Friday, July 13, 2012

Library lingo, Celebrating

Librarians should speak to their colleagues using highly specialized, technical language. Your masterful use of the library lexicon, using terms like, “EBSCO discovery service,” “MFHD,” and “the 856 field,” should send perplexed patrons and lay listeners rushing in search of a library and information science glossary in the 020s (DDC) or Z1006s (LCHS) of your reference monograph collection.

Ask the readers: Share some of your library’s professional lingo in the comments below.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Backfiles and discovery tools. Users don't know what those mean!

Anonymous said...

Many find alphabetical order perplexing. And, of course, the ever loving patron confusion between the terms fiction and non-fiction.

Liam Hegarty said...

What words do we use to describe databases? Online Resources? Online stuff (but not books [except when they are])?

Anonymous said...

The naming of the library's catalogues add to the confusion here in Sweden. "Did you look in the Regina? Then maybe you should give Hermes a try"

Rappenwolf said...

Years ago at the Fort Worth Public Library, we were going to name the new computer system. My suggestion:
Public On-LinE CATalog, also known as POLECAT. They didn't go for it.

Julie @ Read Handed said...

"Circulating Books" and "Embargo" leave my students absolutely confused. Also, they prefer to "recheck out" an item rather than "renew" it and to "rent" things rather than "borrow."

Kate said...

Retrospective conversion!

Jenne said...

I think some people think that "autobiography" is just a fancier word for "biography", maybe like car/automobile?

Lorem Ipsum said...

We've got plenty of frequently-used acronyms that are unique to our institution (590s, you might call them). My favorite is OWOP (pronounced "OH-wop"), meaning "Original Work [of art] on Paper" as in "Where's the OWOP shelf list?" or "we need to re-house most of the OWOPs." For some reason, other special collections libraries prefer the obscure term "drawing."

DogHouseHotDogs said...

@Julie: If they actually rented, that might solve funding problems!

Anonymous said...

"How can you tell I'msupposed to look in the paperbacks?"

"Just look on Line 300 on the MARC record and see if it says 18cm!"

I've actually gotten a few compliments on that, but mostly blank stares and tirades.

Moonlit Librarian said...

Interlibrary loan. It's amazing how confused patrons get when I don't spell it out that I can request a book from another library.

Anonymous said...

A patron was confused by the publication dates from previous editions in a book and wanted to know the appropriate date to cite—a legitimate question for a first-year student new to academic citation.

When asked how to locate the appropriate date of publication for the edition via an email reference question, our mature [to be polite] and newly minted librarian wrote, “Locate the book in the catalogue, click the “MARC Display” link, and refer to the 260 field. You will find the date of publication there.”

WTF?! Seriously?! The worst part was that she was serious and thought she was helpful.

Anonymous said...

Periodical.

Anonymous said...

Colon classification

Anonymous said...

serials... often heard as 'cereals' there's no eating in the library!

Anonymous said...

I know of someone who shall remain nameless who conducts Introductory Library orientation sessions for beginning students and throws around terms like "native database interface." My other colleague and I even give each other puzzled looks sometimes when this person gets going . . .

Anonymous said...

My library is a member of two different library consortia, so students can have three catalogs to search - our local catalog, regional consortium catalog, and state consortium catalog. We show every orientation session a chart that explains this, and no one - including faculty - gets it.