Every library has, in some form, a list of its holdings, designed to give users ways to find every cataloged item, if they know the author, title, or subject of the book, record, film, or other type of item they seek. Such a list is called the catalog, comprising of catalog entries or citations.
In the old days of card catalogs, each catalog entry, describing a single library item, was usually typed or printed on a 3-by-5-inch card (hence the name card catalog). With the advent of computerized or online catalogs, a single catalog entry is called a record. In the computer environment, databases are organized into files,and files, in turn, are organized into records. Thus, a bibliographic record is a computerized description of a single item in a collection or a database. Currently in library jargon, each catalog entry is called a bibliographic record, and it contains information about a single document or item in the library. The item could be a pamphlet, a book, a video, or a music CD.
The online environment providesmore access points to a document. This means that users may search for an item in the library not only by author's name, title, subject (as with the card catalog), but they may do search by keyword, call number, ISBN, and other fields.
A bibliographic record gives description that uniquely identify an item. The description includes, but is not limited to the following elements:
Users must know how to interpret a bibliographic record, identifying all the essential elements in order to write a proper citation (according to a style, such as MLA or APA).
Voyager, LBCC Library online catalog
The online catalog shared by the Long Beach City College libraries is a web-based system called Voyager allowing users to perform five basic searches. The logic behind the Voyager system generally applies to other library systems. While online catalogs may use different commands, they are based on a similar logic. Once you learn how to search the online catalog at Long Beach City College, you will find it easy to search the catalogs at Long Beach Public Library, California State University Long Beach, and other libraries. In this course, we will follow librarians by using the term document to indicate an item in the Library collection. Items can be books, videos, compact discs, pamphlets, etc. We would also use the term record to indicate an entry from the result list of an online database, be it a library catalog or a periodical index.
Learn about Boolean search for online searching.
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