Glossary Item Box

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z




Summary of an article, book or publication.


A notification sent by email when new publications or other items meeting your search criteria are added to ProQuest.

The process of identifying an individual or institution, based on IP address or username and password.


A written or printed work of fiction or nonfiction.

To use fewer terms and/or limits in your search criteria. Broadening produces a larger, more general set of results.

Broader Terms

Less restrictive terms associated with a larger set of records.


An identification of the sources used in a paper that would allow others to access and retrieve this material.

To identify the sources used in a paper in a way that would allow others to access and retrieve this material.

Combine Searches
To combine the criteria from two separate saved searches into a single search.

Command Line Search
A search mode that uses Boolean operators to combine a number of different fields within a search.

Controlled Vocabulary

A list of carefully selected words or phrases used to tag documents so you can find them more easily when you search.


A collection of articles, books, images, multimedia, etc. that you can search. Depending on your institution's configuration, there may be one or more databases available.

An option selected by the database if no other option is chosen by you.

A written essay, treatise, or thesis, especially one written by a candidate for a doctoral degree.

Document Type
The type of article published; for example, a literary review or an editorial.

The same document can be available from more than one ProQuest database. This situation gives rise to the term duplicate documents, or simply, duplicates. On the Advanced Search and Command Line Search pages, as well as the My Research: Preferences page, you can specify whether duplicate documents are retrieved in search results.


A book or set of books containing authoritative summary articles and illustrations on various topics, usually in alphabetical order. Encyclopedias may be general, covering all branches of knowledge, or treat comprehensively a particular branch of knowledge.


Field Code
A code you can apply to your search terms that limits the search to specific database fields; for example, AU(Melville).

Full Text
Limits your search to only those articles for which ProQuest has the rights to the entire body of work. Abstract-only articles are not included in this search.


A structured presentation of topics, showing a relative subordinate relationship.



To index a document refers to the editorial process of identifying and storing specific information about a document in a database - such as the document title and its author.


A criterion you can apply to narrow your search to produce fewer, more specific results; for example, Document or Source Type.

Look Up Citation Search
A search mode that finds articles by you entering specific information from the article's citation; for example, author, title or ISBN.


Publications that are issued periodically that typically contain articles by many writers (and often photographs and drawings), frequently specializing in a particular subject or area.


A mnemonic is an abbreviation for indexed search fields that users can search for specific terms or values.

For example: AU(Smith) and space exploration, where AU is the mnemonic for 'author.'

STYPE(scholarly journals) and mining, where STYPE is the mnemonic for 'source type'.

My Research
A personalized area within ProQuest where you can save and organize documents and searches, create lists and tags to share and set preferences.


To use more terms and/or limits in your search criteria. Narrowing produces a smaller, more specific set of results.

Narrower Terms

More restrictive terms associated with a larger set of records.

A serial publication that is usually printed on newsprint and issued on a regular basis, such as daily or weekly. A newspaper commonly contains news (often of local interest), editorial comments, regular columns, letters to the editor, cartoons, and advertising.


An operator (or search operator) specifies relationships between your search terms.


PDF, an acronym for Portable Document Format, is the Adobe Acrobat document type (.pdf). A PDF document is either a scanned image of an article or an electronic copy of an article.

Peer Reviewed
A publication is considered to be peer reviewed if its articles go through an official editorial process that involves review and approval by the author's peers (people who are experts in the same subject area.) Most (but not all) scholarly publications are peer reviewed. Some trade publications are actually peer reviewed, but ProQuest does not consider them when filtering on peer reviewed. This is because getting results from trade publications instead of academic journals can be frustrating to researchers. Instead, ProQuest excludes these peer reviewed trade publications and only considers publications that are scholarly in terms of content, intent, and audience.

A type of publication that is issued at regularly recurring intervals; for example, a magazine or journal. 


Recent Sets
Recent sets are the searches you’ve run during your current session. When you save a search, you can elect to save recent sets with it. If the search you are saving references any recent sets—for example, if your search is s1 OR s3—those sets (the first and third searches you ran during your session)—are automatically selected for you on the Save Search page. You can optionally save additional recent sets with your search.

An online research management, citation and bibliography tool that is integrated with My Research.

Related Terms
Similar terms suggested for use with your search.

An option for sorting results that causes the items most closely matching your search criteria to appear at the top of the results list.

A publication that records an account of an event, situation, speech, debate, meeting, etc

An acronym for "Really Simple Syndication", RSS is an XML based syndication format that is used to easily disseminate news and other web content through the internet to users that subscribe to a RSS feed.


Scholarly Journal
Scholarly journals are published for an academic audience by a recognized society with academic goals and missions.

Scope Notes
Notes that contain information about the use of a subject heading. The scope note may contain a definition of the subject, the year the subject term came into use and other important information.

Search Alert
This alert notifies you when new documents that match your search are available in ProQuest.

Search Field
A discrete bit of indexed information—such as Author, Document Title, or Subject Heading—about individual documents.

Search Strategy

A search strategy is made up of the terms, limiters, and other user-specified search criteria that collectively allow the user to accomplish the research goals of a session. The search strategy can be as short as a single focused search, or may run to dozens of successive searches (also referred to as sets) that iteratively narrow or broaden the focus of the search strategy.

Search Within

A feature that lets you narrow your search by specifying additional search terms to look for within the currently displayed results list.


A session begins when you click your institution's link to ProQuest, or when you log in with a username and password. Your session ends automatically after 30 minutes of inactivity, or when you click End Session.


A set is a search and its corresponding results. Run a search and you create a set.

Source Type
The type of publication that an article was published in; for example, a book, newspaper, or journal.

Subject Areas
Collections of databases with related subject content that can be searched together as a group. An example of a subject area would be "The Arts" or "Health & Medicine". 

The process by which data is moved from your ProQuest folders to your RefWorks account. Synchronizing is used when you want to add or remove content, and keeps the contents of both your RefWorks and ProQuest folders the same.


An alphabetical listing of all the subject terms in a single database, used to classify and organize information for that database.

A dissertation on a particular subject, based on original research, written when the author is a candidate for a diploma or degree.

Trade Journal

A periodic publication dedicated to distributing news and information of interest to a specific target industry or business. Trade journals are often published by a trade association.

Truncation Character

A truncation character is an asterisk character, used in a search query to substitute for many characters. For example, a search for nurse* will find the terms nurse, nurses and nursed.


Use For
A phrase found in a thesaurus that points you to a synonymous concept that is an authorized thesaurus term.

Use Instead
A phrase that points you to a preferred thesaurus terms for your search.


Wildcard Character

A question mark symbol used in a search query to stand in for one or more characters. For example, a search for sm?th will find the terms smith and smyth.

Copyright © 2011 ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.