- Course Guides
- Student Resources
- About the Library Toggle Dropdown
- Help Desk Toggle Dropdown
This glossary is designed to introduce you to words commonly used in an academic library.
All definitions are provided by the Association of College and Research Libraries and the Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science.
Abstract - A summary or brief description of the content of another longer work.
Academic Journal - See Peer-Reviewed Journal
Annotation - A brief note, usually no longer than two or three sentences, added after a citation in a bibliography to describe or explain the content or message of the work cited or to comment on it. (from ODLIS)
Anthology - A collection of extracts or complete works by various authors, selected by an editor for publication in a single volume or multi volume set. Anthologies are often limited to a specific literary form or genre (short stories, poetry, plays) or to a national literature, theme, time period, or category of author. (from ODLIS)
APA style - A guide for typing research papers in the social sciences, developed by the American Psychological Association, which includes the proper format for typing notes and bibliographic citations. (from ODLIS)
Article - A brief work—generally between 1 and 35 pages in length—on a topic. Often published as part of a journal, magazine, or newspaper.
Author - The person(s) or organization(s) that wrote or compiled a document. Looking for information under its author's name is one option in searching.
Bibliography - A list containing citations to the resources used in writing a research paper or other document (see also References and Works Cited).
Bibliographic Record - An entry representing a specific item in a library catalog or bibliographic database, containing all the data elements necessary for a full description, presented in a specific bibliographic format (see also Record). (from ODLIS)
Boolean Operator - A word—such as AND, OR, or NOT—that commands a computer to combine search terms. Helps to narrow (AND, NOT) or broaden (OR) searches.
Call Number - A group of letters and/or numbers that identifies a specific item in a library and provides a way for organizing library holdings.
Catalog - A database listing and describing the books, journals, government documents, audiovisual and other materials held by a library. Various search terms allow you to look for items in the catalog
Circulation Desk - Place where you check out, renew, and return library materials. You may also place a hold, report an item missing from the shelves, pay late fees or fines there, and get your student ID made there.
Citation - A reference to a book, magazine or journal article, or other work containing all the information necessary to identify and locate that work. A citation to a book includes its author's name, title, publisher and place of publication, and date of publication.
Classification System - A list of classes arranged according to a set of pre-established principles for the purpose of organizing items in a collection, or entries in an index, bibliography, or catalog, into groups based on their similarities and differences, to facilitate access and retrieval. In the United States, most library collections are classified by subject. (from ODLIS)
Copyright - The exclusive legal rights granted by a government to an author, editor, compiler, composer, playwright, publisher, or distributor to publish, produce, sell, or distribute copies of a literary, musical, dramatic, artistic, or other work, within certain limitations (fair use and first sale). (from ODLIS)
Database - A collection of information stored in an electronic format that can be searched by a computer
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) - A unique alphanumeric string assigned by the publisher to a digital object.
eBook - An electronic version of a book that can be read on a computer or mobile device
Editor - A person or group responsible for compiling the writings of others into a single information source. Looking for information under the editor's name is one option in searching.
Encyclopedia - A work containing information on all branches of knowledge or treating comprehensively a particular branch of knowledge (such as history or chemistry). Often has entries or articles arranged alphabetically.
Hold - A request to have an item saved (put aside) to be picked up later. Holds can generally be placed on any regularly circulating library material in-person or online.
Holdings - The materials owned by a library
Index - A list of names or topics—usually found at the end of a publication—that directs you to the pages where those names or topics are discussed within the publication. 2. A printed or electronic publication that provides references to periodical articles or books by their subject, author, or other search terms.
Interlibrary Loan - A service that allows you to borrow materials from other libraries through your own library.
Journal - A publication, issued on a regular basis, which contains scholarly research published as articles, papers, research reports, or technical reports.
Keyword - A significant or memorable word or term in the title, abstract, or text of an information resource that indicates its subject and is often used as a search term.
Library of Congress Classification System - System used by CCC to classify books and other library materials; developed and maintained over the last 200 years by the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In LCC, human knowledge is divided into 20 broad categories indicated by single letters of the roman alphabet, with major subdivisions indicated by a second letter, and narrower subdivisions by decimal numbers and further alphabetic notation. (from ODLIS)
Limiters - Options used in searching that restrict your results to only information resources meeting certain other, non-subject-related, criteria. Limiting options vary by database, but common options include limiting results to materials available full-text in the database, to scholarly publications, to materials written in a particular language, to materials available in a particular location, or to materials published at a specific time.
Loan Period - The length of time for which an item in the circulating collection of a library may be checked out by a borrower. (from ODLIS)
Magazine - A publication, issued on a regular basis, containing popular articles, written and illustrated in a less technical manner than the articles found in a journal.
MLA - A format for typing research papers and citing sources in the humanities developed by the Modern Language Association of America. (from ODLIS)
PDF - A file format developed by Adobe Acrobat® that allows files to be transmitted from one computer to another while retaining their original appearance both on-screen and when printed. An acronym for Portable Document Format.
Peer-Reviewed Journal - Peer review is a process by which editors have experts in a field review books or articles submitted for publication by the experts’ peers. Peer review helps to ensure the quality of an information source. A peer-reviewed journal is also called an academic journal or scholarly journal.
Periodical - An information source published in multiple parts at regular intervals (daily, weekly, monthly, biannually). Journals, magazines, and newspapers are all periodicals.
Plagiarism - Using the words or ideas of others without acknowledging the original source.
Record - An entry representing a specific item in a library catalog or bibliographic database, containing all the data elements necessary for a full description, presented in a specific bibliographic format. (from ODLIS)
References - A list containing citations to the resources used in writing a research paper or other document (used in APA style).
Reference Book - A book designed to be consulted when authoritative information is needed, rather than read cover to cover. (from ODLIS)
Reference Desk - Desk staffed by librarian that helps people find needed information.
Renewal - An extension of the loan period for library materials.
Reserve - A service providing special, often short-term, access to course-related materials (book or article readings, lecture notes, sample tests) or to other materials (CD-ROMs, audio-visual materials, current newspapers or magazines).
Scholarly Journal - See Peer-Reviewed Journal
Search Terms- Words entered into the search box of a database or search engine when looking for information. Words relating to an information source's author, editor, title, subject heading or keyword serve as search terms. Search terms can be combined by using Boolean operators and can also be used with limits/limiters.
Subject - Descriptions of an information source’s content assigned to make finding information easier.
Stacks - Shelves in the library where materials—typically books—are stored. Books in the stacks are normally arranged by call number.
Style Guide - An information source providing guidelines for people who are writing research papers. A style guide outlines specific formats for arranging research papers and citing the sources that are used in writing the paper.
Works Cited - A list containing citations to the resources used in writing a research paper or other document (used in MLA style).