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ARCHIVES Home

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ARCHIVES  May 2006, Week 1

ARCHIVES May 2006, Week 1

Subject:

Re: Synomyms for Database or Catalog

From:

Susan Hamburger <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Susan Hamburger <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 5 May 2006 15:10:33 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (104 lines)

A rose by any other name is still a rose.  MS Access is a relational 
database.  It is definitely not an index.  Look at Richard Pearce-Moses's 
Glossary of of Archival and Records Terminology on SAA's Web site 
(http://www.archivists.org/glossary/index.asp) and you will see that

DATABASE, n. ~ 1. Computing  Information that is accessed and updated 
through software (a database management system) that has been organized, 
structured, and stored so that it can be manipulated and extracted for 
various purposes.  2. Colloquialism  Any collection of information, 
automated or not, without regard to how it is accessed or stored.

CATALOG, n. ~ 1. A collection of systematically arranged descriptions of 
materials.  2. A listing of items with descriptions.  3. A publication 
produced in conjunction with an exhibit that lists the materials exhibited 
and that may have text that relates to the subject of the exhibit.

         Notes

Catalogs1 may be in a variety of formats, including bound volumes, cards, 
microform, or online databases.

ONLINE PUBLIC ACCESS CATALOG,
n. (OPAC, abbr.) ~ A computerized database that allows patrons to search 
descriptions of materials in a repository's holdings.

         Notes

'OPAC' connotes a system that conforms to bibliographic standards such as 
Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules and MARC format. OPACs often include many 
other library functions, such as acquisition and circulation.


INDEX, n. (indexes, indices, pl.) ~ 1. An ordered list of headings that 
points to relevant information in materials that are organized in a 
different order.  2. Publishing  A portion of a book, usually located in 
the back, that provides an ordered list of subjects covered in the book, 
with page numbers or other reference to where those subjects are discussed. 
 3. A scale or reference used as a measure.  4. Printing  A 
typographical ornament in the shape of a fist with the index finger extended.

         Notes

Generally, an index1 provides no explanation about the information it 
points to beyond its location. It is distinguished from a catalog, which 
provides additional information to help determine relevance. An index may 
be created on cards, with separate cards for each entry to allow 
interfiling. It may also be on paper or in a database or word processing 
file.  An index2 usually uses page numbers for the pointers, but some 
works may use section numbers.  Examples of index3 include quality index 
and time-weighted preservation index.



You could call it a database, or you could call it a catalog.  If you 
already have an OPAC, then you don't want to confuse people by having two 
different entities called Catalog.

Sue

At 02:33 PM 5/5/2006, [log in to unmask] wrote:
>OK Group, as long as we are on terminology ---
>
>We are writng SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and the powers that be 
>do not want me to use the term ''Database'' for what my Access program 
>does. They want me to use the word "Index."  I believe that is not 
>adequate.  At this point  (and I have not given it much thought, yet) I am 
>leaning towards the use of  the term "catalog."   "Finding Aid' is totally 
>beyond my Powers-That-Be, but of course that is what  Access does (not 
>well, but whatever......)
>
>What terminology have some of y'all used in this situation?  I do want to 
>be consistent and standardize this with what other Archives are doing.
>
>Any ideas are appreciated.
>
>(Please avoid the terms 'Misguided,' 'Sinko,' 'Mayonaise,' and 'Lesbian.')
>
>Thanks!
>
>Paige in Alabama
>

Susan Hamburger, Ph.D.
Manuscripts Cataloging Librarian
Cataloging Services
126 Paterno Library
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802

814/865-1755
FAX 814/863-7293 

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