Public Library Glossary

This glossary presents words and acronyms commonly used in public libraries in New York State. [all links below will open in a new windowexternal link opens in a new window]

AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, Second Edition) -- Standardized rules for cataloging library materials.  A major revision is underway known as Resource Description and Access (RDA) which will eventually supersede AACR2.

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) -- The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), considered to be the most comprehensive civil rights legislation since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation and telecommunications.

ALA -- American Library Association.

ALTAFF -- Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations

Authority Control -- Authority control is a general term for the process of controlling the relationship between various entries in a catalog.  There are two main elements to authority control.  The first is making sure that names and subjects are always entered the same way.  The second element is making sure that 'see' and 'see also' references always lead the patron to other materials.

Bibliographic Utility -- A bibliographic utility is an online cataloging system.  These systems provide access to MARC records from the Library of Congress and MARC records contributed by other users of the utility.  OCLC is the largest such utility.

Broadband -- A general term referring to high speed communication regardless of the medium (fiber optic, wire, cable or wireless) utilized.

Capital Funds -- Funds for the acquisition of, or addition to, fixed assets such as buildings or major equipment.  Often kept separate from annual operating funds.

Cataloging -- The process of describing an item in a library collection and assigning it a classification (call) number.

Charter -- The document of incorporation granted to a public library by the New York State Board of Regents.

CIPA (Children's Internet Protection Act) -- A federal law governing Internet access in schools and libraries.  Compliance with CIPA is mandatory for eligibility for most e-rate subsidies and LSTA funding.

Circulation -- The process of lending library materials.

DLD (Division of Library Development) -- DLD is the division of the New York State Education Department responsible for the oversight of library funding and compliance with State Regulations.

e-Book -- An e-Book is the electronic version of a print book.

EDL (Electronic Doorway Library Program) -- Now referred to as "NOVELny-Ready Library Services" as a part of the statewide NOVELny Program.

E-rate -- E-rate is the Federal program that provides reimbursements to libraries and schools for investment in and ongoing costs of communications. [See also the Division of Library Development E-rate information page]

FOLUSA (Friends of Libraries USA) -- Now merged with other ALA divisions to form ALTAFF.

FRBR (Functional Requirement for Bibliographic Records) -- a conceptual model for the aggregation and display of bibliographic records.  The use of FRBR makes it easier for patrons to identify the material format they want.

Free Direct Access -- The ability to borrow library materials in person from a public library outside your community.

The Gates Library Initiative (GLI) -- The New York State partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the purpose of making computer and Internet technology more available to those who have no other means of access.

ILL (Interlibrary Loan) -- Interlibrary Loan is when one library lends a book to another library for its patron's use.

IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) -- An independent Federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating and sustaining a nation of learners by helping libraries and museums serve their communities.

Integrated Library System (ILS) -- Integrated library (automation) systems provide libraries with a variety of integrated computerized functions -- Cataloging, Circulation, OPAC, WebOPAC, Acquisitions, Serials Control and Electronic Resource Management.

ISP (Internet Service Provider) -- An institution that provides access to the Internet in some form.

LAN (Local Area Network) -- A network, usually running in one building, that connects multiple computers to a server computer.

LC -- Library of Congress -- The national library of the United States.

LBPH (Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped) -- a federal program and a part of the Library of Congress that provides recorded books for the blind and those with physical disabilities. 

Library Trustees Association of New York State -- New York’s statewide association for library boards and trustees.  (formerly NYSALB)

LLSA (Local Library Services Aid) -- The New York State aid program for local public libraries.

LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) -- The largest Federal library aid program for libraries. Funds are used to support state services and are awarded to libraries and library systems on a competitive basis.

MARC (MAchine Readable Cataloging) -- a format for storing the bibliographic description of a book, serial, video, etc. on a computer. The MARC format is an international standard used by most libraries and library computer software vendors.

New Century Libraries -- The Regents' endorsed legislative initiative to enhance library services statewide.

NOVELny (New York Online Virtual Electronic Library) -- A statewide program to improve public access to electronic resources.

NYLA (New York Library Association) -- New York's statewide library association.

NYSALB -- Now known as Library Trustees Association of New York State.

NYALS -- New York Association of All Library Systems (public, school and 3Rs).

NYLINE -- New York’s Libraries Information Network listserv list.

Nylink -- a nonprofit membership organization of all types of libraries and cultural heritage organizations that supports access to cost effective resources for its members.

NYSL -- New York State Library.

NY3Rs Association -- The state organization for the Reference and Research Library Resources Councils (3Rs), dedicated to promote cooperation and development among the state’s academic and special libraries.

OCLC -- a bibliographic utility used by nearly 27,000 libraries, archives and museums in 86 countries.

OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) -- A computerized card catalog, which can be searched, edited and updated online. Many OPACS are now simply one module of an integrated library system and are available in web-based format (WebOPAC). [Links to New York State public library system OPACs]

PLA (Public Library Association) -- A division of the American Library Association.

PLS -- Public Library System.

Provisional Charter -- The initial incorporation document granted to a public library by the Board of Regents. Libraries are generally given five years under provisional status in order to meet state standards and become a registered public library. If successful, a permanent charter is granted to the institution.

PULISDO (Public Library System Directors Organization) -- The statewide association of Public Library System Directors.

RDA (Resource Description and Access) - A set of cataloging rules currently in development to replace AACR2.  RDA uses FRBR practices.

Regents Advisory Council (RAC) -- A standing advisory committee appointed by the Regents to review and advocate for library issues.

Regents Commission on Library Services -- The Regents Commission on Library Services (RCOLS) was formed to recommend a vision for library services in the 21st century and a plan for ensuring the greatest access to information for all New Yorkers. Established in June 1998, the Commission's final report was presented in July 2000.

Registration -- The process by which libraries demonstrate compliance with CR 90.2 (Minimum Standards). A library must maintain its registration to collect public funds.

SED (State Education Department) -- The state agency responsible for educational services, including libraries.

Schools and Libraries Program -- part of the Universal Service Fund (e-rate); the Program makes discounts available to eligible schools and libraries for telecommunication services, Internet access, and internal connections. 

SLS (School Library Systems) -- Similar to public library cooperatives, these organizations exist to promote resource sharing and library development in school libraries.

SLSA (School Library Systems Association) -- The statewide organization for School Library Systems.

TDD/TTY -- Telecommunications devices for the hearing impaired.

Union Catalog / County Catalog -- Public library systems are mandated by the state to provide a "locator file" of the book holdings of the public libraries in their service area.

Unserved Area -- Refers to regions of the state without chartered public library service. [See Public Library Service Area Maps]

USA PATRIOT ACT (PATRIOT ACT) -- Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act. Federal legislation that, among many other provisions, governs access to library records in certain circumstances by law enforcement agencies.

Web2.0 -- Interactive web based applications and sites that encourage users to create and add content to them.

Last Updated: April 1, 2010