Below are some common words used in an academic library setting. You may hear your professor using some of these terms as well. Please let us know if you don't understand what a word means.
For more terms, you may also want to check out ODLIS: Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science.
abstract - a brief summary of the points of an article. 2. A source that compiles, by subject, author, or title articles in a selected group of periodicals and includes a summary of each article.
article- a brief work - generally between 1 and 35 pages in length - on a topic, usually 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 an author's name is one option for searching.
barcode number - The 14-digit number appearing beneath the barcode found on the front of a book. Barcode numbers are used lend, renew, and check-in books on the online computer system.
book stacks - or commonly referred to as 'stacks". This means the library bookshelves.
boolean logic - using the words "and" "or" or "not" to help search the databases
call number - A combination of numbers and letters that provide a unique description of each item in a library collection. Items are arranged on the bookshelves by call number, so the call number is the "address" of materials on the shelf.
catalog - a database listing describing the books, audiovisual, and other materials held by a library. You can search for items in the catalog by Author, Title, Keyword, or Subject.
check out - the ability to take most materials out of the library, for a limited time using your university ID card. Check-Out is done from the circulation desk.
circulation desk - Location in each library where you check out, return, or renew items.
citation - A citation is a reference or footnote to an item (such as a book or periodical article); a citation contains the author, title, date of publication, and any other information needed to locate the item.
course reserves - Materials that instructors set aside for the students in a class to read. These items may be borrowed for a short period and may not leave the library.
database - a comprehensive collection of related data organized for convenient access, generally in a computer.
Dewey decimal system - a system for organizing the contents of a library based on the division of all knowledge into 10 groups, with each group assigned 100 numbers.
due date - the date by which you must return to the library, any library material you have checked out.
full text - a complete electronic copy of a resource, usually an article, viewed on a computer display.
fine - money charged to you for overdue or lost items.
interlibrary loan (ILL) - Exchange of books or periodical articles between libraries for a brief period. A service you can use to borrow library materials not owned by BCC Libraries.
ISBN (International Standard Book Number) - A four-part, ten-character code given a book (a non-serial literary publication) before publication as a means of identifying it concisely, uniquely, and unambiguously. The four parts of the ISBN are: group identifier (e.g., national, geographic, language, or other convenient group), publisher identifier, title identifier, and check digit. (ALA Glossary)
journal - A type of periodical that contains signed scholarly articles. Journals are usually published by academic or association presses and include bibliographies.
keyword - Generally, this refers to searching a database using "natural language."
loan period - the length of time library materials may be borrowed. Loan periods may differ depending on the type of material or status of the borrower.
Library of Congress Subject Headings - List of accepted subject headings used in the Library's catalogs. Copies of LCSH are usually located near the catalogs. An online version is also available.
magazine - a publication containing popular articles, and written in a non-technical style. See Journal, Periodical
oversize - Books that are too large for normal shelves
peer-review process - Method used by scholarly journals to assure the quality and relevance of the articles they publish. When an article is submitted, the editor sends copies to several reviewers (or "referees") who are recognized experts in the subject of the article. Each reads the article and offers an opinion on whether it is worthy of publication in the journal, using such criteria as the soundness of investigative method, whether the author shows adequate knowledge of research on the subject to date, and whether the articles adds to knowledge in the field. Only if the reviewers agree that it meets the relevant criteria will the article be published.
peer-reviewed article - A scholarly article published in a peer-reviewed journal.
peer-reviewed journal - Also called a "refereed" journal. A scholarly journal that used the peer review process to select material for publication.
periodical - Materials published at regular intervals (at least 3 times a year) and intended to be continued indefinitely. Examples of periodicals include magazines, journals, and newsletters.
primary sources - A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event.
reference desk - Location in each library where you can get help in using the library and receive answers to your questions.
reference collection - the reference collection consists of materials used frequently for general information. It includes encyclopedias, dictionaries, indexes, and other materials. These materials may not be checked out of the library.
reference librarians - Reference librarians are specialists in the field of information retrieval. Generally, they have a Masters degree in library and information science, and many have other graduate degrees as well. They are available at reference desks to help you find information.
secondary sources - Books or articles that explain or analyze primary sources. For example, criticism of a literary work.
subject heading - Subject headings are a type of controlled vocabulary that is used to take the guesswork out of searching by using a single term to describe a subject.
URL - An acronym for Uniform Resource Locator. It represents a unique location or "address" of a resource located on the World Wide Web.