Library terminology in French


Exposé des éléments essentiels A summary or brief description of the content of another longer work.
Archives A space which houses historical or public records or the historical or public records themselves.
Article A brief work on a topic that is usually published as part of a journal, magazine, or newspaper.
Pièce jointe A separate file sent with an email message.
Authentification A security process that typically employs usernames and passwords to validate the identity of users before allowing them access to certain information.
Auteur The person(s) or organization(s) that wrote or compiled a document.


Bibliographie A list containing citations to the resources used in writing a research paper or other document.
Livre A relatively lengthy work, often on a single topic.
Boolean operator
Opérateur de Boole A word--such as AND, OR, or NOT--that commands a computer to combine search terms. Helps to narrow (AND, NOT) or broaden (OR) searches.
Navigateur Web A software program that enables users to access Internet resources.


Call number
Numéros d'appel A group of letters and/or numbers that identifies a specific item in a library and provides a way for organizing library holdings.
Catalogue A database (either online or on paper cards) listing and describing the books, journals, government documents, audiovisual and other materials held by a library.
Disque compact An abbreviation for compact disc; it is used for storing digital information.
Sortie To borrow an item from a library for a fixed period of time in order to read, listen to, or view it.
Circulation The place in the library, often a desk, where you check out, renew, and return library materials.  You may also place a hold, report an item missing from the   shelves, or pay late fees or fines there.
Citation A reference to a book, magazine or journal article, or other work containing all the information necessary to identify and locate that work.
Controlled vocabulary
Vocabulaire commandé Standardized terms used in searching a specific database.
Copy card
Photocopie de carte A card that enables its user to print from a computer, or to make copies of a document at a photocopy machine.
Course reserve
Cours reserve A selection of books, articles, videotapes, or other materials that instructors want students to read or view for a particular course. Print reserve materials are usually kept in one area of the library and circulate for only a short period of time.


Base de données A collection of information stored in an electronic format that can be searched by a computer.
Descripteur A word that describes the subject of an article or book; used in many computer databases.
Dissertation An extended written treatment of a subject (like a book) submitted by a graduate student as a requirement for a doctorate.
Document delivery
Livraison dedocument A service that retrieves or photocopies information sources for library users.
Téléchargement 1. To transfer information from a computer to a program or storage device to be viewed at a later date. 2. To transfer information from one computer to another computer using a modem.


Ebook or electronic book
Livre electronique An electronic version of a book that can be read on a computer.
Editeur A person or group responsible for compiling the writings of others into a single information source.
E-reserve or electronic reserve
Reserve electronique An electronic version of a course reserve that is read on a computer screen.
Encyclopedie A work containing information on all branches of knowledge or treating comprehensively a particular branch of knowledge (such as history or chemistry).


Texte complète A complete electronic copy of a resource, usually an article, viewed on a computer display screen.  The term "full-text" is often used to refer to the electronic version of an article or book that is also published in print.


Maintenir A request by a user to a library that a book checked out to another person be saved for that user when it is returned.
Fonds de livres/stock The materials owned by a library.
Lien hypertexte An image or a portion of text which a Web user can click to jump to another document or page.


Icône A small symbol on a computer screen that represents a computer operation or data file.
Index 1. A list of names or topics--usually found at the end of a publication--that directs you to the pages where those names or topics are discussed within the publication.  2. A printed or electronic publication that provides references to periodical articles or booksby their subject, author, or other search terms.
Prêt/Services inter bibliotheque A service that allows you to borrow materials from other libraries through your loan services own library.  See also: Document delivery.
Internet/Le interréseau A worldwide network of computer networks that allows for the transmission and exchange of files.


Journal A publication, issued on a regular basis, which contains scholarly research published as articles, papers, research reports, or technical reports. See also: Periodical
Journal title
Titre du journal The name of a journal.


Mot Clé A significant or memorable word or term in the title, abstract, or text of an information resource that indicates its subject and is often used as a search term.


Limite or Filtre Options used in searching that restrict your results to only information resources meeting certain other, non-subject-related, criteria. Limiting options vary by database, but common options include limiting results to materials available full-text in the database, to scholarly publications, to materials written in a particular language, to materials available in a particular location, or to materials published at a specific time.
Lien See: Hyperlink


Revue A publication, issued on a regular basis, containing popular articles, written and illustrated in a less technical manner than the articles found in a journal.
Multimedia Any information resource that presents information using more than one media (print, picture, audio, or video).


Journal A publication containing information about varied topics that are pertinent to general information, a geographic area, or a specific subject matter (i.e. business, culture, education). Often published daily.


Format de document portable A file format developed by Adobe Acrobat® that allows files to be transmitted from one computer to another while retaining their original appearance both on-screen and when printed. An acronym for Portable Document Format.
Journal arbitre Peer review is a process by which editors have experts in a field review books or journal articles submitted for publication by the experts' peers. Peer review helps to ensure the quality of an information source by publishing only works of proven validity,   methodology, and quality. Peer-reviewed journals are also called refereed or scholarly journals.
Periodique An information source published in multiple parts at regular intervals (daily, weekly, monthly, biannually). Journals, magazines, and newspapers are all periodicals. See also: Serial
Primary source
Source primaire An original record of events, such as a diary, a newspaper article, a public record, or scientific documentation.
Imprimé The written symbols of a language as portrayed on paper. Information sources may be either print or electronic.
Proxy server
Serveur mandataire/serveur proxy An Internet server that acts as a "go-between" for a computer on a local network (secure system) and the open Web. Often checks to determine "right of access" to the secure environment and speeds up requests by caching frequently accessed Web pages.


Refereed journal
Journal arbitre See: Peer reviewed
Reference 1. A service that helps people find needed information. 2. Sometimes "reference" refers to reference collections, such as encyclopedias, indexes, handbooks, directories, etc. 3. A citation to a work is also known as a reference.
Remote access
Accès à distance The ability to log onto (or access) networked computer resources from a distant location. Remote access makes available library databases to students researching from home, office, or other locations outside the library.
Renouvelement A lengthening of the loan period for library materials.
Reserve  1. A service providing special, often short-term, access to course-related materials (book or article readings, lecture notes, sample tests) or to other materials (CD- ROMs, audio-visual materials, current newspapers or magazines). 2. Also the physical location--often a service desk or room--within a library where materials on reserve are kept. Materials can also be made available electronically. See also: Course reserveElectronic reserve


Scholaire - pair-passés en revue See: Peer reviewed
Search statement
Mot de recherche Words entered into the search box of a database or search engine or search query when looking for information. Words relating to an information source's author, editor, title, subject heading or keyword serve as search terms. Search terms can be combined by using Boolean operators and can also be used with limits/limiters.
Secondary sources
Source secondaire Materials such as books and journal articles that analyze primary sources. Secondary sources usually provide evaluation or interpretation of data or evidence found in original research or documents such as historical manuscripts or memoirs.
Serie Publications such as journals, magazines and newspapers that are generally published multiple times per year, month, or week. Serials usually have number volumes and issues. The words journal, magazine, periodical, and serial may be used interchangeably.
Logiciel The programs installed on and used by the components of a computer system (or, hardware).
Rangée Shelves in the library where materials--typically books--are stored. Books in the stacks are normally arranged by call number. May be referred to as "book stacks."
Style manual
Manual de Style An information source providing guidelines for people who are writing research papers. A style manual outlines specific formats for arranging research papers and citing the sources that are used in writing the paper.
Subject heading
Vedette-matière Descriptions of an information source's content assigned to make finding information easier. See also: Controlled vocabulary, Descriptor


Thumb drive
Clé USB A small portable device for storing computerized information. A thumb drive can plug into the USB (Universal Serial Bus) port of any computer and store electronic information.
Titre The name of a book, article, or other information source.


Télécharger To transfer information from a computer system or a personal computer to another computer system or a larger computer system.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
Adresse Web The unique address for a Web page which is used in citing it. A URL Locater (URL) consists of the access protocol (http), the domain name (, and often the path to a file or resource residing on that server.
User ID
Identifiant utilisateur/nom d'utilisateur A number or name unique to a particular user of computerized resources. A user ID must often be entered in order to access library resources remotely.


Fils, sans The name given to any electronic device that sends messages through space via electric or electromagnetic waves instead of via power cords.
World Wide Web
Web A network of information, as a part of the Internet, that includes text, graphics, sounds, and moving images. Also know as the Web or WWW or W3. It incorporates a variety of Internet tools into one method of access, such as the Web browser Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox.


Zip drive/zip disk
Lecteur ZIP/Disque Zip Devices used in the creation of compressed (or "zipped") electronic information.

This resource was made possible by the work of the ACRL, a division of the ALA.