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Research Skills Tutorial


Boolean Operator
Special search words (and, or, not) used to combine search terms to either limit or expand your results. See Module 2 for a detailed explanation of how these work. Named for George Boole (1815-1864), a British mathematician and logician who developed a calculus of symbolic logic [from the Dictionary of National Biography].

Information about a resource (article, book, etc.). Generally includes author, title, publisher, place of publication, and publication or copyright date.

Distance Students and Faculty
Those people who are enrolled in or teaching courses at campuses other than Lowell, or are taking / teaching guided independent study, televised, or online courses and live more than 10 miles from Dayton Memorial Library.

Federal Depository Library
A library that has been designated by Congress to receive U.S. federal government publications at no charge in exchange for providing public access to those publications. "Regional" depositories (like the Denver Public Library) receive 100% of government publications, while "selective" depositories (like Regis) focus on subjects of interest to their patrons and do not receive publications in all areas.

Government Publications
Government publications (also called government documents) are items published by federal, state or local government departments, agencies, committees, commissions, etc. Governments publish massive amounts of information on all topics. The U.S. federal government is, in fact, the largest publisher in the world. Our federal government's various branches produce annual reports, directories, statistics, committee or other reports, laws, court opinions, bibliographies, periodicals, consumer information and public relations materials. State and local governments publish similar materials, focused on their respective constituencies.

A list of citations to journal articles and/or other materials, arranged by author, subject, or title. May be availble electronically as an online database, or in print format.

Interlibrary Loan
A procedure for sharing materials between libraries. Used when your library doesn't own something you need.

Small sheets of plastic film that have miniaturized images stored on them. Often used for keeping copies of older magazine articles, but can also be used for books and other printed materials. Requires a special machine for viewing and/or printing.

A journal, magazine, newsletter, or newspaper published on a routine basis (i.e, daily, weekly, monthly, etc.).

Phrase Search
A search in a database that looks for a set of words exactly as you typed them. For a match, the result must have those words in that exact order.

Subject Headings
Special words and phrases that are used to describe a book/article/etc. Using the same words to describe everything on a certain topic makes it easier to search for those items.

For databases, this is the list of special words (or subject headings) that are used to uniformly describe the information and give you a single term or phrase for efficient searching. It could also be something that lists synonyms (similar words) and give you ideas for expanding your search