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College Readiness

Terms used in the library

Abstract:  A summary or brief description of the content of another longer work.  An abstract is provided along with the citation to a work.

Archives:  1.  A space which houses historical or public records.  2.  The historical or public records themselves.

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.  May be print or electronic.

Author:  The person(s) or organization(s) that wrote or compiled a document.

Bibliography:  A list containing citation to the resources used in writing a research paper or other document.

Book:  A relatively lengthy work, often on a single topic.  May be print or electronic.

Boolean operator:  A word, such as AND, OR, or NOT - that commands a computer to combine search terms.  They help 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.  Two major types of call numbers are Dewey Decimal Call Numbers and Library of Congress Call Numbers.

Catalog:  A database listing and describing the books, journals, government documents, audiovisual, and other materials held by a library.

Check-out:  To borrow an item from a library for a fixed period of time in order to read, listen to, or view it.  Check-out periods may vary depending on format type.  Items are checked out at the circulation desk.

Circulation:  The place in the library, often a desk, where you can check out, renew, and return library materials.  You may also place a hold, report an item missing from the shelves, or pay overdue fees 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.

Controlled vocabulary:  Standardized terms used in searching a specific database.

Course reserve:  A selection of books, articles, audiovisual materials, or other materials that instructors want students to read or view for a particular course and circulate for only a short period of time.  These materials for kept behind the circulation desk.

Database:  A collection of information stored in an electronic format that can be searched by a computer.

Document delivery:  A serivce that retrieves or photocopies information sources for library users.

E-books:  An electronic version of a book that could be read on a computer or mobile device.

Electronic Reserve (E-Reserve):  An electronic version of a course reserve that is read on a computer screen.  These are provided by the instructor and can be access through blackboard.

Encylopedia:  A work containing information on all branches of knowledge or treating comprehensively a particular branch or knowledge.

Hold:  1.  A request by a user to a library that a book checked out to another person be saved for that user when it is returned.  2.  A request by a user to have a book be saved for them.

Holdings:  The materials owned by a library.

Index:  1.  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 servies:  A service that allows you to borrow materials from other libraries through your library.

Journal:  A publication, issued on a regular basis, which contains scholarly reseaerch 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.

Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC):  A computerized database that can be searched in various ways - such as by keyword, author, title, subject, or call number - to find out what resources a library owns.  Also referred to as "library catalog" or "online catalog".

PDF:  A file format developed by Adobe Acrobat that allows files to be transmitted from one computer to another while retaining their orginal appearance both on-screen and when printed.

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 expert's peers.  Peer-review helps to ensure the quality of an information sources by publishing only works of proven validity, methodology, and quality.  Peer-reviewed journals are also called refereed or scholarly journals.

Periodical:  An information source published in multiple parts at regular intervals.  Journals, magazines, and newspapers are all periodicals.

Primary source:  An original record of events, such as a diary, a newspaper article, a public records or scientific documentation.

Reference:  1.  A service that helps people find needed information.  2.  Sometimes "reference" refers to reference collections, such as encyclopedias, indexes, handbooks, directories, etc.  3.  A citation to a work is also known as a reference.

Secondary sources:  Materials such as books and journal articles that analyze primary sources.  Secondary sources usually provide evaluation or interpretation of data or evidence found in orginal research or documents such as historical manuscripts or memoirs.

Stacks:  Shelves in the library where materials - typically books - are stored.  Books in the stacks are arranged by call number.

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 Rockhurst University Library · 1100 Rockhurst Road · Kansas City, MO 64110 · 816-501-4116