Integrated Circuits are usually called ICs or chips. They are complex circuits which have been etched onto tiny chips of semiconductor (silicon). The chip is packaged in a plastic holder with pins spaced on a 0.1″ (2.54mm) grid which will fit the holes on stripboard and breadboards. Very fine wires inside the package link the chip to the pins.
The pins are numbered anti-clockwise around the IC (chip) starting near the notch or dot. The diagram shows the numbering for 8-pin and 14-pin ICs, but the principle is the same for all sizes.
IC holders (DIL sockets)
ICs (chips) are easily damaged by heat when soldering and their short pins cannot be protected with a heat sink. Instead we use an IC holder, strictly called a DIL socket (DIL = Dual In-Line), which can be safely soldered onto the circuit board. The IC is pushed into the holder when all soldering is complete.
IC holders are only needed when soldering so they are not used on breadboards.
Commercially produced circuit boards often have ICs soldered directly to the board without an IC holder, usually this is done by a machine which is able to work very quickly. Please don’t attempt to do this yourself because you are likely to destroy the IC and it will be difficult to remove without damage by de-soldering.
Removing an IC from its holder
If you need to remove an IC it can be gently prised out of the holder with a small flat-blade screwdriver. Carefully lever up each end by inserting the screwdriver blade between the IC and its holder and gently twisting the screwdriver. Take care to start lifting at both ends before you attempt to remove the IC, otherwise you will bend and possibly break the pins.