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Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science

by Joan M. Reitz
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From the Greek xeros and graphos, meaning "dry writing." A method of reproducing text and/or images in which dry resinous toner transferred from an electrostatically charged plate is thermally adhered to a sheet of paper or some other copying surface inside a photocopier (originally called a xerox machine). The result is a photocopy or xerox copy. Xerography is a form of reprography. Click here to learn more about how xerography works, courtesy of HowStuffWorks.

The mean height of the lowercase letters of a typeface that have neither ascenders nor descenders, sometimes used instead of point size as an indication of type size. The x-height letters of the roman alphabet are: a, c, e, m, n, o, r, s, u, v, w, x, and z. The tops and bottoms of some letters such as the "c" and "o" may extend slightly above the mean line and below the base line. Also spelled ex-height. See also: primary letter.

See: returns.

A motion picture or videorecording containing material considered suitable for adults only, usually because it contains material considered pornographic. The term is also applied to print publications containing adult material (magazines, photographs, etc.). See also: unexpurgated.

See: SVGA.

Text and/or image printed from a woodblock. The blockbooks of the 15th and 16th centuries are a prime example. Xylographic illustration was also used in manuscripts and press-printed books of the same period, sometimes hand-tinted. Click here to see woodcut illustration in a Book of Hours printed in 1503 (Cornell University Library). See also: chiro-xylographic.

Printing done from blocks of wood, especially by the early process of wood engraving, concurrent with the early development of printing from movable type. The results, known as xylographica, often contain more illustration than text. See also: blockbook and woodcut.

An abbreviation of young adult, an adolescent aged 12-18, usually in the ninth to twelfth grade. See also: young adult book and young adult services.

An acronym for yet another hierarchically officious oracle, a worldwide directory of Web sites developed in 1994 by two Stanford University engineering students to organize Web content in a hierarchical system of subject categories. Yahoo! also provides other Web-based services (news, weather, travel, e-mail, shopping, games, etc.). It uses a smaller database than most other Web search engines, but searches in Yahoo! usually have high precision because the Web sites it lists are selected by human beings rather than robot software. Jonathan Swift coined the term "yahoo" in Gulliver's Travels (1726) to refer to an imaginary race of coarse, brutish creatures in human form. Mark Twain later applied it to any boorish person. Click here to connect to Yahoo!

Yapp binding
A form of limp or semi-limp leather binding with rounded corners and bent-in edges that overlap the sections, sometimes by as much as half the thickness of the text block, named after William Yapp, the 19th-century bookseller who designed the style for pocket bibles sold in England (see this diagram). Geoffrey Glaister notes in Encyclopedia of the Book (Oak Knoll/British Library, 1996) that a similar style of binding with tooled edges was used in the mid-16th century. Synonymous wth yapped binding, yapped edges, and Yapp edges. Compare with circuit edges.

yawning boards
Covers that curve away from the text block of the book instead of lying flat against it, a condition usually caused by warping.

An annual documentary, historical, or memorial compendium of facts, photographs, statistics, etc., about the events of the preceding year, often limited to a specific country, institution, discipline, or subject (example: Supreme Court Yearbook published by Congressional Quarterly). Optional yearbooks are offered by some publishers of general encyclopedias. Most libraries place yearbooks on continuation order and shelve them in the reference collection. Yearbooks of historical significance may be stored in archives or special collections. Also spelled year book. Compare with annual.

Also refers to an annual high school or college publication commemorating a particular school year or graduating class in photographs, usually sold in hardcover to seniors by advance special order at the end of the school year. Some libraries archive yearbooks for their school or for schools in their geographic area (see this example).

An inexpensive popular novel bound in a shiny yellow paper or board cover with a picture printed on the front, usually a woodcut in three colors, a type of publication that originated in England in the 1850s and was used until the end of the century for inexpensive reprint editions. Click here to learn more about yellowbacks, courtesy of the British Library, and here to see them exhibited online (Monash University Library). Also spelled yellow back. Compare with dime novel.

A color change that occurs in the condition of certain grades of paper with the passage of time, particularly those made from unbleached or groundwood pulp, one of the reasons most libraries convert newspaper back files to microfilm or microfiche. The problem can be averted in libraries by purchasing materials printed on acid-free permanent paper. Click here to see an example of brittle yellowed paper. See also: brittle.

yellow pages
The portion of a telephone directory or trade directory following the white pages in which the names, phone numbers, and mailing addresses of commercial enterprises are listed, usually alphabetically by subject or in a classified arrangement, so named because the section is printed on yellow paper. Yellow pages are also available online (example: SuperPages.com from Verizon) and for specific professions (Librarian's Yellow Pages).

yellow press
A popular name for newspapers and periodicals of the early 20th century that published news stories of a vulgarly sensational nature, comparable to the modern tabloid. Synonymous with gutter press.

young adult book
A book intended to be read and enjoyed by adolescents 12 to 18 years of age. Also refers to a book intended for adults but considered suitable by reviewers and librarians for mature ninth- to twelfth-grade readers. Public libraries usually maintain a separate section for young adult literature managed by a librarian who specializes in YA services, including collection development. Compare with children's book. See also: KLIATT and Young Adult Library Services Association.

Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)
A division of the American Library Association (ALA) founded in 1930, YALSA has a membership of librarians responsible for evaluating and selecting books and nonprint materials for young adults (age 12 to 18) and for promoting and strengthening library services for young adult readers. YALSA publishes the journal Young Adult Library Services. Click here to connect to the YALSA homepage.

young adult services
Library services intended specifically for adolescent patrons (ninth through twelfth graders), including collection development, programming, and readers' advisory. Public libraries usually have a room or section devoted specifically to young adult materials, managed by a librarian who specializes in providing services for this age group. Compare with adult services and children's services. See also: Young Adult Library Services Association.

Young Reader's Choice Award (YRCA)
An annual literary award established in 1940 at the suggestion of the late Harry Hartman, a Seattle bookseller, to promote reading for enjoyment by children and young adults. Nominations are taken by the Pacific Northwest Library Association (PNLA) from the children, teachers, parents, and librarians of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alberta. To be nominated, a book must have been published in the preceding 3 years and printed in the United States or Canada. The award is given to one title in each of three divisions: junior, middle, and senior. Only children in grades 4-12 who live in the Pacific Northwest are eligible to vote. Voting takes place from March 15 to April 1. Click here to learn more about the Young Reader's Choice Award.

A client-server protocol established as a NISO standard that allows the computer user to query a remote information retrieval system using the software of the local system and receive results in the format of the local system, often used in portal and gateway products to search several sources simultaneously and integrate the results. Click here to connect to the Web page on Z39.50 maintained by the Network Development & MARC Standards Office of the Library of Congress.

zero-base budgeting (ZBB)
Financial planning that starts from zero at the beginning of each new budget cycle, with no assumptions carried over from previous experience, a method used in both the public and private sectors. In ZBB, every expense must be justified in each new cycle.

zig-zag book
A book made by folding a continuous strip of paper backward and forward accordion-style (see this example). When the pages are sewn at the back fold, the strip is printed on one side only. When both sides are printed, the folds are left unsewn to allow the volume to be opened to its full length. This form of book is called an orihon when made from a manuscript or printed document originally produced as a roll. Also spelled zigzag book. Synonymous wuith accordion book. Compare with concertina.

zig-zag guard
In binding, a continuous single-piece guard produced by folding a sheet of strong paper or linen accordion-style, used in photograph albums and other guard books, in large blankbooks for sewing the folios, and in conservation bookbinding for resewing the sections. Also spelled zigzag guard. Synonymous with continuous guard.

A lithographic print made from a suitably prepared zinc plate--less expensive than using lithographic stone. Click here and here to see two late-19th-century hand-colored examples inspired by devotional woodcuts (Spencer Museum of Art). Click here to learn more about zincography, courtesy of Wikipedia.

Derived from "fanzine" (a contraction of "fan magazine"), pronounced "zeen." The term came into use during the 1980s to refer to a small, low-circulation magazine or newspaper, self-published out of passion for the subject rather than for personal gain, usually produced with the aid of desktop publishing software and high-quality photocopy machines.

Zines represent the convergence of amateur publishing hobbyists, high school underground newspapers, the literary small press, political radicalism, and do-it-yourself popular culture. They are usually not available by subscription, often appear irregularly or infrequently, and may have a lifetime of only one or two issues. Some are available online via the World Wide Web. Selected zines are evaluated in the reference serial Magazines for Libraries. To learn more, see The Book of Zines or the article "Your Zine Tool Kit" by Jenna Freedman in the June 15, 2006 issue of Library Journal.

To compress a data file using PKZIP software or some other utility capable of compressing data into PKZIP format. When such a file is restored to an uncompressed format, it is said to have been unzipped. Zip files have the file extension .zip.

Zip disk
A 3.5-inch removable magnetic disk cartridge developed by Iomega, capable of storing 100MB or more of data, much more than a standard floppy disk, at relatively low cost (see this example). A special Zip drive must be installed on a microcomputer to allow a Zip disk to be used.

Zip drive
A disk drive developed by Iomega that uses a 3.5-inch removable Zip disk capable of storing 100MB or more of data at relatively low cost, used for storing very large files and collections of files. The drive usually comes with software that catalogs the contents of the disk and provides file security.

Zipf's Law
The principle that the frequency of the rth most common word or phrase in a relatively lengthy text (or in any natural language) is approximately 1/r, with r equal to its statistical rank in frequency. This means that the 10th most frequent word will be used about twice as often as the 20th most frequent word, and ten times more often than the 100th most frequent word. Another way of stating Zipf's Law is that the frequency (P) of the rth most common word or phrase is Pr = 1/r a, with a close to 1 and for r up to about 1000 (the phenomenon breaks down for less commonly used words). Based on the observations of Harvard linguist George Kingsley Zipf (1902-1950), the relationship can also be stated in the equation r x f = k, where r is the rank of the word, f is its frequency, and k is a constant. Illustrating his point with an analysis of the text of James Joyce's Ulysses, Zipf found that the 10th most frequent word was used 2,653 times, the 100th most common word was used 265 times, and so on, yielding a constant of approximately 26,500. Although Zipf's Law is not a statistically accurate predictor, indexers find it helpful. Click here to learn more about Zipf's Law in Wikipedia.

zoo-anthropomorphic initial
A figure initial in a medieval manuscript or early printed book composed wholly or in part of one or more animal/human hybrids, often a human head on an animal body, or vice versa. Click here to see an example in an early 13th-century Bible (Schøyen Collection, MS 660). See also this illuminated initial "I" and this initial "S" in the form of hybrid creatures (British Library, Arundel 490 and 98). Zoo-anthropomorphic motifs also appear in inhabited initials, line fillers, and ornamental borders (Bodleian Library, MS Don.b.5). The Murthly Hours, written and illuminated in Paris in the 13th century, contains a large number of imaginative hybrid figures (National Library of Scotland). Compare with anthropomorphic initial and zoomorphic initial.

In photography, to alter the size of an image from a stationary camera position without changing perspective by using a zoom lens to increase or decrease the focal length. In cinematography, this type of lens appears to make the camera advance toward the subject when zooming in, or retreat from it when zooming out.

In word processing software, a feature that allows the user to enlarge or reduce the size of a page displayed on the screen, usually by a fixed percentage or in small increments. In Web browsers, a feature that allows the viewer to enlarge all or a portion of an image, sometimes in increments. Also, a feature on some photocopy machines that allows the user to specifiy the extent to which an original will be enlarged or reduced in size in copying.

zoomorphic initial
A figure initial in a medieval manuscript or early printed book composed wholly or in part of forms recognizable as animals or imaginary beasts. Zoomorphic initials are common in the Book of Kells. Click here to see a griffin in the the shape of an "S" in a 13th-century German psalter (Getty Museum, MS Ludwig VIII 2) and here to see an example in a 13th-century English Bible (Bodleian Library, MS Lat.bib.e.7). Click here and here and here and here to compare 11th- and 12th-century examples (courtesy of the British Library's Digital Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts) with this initial D in the 15th-century Hours of Dionora of Urbino (British Library, Yates Thompson 7) and this initial A in a 15th-century Italian antiphonal (Metropolitan Museum of Art). Zoomorphic motifs are also used in decorative line fillers, borders, and bas-de-page scenes (see The Murthly Hours, courtesy of the National Library of Scotland). Compare with anthropomorphic initial and zoo-anthropomorphic initial.

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Copyright © 2004-2014 by Joan M. Reitz. All Rights Reserved.