Library Research Skills
Library-ese Strange language spoken by reference librarians and library staff. Not the native tongue of most students.
Bibliography The list of works cited by an author at the end of an article, paper, book, or other research-based writing. There are also specialized subject bibliographies, published separately as books.
Call number The letters and numbers assigned to a book to give it a unique location in the library. EXAMPLE: LC 351.41885 or R352.140941885
CD-ROM Compact Disc Read Only Memory ? A digitally mastered disc that holds information, usually a database.
Circulating This means that the item may be checked out. Some Reserve items circulate only within the library.
Citation The information given in an index or catalogue about a particular title. The citation may include the article title, periodical title, book title, place of publication, publisher, volume, pages, and date. Refer to a style manual to learn how to format citations for your own bibliographies. EXAMPLES:
- BOOK: Freedman, Richard R. What Do Unions Do? New York: Basic, 1984.
- ARTICLE: Prince, Dinah. “Marriage in the ‘80s.” New York 1 June 1987: 30-38.
Database A collection of information, usually electronic. EXAMPLE: Periodical Abstracts. See the Indexes & CD-ROM Databases handout.
Dictionary A book that gives definitions of words. Dictionaries may be general (Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary), or specialized (Dictionary of Economics).
Electronic In libraries, this usually describes a database that can be accessed with a computer. CD-ROM and online databases are both electronic.
Encyclopaedia A compendium of information. Like dictionaries, these can be general (Encyclopaedia Britannica) or specialized (Encyclopaedia of World Cultures).
Index Locates articles in periodicals by subject or author. EXAMPLES: Social Sciences Index; Academic Abstracts.
Journal A periodical that is scholarly or academic in content and purpose. EXAMPLES: Journal of Applied Psychology or American Anthropologist. Compare with magazine.
LAN Local Area Network. This network connects computers, or workstations, allowing users to access the same databases simultaneously.
Library of Congress Classification System (LC) The system of letters and numbers used by most academic libraries to assign a call number to materials.
Magazine A general-interest periodical that has a broad, wide audience. EXAMPLE: Time or Glamour. Compare with journal.
Microform Refers to microfiche (rectangular) and microfilm (roll) formats whereby print text is transferred onto film for preservation. Usually, older issues of periodicals are transferred to microform.
Online Refers to accessing a remote computer via a terminal. Our online catalogue is one example of an online database.
Online catalogue The database that lists the books available in a given library or library district. This is the electronic equivalent of the card catalogue.
OPAC Online Public Access Catalogue Often called simply online catalogue.
Pamphlet file File cabinets holding pamphlets, brochures, clippings, etc., on a wide variety of topics. They are a vital part of the library’s collection, but their formats do not allow them to be shelved with books. See the pamphlet subject headings list on top of the pamphlet file.
Periodical A generic term for anything published periodically, including magazines, journals, and newspapers.
Periodicals list The listing of periodicals to which a library subscribes.
Print Ink on paper; not electronic. A book is a print resource. Art Index in book form is a print index.
Reference The process of answering the questions of library patrons about research or finding information; the section of the library in which this takes place.
Reference book A book that contains facts, statistics, biographical information, or other such as to make it a valuable tool for answering reference questions. These books may not be taken out of the library, as a rule, and are shelved separately from the rest of the collection.
Reference librarian A staff member who has studied the field of library science at the graduate level. A librarian is skilled in using print and electronic resources and is the person to ask for research assistance in the library.
Research Diligent and thorough inquiry and investigation into a subject. This includes using ALL appropriate print and electronic sources, asking the reference librarian for help, and making use of bibliographies given by other authors.
Reserve Where materials are placed to be used by all students in a class. Any type of material that a professor deems appropriate may be put on reserve.
Style manual A book that tells the reader how to format a paper/essay, with regard to footnotes, bibliographies, pagination, etc. Ask your instructor which style manual you are to use. The most commonly used style manuals are the following:
- A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Also called Turabian)
- MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (Also called APA)
Next Page - Exploring Information Sources in the Library