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Library Lingo

This page lists common terms, acronyms, and phrases used by libraries and librarians.



A list of citations to journal articles and/or books arranged by subject, author, or title. Indexes may be in both print or electronic format. 2. Index – A list of acceptable search terms. A file created by a database listing terms that are searchable within that database. 3. A listing found in the back of a book listing the contents by subject.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

A service that allows you to borrow materials not owned by the library from another library. This service is available only for SAPL card holders.

As of October 1st, we no longer borrow the following items: 

  • feature films, television series, and music CDs.
  • The maximum number of active interlibrary loan requests is 10.
  • Interlibrary loan items are subject to standard San Antonio Public Library fines and fees for overdue and lost materials.(more)
  • To request and checkout Interlibrary Loan items, you must have a current San Antonio Public Library card in good standing.
  • Check out period is 3 weeks with no renewals.

You will be contacted by email or telephone when items are received.

Please note the following improvement to our services: All ILL requests will be considered for purchase for the library collection. If we decide to buy this item, we will notify you that this ILL request has been changed to a purchase. You will be able to place a hold on the title once it appears in the Library catalog.

IP address

IP stands for "Internet Protocol". An IP Address is a four part number used to uniquely identify a particular computer on a network using the TCP/IP (Internet) Protocol. For example, could be an IP address. 


The ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a 10- or 13-digit number used for identification. An ISBN is unique to every book, so it is the best way to find the exact edition of the book you're looking for


An International Standard Serial Number(ISSN) is a unique eight-digit number used to identify a periodical publication at a specific media type.