Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Library Lingo: Volume 4

The last installment of the the Library Lingo glossary!

Pharos – an automated, self-service computer reservation and printing system, which ensures fair access to all users.

PIN - password consisting of a 4-10 digit number created by users allowing access to library account information such as books checked out, fines, and due dates, and the ability to renew or hold an item.

Reference book – book designed to be consulted for specific information rather than to be read completely. Reference books usually cannot be checked out (circulated). You can tell a reference book by its call number, which will start with "R".

Reference desk - service area or information desk in the library where customers can get help from library staff in using the library, locating library materials, searching library databases and answering general questions.

Reference librarian - specialist in the field of information retrieval, and often in other subject areas as well. Reference librarians have a Master's degree in Library Science or Information Studies, and help users find materials needed for research, show them how to use and evaluate various resources, and teach workshops and classes about the research process.

Stacks – area of the library where most of the books are shelved. Materials are arranged by call numbers.

Subject heading - term or phrase which describes the subject content of a work. Searching by a subject heading is more precise than a keyword search.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Halloween Hype

There’s yet another version of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the theaters just in time for Halloween. But, do you know the real story? There wasn’t really a Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but the Daily Variety (October 25, 1974) reports that the horrifying deeds of Wisconsin farmer and serial killer Ed Gein may have helped "inspire" the film.

"Texas Chainsaw Massacre never happened," says Austin Robert Burns, who was art director for the movie. "Parts of it were vaguely suggested by a fellow named Ed Gein. In 1957, Ed Gein, who lived in a small town in Wisconsin, murdered and decapitated two women and wrapped their heads in wax paper and put them on a shelf. He also robbed 10 or 12 graves. He was a weird guy. He's in a home for the criminally insane right now. But there was no such event as the Texas Chainsaw massacre."

For more about the movie, check out:
You can also find other fictional horror stories to keep you up all night on the Library's Good Reads page.

Sniff, sniff… Smells like a book burning!

Two weeks ago, a thousand books from the local public library were burned in a town called Maria Grande in Argentina. The books were apparently discarded and the order to burn them was issued by the local government. The neighbors, however, claimed that the books had historic and cultural value and they rescued 400 of the books. This unfortunate episode brings to mind similar incidents through history where books were burned around the world under different circumstances.

Books have been set afire mainly because of moral, political, and religious reasons. Usually, the books that get burned are considered heretical, blasphemous, subversive, obscene and/or immoral by different social groups. The book burnings serve as a tool to impose censorship and to limit freedom of expression.

An example of a notable book burning in history is the one in Germany in 1933 when about 20,000 “un-German” books were thrown in to a big fire set by the Nazis with the purpose of cleaning the German culture. A more recent event happened in 2000 at the University of California Berkeley, where protesters burned books by Dan Flynn to manifest their opposition to the author’s ideas. Book burnings can be found since the beginning of history around the world; if you want to find out more information about this topic check out the following resources:

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Library Lingo: Volume 3

The third volume of the library glossary...

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) - service which allows patrons to request books and articles from other libraries outside the Austin Public Library system if the material is not available at their home Library. More information can be read here.

Keyword – word that best describes what you’re searching for. For example, “poodle” could be a keyword; however, the word “dog” will give you a wider search result. A keyword search will retrieve items or articles that have the keyword in the title, subject, author, or content notes.

Microform - printed material that has been photographed and reduced to a film format to help preserve the material and decrease the space needed for storage. Special equipment is needed to read stored information. Typical formats include microfilm and microfiche.

Non-circulating - any library material that cannot be checked out. Such materials are often labeled "Library Use Only.” Reference books are non-circulating.

Online catalog - searchable, computerized database of materials owned by a library and displaying the call number and location of the material.

Oversize books – books too large to fit on regular shelving. Most Library locations shelve the OS books separately. The “OS” is part of the call number.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I'll take Entertainment for $500, Alex

Get ready for your next trivia night by checking out our Fugitive Facts. Our reference staff researches answers to all kinds of questions. Check out what we’ve found on local information, entertainment, national information, culture and sciences. Here’s just a sample of what you’ll find:

What is the theme music for the Alfred Hitchcock T.V. series called?
"Funeral March of a Marionette" by Charles Gounod.

Where did the three symbolic monkeys--see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil--come from?
The original three wise monkeys are found over a door in Nikko, Japan. Collectively they are referred to as Koshin-sama or Koshin-zuka. Their individual names are Mi-saru (No see), Kika-saru (No hear), and Iwa-saru (No talk). Paradoxically, in Japan the monkey is otherwise normally considered a symbol of mischief, imitativeness, and malice.

What is the motto of the U.S. Post Office?
The unofficial motto of the USPS—and the official slogan of letter carriers—is: "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

We’re always looking for more great questions! Just Ask a Librarian!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Library Lingo: Volume 2

Our second installment of library-speak...

library databases allow you to find articles in magazines and newspapers, and information from encyclopedias, dictionaries, directories, manuals, and books in electronic format. See the Library’s database page.

Dewey decimal classification - classification system in which books and other materials are subject categories, with further decimal division for narrower subject categories, using a notation of numbers. More information on the Dewey Decimal system can be found

Electronic book – an electronic version of a printed book. EBooks can be viewed online from any computer connected to the Internet. See
NetLibrary on the Library’s database page.

Full text – complete text of an item, such as an article from a magazine, book, or encyclopedia, available in electronic format. Full text is usually in PDF or HTML format. See
eJournal finder to see what full-text magazines and newspapers are available through APL.

Full-text database – database that allows for viewing, emailing, printing, or saving of an entire article directly from a computer. A full-text database may not have every listed article available in full-text format.

Hold - service provided by the Library when an item is secured for a customer and held at the checkout desk. Items can be transferred between Library locations for customer pick up.

Holdings - books, periodicals, and other materials owned by a Library location.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


If you have been in a chat room, an instant messaging conversation, or have done text messaging with your cell phone, you probably know what the title of this blog means. Internet lingo is what those acronyms you see on chats and text messaging are called. This type of communication was developed to increase speed while “talking” using an electronic media in real time and also add some emotion or texture to the conversation.

Internet lingo not only uses acronyms like “GMTA”, but also emoticons (little faces smiling, crying or looking very mad). People add emoticons to give the person on the other side of the screen a better idea of how he or she is feeling J. So, if you haven’t been in a chat room, had instant message conversations or if you want to start doing texting with your friends on your cell phone you might speed up your conversation and save yourself some keystrokes by checking some of the following websites on Internet lingo; and if you already knew about this, you might find new ones to use with your friends:

Internet Slang-Wikipedia


Chat, E-Mail, Web, and chat room slang and acronyms

Bet you're wondering what GMTA means; why don't you look it up and get back to us?!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Library Lingo: Volume I

Do librarians often confuse you with words such as "stacks" or "circulation desk"? Following is the first in a four part volume of library-speak...

APL – Austin Public Library

Boolean operators - words such as AND, OR, and NOT that are used to combine search terms to broaden or narrow a search of an electronic database, index, or catalog; examples are “dogs and training” or “titanic and DVD”; for help in using Boolean operators in our online catalog, visit the
Findit Help page

call number – unique combination of letters and numbers on the spine of each item in a library, used to group materials by similar subjects and enable the material to be found on the shelves; our call numbers are in Dewey Decimal format

catalog - list of library materials contained in a collection; most library catalogs are online

catalog record – all information on any given library item, including a description of the item, author, title, subject headings, notes, and the call number

cataloging - process of creating records for a catalog; usually includes describing the item, giving it subject headings, assigning a call number, and preparing the item for the shelf

checkout desk - counter where library materials are checked out and returned, fines are paid, and new and replacement library cards issued; also known as the circulation desk

circulation - refers to the checking out and return of library materials

circulation desk - counter where library materials are checked out and returned, fines are paid, and new and replacement library cards issued; also known as the checkout desk

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

How do I...?

The library now has a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the catalog and the library in general. You can find the link on the FindIt catalog under “Library Info.”

Want more information? Click the “About the Library” button on the library homepage. You can find facts about the library including locations, hours, phone numbers, parking options, and our holiday schedule. Also find information about how to get a library card, a list of library services, as well as library contact information.

Also, don’t forget you can always Ask a Librarian! by phone, chat, or email!