A glossary is a list of terms with their meanings, arranged in an alphabetical order. A glossary as such refers to vocabulary of a specific “domain of knowledge”. A glossary is generally found at the back of a book. One can look up the glossary to find definitions of newly introduced terms within the book or meaning of any specialized or specific terms.
A core glossary is like a simple dictionary explaining terms of a specific field of study to newcomers. This may include a working vocabulary, meanings of often used concepts in the language and use of metaphors and idioms specific to a culture. We have a glossary of computer terms, glossary of literary terms, computer glossary, among others. A core glossary becomes a necessary requirement to understand the terminology of a specific field of study.
Glossaries may include pictures while defining technical terms of a specific field. Glossaries are generally monolingual but at times can be bilingual or even multilingual. A bilingual glossary has a list of words in a particular language which are explained in another language maybe with the help of synonyms in that language. A glossary is a useful study tool to familiarize with basic terms and concepts of a particular field such as Science, Computers, Literature, and Economics and so on. Software manuals necessarily include glossaries providing definitions and meanings of the material being covered.
Glossaries are useful for readers to understand the meaning of new or specialized vocabulary. A glossary is almost like a dictionary only that the list of words is those that are relevant to the contents of the book. Most of the English textbooks come with a glossary in the end of the book which gives the meaning of words relevant to the text of the book. A glossary containing foreign language terms may be an important part of a text which uses a number of words in foreign languages.
Glossaries are generally easy to use as they are typically listed in alphabetical order. The list of terms contained in the glossary help the readers to get familiar with uncommon words. For example, in a fiction book a character may use another language, in such cases the unfamiliar language is explained in the glossary. Similarly in a non-fiction work, commonly used words may have a specific meaning in the particular context or subject. It is common for books on technical and science subjects to include a technical glossary of all the specialized terms meant for advanced users.