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Library Jargon

Library Terms

  • Abstract: A summary of an article, generally a sentence to a paragraph in length. Find abstracts in databases to get an overview of an article or study.
  • Anthology: A collection of pieces by more than one author brought together as one work.
  • APA: American Psychological Association. APA citation style is used to reference sources in a variety of subjects, including psychology, human kinetics, health, and others.
  •  Article: A document within a journal, magazine, or newspaper issue. Usually written by one or more named authors.  
  • Bibliography: A list of books and/or documents used to write an assignment.  
  • Boolean Operators/Logic: 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 system of arranging books so that they are shelved together by topic. Each book has a call number (a combination of letters and numbers). For example, most books about Africa will have call numbers which begin with the letters DT. OC Library uses the Library of Congress call number system..  
  • Circulation Desk: The counter in the library where books are borrowed for use outside the library.  
  • Citation: A brief description of a publication such as a journal article or book. It contains sufficient details to enable you to locate the publication. For example, author name, title of article, journal title, year, volume number, pages.  
  • Database: A collection of information stored in an electronic format that can be searched by a computer. A library database contains articles from journals, magazines, and in some cases, books. The database records for articles may include abstracts or full text access.  
  • Edited Book:A book which has an editor or editors rather than author(s), usually because each chapter has been contributed by a different person. Textbooks are often considered edited books.  
  • Embargo: A full text delay to access an article from a database or journal. The length of time varies by publisher.  
  • E-Journal: Full text or abstracts of journal articles from a specific journal title, available electronically.  
  • Full-text: The entire content of an item, such as an article or book, available in electronic format. Some databases contain the full text of journal articles or book chapters.  
  • Hold: 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. Holds can generally be placed on any regularly circulating library materials.  
  • Index: Printed or electronic publication that provides references to periodical articles or books by their subject, author, or other search terms, OR 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.  
  • Inter-Library Loan (ILL): A free library service allowing you to request books and journal articles not owned by OC Library. Look for the "Where Can I Get This?" link that appears in databases, OCtopus, and Google Scholar.  
  • Journal: A print or electronic information source that is published at regular intervals under the same title. Each individual issue (or part) of a journal will consist of a collection of articles written by different authors on very specific topics. May also be known as serials/ periodicals/ magazines. Journals in the Library often contain scholarly information and research. Some journals are peer reviewed, but not all. Example: Journal of Applied Psychology  
  • Keyword: A single term or short phrase that best define the main points of your research topic. Keywords are used for searching catalogues and databases for material on your topic.  
  • Library Catalogue: A web-based searchable catalogue of OC Library's books, audio-visual materials, and journals. The Library Catalogue may be searched anywhere on or off-campus.  
  • Magazine: A collection of articles generally written by staff or freelance writers and aimed at the general public. Articles tend to be brief with no references listed or credentials of the author given. Example: Fortune  
  • Peer-Reviewed: This refers to the process by which a journal or article has been checked by an editorial board of experts to ensure that it contains genuine scholarly research. Sometimes peer reviewed articles are referred to as 'academic' or 'scholarly' articles.  
  • Periodical or Serial: A publication which is issued periodically, such as a magazine, journal or newspaper.  
  • Primary Source: Original manuscripts. contemporary records or documents used by a researcher in writing a book or article which would then form the secondary literature. Letters, photographs, interviews, government documents, historical records, and personal papers are some examples.  
  • Record: A description of each individual item contained in a database or Library Catalogue. In a database, a record may often be referred to as a result or hit.  
  • Reference: A brief description of a publication such as a journal article or book. It contains sufficient details to enable you to locate the publication. For example, author name, title of article, journal title, year, volume number, pages.  
  • Reference Source: Used frequently for general information regarding a process or a definition of a term, or background information on a subject. Types of reference materials may include encyclopedias, dictionaries, indexes, almanacs, handbooks, statistical directories, biographical handbooks and other related materials.  
  • Reserve: A collection of books and articles needed for specific class assignments kept at the Circulation/Reserve Desk. These materials have short check-out periods and some must be used in the library.  
  • Scholarly or Authoritative: The more authoritative a resource is, the more trustworthy the information is. Things that make a source more authoritative include: listing of the author's name; author's credentials; listing of the sources the author used; and peer review.  
  • Secondary Source: Materials such as books and journal articles that analyze primary sources. Secondary sources usually provide evaluation or interpretation of data or evidence found in original research or documents such as historical manuscripts or memoirs.  
  • Volume: Issues of a periodical are combined to form a single volume over a period of time, usually a year.

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