Library Technology Acronyms

This page contains a glossary of common library technology acronyms with their meanings in the context of library services.

AAP – Authorized Access Point, text string that names the item for a BIBFRAME Authority (bf:authorizedAccessPoint).

AACR2 – Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, Second Edition, a set of cataloging rules succeeded by Resource Description and Access (RDA).

ACR – Accessibility Conformance Report, based on a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT®) and published by entities to demonstrate conformance to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

AD FS – Active Directory Federation Services, a Microsoft service that allows for single sign-on (SSO).

APC – Article Processing Charge, a fee charged to an author by an open access journal to publish an article.

API – Application Program Interface, “a set of routines, protocols, and tools for building applications and providing a way to interact with online services”.

ARIA – Accessible Rich Internet Applications.

ASCII – American Standard Code for Information Interchange, a standard set of text characters and encoding scheme (also called US-ASCII). (See also UTF-8.)

AWS – Amazon Web Services, a cloud Web services hosting platform used by several library vendors including ProQuest and Springshare.

BIBFRAME – Bibliographic Framework, a new model for bibliographic description to replace MARC.

CAPTCHA – Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, a test that aims to protect web forms from entry by bots.

CC BY – Creative Commons Attribution, a copyright license that allows for the copy, redistribution, remix, and transformation of materials if attributed. Now at version 4.0.

CC BY-NC – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial, a copyright license that allows for the copy, redistribution, remix, and transformation of materials if attributed for non-commercial purposes.

CC BY-NC-ND – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives, a copyright license that allows for the copy and redistribution (but not remix and transformation) if attributed for non-commercial purposes.

CC BY-NC-SA – Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike, a copyright license that is similar to CC BY-NC except that you must share your material with the same license as the original.

CC BY-ND – Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives, a copyright license that allows for the copy and redistribution if not modified and if attributed, even for commercial purposes.

CC BY-SA – Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike, a copyright license that is similar to CC BY except that you must share your material with the same license as the original.

CLOCKSS – Controlled LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe), an archive for long-term preservation of scholarly materials. (See also LOCKSS.)

CMS – Content Management System or Course Management Software.

COinS – ContextObjects in Spans, bibliographic metadata added to HTML in a webpage.

CONSER – Cooperative ONline SERials (previously CONversion of SERials), a project to improve bibliographic records for serials.

COUNTER – Counting Online Usage of NeTworked Electronic Resources, standards for recording and reporting online usage statistics.

CSS – Cascading Style Sheets, a language used for describing the presentation of a web document (usually in HTML).

CSV – Comma-Separated Values, data items in a table record consisting of one or more fields, separated by commas. (See also TSV.)

DCMES – Dublin Core Metadata Element Set, “a vocabulary of fifteen properties for use in resource description”.

DCMI – Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, a project to develop “specifications and metadata terms namespaces”.

DDA – Demand Driven Acquisition, a system where an e-resource is purchased after a pre-specified number of uses trigger its purchase. Replaces Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA).

DOAJ – The Directory of Open Access Journals.

DOI – Digital Object Identifier, a persistent inter-operable identifier under International Organization for Standardization standard ISO 26324.

DNS – Domain Name System, a decentralized system for looking up domain names for conversion to IP addresses.

DRM – Digital Rights Management,  access control technologies used to restrict access to certain rights-holders.

DTD – Document Type Definition, “defines the structure and the legal elements and attributes of an XML document”.

EAD – Encoded Archival Description, an XML standard for encoding archival finding aids by the Library of Congress and Society of American Archivists.

EDI – Electronic Data Interchange.

EDS – EBSCO Discovery Service, a discovery service offered by EBSCO.

EOD – Embedded Order Data.

EPUB – Electronic Publication, a standard for ebooks and other electronic publications by the International Digital Publishing Forum.

ERM – Electronic Resource Management, system used to track electronic resources such as databases, ebooks, and e-journals.

ETD – Electronic Theses and Dissertations.

FAST – Faceted Application of Subject Terminology, a “faceted subject heading schema” by OCLC with the LOC, used as an authority file.

FedCM – Federated Credential Management, a new Web privacy-protecting authentication method to replace third-party cookies.

FITS – Flexible Image Transport System, an “open standard defining a digital file format useful for storage, transmission and processing of data”.

FOAF – Friend of a Friend, describes people and their relationships using an RDF schema.

FOLIO – Future of Libraries is Open, an open-source library services platform.

FRBR – Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, model of metadata that includes four levels of representation: work, expression, manifestation, and item.

FTP – File Transfer Protocol, a method of uploading and downloading files from a remote server usually using an FTP client. (See also SFTP.)

GUI – Graphical User Interface, a general term for a Web or application interface that displays graphics or images used for interaction.

HILCC – Hierarchical Interface to Library of Congress Classification, structured menu for LC Classification subject access on the Web.

HTML – Hypertext Markup Language, a markup language for describing web documents.

IdP – Identity Provider, an authenticating service, usually your institution, providing authentication.

III – Innovative Interfaces, Inc., a library software vendor.

IIIF – International Image Interoperability Framework, a community and set of standards to promote digitized images.

IoT – The Internet of Things.

ISAD(G) – General International Standard Archival Description, a standard for description for archives from the International Council on Archives (ICA).

ISO – International Organization for Standardization, independent developer of voluntary International Standards.

JSON – JavaScript Object Notation, “a lightweight data-interchange format” and standard.

KBART – Knowledge Bases and Related Tools, a NISO Recommended Practice aimed towards content providers (ex. database vendors) to make their content more accessible to discovery services.

LCNAF – Library of Congress Name Authority File, “provides authoritative data for names of persons, organizations, events, places, and titles”.

LCSH – Library of Congress Subject Headings, a Library of Congress controlled vocabulary used as an authority file for cataloging.

LDAP – Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, a method of user authentication.

LITA – Library and Information Technology Association is a division of the American Library Association (ALA) now part of Core.

LMS – Learning Management System, used to manage educational courses. (Occasionally Library Management System.)

LOCKSS – Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe,  multiple electronic backup system for preserving library materials. (See also CLOCKSS.)

LOD – Linked Open Data, Linked Data which is published under an open-access license.

LSP – Library Services Platform, a term for a suite of library applications which might include an ILS, ERM, and discovery service.

LTI – Learning Tools Interoperability, a standard created by the IMS Global Learning Consortium that connects a learning management system (LMS) with external service tools.

MADS/RDF – Metadata Authority Description Schema in Resource Description Framework, a data model for authority records.

MeSH– Medical Subject Headings, a US National Library of Medicine (NLM) vocabulary used as an authority file for cataloging.

METS – Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard, a standard for encoding descriptive, administrative, and structural metadata regarding objects within a digital library.

MFHD – Multi-Format Holdings Data, a holdings record containing location and call number (sometimes pronounced “muffhead”).

MODS – Metadata Object Description Schema, a schema for a bibliographic element set that may be used for a variety of purposes, and particularly for library applications.

NCIP – NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol, a standard used to help share resources between libraries (also known as Z39.83).

NISO – National Information Standards Organization, a US-based publisher of technical standards including OpenURL, SUSHI, Z39.50, and Recommended Practices such as the Open Discovery Initiative (ODI) and KBART.

OA – Open Access, or infrequently OpenAthens.

OAI-ORE – Open Archives Initiative Object Reuse and Exchange, standards for the description and exchange of aggregations of Web resources.

OAI-PMH – Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting, a model for extracting metadata from an open repository.

OAuth – Open Authorization, “An open protocol to allow secure authorization in a simple and standard method from web, mobile and desktop applications”.

OCLC – Online Computer Library Center, Inc., a nonprofit provider of library services for cataloging, discovery, and resource sharing.

OCR – Optical Character Recognition, the process of converting scanned text into text-based documents for reading and indexing.

OER – Open Educational Resources, freely accessible materials such as open access textbooks, articles, and educational videos.

ORCID – Open Researcher and Contributor ID, a unique and persistent digital identifier.

OWL – Web Ontology Language, “a Semantic Web language designed to represent rich and complex knowledge about things, groups of things, and relations between things”.

PDA – Patron Driven Acquisition, see DDA (Demand-Driven Acquisition).

PII – Personally identifiable information.

PURL – Persistent Uniform Resource Locator.

RA21 – Resource Access for the 21st Century, a NISO and STM initiative to provide seamless access to electronic resources.

RDA – Resource Description and Access, a unified cataloging standard which is replacing AACR2 and based on FRBR (see above).

RDF – Resource Description Framework, a W3C standard for describing Web data.

RDM – Research Data Management.

ReST – Representational State Transfer, the software architectural style of the Web.

RFID – Radio Frequency Identification Technology, the wireless use of electromagnetic fields to transfer data from tags typically affixed to print library materials.

RFP – Request for Proposal.

RTA – Real Time Availability.

SaaS – Software as a Service.

SAML – Security Assertion Markup Language, XML standard for single sign-on (SSO).

SFTP – SSH File Transfer Protocol or Secure File Transfer Protocol, a secure method of uploading and downloading files from a remote server usually using an FTP client. (See also FTP.)

SMS – Short Message Service, for sending text messages on mobile phones.

SOAP – Simple Object Access Protocol, an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard of a Web services access protocol that uses XML, originally developed by Microsoft.

SPARQL – SPARQL Protocol and RDF Query Language, used to retrieve Web data in RDF format.

SQL – Structured Query Language, an ISO standard language used to retrieve or change data in a database, often used within an ILS to run reports.

SSH – Secure Shell, usually used to refer to a remote computer login to run system commands.

SSL – Secure Sockets Layer, a security technology for establishing an encrypted connection between a webserver and a browser, succeeded by Transport Layer Security (TLS).

SSO – Single Sign-on, typically using your institution login credentials to access third-party databases and websites.

SUSHI – Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative.

TLS – Transport Layer Security, a security technology for establishing an encrypted connection between a webserver and a browser, replacing Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

TSV – Tab-Separated Values, data items in a table record consisting of one or more fields, separated by tabs (so the data can contain commas). (See also CSV.)

URI – Uniform Resource Identifier, string of characters that points to a resource (with a URL being the most popular type).

UTF-8 – Unicode Transformation Format 8-bit, a Unicode Standard text character set now used across the Internet and for MARC 21 cataloging, an extension of ASCII.

UX – User eXperience.

VIAF – Virtual International Authority File, a global file of standardized bibliographic creator names with links, by OCLC.

VPAT® – Voluntary Product Accessibility Template®, created by ITI and used by organizations to create an Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR) describing how their websites meet accessibility standards.

VPN – Virtual Private Network, a secure network connection that allows a remote user to access an organization’s internal network.

W3C – World Wide Web Consortium, “an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web”.

WAI-ARIA – Web Accessibility Initiative – Accessible Rich Internet Applications. (See also ARIA.)

WAYF – Where Are You From, a service to connect content providers to Identity Providers (IdP) for federated authentication using your institution’s login.

WCAG – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

XML – eXtensible Markup Language, a language for encoding documents in both a human-readable and machine-readable text format.

XSL – eXtensible Stylesheet Language, a language used to transform and render XML documents.

YAML – YAML Ain’t Markup Language, “a human friendly data serialization
standard for all programming languages”.