of the chart. Click here to see a chart of Approaches to Palmyra Atoll, with soundings in fathoms (courtesy of NOAA) and here to see a chart of Boston Harbor with soundings in feet. Compare with spot elevation.

sound mark
A trademark in which a distinctive sound is used to uniquely identify the commercial origin of a product or service, for example, the lion's roar used by MGM to identify its motion picture releases. The distinctiveness of sound marks can be difficult to establish legally. For example, in 2000 Harley Davidson had to withdraw its application to register the sound of its motorcycle engine as a sound mark, following six years of unsuccessful litigation. Synonymous with sound trademark.

Designed to prevent sound from passing in or out; insulated from noise. In libraries, the walls of listening/viewing rooms are generally soundproofed.

sound recording
A generic term for sound vibrations that have been mechanically, electromagnetically, or digitally recorded onto a medium designed for playback with the aid of audio equipment. The category includes wax cylinders, phonograph records, audiotapes, compact discs, and the sound track on motion pictures, videorecordings, DVDs, etc. Libraries collect sound recordings of music and human speech (poetry, drama, speeches, interviews, broadcasts, audiobooks, etc.). The proceedings of meetings and conferences are sometimes recorded for archival purposes. Click here to browse an online collection of Edison Sound Recordings, courtesy of the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress, and here to connect to the homepage of the Recorded Sound Reference Center at the Library of Congress. Click here to search the Sound Archive at the British Library. Synonymous with audiorecording. See also: Alpha-Numeric System for Classification of Recordings, sound archives, and type of recording.

sound track
The sound component of a motion picture or videorecording, usually synchronized with the images. Films were initially produced without sound in a period now known as the silent film era, but by 1929 most Hollywood studios had converted to sound. A magnetic sound track (often shortened to magnetic track or mag track) is recorded on a thin coating of magnetic oxide, either as a stripe along the film edge beside the image or as a separate element (called a full-coat mag). Dialogue, music, sound effects, and spillover can be recorded on separate stripes or mixed together. A magnetic track appears as a dull brown stripe, usually along the edge of the base side of the film inside the sprocket holes (or on the non-perforated side of films peforated along one edge only). In projection, it is read like a magnetic audiotape by the projector's playback head. On 70mm film, six magnetic tracks are used to produce wrap-around sound. The Film Preservation Guide (National Film Preservation Foundation, 2004) notes that acetate films with magnetic sound tracks are especially vulnerable to acetate decay.

An optical sound track is photographically exposed directly onto the film in printing, with the tracks for dialogue, music, etc., mixed before printing. It appears along the film edge as either a band of high-contrast wavy lines (variable area) or as a gray stripe of varying gradation (variable density) corresponding to modulations of the sound. When the film is projected, light passing through the track is read and converted electronically into sound. In library cataloging, the presence or absence of a sound track is indicated with other sound characteristics in the physical description area of the bibliographic record. Also refers to the music score for a motion picture, released separately on audiocassette or compact disc, sometimes under a slightly different title. For more information about sound tracks, including reviews, try SoundtrackNet. Also spelled soundtrack. Sometimes shortened to track. See also: laugh track.

Any document that provides information sought by a writer, researcher, library user, or person searching an online catalog or bibliographic database. Also refers to a document that provides information copied or reproduced in another document, for example, a quotation or excerpt. In literature, the story, legend, or work that inspires or provides elements of plot or characterization for another literary work, for example, the chronicles of English history on which William Shakespeare based some of his history plays. See also: primary source, secondary source, and tertiary source.

In acquisitions, the seller or donor from whom an item is obtained, usually indicated in the accession record.

In Web browsers, a menu option in the toolbar that allows the user to view the HTML code in which the document on the screen is written.

source code
A computer program as written by the programmer in a high-level programming language. Source code is human-readable ASCII text. Before it can be executed by a computer, it must be translated into machine language by a utility called a compiler (sometimes with an assembler) or by a utility called an interpreter. Software sold retail to computer users cannot be read or modified because it is in machine language.

source document
In reprography, the original document from which copies are made, usually containing text and/or graphic material that can be read by the human eye without magnification. Compare with master. See also: camera microfilm.

source field
In the record structure of most bibliographic databases, the data field containing the journal title, volume number, date of issue, and page numbers of a periodical article; the book title, publisher, publication date, and page numbers for an essay in a collection; or the title, publisher, and publication date for a book or book chapter. In the record display, the field label may be abbreviated SO.

source language
The original language of a text that has been translated into one or more other languages. In library cataloging, the language of the original work is indicated in a parallel title or Translation of: note in the bibliographic description.

A category of ephemera consisting of objects usually closely associated with a particular place, occasion, or person, frequently mass-produced and of negligible monetary value (unless collectible), often acquired by purchase as mementos rather than received as keepsake gifts (see these examples). Compare with memorabilia.

space photograph
A photographic image captured by a person (astronaut) or from a vehicle outside the earth's atmosphere, using a conventional camera or digitally scanned and transmitted to earth. Click here to see examples taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Compare with aerial photograph.

The use of one or more blank characters to separate words in printing and typing. Also refers to one or more lines left blank at the beginning of type matter, or between lines of type, for example, the three lines left blank at the top of a typed or printed catalog card or the double space before the first note and before the tracings. In AACR2, the use of spacing in catalog records is governed by the general rules for punctuation and by the specific rules for punctuation in each area of bibliographic description. See also: white line.

Unsolicited e-mail messages, usually containing advertising or solicitations, mass-mailed to large numbers of newsgroups, mailing lists, and/or individuals with little concern for the burden such activity places on the recipients. Spamming is considered one of the worst violations of netiquette because it compels Internet users to waste precious time scanning and deleting unwanted messages that may contain images, links, or attachments bearing viruses. The development of e-mail address harvesting software has contributed to a sharp rise in the proportion of e-mail that is unsolicited. Of the various defenses against spam (address disguises, host and personal filters, white and black lists, add-on programs), none is completely effective and some risk blocking legitimate e-mail. Legislative and regulatory measures are under consideration to discourage spammers. Click here to learn more about how spam works, courtesy of HowStuffWorks. For information nuisance control, see Spam.abuse.net. Synonymous with unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE).

Spanish calf
A bookbinding in calfskin, acid-stained in large blotches of boldly contrasting color. Click here to see a 19th-century example of Spanish marbling in red and black (Otto G. Richter Library, University of Miami, Florida).

See: Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.

spatial data
Information about the physical properties of all or a portion of the surface of the earth or another celestial body, or of the heavens, in any form. The category includes two- and three-dimensional maps, charts, profiles, sections, views, globes, atlases, remote sensing images, and especially data in digital form (spatial data sets, databases, associated software, etc.). Geospatial data is a subset of spatial data. As map libraries have expanded their scope to include spatial data in a wide range of formats, the librarians responsible for managing such collections have been renamed spatial data librarians. For the most part, libraries catalog spatial data as either cartographic materials or electronic resources.

spatial information system
A computer-based system that links data to spatial coordinates, for example, architectural software that records the spatial relationship of beams to foundation in the design of a building. A geographic information system (GIS) is a particular type of spatial information system that links data to geographic location, usually by geographic coordinates.

An electromechanical device designed to convert an electrical signal into acoustic sound (waves), first patented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. Speakers can be built into the player or free-standing peripherals. Synonymous with loudspeaker.

speakeasy card
A small identification card, usually printed, admitting the bearer to an illegal drinking establishment (speakeasy) during the period of Prohibition (1920-1933) in the United States, a form of ephemera that disappeared following repeal of Prohibition. Some bear only cryptic markings or appear to be club membership cards (see these examples).

special appointment
An employee hired, usually full-time, for a period of specified length (often one or two years) without expectation of permanent employment. Special appointments are sometimes renewable, but usually not indefinitely. If the person accepting such employment subsequently applies for a permanent position at the same institution and is hired, the period of special appointment may be considered part of the probationary period.

special character
In typography, a character which is not alphabetic or numeric or a mark of punctuation, usually an accent mark or symbol, such as the $ or the &.

special collections
Some libraries segregate from the general collection rare books, manuscripts, papers, and other items that are (1) of a certain form, (2) on a certain subject, (3) of a certain time period or geographic area, (4) in fragile or poor condition, or (5) especially valuable. Such materials are not allowed to circulate and access to them may be restricted. Click here to connect to an illustrated online guide to the special collections in the Library of Congress, or try the Yahoo! list of special collections. Compare with archives. See also: Rare Books and Manuscripts Section.

special edition
An edition or issue of a work (or works) produced in a format that differs from previous editions, usually for a special purpose and sometimes under a distinctive title, with a new introduction and sometimes additional notes, appendices, or illustrations. for example, the special illustrated collector's edition of Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand (Random House: 2003). Click here to see a copy of the special "War Edition" of Hammond's World Atlas and Gazetteer (1940), courtesy of the Osher Map Library, University of Southern Maine. The term is also used synonymously with library edition. See also: anniversary edition and school library edition.

Also, a special issue of a newspaper or newscast, usually devoted wholly or in large part to a specific subject or occasion, for example, in commemoration of a national event. Synonymous with special number.

special education
School programs designed to identify and meet the educational needs of children whose physical, emotional, behavioral, or learning disabilities prevent them from deriving the same benefits from standard curriculum and teaching methods as students without special needs. The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that any pupil found to be eligible under a state's eligibility/disability standards be provided a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) according to an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) developed by a team of professional specialists and parents. The LRE mandate, intended to prevent unnecessary segregation by promoting inclusion, requires that disabled students be educated with their nondisabled peers to the greatest extent possible within the limitations of a FAPE. Library media specialists must develop programs and resources to assure equal access for students with special needs. Abbreviated special ed and SPED.

special effect
An artificial visual effect (realistic or fantastic) added to a motion picture, videorecording, television program, theatrical production, or other entertainment to create an illusion in the mind of the viewer when it is impossible or prohibitively expensive to achieve the same result by conventional means (see this example from the film Jurassic Park). Special effects artists strive to make the illusion invisible to the untutored eye. Often used in the plural, abbreviated SPFX or SFX.

special interest magazine
A magazine devoted to a specific topic that is of interest to a fairly narrow, well-defined audience, for example, golfing enthusiasts (Golf Digest) or yoga teachers and practitioners (Yoga Journal). Public libraries usually subscribe to special interest titles on the basis of demand, as indicated by patron requests and usage statistics for related items. Compare with general interest magazine.

special issue
An issue of a periodical devoted wholly or substantially to a specific subject or occasion, often the proceedings of a conference in the case of trade journals (click here to see a commemorative example). A special issue may have its own editor and title and be promoted separately by the publisher. When published more than once on the same topic, a special issue usually appears at the same time in consecutive years, for example, the annual swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated, a high-demand item in public libraries. See also: convention issue.

An expert in a particular area of knowledge or skill, for example, an archivist who specializes in the restoration and conservation of leather-bound books.

specialist bookshop
A bookstore that sells one type of book, for example, books about natural history or photography or science fiction.

Concentration on a limited aspect of a subject or discipline, often to the exclusion of related areas of study or inquiry. The breadth of librarianship is so great that most librarians decide to focus on one or two aspects of the profession. In library school, students usually select a functional specialization (public services, technical services, automated systems, etc.). Each of these tracks is divided into narrower branches, for example, subject analysis within technical services, or bibliographic instruction within public services. In public libraries, librarians specialize in services for adults, young adults, or children. Librarians employed in special libraries focus on a particular subject or field (art, business, engineering, law, medicine), type of material (government documents, film and video, newspapers), type of institution (correctional, military, museum), or type of collection (archives, rare books, special collections). The professional organizations and journal literature of librarianship reflect these divisions.

Also refers to the level of detail or difficulty of the materials in a library collection, which depends on the library's mission and the clientele it serves. For example, a public library may provide a selection of the novels of Thomas Hardy in at least one edition but not his poetry or the literary criticism and multiple editions one would expect to find in the holdings of an academic library at a university offering advanced degrees in English language and literature.

Special Libraries Association (SLA)
Founded in 1909, SLA has an international membership of librarians and information specialists employed in special libraries serving the information needs of business, research, governments, universities, museums, newspapers, and other organizations and institutions (public and private) that use or produce specialized information. SLA publishes the monthly magazine Information Outlook. Click here to connect to the SLA homepage. See also: Dana, John Cotton.

special library
A library established and funded by a commercial firm, private association, government agency, nonprofit organization, or special interest group to meet the information needs of its employees, members, or staff in accordance with the organization's mission and goals. The scope of the collection is usually limited to the interests of the host organization. Special librarians are organized in the Special Libraries Association. Information on special libraries in the United States and Canada is available in the Directory of Special Libraries and Information Centers published by Gale. See also: church library, corporation library, correctional library, medical library, museum library, and news library.

special material
Music, lyrics, or dialogue written for a particular artist and/or a specific performance, for example, the comedy script for "Half a Loafer is Better Than None," a 1966 episode of The Red Skelton Hour.

special offer
An offer by a vendor or supplier to sell goods and/or services at a lower price, usually for a limited period of time, or to provide a trial period, premium, or other inducement to purchase or subscribe. Other restrictions, such as minimum purchase amount, may apply.

special order
In acquisitions, a request to purchase a single copy of a publication, requiring special handling by the publisher or bookseller, usually because the item is not in stock. Special orders are generally sold at no discount or a short discount, and a modest service charge may be added to compensate the seller for the extra effort.

special projection characteristics
Any unusual requirements for the projection of motion picture film, indicated in library cataloging as succinctly as possible following extent of item in the physical description area of the bibliographic record (example: 10 film reels (112 min.) : Panavision). The word "Panavision" is included in the example to inform the user that the print is anamorphic and therefore requires a special projection lens to expand the compressed image to widescreen proportions.

special report
A report submitted by a library and information studies program to the Committee on Accreditation (COA) of the American Library Association (ALA) addressing issues or areas of concern as outlined in the Decision Document following a comprehensive review or in the COA�s response to an annual statistical report or biennial narrative report.

specialty advertising
Placement of customized advertising messages on consumer items of interest to the target market, such as bookbags, calendars, T-shirts, hats, name tags, coffee mugs, pens, notepads, stationery, etc. Vendors often use this type of advertising at library conferences. The American Library Association (ALA) provides an assortment of specialty items in its online store. When this form of advertising is used by a library, the items are often sold in a library gift shop or by a Friends of the Library group to benefit the library.

specialty label
In the recording industry, a record label that focuses on a specific genre of music, such as jazz (example: Blue Note Records) or folk music (example: Folkways Records) or on the spoken word (example: Caedmon Audio).

The instructions sent by a publisher to a printer with the typescript of a work concerning its characteristics as a prospective publication, including its dimensions, paper stock, typeface, quantity of illustration, extent of front and back matter, etc., from which the printer creates a specimen page to indicate the proposed style of typesetting. Cost of production is determined by specs and size of edition.

In computing, a formal description containing details of the components built into a hardware device or software system. In a more general sense, detailed instructions concerning work to be done, products or services to be supplied, etc., especially when a contract is to be signed. Abbreviated specs.

specific entry
In subject analysis, the principle that a work is listed in a library catalog, index, or bibliographic database under the most specific subject heading(s) or descriptor(s) that fully describe its content. For example, a book about poets would be entered under "Poets" not "Writers" and a work about French poets under "French poets" or "Poets, French" rather than "Poets." Compare with coextensive entry.

In indexing, the degree to which the meaning of a subject heading or descriptor matches in breadth one of the major subjects of the document to which it is assigned. For example, although the Library of Congress subject heading "Gardening" applies to a book about gardening inside the house, the heading "Indoor gardening" describes the content more specifically. In this sense, specificity is relative to the work described, independent of the breadth of the indexing term itself. An assigned term can be specific, whether broad or narrow, as long as it closely matches a main subject of the work.

In an indexing language, the specificity of a descriptor or subject heading depends on its relationship to other authorized terms broader or narrower in meaning, usually indicated in a thesaurus or headings list by indention or by the codes BT (broader term) or NT (narrower term). See also: top term.

specific material designation (SMD)
The most specific designation of the type of material to which an item belongs (usually the class of physical object), given under extent of item in the physical description area of the bibliographic record, for example, "videodisc" under the general material designation [videorecording].

A single individual or member of a group or class selected as an example or sample of the whole, for example, an item of a specific type selected to represent a group of items, or an entire collection, in a library display or exhibit (see this botanical example). Compare with artifact. See also: specimen case.

Also refers to a sheet printed to display the work of a specific typefounder (click here to see an example printed by William Caslon in 1734, courtesy of the Columbia University Libraries).

specimen binding
A binding executed by the binder as a sample for the publisher of the proposed style in which the edition (or a portion of it) is to be bound. The text block may be made up of blank leaves or repeating sheets of the press run of the book. Click here to see an example bound for William Morris in 15th-century style (in pigskin over oak boards with blind tooling) by J. & J. Leighton for the Kelmscott Press edition of the works of Chaucer (Columbia University Libraries).

specimen case
A wide flat storage container, often with a transparent top, divided into compartments, usually backed with soft material, for mounting and storing specimens, sometimes in rows to facilitate comparison. Some models are lockable. In museums, specimen cases may be built to specific dimensions to allow them to be stored, one on top of another inside a specially designed cabinet. Click here to see a closet-size example.

Also refers to a sample book cover, submitted by an edition binder to the publisher for approval, showing the proposed size, boards, covering, lettering, and squares of a case binding.

specimen page
One of several sample pages submitted by the printer to the publisher to show the proposed typographic style for a prospective publication, usually four in number, including the first page of a chapter and at least one subhead to show display type. Also refers to a copy of a page from a book or other publication reproduced on any scale for use by the publisher in marketing or for purposes of display.

See: specifications.

speculative fiction
Originally used as a synonym for science fiction, the term has been expanded to include other literary genres, such as fantasy, horror, and alternative history. Abbreviated spec-fic. Click here to connect to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB).

A talk or formal address given to a public audience, extemporaneously or from a prepared text. In the 18th and 19th centuries, speeches were often separately published in print (see this example, courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania Library). Today, major public speeches are published in the New York Times and in the biweekly periodical Vital Speeches of the Day. Landmark speeches are usually anthologized. Contemporary speeches of historical importance may also be captured live and preserved on film and/or audiorecording ("I Have a Dream" by Martin Luther King, Jr.). See also Gifts of Speech: Women's Speeches from Around the World.

speech recognition
See: voice recognition.

speed reading
A learned reading method developed to increase the rate at which a person reads, usually by skimming the text, without significantly reducing comprehension or retention. The original speed reading method was developed by American educator Evelyn Nielsen Wood in the late 1950s.

spell checker
A feature of most word processing software that automatically checks the spelling of words typed in a document against a built-in dictionary, alerting the user to any misspelled words and even correcting typos on the fly. Spell checkers are not infallible. A misspelling will not be flagged if it is itself a word ("their" for "there"). The option can usually be turned "off" by the user if not desired. Also spelled spellchecker.

A book written and designed to instruct the reader in the rules of spelling and pronunciation. Introduced in the American colonies at the turn of the 18th century, early spelling books, intended to teach spelling, reading, religion, and morality, were often a child's first introduction to reading. Up to the Declaration of Independence, spellers printed in the colonies were reprints of works imported from Britain. After the War of Independence made British texts less acceptable to American patriots, Noah Webster published in 1783 the first speller written by an American. Click here to see a copy and to learn more about the history of early spellers, courtesy of the Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

See: crawler.

A news story which the editor of a newspaper, magazine, or broadcasting service refused to release. For example, only in exceptional cases will the news media report suicides and crimes in which the perpetrators successfully evade the police. Compare with killed.

The part of the binding on a book between the front and back covers that conceals and protects the binding edge of the sections, the only part of the cover visible when the volume is placed upright alongside others on the shelf. Spines hammered into convex shape (rounded) prior to backing were introduced in the early 16th century, replacing spines that were flat except for the raised bands over the sewing supports. In older bindings, the spine is sometimes covered in a different material than the boards (see half-binding, quarter binding, and three-quarter binding). On fine bindings, the spine may be heavily decorated, as on this example in blue morocco bound in the early 19th century (University of North Texas Libraries) and this Victorian example (British Library). Click here to see gilded spine decoration in a selection of 19th-century cloth trade editions (Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University).

In modern bookbinding, the spine is usually stamped with the spine title (or an abbreviated title) and the volume number (if applicable) and sometimes with the last name or full name of the author and name of publisher. Because medieval manuscript books were generally stored flat with one edge facing out, the title was often written in ink on the edge of the sections, instead of on the spine. In libraries, a label bearing the location symbol and call number is affixed to the lower spine of each item to facilitate retrieval and reshelving. Because books are often picked up or removed from the shelf by the spine, that part of the binding often wears out first. Synonymous with backbone and shelf back. Compare with back. See also: broken spine, cocked, and compartment.

spine decoration
Ornamentation on the spine of a bound volume. On older leather bindings, the spines were often tooled in blind or gilt. Spine decoration varies in extent from simple lines above and below the raised bands (see this example) to elaborate motifs completely filling the compartments between the bands (see this example). On early publisher's cloth bindings, the spine was often stamped with decoration (see this example), but in modern case binding, it is usually left undecorated, especially if the book is issued with a dust jacket. In modern hand-binding, the spine decoration is often part of a design encompassing the entire cover (click here to see an early-20th-century example in Islamic style and here to see an example in Art Nouveau style).

spine label
A small typed or printed label affixed to the lower spine of a book or other bibliographic item at the time it is processed, displaying its location symbol and call number, for use in reshelving and to assist the user in retrieving the item from the shelf once the call number has been found in the library catalog. Examples can be seen in the labels section of the Gaylord catalog.

Also refers to a piece of material (leather, parchment, or paper), not integral to the cover of a book, that is printed, stamped, or engraved, usually with the title, name of author, volume number, etc., and affixed to the spine, usually at the time of binding. Click here to see examples in red and green leather on late-18th-century bindings, with the title and volume numbers in gilt (Otto G. Richter Library, University of Miami, Florida).

Books displayed on a shelf with their spines facing the front, usually one alongside the other with a bookend at the end of the row to keep them upright--the shelving method used in the stacks of most libraries because it allows the spine title and call number on each volume to be seen at a glance. Compare with face out.

spine title
The title written or impressed on the spine of a volume, sometimes a shortened form of the title appearing on the cover or of the title proper given on the title page. See this 18th-century example (Lauinger Library, Georgetown Univ.) and these modern examples (Fresno County Public Library). Synonymous with back title. Compare with binder's title. See also: side title.

A display rack for books or other library materials, mounted on a swivel to enable it to be rotated by hand by the browser (see this example).

An independently published book or set of books containing material extracted from a longer work published by the same company, for example, the three-volume New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments containing entries that are nearly identical to those in the much longer New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Compare with abridgment.

Also refers to a journal that became a separate periodical after having been part of a more comprehensive publication, for example, School Library Journal, once part of Library Journal. The proliferation of scholarly publications into increasingly specialized fields and subfields has been called twigging. In a more general sense, any publication that is a by-product of an earlier publication, for example, a bibliographic database of limited focus, created from a larger database.

In a more general sense, any new creative work derived from a pre-existing work. A spin-off differs from a sequel or prequel in its introduction of a substantial change in narrative viewpoint and/or action from the preceding storyline and a shift in protagonist, often to a character who played a minor or supporting role in the original work. Also spelled spinoff.

spiral binding
A form of mechanical binding in which a continuous coil of wire or hard plastic is drawn through small holes or slots punched in the binding edge of the covers and leaves of a publication to hold them together, used mainly for reports, manuals, workbooks, and notebooks containing blank or ruled pages. Spiral bindings open flat. To see examples, try a search on the keywords "spiral binding" in Google Images. Synonymous with coil binding. Compare with comb binding. See also: loose-leaf.

spirit photograph
A photograph in which deliberate partial exposure of one or more persons or objects gives their image a ghostly appearance, a technique used fraudulently in the second half of the 19th century to convince viewers that the presence of spiritual entities had been captured on film (click here and here to see examples).

The joining of two pieces of motion picture film end to end to allow them to be projected as a continuous length, accomplished in film editing and repair by the use of a device called a splicer (click here to see the process illustrated). Tape splices are reversible and can be made on all film bases with special adhesive tape available in ready-cut segments, but as the adhesive ages, it may ooze along the seam, leaving an undesirable residue. Also, ultrasonic cleaning may weaken tape splices. Film cement produces a more permanent bond, but because the splice is made by overlapping the two ends, one or more frames may be lost in the process. Also, currently available cements cannot be used on polyester film. An ultrasonic splicer fuses polyester-based film by the use of high-frequency energy. Click here to learn more about film splicing, courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. The term is also used for the joining of two pieces of magnetic tape. Also refers to the line along which the two pieces of film are physically joined.

The permanent division of a serial into two or more separate parts, based on the editorial decision that some aspect of the original publication deserves independent treatment. The note Continues in part: is included in the bibliographic record for each of the parts to indicate the title of the publication that split, and the corresponding note Split into: is added in the record for the serial that split to indicate the titles of the publications created by the division. The opposite of merger.

Also, to divide an animal hide into two or more layers for use in book production. The term is also used for one of the layers produced by such a division (or the leather made from it), usually an underlayer rather than the grain layer. In modern bookbinding, to cut a signature thicker than three-fourths inch through the back fold in preparation for fan gluing or oversewing.

split catalog
See: divided catalog.

In book production, printed sheets or entire copies discarded because they contain imperfections or were damaged in printing or binding. Allowance for spoilage is included in the size of printing and binding orders.

spoken word
A sound recording in which narration is the predominate element, for example, a recording of a reading of a novel, poem, or play, or of a collection of written works. See also: audiobook.

A person or corporate entity that subsidizes or provides encouragement, funding, or some other form of practical assistance in the production of a radio or television program, Web site, or other creative work, usually in exchange for some form of publicity. Compare with patron.

Also, an individual or organization that pays all or a part of the expenses of an event, program, or other activity, often in exchange for some form of public recognition.

Also refers to a person who assumes some degree of responsibility for the actions, statements, or obligations of another person (or group) during a period of apprenticeship, instruction, or probation.

sponsored book
A book issued by an established commercial publisher for which the cost of publication is subsidized by an organization or company with an interest in seeing it published. The subsidy may be a direct payment to the publisher to cover losses in the event of disappointing sales or an agreement to purchase enough copies at an established price to make the publication profitable. Compare with vanity publisher.

spoof site
A slang term for a Web site created as a good-natured hoax, joke, or deception (see this example).

A cylindrical flanged wheel with a hole running from end to end onto which a roll of unprocessed film is wound, designed to be inserted in a camera or processing machine. Plastic spools are also used for storing microfilm (see this example). Compare with reel.

sports card
A category of ephemera consisting of advertising or collecting cards, usually featuring portraits of individual athletes or teams in uniform, with biographical information and performance statistics printed on the back, issued since the 1880s in response to popular interest in sporting events (football, baseball, basketball, hockey, auto racing), usually by bubble gum, tobacco, bread, and milk producers. Rare cards may be highly collectible (see these examples).

spot elevation
A point on a map or chart for which the elevation above a reference datum is indicated, usually by a small dot or "x" accompanied by a numeric value. As a general rule, elevations are noted for the summits of hills, mountains, and mountain passes; for the surfaces of lakes and ponds; and for stream forks, road forks and intersections, and other notable features. Bottom elevations are given for closed depressions and large flat areas. Spot elevations are not to be confused with the elevations found on contours, printed in the same color ink as the contour line. Click here to see spot elevations printed in black ink on a topographic map and here to see them on a relief map of British Columbia (Atlas of Canada). Synonymous with spot height. Compare with sounding.

spot height
See: spot elevation.

The full expanse of facing pages in an opening in a book or other bound publication. The page on the right-hand side is the recto; the one on the left is the verso. See also: double spread.

In computing, an application program designed to assist the user in creating and maintaining two-dimensional tables of numerical data and textual information, widely used in budgeting, financial and statistical analysis, and reports. Spreadsheet software allows the user to create mathematical formulas to compute row and column totals, variances, etc., automatically whenever new values are supplied. Most programs allow two or more spreadsheets to be linked by formulas, so that a change in one is automatically reflected in the others. Sophisticated spreadsheet applications support graphics features, enabling the user to manipulate data and display the results in charts and graphs. Excel and Lotus 1-2-3 are the two most widely used spreadsheet packages. Also refers to the result of using such a program, in print or electronic format.

spring-back binding
A bookbinding technique used on large blankbooks (ledgers, guestbooks, etc.), patented in Britain in 1799 by John and Joseph Williams. A strip of millboard (or other hard binder's board), the length of the boards and wide enough when curved to fit around the spine of the volume, is attached to levers that throw the spine upward when the book is opened, so that the two sides of the opening present a flat surface for writing. Spring-back bindings can lie open for extended periods without stressing the spine. Click here to see examples, courtesy of Book Arts Web. Also spelled springback.

In binding, a book decorated by irregularly spraying or spattering the cut edges of the sections with tiny flecks of color, a technique used mainly on large dictionaries and expensive reference sets (see these examples, courtesy of the Princeton University Library). Sometimes just the top edge is sprinkled, making dust and any natural discoloration less noticeable. Leather bindings are sometimes decorated by sprinkling the surface with acid. To see examples, try a search on the keyword "sprinkled" in the British Library's Database of Bookbindings. Compare with staining.

sprocket holes
See: perforations.

The condition of a book in which the text block has separated from its cover, either in the process of rebinding or through wear on the hinges (see this example). Mending may require new endpapers. Compare with shaken.

spurious work
A written work known to be counterfeit (not genuine), usually one uncritically ascribed to a known author and subsequently discovered to be of unknown or uncertain authorship. See also: apocryphal.

See: Supervisors Section.

spy fiction
See: espionage.

A term first used in the 1990s to describe software designed to intercept or take partial control of the operation of a computer without the informed consent or even the knowledge of the owner or legitimate user. Spyware allows Web site operators to collect personally identifiable information (PII) and monitor electronic mail and Internet usage. However, it can also be used for commercial gain, for example, to deliver unsolicited pop-up advertising, route HTTP requests to advertising sites, and monitor Web browsing behavior for marketing purposes, and for criminal purposes, such as identify theft.

A book in which the width of the cover is more than three-quarters, but not greater than, its height, a shape often used in art books and children's picture books. Compare with narrow and oblong. See also: portrait.

square bracket
One of a pair of angled lines [ ] enclosing a word, phrase, or numeric figure in text, usually to indicate insertion. In library cataloging, square brackets are used to indicate an interpolation made by the cataloger (example: [48] p.) and to enclose the general material designation that follows the title in a bibliographic record representing a nonbook item (example: [sound recording]). Compare with parentheses.

square capital
A letter of the Latin alphabet derived from the lapidary capitals used in Antiquity for monumental inscriptions, most notably on the base of Trajan's column erected in Rome in A.D. 113. When square capitals were adapted for use as a book hand (3rd to 5th century), the pointed serifs incised in stone were replaced by wider square serifs, easier to execute with a reed or quill pen. Contrast between thick and thin strokes was also enhanced in square capitals. However, the difficulty and amount of space required to write them led to the development of more compressed rustic capitals during the same period. Marc Drogin notes in Medieval Calligraphy: Its History and Technique (Allanheld & Schram, 1980) that square capitals were used throughout the Middle Ages as a script for writing titles and headings. Click here to see square capitals used in a document issued by Emperor Vespasian in the 1st century A.D. (Schøyen Collection, MS 2032) and here to see them in a 9th-century epistolary and in the Lindau Gospels of the same century (Celebrating the Liturgy's Books). Revived during the Renaissance, they became the basis of modern capital letters. Click here to see them in the title and incipit of a 15th-century Italian copy of the Commentaries on the Gallic War by Julius Caesar (Schøyen, MS 4517). Latin: capitalis quadrata.

In bookbinding, the extension of the edges of the boards beyond the text block at the head, fore-edge, and tail to protect the bound sections from damage (see this diagram). Cased books have equal margins of cover around the edges, usually one-eighth to three-sixteenths of an inch. The term is also used for the part of the cover that is turned in on the inside but not covered by the endpapers after they have been pasted down. On this example the squares are tooled in gold. Compare with cut flush.

See: Social Responsibilities Round Table.

See: Serials Section and stock shot.

See: Society for Scholarly Publishing.

Chemical or physical methods applied in conservation to maintain the integrity of a document by arresting deterioration already in progress, for example, the neutralization of acid in the paper used for printing books and other publications. The stability of a document is its ability to resist changes of physical state when exposed to normal use and storage conditions. Compare with restoration. See also: permanence.

stab sewing
See: side sewing.

stack aisle
See: range aisle.

stack capacity
The amount of material that can be contained in the stack area of a library, expressed as the total linear or square feet of available shelving, or the maximum number of volumes or other physical units that can be accommodated, sometimes computed by means of a formula. See also: cubook and shelf height.

stacked advertising
Advertising that appears only in the front or back, or in the front and back, of a periodical and nowhere else in the issue (example: National Geographic). In custom binding of periodicals, unpaginated advertisements appearing in the front and/or back of each issue may be removed to reduce bulk.

stack maintenance
All the duties involved in keeping the books and other materials stored in the stacks of a library in good order, including reshelving, shelf reading, shifting the collection when certain classifications become overcrowded, and relabeling shelf ranges to indicate their contents.

The area of a library where the main body of the collection (usually books and periodicals) is stored when not in use, usually on rows of free-standing double-faced shelving. In some libraries, the stacks are closed to the public, but most libraries in the United States allow patrons to browse all or part of their primary collections in open stacks. See also: stack capacity and stack maintenance.

The set of parallel horizontal lines on which musical notation is written or printed. The four-line staff was used for plainchant beginning in the 11th century (see this example). The five-line staff came into use for polyphonic music in the 13th century. In the full score of an ensemble work, each part is written on a separate staff. Click here to see four-line staves on a leaf from a 15th-century gradual (Leaves of Gold). Synonymous with stave. Plural: staves. See also: library staff.

Staff Organizations Round Table (SORT)
A permanent round table of the American Library Association, SORT is committed to encouraging the formation of organizations for library staff employed in all types of libraries and to fostering mutual cooperation between such organizations by bringing them into closer relationship. SORT also acts as a clearinghouse for information about staff organizations and cooperates with other units of the ALA that study and take action on personnel issues. Click here to connect to the SORT homepage.

staff retreat
An opportunity provided by the administration of a library for the professional, technical, and administrative staff to meet in a comfortable location away from the workplace, usually once or twice a year for at least a full or half day, to discuss issues affecting the library and the clientele it serves. To avoid distraction, strategic planning is often conducted in such a setting.

staff room
A room in a library usually equipped with comfortable furniture and a kitchenette, where staff members can go when they are not on-duty to eat, relax on a break, or meet informally. Synonymous with staff lounge.

staff writer
A salaried employee who writes exclusively for a publisher, as opposed to a freelance writer paid by assignment. Magazine and newspaper articles are often written by staff writers, with or without a byline.

staging area
A room in a library, archive, museum, or other facility in which temperature and humidity are set at a level between that of the workroom and the cold vault used for storing film, wax cylinders, and other materials subject to deterioration under normal environmental conditions. Film that has been in cold storage should be acclimatized in the staging area before it is moved to an environment set at normal room temperature and humidity. The larger the film mass, the longer the warming time. According to The Film Preservation Guide (National Film Preservation Foundation, 2004), George Eastman House, which maintains its cold vaults at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 30% relative humidity and its staging room at 55 degrees F. and 50% RH, acclimaizes films for 24 hours before transferring them to work areas.

A document or book in which one or more pages or the covering material is discolored, often irreversibly. Stains can be caused by exposure to water or accidental spills, usually of an unidentified substance. Click here to see coffe stains on a copy of a hardcover edition (University of Delaware Library). In the used book trade, any stains are noted in the description of an item�s condition. See also: staining and tideline.

A solid color applied as decoration to at least one of the trimmed edges of the sections of a book, often in red. Click here to see a 16th-century volume with the fore-edge stained (Bryn Mawr College Library) and here to see a copy of an 18th-century edition with the bottom edge stained (Royal Library of Denmark). Compare with sprinkled.

Acid-staining is sometimes deliberately used to decorate leather bindings (see Spanish calf and tree calf) and colored stains have been used to decorate vellum bindings.

See: blocking.

A computer not connected to a network, which functions independently of other computers and systems. In libraries, bibliographic databases on CD-ROM may be installed on a stand-alone PC workstation, especially when licensing agreements restrict usage to one simultaneous user. Also refers to an application program not bundled with another program, such as a Web browser. Also spelled standalone.

In serial fiction, an episode that is not essential to an appreciation of the main storyline or unrelated to it.

stand-alone library
A library containing no nonlibrary component within the building, as opposed to a library occupying a multipurpose facility. More common in recently constructed/renovated libraries than in older buildings, nonlibrary facilities typically include a separately administered conference room, technology center, multimedia center, art gallery, and/or snack bar or cybercafe.

An acceptable level or criterion according to which something is compared, measured, or judged. Also refers to an amount, extent, quality, pattern, criterion, etc., fixed by usage or convention or established as the norm by prevailing authority, as in the standard size of a catalog card used by libraries prior to the development of machine-readable cataloging. A standard may also be a specification that identifies model methods, materials, or practices. A standard approved by a formal ANSI-accredited standards body, such as NISO, is a de jure standard. A de facto standard is one that becomes generally accepted without the formal endorsement of a standard-setting organization. A community standard is a de facto standard developed and used within a particular user group. Compare with bench mark, best practices, and guidelines. See also: standards.

Also used in reference to a song that remains popular for many years, eventually becoming part of the musical repertoire of the culture or subculture that produced it.

Also, any object, such as a flag or banner, used to symbolize a nation, people, military unit, etc.

Standard Address Number (SAN)
A unique numeric identification code assigned to a specific address of an organization involved in or served by the publishing industry, including book and journal publishers, jobbers, dealers, distributors, retail booksellers, libraries and schools, printers, binders, and serials vendors. The code consists of six digits plus a check digit, preceded by the identifier "SAN" to avoid confusion with similar codes (example: SAN 123-4567). When used in international transactions, a two-character country code prefix is added to the U.S. SAN. Governed by the ANSI/NISO Z39.43 standard, the SAN is designed to facilitate transactions among organizations engaged in the book trade (ordering, billing, shipping, payments, claims, returns, credits, etc.), particularly for organizations that have similar names and/or multiple addresses. Initiated and maintained by Bowker, it is required in all electronic data interchange communications using the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) EDI formats. In 2002, Bowker launched BookIndustryLocator.com, a subscription service providing online directory information for the 200,000 organizations in the United States that have SAN numbers. Click here to learn more about the SAN, courtesy of Bowker.

standard author
An author whose literary works have earned such a respected place in the national literature of a country that they are frequently taught in literature courses and often included in anthologies, for example, William Faulkner, Jane Austen, Gustave Flaubert, Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov, etc.

standard deviation
In statistical analysis, a quantitative measure of how far a variable differs from the norm, calculated as the square root of the variance.

standard format
The most common form of a specific type of document, for example, the sequence in which the parts of a journal article reporting the results of original scientific research are presented (review of existing literature, research methodology, results or findings, discussion or analysis of results, conclusions, implications and suggestions for further research, and list of works cited).

Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML)
Established in 1986, SGML is an ISO standard governing the rules for defining tag sets that determine how machine-readable text documents are formatted. Not dependent on a specific computer system or type of software, SGML is widely used in preparing machine-readable text archives. The HTML code used to create Web pages is an SGML markup language that uses a fixed set of predefined tags. XML is a subset of SGML in which the tags are unlimited and not predefined. Click here to browse the W3C overview of SGML resources.

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)
A system of four-digit product codes developed in the 1930s by the Statistical Policy Division of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget to represent categories of products and services sold by commercial companies, for the purpose of compiling economic statistics. In 1997, the OMB adopted the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) to replace the SIC, a change that has affected some business reference books.

The process of establishing uniform procedures and standards in a specific field of endeavor, usually to facilitate exchange and cooperation and to assure quality and enhance productivity. In librarianship, standards are established by professional associations, accrediting bodies, and government agencies. See also: National Information Standards Organization.

standard list
A list of titles recommended for any library collection of a particular type and size, usually published under the auspices of a library association (example: Books for College Libraries). Standard lists are difficult to keep current. Synonymous with selection guide. See also: core collection.

standard number
The unique identification number assigned to an edition at the time of first publication, in accordance with an internationally standardized identification system, usually appearing somewhere on the item. In books published in hardcover, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is printed on the verso of the title page and usually on the front flap of the dust jacket. In paperback editions, it appears on the verso of the title page and on the back cover (usually in the lower-right-hand corner). In serials, the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) appears in the masthead or with the table of contents of each issue or on the copyright page of each volume or part of a series. In printed music, the International Standard Music Number (ISMN) appears on the copyright page. In AACR2, the standard number is entered in the standard number and terms of availability area of the bibliographic description.

standard number and terms of availability
In AACR2, the area of bibliographic description in which the standard number (ISBN, ISMN, ISSN, etc.), list price, and any other terms under which the item is available are entered (field 020 or 022 of the MARC record).

Criteria established by professional associations, accrediting bodies, or agencies of government for measuring and evaluating library services, collections, and programs. The ALA Policy Manual defines standards as policies that "describe shared values and principles of performance for a library." They tend to be comprehensive, covering a broad range of programs and services, defining both qualitative and quantitative criteria and presenting goals toward which the profession aspires. Examples include Standards for Libraries in Higher Education (2004) and Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education (1999), published by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). The four main types of library standards/guidelines and the authority for developing them are explained in the ALA Standards Manual (November 2003).

Also refers to any code of rules or procedures established by national and international library organizations to govern bibliographic control, such as the MARC record format, CIP, and the ISBN/ISSN adopted by the publishing industry. Click here to connect to the Library of Congress Web page on standards. Compare with best practices and guidelines.

In a more general sense, any criteria established by law, agreement, or custom, according to which values, quantities, procedures, performance, etc., are measured or evaluated, and to which manufacturers, practitioners, researchers, etc., seek to conform in order to ensure quality and/or uniformity of results. See also: American National Standards Institute and National Information Standards Organization.

standard subdivision
In Dewey Decimal Classification, a subdivision applicable to any subject or discipline, which may be added to a class in the main schedules to represent bibliographic form (dictionaries, periodicals, etc.), approach or method (management, education, research, etc.), geographic area, historical period, or category of person, indicated in the notation by the addition of a decimal fraction to the class number. Standard subdivisions are never used alone and, as a general rule, should not be used in doubtful cases because they tend to segregate specialized material from works of general interest. They are given in Table 1 of DDC. See also: free-floating subdivision.

Standard Technical Report Number (STRN)
A unique standardized identification number, permanently assigned to a scientific or technical report by the issuing agency to facilitate access and bring order and uniformity to the technical report literature. Governed by the ANSI/NISO Z39.23 standard, the STRN appears in an upper corner of both the front cover and the report documentation page or title page of all copies and on the spine of a bound report if space permits. The 34-character STRN is composed of an alphanumeric report code of 2-16 characters, followed by a double hyphen (--) group separator, and then a sequential group of 1-16 characters indicating year and sequence of issuance, with identifying characters for supplements, revisions, drafts, etc., as appropriate. To avoid confusion with similar identification numbers, the report number is preceded by the prefix "ISRN" which stands for International Standard Report Number (example: ISRN METRO/ERR--1995-1784-DRAFT2 for Metallurgical Processing Corporation's Engineering Research Report, 1995, 1784th report, draft no 2). The maintenance agency for the STRN is the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). See also: subdivider.

standard title
See: uniform title.

standard work
A work widely recognized as a model of excellence in its field, which libraries may order in multiple copies or editions (example: The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr.). A standard reference work is usually published in successive editions (example: The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry in Anthologies). Compare with classic.

standing committee
A permanent committee appointed by management or selected according to established procedures to handle specific ongoing responsibilities, usually in support of an organization's mission and goals, as opposed to an ad hoc committee established to address a particular issue or accomplish a specific task, then dissolved once its goals and objectives have been met.

standing order (STO)
An order placed by a library with a publisher, jobber, or dealer to supply each volume or part of a specific title or type of publication as published, until further notice. Unlike subscriptions, which must be paid in advance, standing orders are billed as each volume is shipped. Sometimes used synonymously with continuation order.

standing room
In Dewey Decimal Classification, topics considerably narrower in scope than the subject represented by a class, usually given in the schedules immediately following the notation and heading in a note that begins with "Including," "Contains," "Example(s)," or "Common names." Standing room provides a location for topics for which the amount of published literature is limited but expected to grow, possibly to the point of warranting a separate class number. Catalogers are not permitted to add standard subdivisions to such topics, nor are other number building techniques allowed (DDC). Compare with approximate the whole.

A microphotograph mounted under a very small magnifying lens, usually incorporated into a piece of jewelry or novelty item sold as a pictorial souvenir. Manufactured in France from 1859-1972, the Stanhope was developed by René Dagron who combined a rod-shaped hand-viewing lens developed by Charles, Earl of Stanhope, with microphotography invented by J.B. Dancer in 1839 to produce a miniature magnifying unit that he patented in 1859 and sold worldwide via mail order (see these examples). Also called peeps.

On chained books, the metal fitting that attaches the chain to one of the boards, usually at its head (see this example, courtesy of the Cornell University Library).

See: saddle-stitching.

star atlas
See: celestial atlas.

star map
See: celestial chart.

See: Sharing and Transforming Access to Resources Section.

A binding defect in which one of the sections of a book projects beyond the others at the fore-edge because it has not been properly secured at the binding edge. Also refers to a crack between sections at the binding edge, usually the result of forcing the leaves open while they are held down, instead of pressing gently along the inner margin to form a slight fold at the binding edge.

A book in which a portion of the body is so loose in the binding that it protrudes beyond the fore-edge but remains attached, a condition not as advanced as shaken.

Part of an edition that differs from other copies of the same printing by virtue of minor changes in make-up or typesetting made during the process of printing or binding, usually additions, deletions, corrections, and transpositions. During the 16th and 17th centuries, such variations were often the result of allowing the author to visit the pressroom while printing was in progress. In historical bibliography and the antiquarian book trade, variations in state may provide clues to priority of issue. Used in this sense, state has no relation to condition. Compare with variant. See also: ideal copy.

Also refers to a preliminary impression taken of a print by the artist as a test prior to completion of the plate or perfection of inking.

state library
In the United States, a library supported by state funds for the use of state employees and citizens, usually located in the state capital, containing a comprehensive collection of the state's official documents, books written by authors living in the state, and newspapers published in the state. A state library typically sponsors programs in support of the public libraries in its state and manages grant programs such as the LSTA. The first state library was established in Pennsylvania in 1816. Click here to connect to the Libweb directory of U.S. State Libraries. See also: Chief Officers of State Library Agencies and State Library Agency Section.

State Library Agency Section (SLAS)
The section of the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) within the American Library Association (ALA) devoted to developing and strengthening the leadership role of state library agencies in improving the delivery of library services and to fostering the continued professional development of state library agency personnel in such areas as statewide evaluation and planning and services to state governments and legislatures, local libraries, and users with special needs. Click here to connect to the SLAS homepage. See also: Chief Officers of State Library Agencies.

state manual
A publication issued annually or semiannually by a state government, usually containing the text of the state charter and/or constitution, election statistics, and information about government structure, elected and appointed officials, voting districts, and the towns or boroughs, cities, and counties within the state. Some states have put their manual online (see the Maryland Manual On-Line and Oregon Blue Book). Also known as a blue book.

A financial report sent by a vendor or supplier giving the current status of a library's account, including any orders shipped for which payment is outstanding.

statement of equivalency
In cartography, a mathematical equation appearing on the face of a map (usually with the title or other legends) indicating the scale in which distance is represented (example: One Inch = 100 miles). Synonymous with verbal scale. Compare with bar scale and representative fraction.

statement of extent
See: extent of item.

statement of responsibility
In AACR2, the portion of the bibliographic description indicating by name the person(s) responsible for creating the intellectual or artistic content of the item (author, editor, compiler, composer, arranger, etc.), the corporate body from which the content emanates, or the person(s) or corporate body responsible for performing the content. In most cases, the statement of responsibility is transcribed from the chief source of information for the item. When more than one kind of responsibility is indicated (multiple statements of responsibility), the names are transcribed in the order in which they appear on the chief source of information.

A product, system, or design that represents the most advanced degree of technical achievement in its field at the present time. In the construction of new facilities, libraries typically strive for state-of-the-art design and technology but must often settle for what is financially feasible.

state plan
In 1981, the Depository Library Council (DLC) recommended to the Public Printer of the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) that each state be required to prepare a comprehensive plan to coordinate the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) within the state and suggested a list of elements to be addressed in such a plan. Developed with the cooperation of all the depository libraries in a state, the state plan is used as a mission statement, planning document, and statement of responsibility by federal depositories within the state and must be revised periodically to reflect changing conditions. The Nebraska State Plan for the Federal Depository Library Program is an example.

state publishing
A publishing enterprise organized by a government or government agency, rather than a for-profit company (see this example). See also: GPO and Publishing and Depository Services (PDS).

In Europe, the earliest nonmonastic producer and lender of manuscript books for profit. From the 12th century on, stationarii (Latin) were licensed by medieval universities to oversee the copying, binding, distribution, and repair of officially approved texts. They also received commissions from wealthy patrons and subcontracted the work out to independent scribes and illuminators. In England, the earliest commercial booksellers, who sold their wares from market stalls, were known as stationers. Click here to learn more about the role of the stationer, courtesy of Leaves of Gold). French: libraire. See also: exemplar and pecia system.

stationery binding
A general term for the bindings on volumes designed to be written in (blankbooks, ledgers, etc.), as distinct from those on books intended for reading, typically more sturdy than the usual publisher's binding. To see examples, try a keywords search on the phrase "Boorum & Pease" in Google Images. Stationery bindings may include a spring action in the binding that elevates the spine so that the leaves lie flat when the volume is opened. Synonymous with accounts binding and ledger binding.

statistical bibliography
See: bibliometrics.

See: borrower status, circulation status, and loan status.

Statute of Anne
The first copyright law enacted in an English-speaking country, providing the first statutory recognition of the right of authorship. Named for Queen Anne, in whose reign it was enacted, the Statute was passed by Parliament in 1709 and went into effect the following year, granting legal protection to the author(s) of a book, as property owner, for a term of 14 years, with renewal for an additional 14 years if the author was still living at time of expiration. Click here to read the text of the Statute, courtesy of the Yale Law School Library.

statutory copy
See: deposit copy.

See: staff.

See: Short-Title Catalogue.

steady state
A library collection in which the number of items weeded equals the number acquired over time. Libraries with a limited amount of shelf space and no prospect of expansion must maintain a constant collection size. Synonymous with no growth or zero growth. Compare with accumulation.

steering committee
A group of people appointed or elected to take charge of a complex project, for example, the task of planning the renovation of an existing library or organizing a move into a new library facility. Their responsibilities include setting priorities and establishing the sequence in which various stages of the work are to proceed.

The root of a word used as a search term in a query entered as input in information retrieval, to which one or more truncation symbols are added to retrieve variant forms (example: *witch* to retrieve bewitch, bewitched, bewitching, witch, witches, witchery, witchcraft, etc.).

stemma codicum
A diagram in the form of an inverted "tree" showing all the steps in the transmission of a specific text or program of illumination, reconstructed by establishing relationships with other manuscripts through possible exemplars (witness for the text).

See: truncation.

A thin sheet of parchment, metal, cardboard, or plastic perforated with a design or lettering that can be reproduced on paper, fabric, wood, plaster, etc., when color is laid on with a brush through the openings. The stencil is then removed for reuse. The technique was used during the Renaissance and Baroque periods (1450 to 1650) to add color to painted prints (see this example, courtesy of the Baltimore Museum of Art). When used in book illustration, the technique is called pochoir. To see it used in bookbinding, try a search on the term "stencilled" in the British Library's Database of Bookbindings. The technique is also the basis of contemporary screen printing.

Also refers to a sheet, usually of paper, with lettering or a design cut out, to which a colored backing sheet is attached to bring out the design--a technique sometimes used in contemporary greeting cards. Click here to view two leaves from a prayer book made for Philip III of Spain, with the text executed in paper stencil over colored silk (Dartmouth College Library, MS Codex 001599).

step index
A series of shallow indentations resembling a staircase, cut into the fore-edge of a book, bearing a sequence of characters or headings, sometimes printed against a dark ground to facilitate reference. Synonymous with cut-in index. Compare with tab index and thumb index.

See: stereograph.

See: stereograph.

A visual medium in which a transparent or opaque image, or two slightly different images of the same scene arranged side-by-side, appear three-dimensional when viewed through the lenses of a binocular instrument called a stereoscope. When a stereoscopic photograph is mounted on a small piece of card stock, it is called a stereocard. In AACR2, stereographs are cataloged as graphic materials. Click here to view an online exhibition of stereographs (Getty Museum) or try a keyword search on the term "stereograph" in Images of African Americans from the 19th Century (Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture). A selection of photographic stereocards can also be seen in the Digital Collections of the University of Washington Libraries. Synonymous with stereogram and stereoview. See also: anaglyph and tissue stereograph.

stereo map
See: anaglyph.

Sound reproduced by an audio device simultaneously from two separate channels with two amplifiers or speakers. Stereo sound separation produces a more realistic effect than earlier monaural recording but not as realistic as quadraphonic sound.

A type of motion picture in which the image is photographed and projected by a special process that creates the illusion of three dimensional (binocular) vision for viewers wearing special 3-D eyeglasses, introduced commercially in 1936 in the Italian film Beggar's Wedding and the German film You Can Nearly Touch It and revived as an innovation in the early 1950s to attract viewers back to the cinema from television, now employed mainly as a novelty (example: Muppet*Vision 3-D by Disney-MGM Studios). In library cataloging, the fact that a film is stereoscopic is indicated as a special projection characteristic in the physical description area of the bibliographic record. Synonymous with 3-D movie. See also: stereograph.

A fixed impression that may have little basis in fact but is nevertheless perpetuated by persons unwilling to look more deeply into the matter. Librarians are often typecast in the mass media because few people outside the library profession understand what librarians do when they are not shushing people. Library humor often makes light of the absurdities inherent in the notion of the "typical librarian." See also: image.

A type of machine-embroidered silk picture, pioneered in the 1860s by Thomas Stevens of Coventry, then a center of ribbon weaving in England. Stevengraphs are typically highly detailed and often three-dimensional in effect (see this example). By the 1880s, Stevens was producing over 900 different items, including bookmarks and postcards. Click here to learn more about Stevengraphs and to see more examples.

stichometric note
A brief note in a manuscript indicating the number of lines in the text, often the basis for determining the amount to be paid for scribal work.

A sturdy hardwood or metal rod about three feet long, divided lengthwise down the center, usually into four thin shafts, with a handle on one end and a rubber ring at the other to hold the most recent issue of a newspaper securely along the fold. When not in use, the rods are designed to rest horizontally in a rack high enough to allow the leaves to hang freely without touching the floor (see this example, courtesy of Highsmith). Synonymous with newspaper rod.

Also refers to a handheld adjustable wood or metal frame used to hold in sequence the individual units of type as they are composed in letterpress, each unit bearing a single character, arranged in reverse order from right to left and upside down. The frame is usually calibrated to allow line-length to be fixed. After several lines of type have been assembled, the typesetter transfers them to a holding tray called a galley to await make-up into page form. Click here to see Benjamin Franklin's composing stick, courtesy of the Columbia University Libraries.

A small preprinted adhesive label placed inside a book imported from another country, usually on the title page to indicate the name of the domestic distributor. Stickers are also used by publishers and booksellers to indicate price changes.

Also, a category of ephemera that encompasses pieces of paper of any size, shape, or color, bearing text and/or symbol, with an adhesive back that can be affixed to a suitable surface. The category includes bumper stickers. Compare with decal.

sticker damage
Surface damage to the cover of a book or to one of its endpapers or leaves, caused by the rough removal of a price sticker.

sticker ghost
Discoloration of the surface of the cover of a book or one of its endpapers or leaves, caused by a chemical reaction with the adhesive from a price sticker.

sticker price
See: list price.

stiffened paper binding
A temporary binding consisting of paper covers glued to thin boards or thick paper supports, with the endpapers adhered to the boards and any sewing supports sandwiched between board and endsheet. The boards are cut flush at head and tail and the cover paper turned in at the fore-edge of the board, which extends beyond the edge of the text block (see this example).

In bookbinding, a strip of thin card glued to the inside of a cloth spine to give it greater rigidity (see this example).

A term used in the movie industry for an enlargement made of a single frame from a motion picture, often used for promotional purposes (see this example). Synonymous in this sense with frame enlargement. Also refers to a single photograph taken with a conventional camera, especially one in which the subject is one or more performers, for use in publicity (see this example). Compare with still image.

still image
A two-dimensional image produced on film, usually by a photographic process, that does not produce the optical effect of motion when viewed by the human eye, for example, a transparency, slide, or single frame from a filmstrip, motion picture, or videotape. In a more general sense, an image in any medium that does not give the impression of movement. Compare with still.

still life
A graphic representation (drawing, painting, print, or photograph) of a group of mostly inanimate objects, usually commonplace items, selected and arranged by the artist or photographer for pictorial effect (see this example). The objects can be natural (food, flowers, shells, etc.) or man-made (tableware, books, tools, musical instruments), depicted for their visual qualities (texture, form, color) rather than their intrinsic value. Plural: still lifes.

A book given wider squares to bring the height of its binding up to that of other volumes in the same set or on the same shelf, when the book block is slightly shorter.

A pattern of small dots of varying color and/or density used in drawing, painting, or printing to create the impression of gradations of light and shadow in an image. See also: stipple engraving.

Also refers to an uneven, pebble-grained finish on certain grades of paper.

stipple engraving
A graphic technique that combines etching and engraving to produce designs in which outlines are etched by hand and shading is produced by a pattern of small dots or flecks of varying size and density, cut into the same plate with a graver (see this example). Also refers to a print made by this technique.

Binding by means of wire staples driven through the leaves or signatures of a publication. Compare with sewing. See also: saddle-stitching and side-stitching.

An abbreviation used in the publishing trade for the scientific, technical, and medical segment of the market for journals, books, and other media of scholarly communication. Leading STM publishers include Elsevier and Springer. STM books have a long history (click here and here to see early printed examples, courtesy of Glasgow University Library, Special Collections). See also: PSP.

See: standing order.

A general term for motion picture film, especially unexposed, unprocessed negative film, known in the industry as raw stock. See also: stock photograph and stock shot.

stock arrangement
An arrangement of a well-known musical work that is widely available, usually by purchase, as opposed to an arrangement written specifically for a particular performer, performing group, or performance. Synonymous in the plural with stocks. Click here to browse a collection of instrumental stock arrangements at the Library of Congress.

stock character
A stereotyped character often seen in stage dramas and motion pictures of a particular genre, whose individuality is left undeveloped in the script, for example, the maid or secretary in romantic comedy, the policeman or thug in detective stories, and the outlaw or Indian in westerns.

stock footage
Film of a particular setting, subject, action, event, etc., shot for a different motion picture or for another purpose and incorporated into a new production, usually to reduce costs or provide historical accuracy. Stock shots can often be identified by differences in appearance between the old and new film stock, such as graininess or differences in color balance. Stock footage is purchased or rented, often by the foot, from stock footage libraries. See Footage: The Worldwide Moving Image Sourcebook (Second Line Search Inc., 1997), a directory of over 1,800 collections of moving image materials in North America, or try Footage.net. See also: stock shot.

stock photograph
A still photograph taken in the past and kept on file for use when no current picture is available, as distinct from one taken specifically for the purpose at hand. Newspapers usually maintain a file of stock photographs, especially portraits of well-known individuals, pictures of landmarks, etc., for use as the occasion arises. Directory information for stock photo agencies is available in Literary Market Place. Stock photos are also available free online--see the Yahoo! list of stock photography Web sites. Copyright law applies. Compare with stock shot.

stock poster
A poster bearing a generic image, with space left blank for the subsequent addition of text announcing a specific event (see this example).

stock shot (SS)
In motion pictures, a standard take of a scene (example: train passing through countryside), subject (elephants in the wild), landmark (Eiffel Tower from above), or event (D-Day landing), archived, usually in a film library with other shots, to be used as a resource by filmmakers as needed to reduce costs or provide historical accuracy, especially in the production of documentaries. To see examples, try a search in Footage.net. Synonymous with library shot. Compare with stock photograph. See also: stock footage.

stolen book
A book taken from its owner without permission. Theft of rare and valuable books from libraries and archives has increased dramatically over the last two decades. When a book received by a library is found to belong to someone else, there is a moral and legal obligation to return it to the owner and absorb as a loss any cost incurred in acquiring it. When ownership of a valuable book is suspect, the library can check with the national headquarters of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA) to see if it has been reported stolen. See also: ownership mark.

Stonewall Book Awards
Literary awards given annually by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) of the American Library Association to authors of books which show exceptional merit in relating the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender experience. Announced in January, award winners receive a prize of $1,000 and a commemorative plaque. Click here to learn more about the Stonewall Book Awards.

stop list
See: stopword.

stop press
A small space in a newspaper, left blank for the last-minute insertion of late items of breaking news.

stop word
See: stopword.

A frequently used word--usually an article, conjunction, or preposition with little semantic content--ignored when a keywords search is executed because it adds little value to the search statement and is not helpful for retrieval (examples: a, an, as, at, by, for, from, of, on, the, to). Some systems have a predetermined list of stopwords, which may be given in the help screen(s). In some systems, a stopword may be context-dependent, for example, the word "education" in a bibliographic database providing access to materials on education but not in a database indexing articles published in newspapers or general interest periodicals. Also spelled stop word.

In computing, external memory used to store data for an indefinite period of time (usually on hard disk or floppy disk), as opposed to main memory or RAM used to store data only during a work session. Storage capacity is measured in bytes. See also: save.

In archives, the keeping of noncurrent records in a secure location, either temporarily until a decision can be made concerning disposition or permanently in the case of records to be retained indefinitely. Current records are sometimes placed in storage for a short time to await processing.

storage area
A location within an archive or library facility, or outside its walls, where infrequently used materials and equipment are housed until needed. In some libraries, items in storage may be retrieved by courier at the user's request. The status of items in a storage collection may be indicated in the catalog record.

Former Yale University conservator Jane Greenfield recommends that books be stored in an area that is weatherproof, insect and animal proof, secure from theft and vandalism, and easy to clean, with proper environmental controls, a floor strong enough to support 350 pounds per square foot, and sufficient space for processing. She also recommends that books never be stored in an attic, cellar, or barn (The Care of Fine Books, Nick Lyons Books, 1988).

storage orientation
The direction in which materials are placed in library or archival storage, relative to the surface of the earth. Because the force of gravity may affect the condition of materials over time, whether they are stored vertically or horizontally can make a difference in their preservation. For example, for long-term storage, films must be placed horizontally on a rack or shelf to distribute the weight of the film over the entire side surface of the pack and to maintain uniform wind tension throughout the pack. Click here to learn about the effects of downward pressure on film packs stored vertically (National Film and Sound Archive, Australia).

A series of pictures or rough sketches with accompanying text, used in the production of an audiovisual or multimedia work to help the creators visualize the sequence of its parts. To see examples, try a keyword search on the term in Google Images. Also spelled story board.

A book of stories for children, often an illustrated collection of well-known fables, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and poems, sometimes devoted to a specific topic or theme (example: The Japanese Children's Storybook on the Bombing of Hiroshima by Toshi and Iri Maruki). The term is also seen in the titles of collections of Bible stories written for children. Compare with picture storybook.

story hour
A period of time set aside for reading and telling stories to the youngest members of a library's clientele, a regularly scheduled event in some public libraries. The storyteller is usually a trained children's librarian, but storytelling may also be done by a particularly talented or experienced assistant or volunteer. In some public libraries, the children's room includes a special room or corner with soft furniture, designed to put young listeners at ease. Also spelled storyhour. Synonymous with storytime.

The plot or subplot of a work of fiction. In publishing, a brief narrative of the events shown in a sequence of photographs or other illustrations.

A person who is trained or has a special gift for telling narrative tales orally, to live audiences or recorded on film, video, or audiotape. Producers of commercial sound and videorecordings sometimes use celebrity storytellers (example: Jack Nicholson's reading of The Elephant's Child from Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, released on video by Rabbit Ears Productions in 1986). In libraries, the term is extended to include one who reads or tells stories creatively to children or young adults, sometimes with the aid of a flannel board or puppets. Librarians who specialize in children's or young adult services usually receive training in the art of storytelling. See also: story hour.

The art of telling and reading stories to young children, for pleasure and to interest them in books and reading. The practice was first introduced in libraries by Caroline Hewins at the Hartford Public Library in Connecticut in 1882. Storytelling is sometimes done with the aid of a flannel board or puppets. In audiobooks for children, the story is sometimes told by a celebrity narrator whose voice is easily recognized. Click here to browse the Yahoo! list of storytelling Web sites. See also: National Storytelling Network and story hour.

See: story hour.

A type of fastening used on medieval manuscript books consisting of a length of plain or braided leather with one end permanently attached to the outside surface of one of the boards of a binding, with a hole or slit in the free end designed to fit over a pin or peg on the other board. Straps were used singly or in pairs usually on the fore-edge to keep the covers firmly closed, to prevent the parchment or vellum leaves from cockling with changes in temperature and humidity. Michelle Brown notes in Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Getty Museum/British Library, 1994) that in English bindings, the pin or catch was attached to the lower board and in most continental bindings, to the upper board. Click here to see straps used with pins on a 15th-century Lombard gradual (Cornell University Library) and here to see them with brass catches on a German antiphonal of the same century (Schøyen Collection, MS 198). See also: clasp.

An open pattern of interlaced ribbons used as a decorative motif in bookbinding and manuscript decoration. Strapwork is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Grolier style bindings (see this example, courtesy of the University of London). Here is an example in sand grain cloth, designed by the 19th-century binder John Leighton (British Library). To see other examples, try a search on the keyword "strapwork" in the British Library's Database of Bookbindings. Click here to see an example of manuscript decoration in strapwork (Walters Art Museum, W.580). Synonymous in 16th-century French binding with entrelac.

strategic alliance
A collaborative partnership between a library and one or more external departments, agencies, organizations, etc., for the mutual benefit of all the participants. Examples include mentoring relationships between undergraduate libraries and athletics programs; digitization projects involving libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies; and library events involving authors, sponsored in conjunction with local booksellers.

strategic planning
The systematic process by which a company, organization, or institution (or one of its units) formulates achievable policy objectives for future growth and development over a period of years, based on its mission and goals and on a realistic assessment of the resources, human and material, available to implement the plan. The process may require the collection and analysis of data on current operations and user preferences as the basis for evaluating competing options. A well-developed strategic plan can serve as the foundation for effective performance evaluation.

A coarse board sometimes used in case binding, made from unbleached straw and repulped waste fiber. Binder's board is preferred in trade editions because it is stronger.

Continuous delivery of audiovisual media over telecommunication networks, as opposed to broadcasting (radio and television). Because of its high bandwidth and storage requirements, commercial use of streamed media had to await recent improvements in network technology and personal computers. Internet television is a prime example of media streaming (see Netflix).

streaming video
A method of sending a sequence of compressed moving images one way over a data network, at the user's request or broadcast at a fixed time, which allows viewing to begin before the entire file has been transmitted. To counteract any delays caused by packet switching and maintain the impression of continuous motion, a buffer on the client computer is used to store a few seconds of video before it is displayed on the screen. Unlike video that is downloaded for subsequent playback, streaming video is stored as a temporary file and deleted when the application used to view it is closed. Videoconferencing differs from streaming video in providing two-way transmission in real time. For streamed video clips, see YouTube.

street lit
See: urban fiction.

strewn border
A style of 15th-century Flemish manuscript decoration in which individual branches, fruits, flowers, birds, insects, etc., are separately rendered against a solid painted border or unpainted margin, sometimes with shaded shadows to create the illusion of three-dimensions (see this example, courtesy of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek). Strewn borders are common in the Chrohin-La Fontaine Hours and the Spinola Hours (Getty Museum, MS 23 and Ludwig IX 18). Synonymous with scatter border.

In journalism, a newspaper reporter who works on a freelance basis, usually paid by the article for covering events in a specific geographic location.

string indexing
A method of indexing in which a set of indexing terms is assigned to a document by a human indexer according to the set of rules governing the system, to describe its content. The terms are then manipulated by computer to create an index in which each term is listed in correct alphabetical sequence, providing access to the document under each of the terms. PRECIS is an example of a highly developed string indexing system.

A narrow band of magnetic material applied as a coating along one or both edges of a length of motion picture film on which the sound track is recorded.

strip map
A map of elongated format, usually representing a linear feature such as a road, trail, river, coastline, mountain range, fault line, etc., with the area mapped confined to a narrow band on each side of the feature running lengthwise through the center. Click here to see an 18th-century strip map of King Christian VI's journal through Norway (Royal Library of Denmark) and here to see a contemporary tectonic example. The Library of Congress provides an example of an early experimental air navigation strip map, one of a series produced by the Air Service of the U.S. Army in 1923, showing prominent features along Army air routes between principal cities in the United States. See also: scroll map.

See: Standard Technical Report Number.

structural metadata
Data about an information resource intended to describe its internal organization, generally for use in machine processing, for example, metadata documenting the order and format of data elements in a numeric or statistical data set, such as a census, or that ties together the various components of a multimedia resource. Compare with administrative metadata and descriptive metadata.

structured abstract
An informative abstract in which the text is arranged according to prescribed headings, for example, the major divisions of the AIMRAD structure for scientific and technical research papers. An example can be seen in the appendix of the ANSI/NISO Z39.14 Guidelines for Abstracts.

See: Science and Technology Section.

The narrow strip of paper remaining along the inner margin when a leaf is cleanly sliced out of a book, used to stub in another leaf when a replacement is required (click here to see the process illustrated, courtesy of the University of Illinois Library). Also refers to a narrow strip of cloth or paper sewn between the sections of a book to attach a folded map or illustration (also called a compensation guard), or bound into the front or back to secure a pocket. In binding, the process of adding such strips to a text block is called stubbing. Compare with tipped in. See also: stub binding.

stub binding
A binding method in which the folded sections are sewn to stubs of paper which are then glued together to form the spine (Dictionary of Publishing and Printing, 2006).

student assistant
A part-time employee in an academic library, school library, or media center, enrolled as a student at the institution served by the library. Student assistants are usually paid an hourly wage for performing routine tasks such as stack maintenance and checking items in and out at the circulation desk.

student publication
A newspaper or magazine published in print or online by students enrolled at a high school, college, or university, usually funded by student fees and edited by journalism majors or members of an interest group or club. Most student newspapers are issued daily (Yale Daily News) or weekly (The Gustavian Weekly). U.S. college and university newspapers available online are indexed by state in Yahoo! See also: yearbook.

student work
A drawing, painting, print, photograph, design, or other creative work produced by a person enrolled in a course of study, as an assignment or in completion of the requirements for a degree. Some school libraries and academic libraries exhibit student works (see these examples).

studio portrait
A photograph of one or more persons, taken in the studio of a professional photographer, with the subject(s) formally posed against a backdrop, sometimes in special costume with props (see this example). The subject may be standing, seated, or seen from the shoulders up (example). Several shots may be taken from various angles to allow the client to select one or more proofs for final development.

studio recording
A sound recording made entirely in the controlled environment of a recording studio, as opposed to a live recording made in performance or an album composed of previously recorded material, compiled and reissued.

A drawing or painting, usually executed in more detail than a sketch, preliminary to a finished work or for the purpose of exploring a technique, medium, or composition new to the artist (see this example). Sometimes more than one drawing is made on a sheet (example).

study aid
Educational material designed to help the student learn by self-study, often used in conjunction with a formal course of study. The category includes books, glossaries, flash cards, self-tests, animations, image galleries, and interactive media (see this example).

study guide
A manual designed to help the reader prepare for a standardized or certification examination required for advancement in a course of study or in a career (example: Cracking the GED published by Princeton Review). Synonymous with test guide.

The manner in which a writer or editor uses words, sentences, paragraphs, punctuation, and/or layout to produce a distinctive work or publication.

style manual
A guide to a prescribed set of rules for typing research papers and theses, usually written for a specific academic discipline or group of related disciplines, covering the mechanics of writing (punctuation, capitalization, quotations, plagiarism, etc.), format (spacing, headings, tables and illustrations, etc.), and correct form of documentation (footnotes, endnotes, and bibliographies), usually including pertinent examples. For an online example, see Research and Documentation Online by Diana Hacker. In academic libraries, the latest editions of leading style manuals are available on reserve or in the reference section. For electronic style, try the Yahoo! list of style guides. Compare with style sheet.

Chicago Manual of Style
Complete Guide to Citing Government Information Resources (CIS)
A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Kate Turabian)
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association

style sheet
A list of the rules of spelling, punctuation, usage, and citation employed by the publisher of a periodical to which an author who submits a manuscript for publication is expected to conform (click here and here to see examples). In book publishing, adherence to house style is usually checked by the copy editor in the process of marking up a manuscript for the printer. Compare with style manual.

Also, a file containing rules for adding style (fonts, colors, spacing, etc.) to Web documents. The two main style sheet languages are cascading style sheets (CSS) and Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL). CSS can be used on HTML and XML, while XSL can be used only on XML. Also spelled stylesheet.

The earliest known writing implement, consisting of a sharp, pointed stick made of wood, bone, metal, or reed, usually with a small flat spatula on the nonwriting end for making erasures, used in ancient Mesopotamia to cut or impress straight, wedge-shaped cuneiform characters into the surface of clay tablets and later by the ancient Greeks and Romans to write on wax tablets. When clay was superseded by papyrus, then parchment, and finally paper as a writing surface, brush and pen replaced the stylus. Click here to see four variations on the stylus (Schøyen Collection, MS 1987/12).

Also, a small electronic pen-shaped device used on touchscreens and in computer graphics applications to direct the cursor. Also refers to the needle of a record player, which transmits mechanical vibrations from the groove in the surface of a phonograph record to the cartridge, where they are converted into electrical impulses amplified as audible sound.

See: sensitive but unclassified.

In classification, a class of which each and every member is a member of another, usually more encompassing, class (example: Periodical / Publication). In close classification, subclasses are subdivided into sub-subclasses (Magazine / Periodical) and so on (Newsmagazine / Magazine). See also: cross-classification.

Two or more members of a larger committee, elected or appointed to address one or more specific issues or needs on behalf of the larger group and report back in a timely manner. A subcommittee that begins ad hoc may eventually become permanent or develop into an independent committee.

See: directory.

A slash (/) or single hyphen (-) used in either the report code or the sequential group of a Standard Technical Report Number (STRN) in any position following the first two characters to specify a subdivision of the parental organization or corporate entity, or to separate a series designation from the parental organization's symbol (example: ISRN METPRO/ERR--1995-1784-DRAFT2 for Metallurgical Processing Corporation's Engineering Research Report, 1995, 1784th report, draft no 2). The absence of a subdivider indicates that no expression of a subdivision or series is intended.

In library cataloging, the division of a class or subject heading into aspects by the addition of notation or a subheading following a dash or other mark of punctuation, for example, --History in the heading Libraries--History. In Library of Congress subject headings (LCSH), there are four types of subdivisions: topical (example: Library--Automation), geographic (Libraries--United States), chronological (Libraries--United States--History--19th century), and form (Libraries--Directories). Click here to see the heading Mental illness subdivided in LCSH and here to see subdivided heading Mental illness--Diagnosis used in a library catalog record. See also: divide-like note and free-floating subdivision.

In Dewey Decimal Classification, a subordinate member of a class. For example, 028 Reading and use of other information media, a subdivision of the class 020 Library and information sciences, and more specifically 028.9 Reading interests and habits, a subdivision of the class 028. Also refers to the notation added to other numbers to make a class number specific to the work being classified (DDC).

In printing, a section of text within a division of the text.

A person responsible for checking and correcting copy before it is printed, especially in newspaper and magazine publishing. Synonymous with copy editor in book publishing. Also spelled sub-editor. Abbreviated sub.

Because most variable fields in the MARC record contain two or more related pieces of information, they are subdivided to allow each element of bibliographic description to be recorded separately. A subfield contains the smallest logical unit of descriptive data pertaining to a bibliographic item. Within a field, each subfield is preceded by a two-character delimiter. The Library of Congress uses the dollar sign ($) and OCLC the double dagger (‡) as the first character. The second character, the subfield code, is usually a lowercase alphabetic character, although arabic numerals are permitted. For example, subfield $c of the physical description (field 300) is reserved for the dimensions of an item.

subfield code
A one-character code used in the MARC record to indicate the portion of a variable field reserved for a single data element, usually a lowercase alphabetic character (although arabic numerals are permitted) preceded by a delimiter code, for example, $c to indicate date of publication in the publication, distribution, etc. area (field 260) of a Library of Congress record. Because the subfield $a is implicit at the beginning of most fields, the subfield code $a is often not displayed.

subfield delimiter
A one-character code used in the MARC record to indicate that the following character is to be understood as a subfield code. The subfield delimiter is defined as ASCII "1F"--an unprintable value often displayed as the dollar sign ($), double dagger (‡), or vertical bar (|).

A subcategory of an existing class of literature or art that has its own distinguishing characteristics, for example, detective fiction within the mystery genre.

See: record group.

Any secondary heading or title in a written work, intended to subdivide the text of a chapter or other major division, usually printed in a smaller size of the typeface used for the main heading. In textbooks and long entries in reference books, subheads may be further subdivided into sub-subheads indicated by an even smaller type size. Also spelled sub-head. Compare with subheading.

A secondary heading added to a main subject heading or descriptor in a pre-coordinate indexing system, usually following a dash or other mark of punctuation, to allow documents to be indexed more specifically. Subheadings may be further subdivided; for example, in the Library of Congress subject heading United States--History--Civil War 1861-1864, United States is the main heading, and History and Civil War 1861-1864 are subheadings. In a printed list of indexing terms, subheadings are indented to visually represent hierarchic relations between terms. Compare with subhead. See also: subdivision.

Any one of the topics or themes of a work, stated explicitly in the text or title or implicit in its message. In library cataloging, a book or other item is assigned one or more subject headings as access points, to assist users in locating its content by subject. In abstracting and indexing services, the headings assigned to represent the content of a document are called descriptors. Abbreviated subj. See also: aboutness and subject analysis.

In a more general sense, any topic of study or discussion, theme expressed in writing, or object or scene depicted in painting, drawing, photography, etc. In Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), subjects are arranged by discipline. Because a subject can be studied in more than one discipline (example: marriage in law, psychology, religion, sociology, etc.), the choices made in classification are governed by rules.

Also refers to the line in the header of an e-mail message consisting of a word or phrase provided by the sender to inform the addressee of its content. The subject line appears, with the name of the sender, in the recipient's list of incoming mail.

subject analysis
Examination of a bibliographic item by a trained subject specialist to determine the most specific subject heading(s) or descriptor(s) that fully describe its content, to serve in the bibliographic record as access points in a subject search of a library catalog, index, abstracting service, or bibliographic database. When no applicable subject heading can be found in the existing headings list or thesaurus of indexing terms, a new one must be created.

subject bibliography
A list of resources (books, articles, reports, etc.) on a specific topic, usually compiled by a librarian or researcher with specialized knowledge of the subject to acquaint other researchers with the existing literature (see this example). A retrospective subject bibliography may be selective or comprehensive within a designated period of publication. A current subject bibliography quickly becomes outdated unless updated, usually in supplements. Book-length subject bibliographies may be shelved in the reference section of the library. Compare with reading list. See also: webliography.

subject collection
An extensive collection of library materials related to a particular subject or group of closely related subjects, for example, the South Asia collection at the UC Berkeley Library or the collection on printing history at the Newberry Library in Chicago. Special security precautions may be taken to protect subject collections if they contain rare and/or valuable items. For a list of subject emphases, as reported by university, college, public, and special libraries and museums in the United States and Canada, see Subject Collections, a directory published by Bowker. Compare with special collections.

subject encyclopedia
An encyclopedia in one or more volumes devoted to a specific subject, field of study, or academic discipline, as opposed to a general encyclopedia containing information on a broad range of subjects. Entries in a subject encyclopedia are usually written and signed by an expert on the topic and may include a brief bibliography or list of suggested reading.

Encyclopedia of Psychology
Encyclopedia of the Holocaust
International Encyclopedia of Linguistics

subject heading
The most specific word or phrase that describes the subject, or one of the subjects, of a work, selected from a list of preferred terms (controlled vocabulary) and assigned as an added entry in the bibliographic record to serve as an access point in the library catalog. A subject heading may be subdivided by the addition of subheadings (example: Libraries--History--20th century) or include a parenthetical qualifier for semantic clarification, as in Mice (Computers). The use of cross-references to indicate semantic relations between subject headings is called syndetic structure. The process of examining the content of new publications and assigning appropriate subject headings is called subject analysis. In the United States, most libraries use Library of Congress subject headings (LCSH), but small libraries may use Sears subject headings. Compare with descriptor. See also: aboutness and summarization.

subject index
An alphabetically arranged list of headings selected by an indexer to represent the subject content of one or more works, with locators (usually page numbers) to direct the user to the corresponding text. Names are usually included in the subject index, but some publications have a separate name index and even a separate geographic index of place names. In some publications, the subject index is combined with the author index in a single alphabetic sequence. Click here to see the subject index to the information provided at the Web site of the U.S. Department of State. See also: title index.

Also refers to an alphabetically arranged index to the schedules of a classification system, also called a relative index.

subject line
A word or phrase in the header of an e-mail message, provided by the sender to indicate the content of the message or to capture the recipient's attention. If the recipient selects REPLY, the original subject line remains in the RE: field of the header, initiating a discussion thread.

subject specialist
A librarian qualified by virtue of specialized knowledge and experience to select materials and provide bibliographic instruction and reference services to users in a specific subject area or academic discipline (or subdiscipline). In academic libraries, subject specialists often hold a second master's degree in their field of specialization. Also refers to a librarian trained in subject analysis.

The grant by a licensee of certain rights inherent in the license, to a third party (the sublicensee), a privilege requiring permission of the licensor unless specifically given in the original license.

See: menu.

The presentation of a manuscript for publication, usually by the author(s) or the author's literary agent to a publisher or to the editors of a journal for their consideration. Most scholarly journals have established guidelines for submission (see this example). Also refers to the book or article that is submitted. Multiple submissions sometimes result in duplicate publications. See also: simultaneous submission.

subordinate body
A corporate body integrally related to a larger corporate entity on which it depends for its existence and identity, occupying an inferior rank in the organizational hierarchy, for example, a subsidiary of a large commercial corporation or a round table of the American Library Association (ALA). Compare with related body.

A Web page designed as part of a Web site, linked to the site's homepage directly or through one or more layers of pages linked to the main page. For example, in the Internet address (URL) www.myuniversity.edu/library/hours.html, the directory /library is added to the address of the main page (www.myuniversity.edu) to direct users to the site maintained by the university library, and the filename /hours.html takes the user to the subpage displaying library hours. For convenience, a well-designed subpage should include a direct link back to the main page.

In literature, a secondary story within the main action of a narrative work, sometimes involving the same or a related set of characters (example: the Laertes subplot in Shakespeare's play Hamlet). More common in comedy than in tragedy, a subplot may be used to reinforce the main plot or as a counterpoint to it. Complex literary works may have more than one subplot, intertwined for dramatic effect. For other examples, see Wikipedia.

In music publishing, a secondary agent under contract with the primary publisher to publish, market, and sell designated material within a defined territory (often a foreign country) or specific market segment.

A person entitled to receive successive issues of a newspaper or periodical for a prescribed period of time in exchange for payment of a subscription fee payable in advance. Also refers to a paying member of a book club or rental library and to a person who pays for Internet access provided by an Internet service provider (ISP). Libraries that pay for access to licensed bibliographic databases and individuals who sign on to receive e-mail messages from an electronic mailing list are also called subscribers. See also: subscriber's edition.

subscriber's edition
An edition of uncertain sales potential issued only after a sufficient number of customers agree to purchase a copy, usually in response to an announcement by the publisher. The work may be printed on a better grade of paper and bound more attractively than the trade edition, with a list of subscribers included. Synonymous with subscription work. Compare with limited edition.

A character written or printed slightly below the line, usually a numeral or figure, as in a chemical formula (example: CO2). Also refers to anything written or printed at the bottom of a document, such as a signature. Compare with superscript.

The right to receive a newspaper or periodical for a designated period of time (or prescribed number of successive issues), upon payment of a subscription fee payable in advance to the publisher or subscription agent. For journals, the period is usually one calendar year (January 1 through December 31); for newspapers and magazines, one year from the date of the first issue received. First-time subscribers may be offered a heavily discounted subscription price as an inducement to subscribe. Most subscriptions are delivered by post and renewed annually. See also: bulk subscription, expiration date, and fulfillment year.

Also refers to the right of a library or library system to provide access to a bibliographic database, or other online resource, to its patrons under licensing agreement with a vendor, upon payment of an annual subscription fee and subject to renewal.

subscription agent
A company in the business of providing centralized serial subscription services to relieve libraries of the time-consuming task of dealing with publishers individually. Customers are required to pay a service charge, usually 5-10 percent of total annual subscription cost. Some subscription agents also provide access to bibliographic and full-text databases. See also: EBSCO.

subscription cycle
See: subscription period.

subscription library
A type of library that developed in Britain during the second half of the 18th century as a natural extension of private book clubs, in which a group of fairly prosperous readers in a community joined to form a "reading society" that included a library for the exclusive use of members. Michael H. Harris notes in History of Libraries in the Western World (Scarecrow Press, 1995) that dues were usually collected from members on a monthly or yearly basis, and the quality of the reading matter available was generally higher than that provided by circulating libraries of the same period. At first, subscription libraries were usually housed in rented quarters, with a person on duty at certain hours, but by the mid-19th century, many had acquired their own facilities. The London Library, established in 1841 and still in existence, is one of the most successful examples, containing over 500,000 volumes by 1900. For a brief history of subscription libraries, see the entry by Peter Hoare in the International Encyclopedia of Information and Library Science (Routledge, 2003). Compare with proprietary library.

subscription list
A list of the names and addresses of the current subscribers to a serial publication. Magazine publishers sometimes sell their subscription lists to marketing firms for use in advertising. Compare with serials list.

Also refers to a list of the donors who agree to support a project for which private funding is sought. Click here to see the Michaux subscription list in support of an unsuccessful scientific expedition organized in 1793 by Thomas Jefferson to explore the Trans-Mississippi west, a forgotten document discovered in 1979 in the basement of the American Philosophical Society.

subscription period
The interval of time for which a periodical subscription is sold, for journals usually one calendar year beginning January 1 and ending December 31. For newspapers and magazines, the period is usually one year from the date of the first issue received. Subscribers who renew for multiple years may received a price break. Synonymous with subscription cycle. See also: fulfillment year.

subscription price
The amount charged by the publisher of a newspaper or periodical, or by a subscription agent, for the right to receive successive issues for a prescribed period of time, usually one year. A financial incentive may be offered to subscribe for two or more years. Some journal publishers charge libraries a substantially higher price than the rate paid by individual subscribers (see differential pricing). In recent years, relentless price increases for journal subscriptions have forced cancellations on most academic libraries and spurred the development of new models of scholarly publishing (see open access). Also refers to the annual amount charged by a vendor for access to an electronic database, usually based on size of library, FTE, and/or number of simultaneous users. Synonymous with subscription rate. See also: combination rate, multiple year rate, and pricing model.

subscription rate
See: subscription price.

subscription terms
Terms under which a publisher offers a discount of up to 35 percent on the published price of general interest titles ordered prior to first publication to compensate for the risk taken by the bookseller in purchasing stock before sales potential has been adequately tested in the market place.

subscription work
See: subscriber's edition.

A series published in conjunction with another (usually more encompassing) series of which it is a section. The title of a subseries may or may not be independent of the title of the main series (example: History of Japanese Business and Industry, a subseries of Harvard East Asian Monographs).

In logic, a set in which each and every entity is also an entity of another, usually more encompassing, set (example: Journal / Periodical and Magazine / Periodical).

See: back matter.

subsidiary company
A for-profit enterprise owned and controlled by a larger parent company. In the publishing industry, many once-independent companies are now owned by multi-national corporations, for example, Random House, acquired in 1998 by the German private media corporation Bertelsmann.

subsidiary rights
Under copyright law, the rights to publish a work in a form other than the original publication, for example, in installments in a periodical; as a work included in a collection or anthology; as an adaptation for performance as a play, motion picture, or television program; or as an abridgment, digest, translation, excerpt, or quotation. Subsidiary rights also include control over commercial exploitation and reproduction not covered under fair use. Subject to formal agreement between author and publisher, they can be sold or transferred by the person or corporate entity owning them. Compare with volume rights.

subsidy publishing
Publication of works too limited in appeal to turn a profit, for which the publisher receives funds from the author or a grant from a foundation, corporation, or other organization to cover costs. The result is considered a sponsored book, especially when the person or entity providing the subsidy agrees in advance to purchase a significant number of copies. The term is also used synonymously with vanity publishing.

Substance Abuse Librarians & Information Specialists (SALIS)
Created in 1978 with assistance from the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), SALIS is an international association of individuals and organizations interested in the exchange and dissemination of objective, accurate information about the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. In 1986, SALIS merged with its Canadian counterpart, Librarians and Information Specialists in Addictions (LISA), and in 1989 the organization became an affiliate of the International Council on Alcohol and Addictions (ICAA). Click here to connect to the SALIS homepage.

substantial similarity
A standard developed and used in U.S. courts of law to determine whether the defendant in an action alleging copyright infringement violated the reproduction rights of the copyright holder. Burden of proof is on the plaintiff to establish ownership of a valid copyright and to show that the defendant actually copied the work and that the extent of copying, if not exact and complete, amounts to misappropriation.

The provision of a copy of a document, often in microform, to protect the original from wear or possible damage in use. The copy is considered a surrogate.

In a work of literature, an implicit meaning or significance, usually on another level of understanding than the explicit meaning of the text. In contemporary dramatic performance, an actor's interpretation of the inner motives and emotional state of a character, evident from the implied meaning of the lines spoken.

A secondary portion of the title proper of a work, usually consisting of an explanatory or limiting phrase, following a colon or semicolon and often beginning with "a" or "an." For example, in the title New York: A Documentary Film the phrase A Documentary Film is the subtitle. On the title page of a book, the subtitle is usually set in a smaller type size than the first part of the title. The subtitle is often omitted from the spine title and the half title but included in the title printed on the front of the dust jacket in hardcover editions or on the front cover in paperback editions. Compare with alternative title. See also: partial title.

Also refers to a line of text along the bottom of a motion picture or television screen giving the dialogue or narration in a language other than that of the sound track. Compare with intertitle.

successive entry
A method of cataloging serials that have undergone title changes in which a new bibliographic record (main entry) is created for each title or major change, with explanatory notes indicating the publication's relationships to earlier and later titles. This convention is prescribed in AACR2. Compare with earliest entry and latest entry.

An acronym for the Superintendent of Documents classification system. Publications of the U.S. federal government are assigned call numbers based on a unique classification system developed between 1893 and 1903 by GPO librarian Adeliade Hasse, currently maintained by the Superintendent of Documents at the U.S. Government Printing Office. SuDocs call numbers begin with letters of the roman alphabet.

J 29.9/6:997 assigned to the 1997 edition of Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics

In the above example, J is the author symbol for the U.S. Department of Justice; 29. distinguishes the subordinate office (Bureau of Justice Statistics); 9/6: designates the series (bibliographies and lists of publications); and 997 is the book number for the 1997 edition. Everything up to and including the colon (J 29.9/6:) is the class stem.

Libraries that use SuDocs numbers shelve government documents in a separate location. Those that use Library of Congress Classification (LCC) or Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) for govdocs usually shelve them in reference or with the general collection. Click here for a detailed explanation of the SuDocs classification system.

suede binding
A bookbinding in kidskin or calf, dyed or undyed, with the flesh side facing out, buffed to a velvety nap. Used from the 17th century on, suede is not as easily scratched or scuffed as a smooth leather binding, but it is difficult to clean. Click here to see a late 19th-century embossed example with a gold-blocked side title (Otto G. Richter Library, University of Miami, Florida).

suggested retail list price (SRLP)
See: list price.

suggestion box
Some libraries in the United States provide a means for patrons to suggest improvements in services, request the purchase of a specific item, or comment on library policies and practices in writing on a slip of paper deposited in a small box provided for the purpose near the circulation desk, reference desk, or main entrance (see this example). Some online catalogs and library Web pages allow users to post suggestions and comments electronically. The responses of library staff and administration may be posted on a public bulletin board or kiosk or in a special section of the library homepage.

In deluxe book illustration (usually French), a separately printed, hors texte, unbound set of illustrations (Edward Ripley-Duggan, 1996).

In library cataloging, a brief statement of the overall subject of a work that serves as the the basis for assigning one or more subject headings as access points in the bibliographic record to facilitate retrieval by subject. See also: aboutness.

A brief statement expressing the general substance or overall idea of a work (or portion of it), recapitulating its main points, findings, and conclusions, usually given at the end. Compare with abstract. See also: synopsis.

Also refers to a brief statement added as a note in the bibliographic record to describe the content of a nonbook item produced in a format, such as videocassette or DVD, that is difficult to browse.

In Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC), a list of the main subdivisions of a class, providing an overview of its structure, printed in the schedules immediately following the entry for the class. Summaries for the entire Classification (main classes, divisions, and sections) are given at the beginning of the schedules.

summer reading program
A program offered during the summer months by the staff of the children's room in most public libraries in the United States to keep children reading during the long vacation. Usually organized around a theme, summer reading programs sometimes include special events such as contests and read-a-thons to encourage young readers to practice their reading skills (see this state-wide example). See also: Reading Rainbow.

Sunday school book
A type of religious book, often combining text and illustration, used to teach lessons to children and adults attending Sunday school in a Christian church. When secular subjects are treated, the point of view generally reflects the denomination for which the book was produced. Such works are of historical interest because they document the culture of religious instruction in a country. Click here to view 19th-century examples, courtesy of the American Memory Project at the Library of Congress.

Sunday supplement
A magazine of tabloid size published regularly as part of a Sunday newspaper, usually in color (example: Parade). Synonymous with magazine supplement.

sunk bands
In hand bookbinding, sewing supports recessed by the binder in shallow grooves cut across the binding edge of the sections to eliminate ridges (raised bands) in the material covering the spine. Synonymous with recessed bands.

A book or other publication that has a cover, dust jacket, or pages faded or discolored from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight or some other strong light source, a condition that affects its value in the antiquarian and used book market (see these examples, courtesy of My Wings Books).

sunset clause
Specific language in a statute, regulation, or legal contract establishing a date after which its provisions terminate unless further action is taken.

See: crash.

Super 8mm
See: 8mm film.

Super 16mm
See: 16mm film.

A very large, fast computer capable of executing millions of instructions per second, used mainly by government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Defense, and major research centers at large universities that process large quantities of data. Click here to see an example at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, University of California. Compare with mainframe, microcomputer, and minicomputer.

super ex libris
See: ex libris.

A type of transparent microform in the shape of a card, with a reduction ratio greater than standard microfiche (up to 400 images per 4 x 6 inch sheet, instead of the usual 48-60 images) but less than ultrafiche.

The principle in library cataloging that when new rules are introduced, only entries made after the rules take effect need conform to the changes, making it unnecessary to recatalog materials processed under the old rules. New entries are interfiled with the old. The principle was adopted in 1967 by libraries throughout the United States, following Library of Congress practice, when Anglo-American Cataloging Rules were adopted as the national catalog code.

Superintendent of Documents
The official at the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) responsible for the distribution of federal government information to the American public, in both print and digital format. The Superintendent of Documents is appointed by the Public Printer. See also: FDsys and Federal Depository Library Program.

Superintendent of Documents classification
See: SuDocs.

superior numeral
See: superscript.

In motion picture and television production, any lettering or graphics superimposed on existing footage (credits, subtitles, etc.).

A character written or printed slightly above the line, for example, a superior numeral used to indicate a footnote or endnote, or in a mathematical expression (example: x2). Compare with subscript. See also: reference mark.

Something written, printed, or engraved at the top or on the outside surface of an object, especially a name and/or address on the outside of an envelope or parcel.

Something old or outdated replaced by something more modern or current. In library collections, superseded items may be retained if they have historical value, for example, older editions of almanacs and statistical publications.

superseded list
A title list of government documents distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) that may be withdrawn before the required 5-year retention period has elapsed and discarded without first being offered to other depository libraries because they are regularly replaced by new editions. The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) recommends the systematic identification and removal of superseded publications. When retained for historical purposes, they should be clearly marked as superseded. Click here to learn more about the superseded list.

Responsibility for overseeing the performance of one or more persons or machines to ensure that work assignments are properly and efficiently completed. A person with the authority to supervise is called a supervisor.

Supervisors Section (SPVS)
The section of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) within the American Library Association (ALA) that provides a forum for the discussion of and action on issues concerning all aspects of supervision in school libraries of all types. Click here to connect to the SPVS homepage.

In the model of the bibliographic universe advanced in Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), an abstract concept representing the totality of a work (e.g., Shakespeare's play "Hamlet"), specifically the set of all expressions and manifestations of the original work (editions, translations, adaptations, performances, etc.) and all manifestations derived from it (reviews, criticisms, synopses, concordances, indexes and bibliographies, etc.).

Additional matter, more extensive than an addendum, issued under separate cover and title page, in serial or monographic form, for the stated purpose of complementing a previously published work, usually to clarify, continue, expand, or update it or to add a special feature (maps, statistics, directory information, etc.). Supplements are usually written by the original author and published under the same title or subtitle. When available as part of the original purchase price, they are normally sent automatically. In a subsequent edition, supplementary material may be included immediately following the original text or as an appendix. Most printed periodical indexes are updated in monthly or quarterly paperbound supplements, cumulated annually. Abbreviated suppl. Compare with continuation and sequel.

In newspapers, an extra sheet, section, or entire issue in addition to the regular issue, usually containing items of special interest to subscribers. See also: color supplement and Sunday supplement.

supplemental invoice
In acquisitions, an invoice sent by a publisher or vendor of books or serials for added charges not covered by prepayments, usually an unexpected price increase by the publisher, publication of additional volumes, or fluctuations in currency exchange rates.

supplied title
The title provided by the cataloger as an interpolation in the title and statement of responsibility area of the bibliographic description of an item lacking a title proper on the chief source of information (title page or a substitute). A supplied title may be (1) a word or phrase found elsewhere in or on the item, (2) taken from a reference to the work found in another source, or (3) composed by the cataloger based on an assessment of the scope and content of the work.

A library or other participant in the OCLC interlibrary loan network that responds to OCLC requests from other libraries to borrow returnable materials. In the OCLC WorldCat database, the three-letter OCLC symbols of suppliers appear in uppercase in the holdings display attached to the bibliographic record representing the item. If the symbol is preceded by a $, the institution may charge for the loan of certain types of materials. Compare with nonsupplier.

Also refers to a commercial enterprise in the business of selling equipment, furnishings, and/or supplies to libraries and related institutions. Some supply companies provide other services in support of technical processing. Click here to connect to an online directory of library services and suppliers maintained by Information Today, Inc., or try the Yahoo! list of library suppliers. Compare with vendor.

The physical surface on which text and/or image is written, drawn, printed, or otherwise recorded, whether it be of stone, clay, papyrus, parchment, paper, wood, bark, leaves, fabric, metal, plastic (film, magnetic tape, phonograph records, etc.), or some other substance. Click here to learn more about the history of supports, courtesy of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

support staff
Library staff members not trained as librarians who have acquired a technical understanding of library practices and procedures and contribute on a daily basis to the smooth operation of a library but are not qualified to make policy decisions or participate in other activities of a professional nature. Library Mosaics is a bimonthly magazine for library support staff published by Yenor, Inc. See also: Library Support Staff Certification, Library Support Staff Interests Round Table, and paraprofessional.

supposed author
See: attributed author.

suppositious author
A person whose name is substituted for that of the real author, with intent to deceive others concerning responsibility for the work. Compare with attributed author. See also: forgery.

A work or part of a work withheld or withdrawn from publication or circulation by the author or publisher, by an ecclesiastic or government authority, or by court action, usually because it contains material considered objectionable by those with the authority to prevent public distribution. See also: banned book and censorship.

Also, a leaf cancelled from a book or other publication due to an error or for some other technical reason.

Also refers to a catalog record available to staff but hidden from public view, perhaps because the record is incomplete or the volume it represents is unavailable.

The owner's name, initials, monogram, coat of arms, or other heraldic device stamped or tooled on the cover of a book, in gilt or blind. To see examples, try a keyword search on the term in Google Images. Compare with ex libris.

To navigate the World Wide Web in an exploratory manner, moving from one document to another, using search engines, Web indexes, hypertext links, navigation bars, icons, etc., with no definite purpose in mind. A person who navigates in such a way is called a surfer. Compare with browse.

A shared name that identifies members of the same family (example: Patterson), as distinct from a given name (example: Samantha) that may be the same as that of a close or distant relative but is also likely to be shared with persons outside the family (to learn more, try Surname Web or the Yahoo! list of Web sites on lineages and surnames). In library cataloging, personal name entries begin with the surname, with form of name subject to authority control. Synonymous with last name. See also: compound surname and patronymic.

See: overprint.

A substitute used in place of an original item, for example, a facsimile or photocopy of a document too rare or fragile to be handled by library users or an abstract or summary that provides desired information without requiring the reader to examine the entire document. In preservation, a surrogate is usually made in a more durable medium. In a library catalog, the description provided in the bibliographic record serves as a surrogate for the actual physical item.

A scientifically conducted study, or account of a study, in which data is systematically collected from a selected group of sources or informants, usually concerning general conditions, practices, habits, preferences, etc. (example: The Survey of Academic Libraries published in 2002 by the Primary Research Group). The statistical results of survey research are usually presented in graphic, tabular, or summary form. Also refers to a brief overview of the main aspects of a subject or field of study (The Death Penalty: A Historical and Theological Survey by James Megivern). Compare with questionnaire. See also: user survey.

survival film
A fictional motion picture or television program set in a harsh environment (barren desert, polar region, or remote island) in which the protagonist(s) must undergo an ordeal that tests their ingenuity and inner strength in the face of death (example: the 1971 Australian feature film Walkabout directed by Nicolas Roeg). Some survival films are comic, for example, the American television series Gilligan's Island (1964-1967).

A serial publication that is temporarily not issued, for example, the journal Frontiers of Librarianship, suspended from 1961-1962. The interruption can be for any one of a number of reasons, such as financial difficulty, unexpected death or illness, natural disaster, or political unrest. In library cataloging, the duration of the suspension is usually given in the form of a note in the bibliographic description (example: Publication suspended for the duration with v.8: Resumed with v.9, no.1- Oct. 1947-).

In literature and film, a narrative that keeps its reader, viewer, or listener in a state of heightened mental and emotional uncertainty about the outcome (example: the French film Diabolique) or about how one or more characters will respond to the discovery of a fact known only to the reader or audience. Compare with thriller. See also: caper, espionage, and mystery.

sustainable library
A library designed to minimize negative impact on the natural environment and maximize indoor environmental quality by means of careful site selection, use of natural construction materials and biodegradable products, conservation of resources (water, energy, paper), and responsible waste disposal (recycling, etc.). In new construction and library renovation, sustainability is increasingly achieved through LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, a rating system developed and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Click here to learn more about sustainable libraries. Synonymous with green library.

A Sanskrit word meaning "thread," used for Hindu and Buddhist works consisting of short sentences or verses, each embodying a truth in grammar, law, philosophy, or spiritual development, so terse as to require commentary (example: the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali). Click here to see an 18th-century copy of the Sutra Reciting the True Names of the Noble Manjusri written in Sanskrit, Tibetan and Chinese scripts, now in the collections of the National Library of China.

Super Video Graphics Array, an enhancement of the standard 640 x 480 VGA graphics display system, capable of producing screen resolutions of 800 x 600 pixels with up to 16 million colors. A further enhancement called XVGA increases resolution to 1024 x 768 pixels.

See: adventure.

swash letter
An ornamental capital letter written or printed in italic with at least one long tail or flourish added for dramatic effect, used mainly in display work. Click here to see a calligraphic example and here to see swash letters used in an early 16th-century edition of Lucretius, printed by Aldus Manutius.

In bookbinding, unwanted bulk at the binding edge produced by the back folds, the accumulation of sewing thread, and/or guarding. Although some swell is desirable to facilitate rounding and backing, in books composed of numerous thin sections, additional thickness may hinder subsequent binding procedures. If the paper used to print the text is soft, the spine can normally be compacted by smashing, an operation that embeds the sewing threads in the paper, but with hard papers, excessive pressure on the threads may cut through the paper. Swell can be reduced in hand-binding by sewing the sections two-on.

The tendency of paper (and products made from paper) to expand when wet, often causing the leaves of a book to cockle and the text block and binding to warp in drying (see this example, courtesy of the University of Delaware Library). Swelling and distortion of water-saturated books can be minimized by vacuum freeze drying, a conservation process that requires specialized equipment.

A phonetic writing system in which each character or symbol represents a spoken syllable, rather than a single sound (phoneme). The number of characters in a syllabary is usually greater than in a phonetic alphabet, but words can be written in fewer characters. A monosyllabary is a list of words of one syllable (example: the word book). Also refers to a list or table of syllables in a language (click here to see a Cherokee syllabary). For other examples, see Omniglot: A Guide to Writing Systems by Simon Ager. The Grand Unified Syllabary Project is an attempt to map the natural syllabaries of Unicode onto a common linguistic frame of reference.

The division of a word into units of pronunciation (syllables), indicated in standard dictionaries by a centered period or a hyphen to help writers, editors, and secretaries divide words at the end of a line. Most word processing software has a feature that accomplishes this automatically. Click here to see a list of rules for English language syllabication.

An outline of the topics to be covered in a formal course of study, given in the order in which they are to be discussed in class, with any assignments and related readings also indicated. Some college and university faculty make their syllabi available online, usually on the World Wide Web, or place printed copies on reserve at the library. Click here to learn about writing a course syllabus, courtesy of Howard Altman and William Cashin.

In a more general sense, a concise statement of the main points of a subject or argument, or a summary or schedule of contents, as at the beginning of a legal brief or court opinion, stating the points of law involved in the case.

Also, the Latin term for a small label attached to one edge of a manuscript in the form of a roll, usually bearing the title of the work.

A character, image, mark, shape, characteristic, or thing used to represent or denote something else by association, convention, or unintended resemblance, especially an intangible quality or abstraction, for example, the heart or rose for "love" or the skull-and-crossbones for "death." In medieval Gospel books, the symbols of the four evangelists are often included in miniatures depicting them in the act of writing, as in this 13th-century example (Royal Library of Denmark). When words are used to create such an image, the result is symbolic language. See also: map symbol.

A group of specialists or experts gathered to deliver brief addresses or remarks on a topic (or topics) of mutual interest, often of a theoretical or philosophical nature, followed by a formal discussion, as in Plato's Symposium. In ancient Greece, music and drinking were traditional accompaniments at such gatherings, with participation restricted to males. Plural: symposia.

The use of recorded music in combination with visual images, as in a motion picture, videorecording, television program, commercial advertisement, etc. Use of copyright-protected music for this purpose requires a synchronization license in which the copyright holder authorizes the specific use. Abbreviated sync and synch.

The occurrence of two or more separate events or actions at the same moment in time. The events or actions may occur once or at regular or irregular intervals. In computing, communication that occurs in real time. Synchronous communication media include telephony, instant messaging, videoconferencing, and Webcams. The opposite of asynchronous.

syndetic index
See: syndetic structure.

syndetic structure
The web of interconnected and reciprocal see and see also cross-references indicating the semantic relations between headings used in a catalog, index, or reference work, or between descriptors used in an abstracting service or bibliographic database. This dictionary has syndetic structure. The opposite of asyndetic.

A company in the business of distributing columns, cartoons, feature articles, or radio and television programs to a number of newspapers, magazines, trade journals, news services, or broadcast media. A columnist whose work is marketed in this way is a syndicated columnist. Often time-sensitive, a syndicated work is usually intended for more or less simultaneous publication. Directory information for syndicates is available in the reference serials Literary Market Place and Writer's Market, available in most large libraries.

A word or phrase that has the same (or very nearly the same) meaning as another term in the same language, for example, the terms "book jacket" and "dust jacket." Synonyms in a language are collected in a thesaurus, available in the reference section of most libraries. In the indexing languages used in library catalogs, periodical indexes, abstracting services, and bibliographic databases, synonyms are controlled by establishing an authorized list of preferred indexing terms (subject headings or descriptors). In information retrieval, the Boolean OR command is used to expand the results of a keywords search by including synonyms and closely related terms. Abbreviated syn. The opposite of antonym. Compare with quasi-synonym. See also: homonym.

A concise written description of the plot of a long narrative work (novel, play, opera, epic poem, etc.) giving a quick, orderly overview of the whole, usually prepared by a person other than the author. As a general rule, academic libraries do not purchase reference works that specialize in providing synopses (example: Masterplots) because they are too easily used by students to avoid reading assignments. Plural: synopses. Synonymous with plot summary. Compare with abstract and summary.

A concise original publication of principal results selected from an available but previously unpublished paper, differing from an abstract (which it may contain) in its greater length. See also: synoptic journal.

Also used in reference to multiple accounts of the same event, given from the same point of view, as in the first three Gospels of the New Testament, which share content, style, and order of events, unlike the Gospel according to John.

synoptic chart
In cartography, a systematic representation of general conditions currently prevailing or predicted to prevail over a considerable geographic area at a designated time, for example, a chart used by meteorologists to forecast the weather. Click here to see examples used in forecasting weather over North America, courtesy of the University of Michigan.

synoptic journal
A journal that publishes brief reports of research findings and abstracts of articles for which the entire text is available on request, usually from a data bank or in a microform edition of the publication.

The order in which the search terms and Boolean operators used in a keywords search statement are typed, determining the sequence in which a computer-based information retrieval system executes the search. In most bibliographic databases, commands are executed from left to right unless parentheses are used to indicate otherwise (a technique called nesting). See also: proximity and truncation.

children and television and (violence or aggression)
In this search statement, the Boolean "or" will be performed before the "and."

In indexing, the rules that determine how headings are constructed and how semantic relations among terms are indicated in an indexing language, for example, the conditions under which a parenthetical qualifier is added to a heading, or an inverted heading is used instead of conventional word order.

Also, the order in which the components of a URL (Web address) must appear and the punctuation marks used to separate the various parts (example: http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html).

Also refers to the grammar and sentence structure of a language and to the branch of linguistics devoted to its study.

synthetic classification
A classification system in which the classes are formed by combining characteristics or facets of subjects according to a pre-established set of rules (example: Colon Classification developed by S.R. Ranganathan). Compare with enumerative classification. See also: hierarchical classification.

synthetic paper
Paper manufactured from man-made substances, generally more durable and water-resistant than paper made from cellulose. The earliest synthetic papers were made from resin derived from petroleum. Compare with wet strength paper.

systematic review
A literature review focused on a specific research question, which uses explicit methods to minimize bias in the identification, appraisal, selection, and synthesis of all the high-quality evidence pertinent to the question. Systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials are so important to evidence-based medicine that an understanding of them is mandatory for professionals involved in biomedical research and health care delivery. Although many biomedical and healthcare journals publish systematic reviews, one of the best-known sources is The Cochrane Collaboration, a group of over 15,000 volunteer specialists who systematically review randomized trials of the effects of treatments and other research.

All the computer hardware, software, and electronic resources on which a library or library system depends in its daily operations, including the online catalog and circulation system, bibliographic databases, networked and stand-alone PCs, Web server(s) and Web site(s), application programs, etc. It is the responsibility of the systems librarian to keep the various components running smoothly, including any connections to outside networks. See also: Systems and Services Section.

Systems and Services Section (SASS)
The section of the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) within the American Library Association (ALA) devoted to the study and evaluation of the application of new technologies in library services, and to the management of technology for the improvement of library services and systems. SASS seeks to foster research, develop and promote continuing education, disseminate information, and provide a forum for the discussion of management issues pertinent to the use of technology in all types of libraries. Click here to connect to the SASS homepage.

systems librarian
A librarian whose primary responsibility is the development and maintenance of the hardware and software systems used in a library or library system, especially the online catalog and access to any bibliographic databases and other electronic resources. In some libraries, the systems librarian may also serve as Webmaster and be responsible for training staff members in the use of library systems. Systems librarians are organized in the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

system-supplied (SS)
Under OCLC input standards, cataloging data generated by the cataloging system itself, which cannot be altered by the cataloger, for example, the OCLC control number and the date a record is entered into the system, elements of the leader in the MARC record.

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