Library Jargon revisited

Have you ever wondered what the librarians were saying or talking about?  Well, wonder no more!  Below are some of the common library terms and definitions that you will see and/or hear in the library.

Abstract – A short summary of an article in a scholarly journal.  The abstract usually appears at the beginning of an article.

Archives – A non-circulating collection preserved for historical purposes.  This collection is located in the Rare Book Room and accessed by appointment only.  Contact Bob Glass or Stan Campbell to set up an appointment to view the material.

Book stacks – The main part of the library’s circulating book collection.

Bound Journal – Several issues of journals are combined between two hardcovers so they resemble a book.

Call Number – The call number refers to the group of letters and numbers given to each item in the library according to its subject matter. Call number labels are usually located on the spine or cover of the material and indicate where the item is shelved.  Each shelf in the library includes a call number range on the end of the shelving unit to assist with finding materials located within that specific section.

Closed reserve – Material(s) a professor assigns his/her students to read. These materials may be checked out at the circulation desk for up to three hours.

Database – A library database is an electronic (online) catalog or index.  Library databases contain information about published items and are searchable.  When you search a database, you are not searching the “web”, but a distinct set of resources.  Library Databases allow you to find:

  • Articles in Journals/Magazines/Newspapers
  • Reference Information (i.e. entries from Encyclopedias, Dictionaries, etc.)
  • Books & other documents

Some library databases also provide abstracts of the items they index.  An abstract is a brief summary of the article.

And some library databases provide the full text (the entire article) for items they index.

E-book – A book listed in the library catalog that can be downloaded and read on electronic devices.

INTERLIBRARY LOAN (sometimes abbreviated to ILL) – A service provided to Centre College students, faculty and staff by which materials not held by the Grace Doherty Library are borrowed from other libraries.

ILLIAD – The software used to manage interlibrary loan requests.

Index – A print (or online) listing of article citations, usually accessible by title, author and subject.

Library of Congress classification system (LOC) – The Library of Congress Classification System is the system the Centre College Library uses to organize its books and other materials. All cataloged materials are assigned title, author and Library of Congress subject headings so they can be retrieved in a search of Centre’s Library Catalog and organized on the library’s shelves in a consistent manner.

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 and no credentials of the author given.

Mango -A program, similar to Rosetta Stone, found on the library’s webpage that can be used to help students learn a foreign language.

Monograph -A detailed, written study (book, non-fiction) of a single specialized subject or an aspect of it.

Moodle – The Centre College Course Management System where professors post assignments, class readings, syllabi, etc.

Multidisciplinary Database– A database that covers a wide variety of subject areas.

Open reserve – Material(s) a professor suggests students read.  These readings are not usually mandatory.  The materials can be checked out for up to three days.

Peer reviewed journal/article – A journal/article that has been reviewed by scholars and experts for accuracy and significance before it is accepted for publication.

Periodicals – A periodical is a publication which is issued at regular intervals, such as a magazine, journal or newspaper.

Reference – Books in the reference section tend to be frequently used, fact-based resources such as almanacs, dictionaries and encyclopedias.  Reference books are non-circulating.

Scholarly Journal – A collection of articles, generally written by experts in the field.  Scholarly journals are respected for the research and information they provide about the topic they cover. They are written by and for people who have experience in a discipline or field. The research is often refereed (peer-reviewed), meaning that it is reviewed by other researchers who are knowledgeable about the topic of the article. Scholarly journals cite their sources using footnotes or bibliographies.

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