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Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science

by Joan M. Reitz
Now available in print! Order a copy of the hardcover or paperback from Libraries Unlimited.

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Money paid to an employee for the total number of hours worked in a given period (weekly, biweekly, monthly), computed at an hourly rate. Library staff employed part-time are usually paid by the hour. Compare with salary. See also: overtime.

A style of limp leather binding in which the lower cover of the book extends beyond the sections in a flap, as wide as the fore-edge, that folds over and is fastened by a clasp or a tongue designed to fit into a slot in the upper cover. See also: flap binding.

wall map
A map on any scale designed to be legible to the human eye from a distance when hung on a wall, as decoration or for practical use. Wall maps are usually mounted in a frame or suspended from a rod or hooks inserted through grommets along the upper edge. Wall maps intended for military or other field operations may be given a special coating or laminated for protection. To see examples, try

The decorative background pattern or image against which windows, menus, icons, and other visual elements are displayed and manipulated in a graphical user interface (GUI), usually created in JPEG or GIF file format. Some systems allow the user to select a wallpaper from a variety of different designs. Files of wallpaper designs are also available online from third parties. Wallpapers can be custom-designed to display a distinctive element, such as a logo, trademark, or other symbol of institutional identity. Compare with screen saver.

wall planner
A large calendar designed to be displayed on a wall, with sufficient blank space to allow events and activities to be recorded by date.

wall shelving
Single-sided shelving placed against a wall and sometimes attached to it, as opposed to free-standing shelving (usually double-sided) designed to stand on its own away from a wall or other support. Shelving of both types is manufactured in sections to allow libraries to assemble ranges of varying length.

wanted poster
A broadside or poster describing one or more criminals or suspects sought by law enforcement agencies, often including one or more identification photographs and sometimes fingerprints (see this example). Some include offers of reward for information provided (see this historic example). Synonymous with reward poster.

warehouse shelving
Library shelving with extra-deep shelves, capable of storing books 3 to 4 rows deep, used only in closed access collections to save space. According to Ruth Fraley and Carol Lee Anderson in Library Space Planning (Neal-Schuman, 1990), a section of warehouse shelving 30 inches deep and 36 inches wide with 7 shelves can store up to 63 linear feet of materials 3 rows deep and 84 linear feet 4 rows deep, compared with 42 linear feet for a double-faced section of standard library shelving, with the space gain outweighing additional floor space required. They note that although warehouse shelving is less attractive and not as flexible as standard shelving, it is the most efficient means of storing manuscripts.

war fiction
An imaginary narrative of action occurring in or near a battlefield, or in a civilian setting (home front) affected by armed conflict. War fiction has a very long history, beginning with the ancient Greek epic The Iliad, the Old English saga Beowulf, and the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. More recent classics include the novels War and Peace [1869] by Leo Tolstoy and The Red Badge of Courage [1895] by Stephen Crane. Synonymous with military fiction.

war film
A feature film in which the dramatic narrative is set during wartime, usually in or near a land, air, or naval battle, with characters who are engaged in the military campaign (example: Grand Illusion [1937] directed by Jean Renoir). In an anti-war film, the pain and suffering of war are depicted, sometimes from a political or ideological perspective (example: The Bridge [1959] directed by Bernhard Wicki).

war map
A map made for use by a nation's armed forces in the prosecution of a war, sometimes showing battle fronts and troop movements. The category also includes maps made to illustrate the course or consequences of a war, usually to the public (see this example). War maps intended for official use generally remain classified until after the war has ended. When made for use in the field, they may be printed on cloth (or some other flexible material) and treated to make them water-repellent (see this example, courtesy of the Library of Congress). Click here to view a collection of World War I and World War II maps, courtesy of the Osher Map Library, University of Southern Maine.

A twist or bend in a book cover that occurs after binding or casing, severe enough to prevent the volume from lying flat, usually caused by dampness (click here and here to see examples). In newly bound books, the condition may be caused by differences in the expansion and/or contraction of the materials used in the case or cover. Warping can be minimized in binding by using well-dried boards, endpapers with the grain running from head to foot, and adhesives of low water content and by proper pressing. In libraries, it is controlled by storing books in a dry, well-ventilated place. See also: bowed.

war poetry
Poems written in wartime on the subject of war, often by poets who served as soldiers or officers. Some died in combat (example: Rupert Brooke during World War I); others survived but were damaged psychologically by their experiences.

war poster
A poster designed to rally support for military or civilian war efforts, for example, by encouraging enlistment, volunteering, or the purchase of government bonds (see this example). The category includes war propaganda posters (example). Anti-war posters are considered protest posters.

A written document authorizing or certifying something, such as the payment or receipt of money. In law, a writ signed by the appropriate authority, authorizing a specific action, such as an arrest or search and seizure. In the United States, a warrant is presented to the person against whom legal action is to be taken. Because warrants often pertain to serious legal matters, they can be of considerable historical significance. Click here to see the warrant of James I, releasing Sir Walter Raleigh from the Tower on January 30, 1617 (Folger Shakespeare Library), and here to see the death warrant for the execution of John J. Kehoe on November 18, 1878, signed by Pennsylvania Governor John F. Hartranft and Secretary of the Commonwealth Matthew Quay (Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission). See also: literary warrant and user warrant.

A fixed period of time, specified in the sales agreement, during which the seller is obliged to repair or replace a piece of equipment that does not function properly or make good faulty workmanship. Once the warranty period has expired, the purchaser must pay for repairs unless a maintenance contract has been signed. As a general rule, length of warranty is an indication of the manufacturer's confidence in the product. In a more general sense, a legally binding guarantee, often providing a specific remedy if its terms are not met.

wash drawing
A drawing made with diluted ink, tempera, or watercolor applied with a brush to a broad area of paper or canvas, leaving no visible brush strokes because the brush contains a large amount of solvent and comparatively little pigment--a technique first used by the 15th century Italian painters Sandro Botticelli and Leonardo da Vinci. Usually monochromatic or in two colors, such as brown and gray, the semi-transparent wash provides color, depth, and volume when used in conjunction with pen or pencil lines to provide definition (see this 18th-century example by François-André Vincent).

A labor-intensive preservation technique in which an item printed on paper, such as a map or print, is treated with a mild chemical solution under the care of a professional restorer to remove stains, writing, foxing, or acid, then pressed and resized. For bound publications, the process usually requires pulling and rebinding.

In photography, immersion of a print in clean running water during the developing process to remove fixatives. Improperly washed photographic prints eventually discolor and deteriorate.

waste sheet
A sheet of paper tipped to the outside of the book block over the permanent endpaper to protect it from damage, to be cut out at the completion of binding. Special instructions for binding might also be written on it. According to Etherington and Roberts (Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology), the waste sheet was originally printed, for purposes of identification, with an abbreviated title and eventually became known as the half title page. They note that the term was also used for the sheet bearing advertisements and blurbs, formerly found at the front and back of some publications.

A graphic work executed in water-soluble pigment, usually applied with a brush onto a support such as vellum, canvas, or dampened paper, in a technique that pre-dates oil painting. As the water evaporates, the pigment becomes translucent, allowing light reflected from the supporting surface to give the work the appearance of luminosity. The term includes fresco and tempera, as well as aquarelle. Watercolor was used in medieval illuminated manuscripts to brilliant effect (see this example). The medium became particularly popular in England, where its greatest masters were John Constable (example) and J.M.W. Turner (example). Click here to see additional examples, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum. Also spelled watercolour. See also: gouache.

Library materials that have been exposed to wet or damp conditions, usually as a result of leakage, flooding, or accident. Exposure of print materials to moisture can cause swelling, warping, staining, and subsequent contamination with mildew and mold, damage that is very difficult to repair (click here and here to see examples). The leaves of publications printed on coated paper often fuse when wet, a problem that can be prevented by freezing and vacuum drying the damaged item. The University of Illinois Library provides Tips for Saving Water-Damaged Items.

A faintly translucent papermaker's mark, consisting of lettering and/or an emblematic design that can be seen faintly in a sheet of quality paper when it is held up to a light source (see this example). In hand papermaking, the design is made by sewing or soldering twisted wire to the mold, causing the layer of moist fiber to be thinner over the wire. In mechanized papermaking, the wire is impressed on the moist fiber by a cylinder called the dandy roll before the sheet is sent through a sequence of drying rolls.

Watermarks were originally intended to identify and date the source of production but in time came to designate paper size. Modern watermarks are sometimes used to provide security against forgery. The paper used in a deluxe edition may be watermarked to indicate that it was made especially for the edition. Click here to learn more about watermarks, courtesy of David Badke. To see images of this elusive form of pictorial art, try a search on the term "unicorn" in Watermarks in Incunabula Printed in the Low Countries, a database maintained by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek. Synonymous with papermark. See also: countermark.

In word processing, a design or lettering printed in a shade of gray across a page, over which the text appears to be superimposed, for example, the word "Draft" to indicate that the text is not the final version. A digital watermark is a sequence of bits skillfully embedded in a data file, such as an audio CD or motion picture on DVD, to help identify the source of copies manufactured or distributed in violation of copyright.

Resistant to the penetration of liquid water under certain conditions, as in the case of a plastic book cover.

The condition of a book or other printed publication that has leaves or binding discolored by contact with water (see this example). See also: water-damaged.

water tear
Paper separated along a moistened line to give the tear a soft, uneven, feathered edge as the fibers gently pull apart without breaking, a technique used in making delicate paste repairs in books and other print materials.

wax cylinder
An early sound recording medium developed in the late 1870s by Thomas Edison in which tiny indentations were made in grooves on the outside surface of a cylinder, which could be played back as sound on a phonograph. Edison first used cylinders made of tinfoil but later switched to hard wax. The cylinders are about 2 inches in diameter, 4 inches long, and very brittle (click here to see an example or try a search on the keywords "wax cylinders" in Google Images). By 1910, the Edison Speaking Company was the only major sound recording company still making cylinders--all the other manufacturers had switched to disk phonograph records, which were less expensive to produce and could be recorded on both sides. Because the voices of some historically important people are recorded only on early wax cylinders, efforts are underway to preserve them for research.

Click here to learn more about the history of the Edison Cylinder Phonograph, courtesy of A massive Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project is in progress at the University of California, Santa Barbara. For additional information, try or Phonograph Cylinders: A Beginner's Guide by Tim Gracyk. The Library of Congress recommends that wax cylinders be at room temperature when handled because the thermal shock from the warmth of the hand can cause a cold cylinder to shatter. Also, the grooves should not be touched because of susceptibility to mold (insert fingers in the center hole).

wax engraving
A relief process, used mainly for printing maps and charts, in which the positive image is drawn on or transferred to a copper plate coated with a uniformly thin layer of wax, from which the master printing plate is cast electrolytically (see this example). Click here to learn more about the wax engraving process.

wax paper
Paper manufactured from chemical pulp, made moisture-proof by a thin coating of wax. Paper impregnated or coated with a layer of purified beeswax was used in the 19th century, but today wax paper is made with paraffin. Also spelled waxed paper. Synonymous with paraffin paper.

Web accessibility
The ease with which Internet resources available via the World Wide Web can be used by people who experience difficulty in reading print, due to learning disabilities, visual impairment, or some other physical disability. In 1998, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was amended to include Section 508, modeled after the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative's (WAI) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to require the information technology tools of government agencies and information services to adhere to the WAI guidelines. Most institutions of higher education and many online content providers in the United States have voluntarily adopted the guidelines. For more about this topic, see the article Digital Discrimination by Jim Blansett in the August 2008 issue of Library Journal.

Web browser
Client software that interprets the hypertext (HTML) code in which Web pages are written and allows documents and other data files available over the Internet to be viewed in graphical, as opposed to text-only, format (example: Internet Explorer from Microsoft). The appearance of a Web page may vary slightly depending on the type and version of browser used to view it.

A video camera connected to a computer or computer network, enabling the computer to act as a videophone or videoconferencing station in real time (see this example). First developed in 1991, Webcams are also used in security surveillance, giving rise to concerns about privacy.

Simultaneous transmission of live or delayed audio or video programming over the World Wide Web to all who own the equipment necessary to receive it, the Internet counterpart of broadcasting via radio or television. In a narrower sense, to send the same Web-based content (audio, video, graphics, text) to a group of Internet users, based on their individual needs or interests. The receiver must install special software known as plug-ins (RealPlayer, Apple QuickTime, Windows Media Player, etc.). Synonymous with netcast. Compare with webinar.

Web citation
A written reference to a document accessed via the World Wide Web, usually including the address (URL) of the Web page and the date of retrieval. Accepted formats vary, depending on academic discipline. Compare the following examples:

American Psychological Association (APA)
Milius, S. (2005, July 23). Meat-eating caterpillar: It hunts snails and ties them down. Science News Online,
168, 51. Retrieved August 30, 2005, from

Modern Language Association (MLA)
Milius, Susan. "Meat-Eating Caterpillar: It Hunts Snails and Ties Them Down." Science News Online
23 July 2005. 30 August 30, 2005 <>

An enhanced version of the full Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) database available to full members and partial users of OCLC in conjunction with the CORC online cataloging project, WebDewey can be used to generate proposed Dewey class numbers for Web pages and other electronic resources. The system is also available in an abridged version. Click here to learn more about WebDewey.

A portmanteau term coined from Web-based seminar. A live lecture, presentation, workshop, or seminar delivered online via the Internet. Webinars are interactive, allowing participants to send, receive, and discuss information, in contrast to webcasts in which data is transmitted one-way from presenter to audience. Simultaneous audio communication can be achieved in a webinar via telephone or speaker phone; or, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology may be used to make the session completely Web-based.

Web index
A search engine that organizes Web sites by subject content in a hierarchy of subject categories, from the most general to the most specific. For example, links to Web sites for "library and information science organizations" are listed in Yahoo! under:

Library and Information Science

The URL of a category in a Web index often reflects the hierarchical structure, as in:

An enumerative list of digital resources on a specific topic or subject, available in print or on the Web (example: A Poe Webliography by Heyward Ehrlich). Typically, the URLs of any Web sites included in the resource list are embedded in the HTML document, enabling the user to connect to the site by clicking on its hypertext link. The OCLC CORC project is creating a database of electronic pathfinders to assist librarians in integrating and organizing their print and digital topic-specific resource guides. Also known as a subject gateway.

An informal shorthand form of English used for online communication in text messaging, chat rooms, and e-mail. Its characteristic features include omission of apostrophes and capitalization, extensive use of abbreviations, and rapid assimilation of newly coined words. Synonymous with chatspeak.

A Web page that provides frequent continuing publication of Web links and/or comments on a specific topic or subject (broad or narrow in scope), often in the form of short entries arranged in reverse chronological order, the most recently added piece of information appearing first. An example in the field of library and information science is, which accepts postings from its readers. A list of library Weblog sites is maintained by Peter Scott on Libdex. Click here to learn more about blogs, courtesy of HowStuffWorks. Also spelled Web log. Synonymous with blog. The process of maintaining a Weblog is known as blogging.

The individual responsible for managing and maintaining a Web site, often the person who designed it, whose name usually appears near the bottom of the main page or welcome screen, usually with a contact link. In libraries, the Webmaster may be the systems librarian, a "techie," or a person who has acquired a knowledge of HTML and Web servers. Click here to connect to Web4Lib Electronic Discussion, an electronic mailing list for library-based World Wide Web managers. Synonymous with Web manager.

An online public access catalog (OPAC) that uses a graphical user interface (GUI) accessible via the World Wide Web, as opposed to a text-based interface accessible via Telnet.

Web page
An electronic document written in HTML script, stored on a Web server and accessible using Web browser software at a unique Internet address (URL), usually one of a group of related, interlinked files that together comprise a Web site. A Web page may include formatted text, graphic material, audio and/or video elements, and links to other files on the Internet. Click here to learn more about Web pages, courtesy of HowStuffWorks. See also: personal Web page.

Web server
A system capable of providing Internet access to Web-based resources and services in response to requests from client computers on which Web browser software is installed. A Web server includes the necessary hardware and also the operating system, TCP/IP protocols, server software, and information content of the Web sites installed on it. Web server software is designed to accept requests from users to download HTML text, image, and audio files. Click here to learn more about Web servers, courtesy of HowStuffWorks. See also: client-server.

Web site
A group of related, interlinked Web pages installed on a Web server and accessible 24 hours a day to Internet users equipped with browser software. Most Web sites are created to represent the online presence of a company, organization, or institution or are the work of a group or individual. The main page or welcome screen, called the homepage, usually displays the title of the site, the name of the person (or persons) responsible for creating and maintaining it, and date of last update. Also spelled Website and website. See also: mirror site and spoof site.

A Microsoft trademark applied to technology that enables the user to search the Web via television, rather than a PC. A set-top box is installed containing an analog modem designed to make the connection to the Internet via a telephone line and convert data to a format that can be displayed on the television monitor, with navigation by handheld remote control device or optional keyboard. To gain access, the user must establish an account with an Internet service provider. Synonymous with Internet TV.

Web widget
In computing, a small stand-alone piece of reusable application code that can be shared and embedded in any third-party HTML-based Web page without requiring additional compilation, for example, Meebo Me!, a chat box that allows Web page authors to converse in real time with site visitors. Other examples include link counters, clocks, advertising banners, daily weather reports, stock market tickers, event countdowns, etc. Web widgets are usually written in DHTML, JavaScript, or Adobe Flash. Although the host controls placement of a widget, it has no control over content. Used synonymously with badge, snippet, and webjit.

A typeface with serifs that are triangular in shape, also known as latin (see this example). Wedge-shaped serifs are also found in medieval manuscripts written in Insular majuscule script from about A.D. 550 to 900.

A bound volume noticeably thicker at the spine than at the fore-edge, a condition caused by 1) excessive sewing swell, 2) compensation guards too thick for the inserted material, or 3) or guards made of paper that is too thick. The term is also used for books with the fore-edge thicker than the spine, a condition usually caused by swelling of the leaves or by one or more improperly folded inserts. (Adapted from Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology by Matt Roberts and Don Etherington).

The process of examining items in a library collection title by title to identify for permanent withdrawal those that meet pre-established weeding criteria, especially when space in the stacks is limited. Public libraries usually weed routinely on the basis of circulation. In academic libraries, weeding is done less frequently, usually only when the shelves become overcrowded, in anticipation of a move or an accreditation review, or when a significant change occurs in curriculum, such as the elimination of a major. Weeding should be undertaken judiciously because out of print titles can be difficult to replace. Compare with deselection. See also: exchange and green weeding.

weeding criteria
Factors considered by one or more librarians in deciding whether an item should be permanently removed from a library collection or retained, usually in the context of a structured weeding project. The most universally accepted criteria are based on the condition or physical appearance of the item. Most librarians also find it easy to agree on weeding duplicate copies that are no longer needed. Weeding based on date of publication usually depends on the importance of currency for a particular category of material (examples: textbooks and curriculum materials), type of collection (reference or circulating), or subject area (medical encyclopedias, travel guides, etc.). Weeding based on content is more problematic because it involves subjective judgment. Public libraries are most likely to weed on the basis of usage. In academic libraries, faculty members in the teaching departments are often asked to assist in establishing appropriate weeding criteria for research collections. For detailed lists of weeding criteria, see Weeding Library Collections: Library Weeding Methods by Stanley J. Slote (Libraries Unlimited, 1997). See also: shelf-time.

Issued once a week. Also refers to a serial issued once a week (example: Publishers Weekly). Most newsmagazines and some newspapers are published weekly (Newsweek and Barron's).

The relative thickness of a typeface, which determines how dark it will appear on the printed page, indicated typographically by gradation (extra-light, light, semi-light, medium, semi-bold, bold, extra-bold, and ultra-bold). In selecting an appropriate weight of type for a proposed publication, the typographer considers grade of paper, type of ink, and method of printing. Most books are printed in medium type, with bold or semi-bold used for headings and emphasis.

Also refers to the basis on which a unit of paper, such as a ream, is sold in the market place. The M-weight of a given size of paper is the weight of 1,000 sheets, measured in pounds. See also: basis weight.

Use of an algorithm to predict the relevance of documents retrieved in a search, usually based on the frequency of search terms and their location in the bibliographic record (in title, descriptors, abstract, or text), often expressed as a percentage. Weighting allows scored records to be presented to the searcher in ranked order.

welcome screen
The first screen a user encounters upon logging on to a database, Web site, or application program (see this example). A well-designed welcome screen gives the title, scope and coverage, name of author and/or producer, host, and a basic set of options, with instructions for using the system and a link to a more detailed help screen if needed. A well-designed interface includes a direct link back to the welcome screen on all subordinate screens.

A work of fiction (novel, short story, etc.), motion picture, or television program or series in which adventure is the primary theme; narrative is secondary to setting (the 19th-century American West); and the characters are typically cowboys, frontiersmen, outlaws, ranchers, miners, settlers, and indigenous people. In series westerns, the hero is often a lawman. In movie westerns, the hero usually wears a light-colored Stetson and the villain a black hat. As Diana Tixier Herald notes in Genreflecting: A Guide to Reading Interests in Genre Fiction (Libraries Unlimited, 2000), "The appeal of this genre is worldwide, based on a dream of freedom in a world of unspoiled nature, a world independent of the trammels of restraining society." The audience for western fiction is predominantly male. Compare, in this respect, with romance. Click here to see a copy of The Virginian by Owen Wister, a seminal work that established many of the conventions of the western genre (Library of Congress). See also: singing cowboy.

Western European Studies Section (WESS)
Established in 1973, WESS is the section of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) within the American Library Association (ALA) representing librarians who are professionally involved in the selection, acquisition, organization, and use of information sources originating in or related to the countries of Western Europe. WESS aims to facilitate the enhancement of library services in support of study and research in Western European affairs from ancient times to the present. Click here to connect to WESSWeb.

wet gate printing
A method of printing motion picture film in which the original film is passed briefly through a chemical solution just prior to exposure that fills in any scratches and abrasions, especially on the base side, to prevent them from showing on the new film stock. A wet gate can be incorporated into either a film printer or a telecine used to transfer images on film to videotape. In liquid gate printing, the film moves through a liquid-filled glass cell at time of exposure, filling in any scratches and preventing refracted light from reproducing them on the fresh stock.

wet strength paper
Paper manufactured from cellulose, which remains strong even when wet because resin is added to the pulp. Compare with synthetic paper.

wheel binding
A style of leather binding developed during the 18th century by Scottish binders in which the center of the cover is embellished with a circular design in the shape of a wheel, with spokes radiating from a central point. The style may have evolved from fan binding, popular throughout Europe during the 17th century. Click here to see an example with a foliate border (Special Collections, Glasgow University Library, Bm5-f.6). To view other examples, try a search on the keyword "wheel" in the British Library's Database of Bookbindings.

A binding method in which the sewing thread is passed over and over the spine, often used in early pamphlets (see this example).

A modern version of the erasable chalkboard, with a surface that is white, rather than the traditional black or green, made of a smooth material that can be written upon with dry-erase marking pens in various colors, easy to erase and not as messy as chalk. However, the plastic pens cannot be refilled and become nonbiodegradable waste. Whiteboards are available from library suppliers in reversible free-standing and single-sided wall-mountable models (see this example). Porcelain steel models are available for use with magnets. Synonymous with markerboard. See also: interactive whiteboard.

white letter
A term used in early printing for roman type, as opposed to gothic or black letter.

white line
In printing, a line of spacing equal in depth to a line of printed matter, used before and after headings, long quotations, etc., to set them apart from the text.

white noise
Random sound on a broadcast transmitter, which may distort other signals. Systems designed to generate white noise are used to block distractions, protect privacy, mask tinnitus, and aid sleep. Synonymous with static.

white out
To print text as white lettering against a black or dark-colored background. Also, to paint out copy on artwork during layout to prevent it from reproducing and to delete typewritten words or characters from a hard copy using white correcting fluid.

white pages
The portion of a telephone directory in which the names, phone numbers, and street addresses of individuals residing in a specific city, town, or geographic area are listed alphabetically by surname, usually preceding the classified section (yellow pages) listing similar information for businesses and other organizations. White pages available on the Internet sometimes include e-mail addresses (example:

white paper
An official government report on any subject, especially one summarizing the results of an investigation or important policy decision of the British Parliament (see this example adopted by the European Commission). Compare in this sense with green paper. The term is also used to refer to an authoritative report on a topic in technology, such as a new line of product development, sometimes available online, usually written by a person employed by a research company or vendor or by an independent consultant. Click here to connect to IT Papers, a digital library of technical white papers, webcasts, and case studies in information technology.

white space
In printing, any area of a page (other than the margins) not occupied by type matter or illustration, for example, the unfilled space at the end of each line of a poem or at the end of a chapter. Compare with blank. See also: fat matter and lean matter.

In medieval manuscripts, a border motif developed in the 15th century by the Italian humanists, composed of an interlace pattern of vine stems made to appear light in color by applying paint to the surrounding background and leaving the vine unpainted, allowing the bare surface of the parchment or paper to show through. Michelle Brown notes in Understanding Illuminated Manuscripts (Getty Museum/British Library, 1994) that the technique was a conscious imitation of 12th-century Italian manuscripts mistaken for works of Antiquity. Click here to view a Florentine example on vellum (Schøyen Collection, MS 1369) and here to see the same technique used on a 12th-century inhabited initial letter (Leaves of Gold). Click here and here and here to browse white-vine borders and initials in other 15th-century Italian manuscripts, courtesy of the British Library. Italian: bianchi girari. Synonymous with whitevine interlace.

white-vine initial
An initial letter in a medieval manuscript, decorated with an interlace pattern of vines stems made to appear light in color by applying paint of contrasting color to the surrounding background while leaving the vine unpainted, a technique that makes the bare surface of the underlying support (parchment, vellum, or paper) an important design element. Click here and here to see examples of white-vine initials in 15th-century Italian manuscripts (British Library, Arundel 122 and Burney 259). Compare with vine-leaf initial.

Who's Who
A reference book or reference serial providing brief biographical information about well-known people who are still living (see this example). Who Was Who covers the lives of deceased persons of prominence. Titles beginning Who's Who in... cover the lives of important persons in a given field or profession. Those beginning Who's Who of... are usually devoted to individuals of a specific gender, nationality, or ethnic origin.

wide area network (WAN)
A communication network covering an extensive geographic area, such as a country, region, province, or state. Compare with local area network. See also: metropolitan area network.

A dangling word or phrase or line shorter than one-third the specified line length, at the end of a paragraph, especially when it falls at the head of a column or page of text matter, considered awkward by typographers and eliminated in typesetting whenever possible. See also: orphan.

The dimension of a book or other bound item from spine to fore-edge, usually less than its height, the exception being volumes square or oblong in shape. In library cataloging, the height of a book is given in the physical description area of the bibliographic record in centimeters but not the width. Also refers to the horizontal dimension of a section of single- or double-sided shelving. Most library shelving is sold in sections 36 inches wide. See also: depth.

An abbreviation of wireless fidelity, a trademark that may be used with products certified by a nonprofit, industry-wide consortium called the Wi-Fi Alliance as belonging to a class of wireless local area network (WLAN) devices based on the IEEE 802.11 standards of interoperability. Today, virtually all laptop and palm-sized computers and many personal computers, video game consoles, smartphones, printers, and other peripherals include an IEEE 802.11 device, enabling them to connect to the Internet within range of a wireless network connected to the Internet. Click here to see the Wi-Fi trademark. Also spelled WiFi.

Based on a Hawaiian term meaning "quick" or "informal." A Web application that allows users to add content to a collaborative hypertext Web resource (coauthoring), as in an Internet forum, and permits others to edit that content (open editing). Authorizations and passwords are not required, and content can be changed by anyone simply by clicking on a "edit" link located on the page. A wiki may have policies to govern editing and procedures for handling edit wars. Activity within the site can be watched and reviewed by any visitor to the site. The first wiki was the Portland Pattern Repository established by Ward Cunningham in March 1995. The term also refers to the collaborative server software used to collectively create such a Web site, allowing Web pages (stored in a database) to be easily created and updated. A prime example is Wikipedia. Click here to learn more about wikis.

A multilingual, collaborative, free illustrated hypertext encyclopedia, launched in 2001 by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger. Articles are written by unpaid, self-selecting volunteers, operating on the principle that expertise is not solely a matter of credentials but of willingness to share what one knows. Editorial decisions are made transparent in edit history pages and open contributor discussions. Citing sources is strongly encouraged, and alerts are posted on articles which may contain bias or unsupported facts. The low-budget project has weathered highly publicized incidents of vandalism, but malicious editing is usually detected quickly and corrected.

One advantage of Wikipedia is that it contains articles on far more subjects than traditional encyclopedias, often providing unique coverage of topics in popular culture and developments too recent to be covered in any other reference work. Updating within minutes of an event is common. In an article published in Library Issues in January 2007, Barbara Fister describes Wikipedia as "an unusually successful example of participatory culture enabled by technology that provides low-barrier methods for creating and sharing content." However, reliance on Wikipedia by students writing research papers is generally discouraged by librarians and instructors, due to lack of editorial control over content. Click here to learn more about Wikipedia.

In some bibliographic databases and search engines, the search software allows the user to insert a special character in the middle of a search term used in a keyword(s) search, to retrieve records or sites containing words with any character or no character in the position, useful for retrieving irregular plurals and variant spellings of a word. The wildcard symbol is not standardized. Users are advised to read the help screen(s) in an unfamiliar interface to see if wildcard is available and, if so, what symbol is used. See also: truncation.


wom#n or wom?n to retrieve records containing woman or women
colo#r or colo?r to retrieve records containing color or colour

In computing, a symbol available in most operating systems and application programs (usually the asterisk), which can be used in a filename to identify multiple files and directories, for example, letter*.doc to retrieve all the "doc" files with filenames beginning with "letter." Most word processing applications also allow the user to employ wildcard in text searches.

A formal statement of a person's wishes concerning the disposition of his or her property after death, usually in the form of a written document for legal purposes. Click here to see the will of writer Jane Austen, handwritten three months before her death (National Archives of the UK) and here to see an early 20th-century typewritten example (Delaware Public Archives). See also: codicil.

An acronym for "windows, icons, mouse, pointer" or "windows, icons, mouse, pull-down menu." Used to describe integrated software systems that allow the user to interact with the interface by manipulating graphical elements. Synonymous with graphical user interface.

A rectangular, scrollable viewing area in the graphical user interface of a microcomputer application that can be opened by the user, overwriting the entire screen or a portion of it. Windows can be resized, minimized to an icon when not in use, selected for editing and reference, or closed by the user at any time to facilitate multitasking (the use of two or more programs at the same time). Compare with frame.

Also refers to the opening cut out of the center of a mat through which a mounted print is viewed or out of the center of a card through which a mounted slide or frame of microfilm is viewed. Similarly, an opening cut in the front of an envelope, to allow the address printed on the enclosed document to be seen.

window card
An advertisement printed on card stock for display in the show window of a store or other business, typically 18 x 22 inches in size. The subject can be a product or line of products (see these examples) or a public entertainment (examples). Synonymous with showcard.

A user-friendly operating system developed in 1985 by Microsoft for PCs running on DOS, progressively upgraded to its current version. Windows got its start by emulating the graphical user interface (GUI) developed by Apple and has since become the industry standard for desktop microcomputers. Click here to connect to the official Web site for MS Windows. See also: Macintosh and UNIX.

wind rose
A star-shaped graphic device used on an early map or chart to orient the reader to the four cardinal directions (north, east, south, and west) associated with the winds that were observed to issue from them prior to the development of the compass in the late 13th century. North was traditionally represented by the fleur de lis and east, the direction of Jerusalem, by the Maltese cross (see this example). Click here to see colorful examples on a late 16th-century Dutch nautical chart, courtesy of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek. A wind rose sometimes has solid or dashed rhumb lines radiating from all its points cross the face of the map or chart, creating a network of diagonal lines, each intersecting the meridians at the same angle (see this example). Compare with compass rose.

In modern usage, a graphic used in meteorology to show the amount of time the wind blows in each compass direction at a specific geographic location (click here and here to see different examples). Some also indicate wind speed (click here and here).

wind tension
The degree of tightness with which film or magnetic tape is wound on a reel or core. According to the National Screen and Sound Archive of Australia, wind tension (along with storage temperature and relative humidity) plays a significant role in the rate of decomposition of cellulose-based films. Correct wind tension allows for the diffusion of decomposition gases during film storage, reducing the rate of decomposition. Ideal wind tension for long-term storage, called preservation wind, requires that film be evenly wound to a tension that allows the pack to just hold its shape. Click here to learn more about wind tension, courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT)
An international treaty on copyright law adopted in 1996 by the member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to extend protection to computer programs (software) and databases and to prohibit tampering with anti-copying technology and unauthorized modification of rights management information contained in works. Click here to read the text of the WIPO Copyright Treaty.

wire coil
A continuous length of metal wire threaded through holes punched along the binding edge of the leaves of a book or notebook in spiral binding. Flexible hard plastic is also used for this purpose.

A method of connecting to the Internet via electromagnetic airwaves, rather than wire or cable. Telecommunication charges are eliminated, but an Internet service provider is still required to gain access to the Internet. Wireless technology enables the ISP to offer greater bandwidth without the expense of adding cable to its own connection. However, in most wireless systems "line of sight" is required, which means that the radio antenna installed at a library must have an unobstructed path to the antenna maintained by the ISP. Each client antenna can serve 50-100 workstations at T1 speed. Wireless technology is also used internally by libraries with a direct connection to the Internet, for example, to network an instruction lab equipped with PCs or laptops. Newer PCs are being marketed with wireless keyboard and wireless mouse. Click here to learn more about wireless networks, courtesy of HowStuffWorks. See also: Wi-Fi and wireless handheld device.

Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
A technical standard for accessing digital information over wireless networks using handheld devices. A WAP browser is a Web browser for mobile devices.

wireless handheld device
A durable, lightweight computer small enough to be held comfortably in the hand, designed to be used in a wireless network for applications requiring mobility. Some handhelds have phone and two-way pager functionality. Synonymous with handheld terminal, mobile device, and portable terminal. Compare with personal digital assistant.

wireless local area network (WLAN)
A local area network that links electronic devices via electromagnetic airwaves, rather than by wire or cable, usually providing connection to an Internet service provider through an access point (router). WLANs enable users to remain connected while moving around within the area of coverage--usually a home, office, or public facility. Click here to learn more about wireless LANs, courtesy of Wikipedia. Synonymous with wireless LAN.

Wireless Markup Language (WML)
A standardized markup language for tagging text files, based on XML, designed for devices, such as mobile phones, which implement the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP).

wire photograph
A photograph that has been scanned and converted to electronic signals for transmission via telegraph or telephone wires, then reformed into an image at the receiving end (see this UPI telephoto). The first halftone photograph was transmitted by Western Union in 1921. The Associated Press introduced its AP Wirephoto service in 1935.

with all faults (w.a.f.)
A term used by booksellers, book dealers, and auctioneers to inform prospective buyers that an item is offered for sale as is and may not be returned if found to be in defective condition.

The process of deleting all references in a library catalog to an item that has been permanently removed from the collection without being replaced by another copy of the same edition. The item is usually stamped "withdrawn" to avoid confusion in the disposition process. Also refers to the item withdrawn. See also: tracings and weeding.

In the context of bibliography and textual criticism, a manuscript or incunabulum regarded by scholars as evidence of authority for a text. A codex unicus is a text for which only one witness exists. See also: stemma codicum.

In binding, a book with the fore-edge so lightly trimmed that some leaves are left rough.

An interactive utility available in some computer applications, usually in the form of a context-sensitive dialog box that provides step-by-step assistance in completing a complex task, as distinct from a general help menu accessible via the toolbar, from which the user may select as needed. Wizards can usually be turned "off" if found intrusive.

Women and Gender Studies Section (WGSS)
The section of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) within the American Library Association (ALA) formed to discuss, promote, and support cross-disciplinary women's studies collections and services in academic and research libraries, including bibliographic instruction, liaison with teaching faculty, and information retrieval in the field. Click here to connect to the WGSS homepage. See also: Feminist Task Force.

women's magazine
A popular periodical specializing in content intended to be of particular interest to a female audience. Examples include fashion magazines, home and garden magazines, and certain types of craft magazines (sewing, knitting, quilting, etc.). Also included are magazines on women's health. Click here to see an early 19th-century Dutch example (Koninklijke Bibliotheek) and here to see an early 20th-century example (Columbia University Libraries).

A permanent print, made in slight relief by a continuous-tone photomechanical process patented by Walter B. Woodbury in 1864 and introduced in the United States in 1870, in which a photographic image, made in light-sensitive gelatin allowed to harden, is pressed upon a soft lead plate, producing an intaglio impression from which prints are made using carbon pigment suspended in gelatin. Used through the 1890s, primarily for fine book illustration because of its capacity to replicate the detail and subtlety of a photograph, it is the only mechanical printing method ever invented that produces true middle tonal values without using a screen or other method of image deconstruction (see this example, courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum). Click here to learn more about the Woodburytype process. Synonymous with photoglypty.

A method of printing from an inked block of medium-soft wood (usually pear or cherry) from which an artist has excised all but an illustration, working by hand with knife and gouge in the same direction as the grain of a plank cut lengthwise from the tree. The design may be drawn directly on the plank (usually in pencil) or transferred by rubbing a tracing made on paper. Also refers to the block itself and to the print made from it. By contrast, wood engraving is done with a tool called a burin or graver across the grain of a block of hardwood cut in cross section. In a woodcut, the finished print is conceived as dark lines on a light ground, the opposite of a wood engraving.

Woodcut is the oldest of all techniques for reproducing illustration. The earliest dated example is a scroll copy of the Diamond Sutra printed in China in the 9th century A.D. In early printing in Europe, woodblocks were locked with movable type to allow text and illustration to be inked together (see this example courtesy of the Cary Collection, Rochester Institute). To produce colored prints, separate blocks were cut for each color and successive impressions made on the same sheet. Click here to view a 16th-century woodcut illustration in the Hans Holbein Dance of Death (Special Collections, Glasgow University Library, Gemmell 1). For more examples, see the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Timeline of Art History. The Library of Congress provides the online exhibition A Heavenly Craft: The Woodcut in Early Printed Books. See also Stultifera Navis: The Ship of Fools, courtesy of the University of Houston Libraries. Also spelled wood-cut and wood cut. Compare with metalcut. See also: chiaroscuro woodcut, linocut, lubki, and xylography.

wood engraving
A relief process popularized as an illustration technique in the late 18th century by the British engraver Thomas Bewick, wood engraving differs from woodcut in the tools and materials used. The wood engraver applies the graver and the burin, tools associated with intaglio engraving, across the end-grain of a block of hardwood cut in cross section, rather than the plankside (side-grain) of softer wood, producing finer lines and wider tonal range than is possible in woodcut. In both wood engraving and woodcut, it is the uncut surface that takes the ink from which the image is printed, but in a wood engraving the impression is of dark lines on a light ground, the reverse of a woodcut. Click here to see examples of Bewick's work (Cornell University Library). For earlier examples, see Teuerdank, produced at Nuremberg in 1517 (Special Collections, Glasgow University Library, Hunterian At.1.10). Information on the History of Wood Engraving is provided by the University of North Texas Libraries and the Wood Engraver's Network.

wood-free paper
Paper manufactured from chemical pulp, rather than mechanical wood pulp. In chemical pulp, most of the lignin is removed from the pulpwood in processing, leaving only cellulose fiber. Lignin causes paper to yellow with age. Also spelled woodfree.

wood type
Very large characters (letters, numerals, etc.) cut from hard wood (examples), used in letterpress for printing posters (example) and notices. See also this specimen sheet.

The number of words in a text, used to calculate payment for services rendered, such as translation or keyboarding. Also used synonymously with choice of words and wordiness.

word break
The point at which a long word can be divided by a hyphen at the end of a printed or typewritten line, usually between syllables.

A method of alphabetization in which headings that begin with the same word are arranged in alphabetical order by the next word, and so on, with alphabetizing continued across spaces, commas, hyphens, slashes, and apostrophes ("New Testament" filed before "New, William" before "newt"). Also known as nothing before something. Compare with letter-by-letter.

A book or other publication without words, in which the story is told in a sequence of illustrations, a format used mainly in children's picture books (example: Clown [1995] by Quentin Blake). Without text, the "reader" must interpret the meaning of the story from the visual images. Each reader may perceive a slightly different meaning in the pictures (see this example).

word processing
A method of converting information into readable text in which personnel, procedures, and equipment are organized for maximum efficiency and effectiveness. Word processing systems usually include a microcomputer with a keyboard for typing input, a monitor for the display of text, and a laser printer for producing high-quality output. An interface with a photosetting machine allows offset plates to be produced for printing.

A distinct expression of human thought or emotion made in language, signs, symbols, numerals, images, or some other medium, for purposes of communication and record. When such an expression is issued to the public, it is considered a published work. If the original author or creator is unknown, the work is anonymous. See also: literary work, musical work, work for hire, and work in progress.

As defined in FRBR (Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records), a distinct intellectual or artistic creation, independent of any concrete realization or expression of its content (example: Beowulf as opposed to a specific text of the epic). The concept is abstract in specifying only the content that the various expressions of a work have in common. Under this definition, the boundaries of a given work may be culturally determined. When modification of a work entails considerable independent intellectual or artistic endeavor, the result is treated as a new work (example: an adaptation of Beowulf intended for juvenile readers). See also: superwork.

A person who fails to balance work with activities that provide rest and relaxation. When chronic, this condition may eventually lead to burnout.

A separately published learning resource containing exercises, sample problems, worksheets, review questions, and other practice materials, usually with blank space for recording answers (see this example). When published in conjunction with a textbook, a workbook is usually bound in softcover, sometimes in a spiral or comb binding to allow it to open flat.

work experience
A situation in which a student or recent graduate spends time in a job, for example, as a volunteer or intern, to gain experience prior to seeking paid employment.

The manner in which work is passed from one member of a department to another, or from one department to another within a company, organization, or institution, to allow the steps necessary for completion to be executed in proper sequence. Efficiencies can sometimes be achieved by systematic analysis of workflow.

work for hire
A category of creative activity, recognized under U.S. copyright law, for which the employer or the person or entity responsible for commissioning the work becomes the initial copyright holder, rather than the creator who is generally paid a salary or fixed fee, instead of the royalty on sales customary for an independently produced work.

work form
In technical processing, a card or paper form that accompanies a newly acquired item from the beginning of cataloging to the point at which it is ready to be placed on the shelf, with space for library staff to note any special instructions and data necessary to prepare catalog records, add cross-references, and physically prepare the item for use. Synonymous with worksheet.

working conditions
The surroundings in which work is accomplished, including factors affecting health and safety (lighting, sanitation, heating/cooling, noise, air quality, etc.) and comfort (parking, break time, child care, etc.). Companies, organizations, and institutions that employ large numbers of people often have a formal procedure or standing committee for handling complaints and suggestions concerning working conditions.

working copy
A document, not intended to be permanent, which serves to permit or facilitate further work or activity, sometimes by more than one person. A working copy is generally adopted as a temporary basis for further work because it is considered adequate for practical use (see this example, courtesy of the University of Sydney).

working drawings
In architecture, an umbrella term for sets of graphic delineations providing the information necessary to build a structure or complete a site or system, including elevations, plans, and sections supplied by the architect for use by the contractors (see these examples). In engineering, a scale drawing or set of drawings that provide the information necessary to manufacture a product or one of its parts (examples).

working hours
The period during which a working person is normally employed, usually between 8:00 or 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. See also: flexible hours.

working paper
A preliminary paper, usually based on research, not intended for publication but rather for circulation by the author (or authors) to professional peers for comment (see these examples). Working papers are usually not covered in periodical indexes and abstracting services, but online archives of working papers are available in some academic disciplines (example: EconPapers hosted by the Swedish Business School at �rebro University). Synonymous with discussion paper.

working title
The title provided by the author at the time a manuscript is submitted to the publisher, used during the editorial process but sometimes altered slightly or changed completely before final publication to reflect the content more accurately or make the work more marketable.

work in progress
A written or artistic work published or exhibited in incomplete form, sometimes in parts, to be continued or completed by the author or creator at a later date. Large reference works requiring many years of painstaking research are sometimes published as the work progresses (example: Dictionary of American Regional English).

The amount of work to be completed in a given time by an employee or group of employees. How much is actually accomplished depends on speed, skill, motivation, working conditions, etc. As a general rule, employers strive for a degree of equity in assigned workload.

work mark
The part of a book number added by the cataloger to the author (or biographee) designation at the end of a call number, consisting of the first letter or two of the first word of the title (or the first letter or two of the surname of the biographer), to distinguish works by the same writer that have the same classification (example: d in the book number D548d, added to identify David Copperfield by Charles Dickens) or to subarrange editions of the same work. Synonymous with work number.

workplace hazard
A substance or condition found in a place of employment, posing a real or potential threat to the safety and/or health of the employees exposed to it. Examples include asbestos, carbon monoxide, insecticides, mold and mildew, noise, radiation, repetitive movement, etc. In libraries, such hazards are typically encountered in preservation work and by employees whose duties require the routine use of toxic cleaning compounds. Click here to learn about workplace hazards involved in film preservation, courtesy of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. Because the identification and abatement of workplace hazards may involve substantial costs for the employer, success often hinges on the definition of "unacceptable risk" and "practical solutions." The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor has established a Hazard Communication Standard (HCS).

workplace speech
Exercise of the constitutional right to freedom of expression in one's place of employment. In June 2005, the Council of the American Library Association adopted a resolution recommending that its Library Personnel Policies be amended to include the statement: "Libraries should encourage discussion among library workers, including library administrators, of non-confidential professional and policy matters about the operation of the library and matters of public concern within the framework of applicable laws." According to Library Journal (July 5, 2005), the resolution was triggered by the resignation in 1999 of cataloger Sanford Berman under pressure from the Hennepin County Library in Minnesota, after being reprimanded for criticizing HCL�s departure from his "user-friendly" cataloging.

A room closed to the public where technical processes and routine tasks are carried out in the library, for example, the receiving area of the serials department, where current issues of newspapers and periodicals are checked in and prepared for use and back issues are boxed to be shipped to the bindery or discarded.

A meeting of people interested in learning more about a subject or who wish to gain practical experience in the use of a technique, system, or resource, usually for the purpose of training or professional development. A workshop differs from a conference in being task-oriented and of shorter duration (usually one day or less) and may be open to attendees who are not necessarily members of the sponsoring organization.

An area within a workplace equipped with a personal computer and high-resolution monitor for accomplishing tasks that require the use of information in digital format (especially graphics), usually furnished with a desk, chair, and specially designed table to accommodate the PC and any peripheral equipment (see this example). If the microcomputer is networked, special wiring may be required. Also refers to a PC functioning as a client in a network. In this sense, compare with server.

world atlas
A reference book, usually of large size, containing maps of all the countries and regions of the world, printed in color, sometimes accompanied by explanatory text and statistical information, with an index of place names (gazetteer) in the back (example: The Times Atlas of the World). For an online world atlas, try Atlapedia or The World by Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Formerly known as OLUC, WorldCat is the online union catalog of materials cataloged by OCLC member libraries and institutions, a rapidly growing bibliographic database containing over 50 million records representing materials published since 1000 B.C. in over 400 languages in a variety of formats (books, manuscripts, maps, music scores, newspapers, magazines, journals, theses and dissertations, sound recordings, films, videorecordings, computer programs, machine-readable data files, etc.). Updated daily, WorldCat is used by OCLC members and participants for cataloging and interlibrary loan and is available for general use by licensing agreement through OCLC FirstSearch. Click here to learn more about OCLC WorldCat.

World Digital Library (WDL)
In November 2006, the Library of Congress announced receipt of a $3-million "no strings" gift from Google to begin digitizing significant primary source materials from national and other major research libraries around the world, to make them freely available via the Internet in multilingual format. The concept was first proposed by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington in June 2005 in a speech to the plenary session of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO. The World Digital Library is modeled on LC's American Memory project. Click here to see a list of WDL partners and here to connect to the WDL homepage.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
A specialized agency of the United Nations with headquarters in Geneva, WIPO is responsible for administering 21 international treaties concerning the protection of intellectual property under copyright, patent, and trademark law for the benefit of its 177 member nations. Click here to connect to the WIPO homepage. See also: Canadian Intellectual Property Office, U.K. Copyright Service, and U.S. Copyright Office.

World Library and Information Congress
The annual conference of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the world summit of libraries and librarians, held in a different member country each year, with the host country responsible for local arrangements (exhibits, receptions, tours, plenary program, etc.) in close cooperation with the international headquarters of IFLA. The 69th congress held in Berlin in August 2003 was attended by 4,500 people. Click here to connect to the conference homepage.

world map
A small-scale map showing the entire surface of the earth on any scale. Drawn on a single large sheet of parchment, the Hereford Mappa Mundi on public exhibit in Hereford Cathedral is the largest and most elaborate surviving pre-15th century world map (see Mappa Mundi: The Hereford World Map by P. D. A. Harvey, British Library: 1996). The late 17th-century European world view is revealed on this double-hemisphere map by Pieter Goos (New York Public Library). Various projections are used for modern world maps to reduce the distortion that occurs when the surface of a sphere is depicted on a two-dimensional surface. Click here to see an interactive thematic world map of recent earthquake activity (U.S. Geological Survey) and here to see an interactive political world map (CIA World Factbook). See also: planisphere.

World Wide Web (WWW)
A global network of Internet servers providing access to documents written in a script called Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) that allows content to be interlinked, locally and remotely. The "Web" was designed in 1989 by Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, working at the CERN high-energy physics lab in Geneva. Mark Andreeson, a student at the University of Illinois, later devised a simple point-and-click system called Mosaic that subsequently evolved into the Netscape Web browser. Abbreviated Web. See also: deep Web, semantic Web, Web page, and Web site.

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
A nonprofit organization whose mission is to lead the Web to its full potential by developing technologies (standards, specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) that will create a forum for information, commerce, inspiration, independent thought, and collective understanding. Its members include corporations, research institutions, government agencies, universities, libraries, and nonprofit organizations. Libraries in the United States are represented by the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, and OCLC. Click here to connect to the W3C homepage.

A type of computer virus that incapacitates a system by replicating itself through hard disk and memory, consuming space and resources without attaching itself to other programs. Security from worms and other viruses is greater in the Apple Macintosh operating system than in Windows. Anti-virus software is available to detect and eliminate known computer viruses before damage occurs. See also: bookworm.

An initialism for write once, read many. Digital storage technology that allows data to be written once and read an unlimited number of times but not erased, used mainly to prevent archival data from being accidentally lost. WORM devices use double-sided optical disks that range in size from 5.25 to 14 inches wide, capable of storing 140MB to 3GB on each side. Acceptance in the market place has been hampered by the fact that WORM disks are not standardized, making them readable only on the type of drive used to write them. See also: read-only and rewritable.

The condition of a book in which bookworms (the larvae of various beetles) have bored holes through the text block or binding or left other visible traces of their unwelcome presence. Click here to see examples of slight worming in two medieval manuscripts (Cornell University Library) and here to see a 14th-century Italian missal in worse condition (Dartmouth College Library).

worm's-eye view
A perspective representation of the landscape as it might be viewed from a position very low to the ground (well below normal eye level), with features shown as if projected on an oblique plane, often used for comic effect. The opposite of bird's-eye view.

wove paper
Handmade paper that reveals a faintly translucent, fine mesh pattern when held up to a light source, the result of wires woven evenly like cloth in the paper mold. The same effect is achieved in machine-made paper by the pressure of the dandy roll. Compare with laid paper.

A publishing term for a cover design extending all the way from the front edge of a book over the spine and across the back board, usually seen in volumes containing a large proportion of pictorial content (click here and here to see examples). See also: pictorial.

A feature of word processing software that relieves the writer of the necessity to key line endings because the end of each line is marked automatically by the computer program.

The flexible printed or unprinted covers of a paperbound book or pamphlet applied in binding, usually of a heavier grade of paper than the text, not part of the printing that produced the publication, commonly used as an inexpensive temporary binding in the late 18th and early 19th century. Click here to see monochrome and polychrome examples on 19th-century penny dreadfuls (British Library) and here to see blue wrappers on issue number one of Bleak House by Charles Dickens, originally published serially in 20 parts (Glasgow University Library, Hepburn 186-203). Self-wrappers, made from the first and last integral leaves of the text block, are not a binder's addition. Also refers to the outer covering on a magazine, usually made of kraft paper, added to protect the glossy cover from damage in mailing. Abbreviated wraps. Compare with dust jacket.

In the context of medieval manuscripts, the term refers to the limp covers of a book bound without boards, usually in parchment or vellum, a method reserved for music scores and less important texts. See also: in quaternis.

Historically, a command written in epistolary form, addressed to one or more officials under the seal of an English king, indicating that a specific action is to be performed or is prohibited. In a more general sense, any formal written document issued by a court or other judicial authority in the name of a sovereign or state, forbidding or ordering the person(s) to whom it is directed to perform a specific action (example: Writ of Habeas Corpus, known as the "Great Writ" in English common law). See this example.

A bibliographic item or other piece of library property so badly damaged that it cannot be repaired, for which the cost of replacement cannot be recovered. Also refers to a debt that cannot be recovered, for example, an overdue fine that remains unpaid for so long that the library must clear it from the circulation record.

write protection
Any mechanical or other means of preventing data on a storage device, such as a disc, from being modified or erased. Most commercial software, audiorecordings, and videorecordings are pre-protected.

Writer's Market
An annual reference publication that provides directory listings for literary agents, book publishers, small presses, book producers, consumer magazines, trade journals, scriptwriting, newspaper syndicates, writing contests and literary awards, and other resources for professional writers. ISSN: 0084-2729. Click here to connect to See also: Literary Market Place.

In printing, a photographic image that is the mirror image of the original, as opposed to a right-reading or positive-reading, in which the image appears the same as in the original. Synonymous with reverse-reading.

What You See Is What You Get (pronounced "wizzy-wig"), an exact correspondence between text and/or graphics as displayed on a computer screen and its appearance when printed, difficult to achieve in reality because the resolution of monitor and printer rarely match. See also: page preview.

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