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EBSCO Interfaces Glossary

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Administrator - See: EBSCOhost Administrator.

Alpha-positioning - A way to move the cursor to a specific entry in a list. When the list is displayed, type a word in the space provided and press Enter. The cursor moves to the first occurrence of the word in the list. In the Result List, enter numbers to go to a numbered citation.

Also search for related words - A powerful option that enables a thesaurus to be used when searching. When checked (turned on), a thesaurus is used to get synonyms for each search term and include them in the query. This effectively expands the query. The thesaurus also includes plural forms of the terms, and translates abbreviations such as USA into United States.

And search operator - The Boolean search operator and combines search terms in a query so that each result contains all the terms specified. Example: History and Russia.

Arrow keys - The up, down, left and right arrow keys on the keyboard used for moving the cursor around a screen.  

Authority File - Provides the capability to search the database first by browsing a broad range of subjects, or an extensive journal/magazine titles list. Terms from this list can be searched separately or searched as a supplement to terms already entered in the Search Screen.

See also: Subject Authority, Publication Authority, and Hierarchical Authority.  

Automatic translation software - systems that use sophisticated translation technology with comprehensive dictionaries and a collection of linguistic rules that translate one language into another without relying on human translators.  


Bibliography - A number of citations selected from the Result List and saved to a file. You can email or save bibliographies in different formats. 

Boolean search operators - Defines logical relationships between terms in a search. The Boolean operators are and, or, not. Example: Space and (Shuttle or Station) not Skylab.  

Browse - To use cursor keys to scroll up and down a screen or to use alpha-positioning to go to specific positions in displayed lists. 

Business Searching Interface (BSI) - Streamlined interface developed for EBSCO's Business Source family of databases.  


Citation - A bibliographic reference to an article or document that matches the search criteria entered in the Search Screen. Citations are listed in date order in the Result List.  

Collection (Local Titles) - A collection of local titles available in the database that your library or institution subscribes to. Local titles are identified in the Result List and in the Full Record.

Command key - A key that lets the user apply special actions for the current screen. For example, OK or CANCEL.  

Copy - A function for duplicating and storing information in a file on hard or floppy disk. Copied files do not contain printing codes and can be easily edited with a word processor or text editor.

Core Concept - A heading that expresses the main point of the article.  

Cross References (hypertext links) - Contained within some Authority Files to help guide you through the list. The cross references point to narrower terms, broader terms, related terms, headings or subheadings. These appear in a different color, display attribute or have a unique icon. 

Cursor - The flashing underscore or solid bar that indicates the current position on the screen.  

Cursor keys - The up, down, left and right arrow keys, and the page up, page down, home and end keys used for moving the cursor around the screen. 

CustomLinks - EBSCO CustomLinks are set up by an institution's administrator and can link users to a library catalog, to interlibrary loan request pages, and to other electronic information services. CustomLinks, when enabled, appear in the result list after a keyword search is executed.


Database Description - The screen that displays database-specific information on such topics as searching fields, limiters, searching examples, copyright and restrictions of use. 

Data Entry Space - A space provided within a screen, into which the user can enter information. An example would be the area of the Search Screen where a query is entered.

Defaults - A preselected list of options.  

Default Search Screen - A term that describes the Search Screen with its default options. The default options are preselected by your library administrator to be applicable for searches performed by most patrons.

Downloading - Transferring information from a remote location and storing it locally such as on a floppy or hard disk.  


eBook (electronic book) - Published materials such as reference books, text books and consumer books converted into digital format for electronic distribution.

EBSCOhost Administrator - The librarian responsible for "fine-tuning" EBSCOhost by choosing the appropriate default preferences for a location (or locations) within a library system.

EBSCOhost Digital Archives Viewer - The EBSCOhost Digital Archives Viewer is a powerful tool used to view and search the full text content of EBSCO's Digital Archives products.

Expander - A search option that when selected, lets the searcher expand the number of results in a specific manner. For example, select the option "also search for related words" to expand search results to include synonyms and plurals.  


Field - A named space in a screen for entering data.  

Field Code - A field code is used in a query to limit a search term to information contained in the specified field of a database reference (or record). For example, the field code AU can be used to limit retrieval to the data contained in the Author field of a reference.

For a list of field codes, see the More Information link (the Question Mark icon) for the database you are searching. Field codes are also referred to as search tags.

Full Record - A screen containing complete or detailed citation information which may include a summary or abstract. 

Full Text - A term to describe articles that can be displayed in their entirety, as opposed to Abstract and References only.


Global (Default) Limiter - Visible on the main Search Screen, an optional limiter selected by the user that can be automatically applied to all searches. For example, "also search full text." 

Hierarchical Authority File - A file composed of standardized vocabulary terms or classifications used to index information in the database. For example, MEDLINE's Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) and CINAHL's Subject Heading List are hierarchical authority file lists. Each citation in the database is indexed by one or more database specific headings. Each term within the database has a number assigned that identifies its relationship to other headings. This hierarchical relationship is called a tree structure. 

Hypertext Link - A text link designated in contrasting color which lets you move between web browser (HTML) windows.


Internet - The Internet is made up of thousands of academic, commercial, government and military networks whose computers support the TCP/IP communications protocol.  


Journal Authority File - See: Publication Authority File.

Journal Search - A list of publication titles in the database. A database may or may not have a Publication (Journal) Authority File.

Keyword - The term or search terms entered in the Search Screen. Keywords appear highlighted in the Result List, Full Record, and Full Text (if available).


Lexile Reading Levels - Lexile Reading Levels give an educator an estimate of the reading difficulty of the article result, and the approximate grade level reading ability required for comprehension. The grade level does not necessarily reflect the student's actual grade.

Library Administrator - See: EBSCOhost Administrator.  


Magazine Search - An Authority File that lists all the magazine (journal) titles abstracted in the selected database. See also: Journal Search.

MeSH - Refers to Medline Subject Headings. A tree-structured subject hierarchy applied to each article in the Medline database.


Natural Language Searching - Lets you search a database using words or phrases. The results of a search are presented in ranked order with the most relevant article presented first. A result can be found even if the record does not contain all of the words from the search. The more words that appear, the more relevant the record is and the closer to the top of the result list it appears.  

Not search operator - The Boolean search operator not excludes terms from a search so that results do not contain one or more specified terms. The not operator is more correctly stated as and not, but the and is not required to be entered. For example: Space Shuttle not Challenger.


Online Help - Help screens that explain available Search Screen options, functions, fields and words.  

Or search operator - The Boolean search operator or combines search terms in the same query so that each result contains at least one of the terms. For example: Space or Planet.


Persistent Link - A persistent link connects the user to an EBSCOhost article by clicking a link embedded in a web site. 

Proximity Search - A method of searching for words that appear within a specified distance of one another in the database. The proximity operators are composed of a letter (N or W) and a number (to specify the number of words). The proximity operator is placed between the words that are to be searched.

Publication Authority File - An index that lists the information contained in a database by publication name.


Query - See: Search.

Relevance - Relates to the results of a natural language search. EBSCOhost compares the words in a document to the words in the user's query. The more words that match, the more relevant the document is. The more times a word appears in the document the more relevant it is, but the more times a word appears in a database the less relevant it is.

Each word is scored based on its frequency of occurrence in the document versus its frequency in the database. The scores of all matching words are added up to obtain a score for the record. Records with the highest score are considered the most relevant. Relevance is represented as a percentage-records with all matching words and the highest score are given a value of 100%. As the scores and number of matching words decrease, so does the percentage.

Result List - A screen that contains the information retrieved from the databases you search. Search results can be citations, document summaries or abstracts, and can include full text.  


Search query- The word, word combination, or phrase the user enters in the data entry field. In the simplest case, it is one that best describes the information desired. A simple query would be "money". This query retrieves all information or references in the database that contain the word "money". A more complex query might contain multiple terms connected by Boolean operators and/or field codes. For example: "money and finance not (currency or investing)" 

Search History List - A list of all searches (or queries) executed during the current search session.  

Search Results - The information EBSCOhost retrieves from the databases that are searched. Search results can be citations, document summaries or abstracts (Full Record), or Full Text (when available).

Search Tag - See: Field Code.

SmartLinks - EBSCO SmartLinks provides linking among databases in EBSCOhost. SmartLinking seamlessly allows a user to follow an article citation in one database where the full text is not available, to the full text of the same article in another database where it is available. EBSCO SmartLinks also enables the linking between EBSCOhost and EBSCOhost EJS (Electronic Journals Service).

Source Type Searching - Searching by data source type (e.g., magazines, reference books, primary source documents, images)

Stop Words - Commonly used words such as articles, pronouns and prepositions. Stop words are not indexed for searching a database.  

Subject Authority File - An index that lists the information contained in a database according to topics. The file is indexed according to the following categories: all, people, products and books, companies and subjects.

Subject Search - A list of subject headings used to index the publications in the database. A database may or may not have a Subject Authority File. See also: Publication Authority, Library Holdings Authority File.  


Thesaurus - A specialized set of cross-referenced terms relating to a given topic. Examples include the Business Thesaurus, Communication Thesaurus, GLBT Thesaurus, Sociology Thesaurus, etc.  

Truncation - A way to search for words beginning with the word stem followed by an asterisk (*). For example, type: walk* to find the words walk, walks, or walker. 


Wildcard - A way to find words with unknown characters or different spellings. Replace each unknown letter with an (?). For example, type: ne?t.


See also:

EBSCOadmin Glossary