This glossary aims to explain some of the words that we use frequently on our web site and databases including library and technical terms and acronyms.

For More Definitions

Try the Oxford English Dictionary online or other dictionaries.

Software that (usually secretly) installs on your computer which will try to feed you advertising and/or track your activity and send the information back to its originators. See also spyware.
Bestseller refers to a collection of popular books which are charged for. See our Bestseller collection page for more information.
The software that you use to 'browse' the web. Widely used browsers include Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari & Netscape.
Compact Disc.
Compact Disc - Read Only Memory. A Compact Disc designed to be read by a computer.
Stands for Community INformation CHristchurch - our database of local clubs, community organisations and courses. Search CINCH.
The term citation refers to the content of certain databases where only a short description of an article is available rather than the full text. The description will include information on the source of the article which you can ask us to locate for you.
Cookies are small data files stored by web sites on your computer so that they can save and read information such as your log-in. 
Christchurch City Libraries owns and/or subscribes to a wide range of online resources that you can search for information sourced from newspapers, magazines, academic journals, encyclopedias and other reference books. Find them all listed in our eResources.
Digital Versatile Disc.
English as a Second Language.
Stories, novels or other works that present imaginary people, places and events.
Software (or in some cases hardware) that you install to sit between your computer and the internet and check all incoming and outgoing traffic for security problems.
Full-text refers to the content of certain databases where the entire text of the article (often with related images) is available rather than just a short citation.
Grey Literature
Material that is not commercially published such as technical reports, working papers, business documents, and conference proceedings.
People who write software to try to get access to other people's computers.
The physical components of a computer system.
Also referred to as a reserve or request. A copy will be held for you for a period of time when it becomes available (there may be a queue). See placing a hold for more information.
Instant Messaging (IM)
Instant messaging software allows people to have a real-time typed conversation across the internet. It is very popular but can require a lessened level of security on your computer.
Internet Service Provider (ISP)
The company that you purchase your internet access from e.g. Xtra, Paradise etc.
International Standard Book Number.
International Standard Music Number.
International Standard Serial Number.
Words only, no music.
A macron is a diacritical mark used in the Māori language over certain vowels to indicate a longer sound.
Material Type
Catalogue term. Christchurch City Libraries holds many different types of items such as CDs, DVDs, magazines, photographs, manuscripts etc. These are referred to as different materials in the catalogue.
Miniature score
Like an orchestral score, but printed in miniature.
Non-fiction works contain information that is factual or real e.g. science, history etc.
Office applications
Office applications available on our public computers include the entire Open Office suite (Writer: a word processor, Calc: a spreadsheet, Impress: multimedia presentations, Draw: a drawing package, Base a database package, Math creates mathematical equations) and Microsoft Office Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Publisher. These are free to use and are availble on our Pay PCs and Free PCs in libraries which have the Pharos system.
Acronym for Online Public Access Catalogue which replaced card catalogues in the late 1980s.
Orchestral score
What a conductor uses, with the part played by each instrument of the orchestra given in full.
Portable Document Format: a file format developed by Adobe that allows the transfer of information from any software programme in a standard format. For more information see the Adobe web site.
A system for booking computers in our libraries and paying for services such as internet access, printing and photocopying.
A type of internet scam which tries to convince you, usually through a spam email, to give someone your log-in details for your bank account. Emails may appear to come from a legitimate source such as your bank or PayPal, Ebay etc, but the web site that you are directed to, while possibly looking authentic, actually sends your details to a criminal who can then use them to access your account.
Personal Identification Number. Information about library PINs.
A piece of software that works with your browser to allow you to view or use certain types of files e.g. videos.
Podcasting is a specific form of download where the files are contained in an RSS feed. To get the file the user subscribes to the RSS feed with a special podcast reader which will download any new files as they are added to the feed.
Public domain
A work in which copyright has expired or is not valid. Copyright Protection in New Zealand.
Used for rehearsal of concertos, that is one instrument plus orchestra, for those who do not have a private orchestra to rehearse with. Consists of the soloist’s part, plus the orchestra’s part arranged, or “reduced”, for piano.
Reference or Reference Only
Items marked Reference in the catalogue are only available for viewing in libraries and may not be borrowed.
Really Simple Syndication: a way of providing content or summaries of web content in a simple format. More about RSS feeds.
In the catalogue this is usually a reference from an unpreferred term (author, title, subject, series) to a preferred one.
Sets of parts - for chamber music
Up to about eight separate performers, each requiring just that bit of the whole that they themselves will play. Usually consists of separate sheets of music, tucked into a folder.
Sets of parts - for orchestral or choral music
More than about nine performers, with groups of musicians playing or singing the same music as each other. Included with the set will be one orchestral score, for the conductor to use.
Indicates that the preceding mis-spelling is in the original text.
A computer program.
Junk email, including advertising and phishing emails. The sheer volume of spam is the main issue.
Software that (usually secretly) installs on your computer which tracks your activity and send the information back to its originators. See also adware.
Closed storage used for special materials and less often used items. Items can be requested from Stack by putting a hold on the item.
Standing order
A standing order is set up to automatically buy material certain authors or publishers produce.
Store and Store 2
Our stores are locations with no public access. They provide extra storage space for the library. You can place holds on most titles from this collection for borrowing. Reference only items can be brought in for viewing - please ask a librarian to arrange this for you.
Streaming is a technology that allows you to listen to a audio file as if to a radio station (or watch a video), only over the internet. The music is sent to the listener's computer in a 'stream' but they cannot collect it i.e. there is no file left on their computer, so they have to listen to (or watch) it as it streams.
Tagged Image File Format: an electronic graphics format often used for archival standard images.
Software that (usually secretly) installs on your computer which allows access to your machine by the originator of the software (a hacker).
See also adware, spyware.
A book, or nowadays often a book plus tape/CD/video, that teaches you how to play an instrument. May contain exercises, but generally not any “real” music to play.
Universal Serial Bus. An external peripheral interface standard for communication between a computer and external peripherals such as keyboard, mouse, memory drives over low-cost cable using serial transmission.
Uniform Resource Locator. Address of an internet item. All URLs consist of the protocol (e.g. http:// ftp:// https:// etc) and the address (e.g. or
A vCard is an 'electronic business card' - it's in a format that is widely used for contact information. If you open one on a computer with contacts handling software such as Microsoft Outlook it will open as a contact which you can then save to Outlook.
Video content provided through a RSS news feed.
Software that (usually secretly) installs on your computer which then replicates and sends copies of itself to other people's systems - often through your email. The software may include features such as spyware, trojans or may have distructive consequences for infected machines e.g. may destroy files etc.
Vocal score
Has all the parts for singers, plus an accompaniment for piano of a complete work. This will usually be an arrangement for piano of the music originally written for a complete orchestra.
Vocal selections
As above, but selected songs only, not the complete thing. Usually lacks all the twiddly linking bits that allow a complete performance to be put on. Big, money-making shows are usually published in this form only, so that pirate productions cannot be staged.
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