Library language: definitions of Library words

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

Abstract
A short summary of the main points of a piece of work such as a journal article or conference paper.

Academic Liaison Librarian
Each academic department has its own Academic Liaison Librarian who can advise you on how to find the right material or how to use the most useful resources for your studies or research. Find out who your Academic Liaison Librarian is from your Subject Guide.

Advanced search
This term is found in databases and on YorSearch. It allows you to improve your search to help you receive more accurate and relevant results.

Alerts/Alerting service
Most major databases offer an alerting service, which will send you regular emails to notify you when new articles relevant to your research area appear in the database.

Alphabetical order
When something is arranged in order of the Latin or Roman alphabet (Aa, Bb, Cc, Dd, Ee, Ff, Gg, Hh, Ii, Jj, Kk, Ll, Mm, Nn, Oo, Pp, Qq, Rr, Ss, Tt, Uu, Vv, Ww, Xx, Yy, Zz).

Archive
This can be used to refer to electronic or physical collections of historical materials. The University has its own archive, the Borthwick Institute for Archives.

Article
See the definition of journal article.

Audio visual
The Library has an audio visual (AV) collection, known as the John Barry Audiovisual collection. This simply means that as well as collections of books, we have films and documentaries, music and language DVDs, CDs, audio tapes and videos.

Author
The person who has written the book, journal article or web page.

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B

Barcode
Every item in the Library has a unique barcode attached to it. This is how we know who has borrowed a particular copy of a book. There is also a barcode on your University/Library Card which you scan when you issue books.

Being catalogued
When the Library buys new books they have to be added to YorSearch and given a shelf location. This process is called cataloguing. Books in this process will appear on YorSearch as 'Being catalogued'. To get a 'Being catalogued' item more quickly, place a request on it.

Bibliography
List of books and other materials which have been used to write a piece of work. Also knows as a reference list.

Booking
To make sure that you can use a Key Texts item or a group study room when you want to, you will need to place a booking on it. When you place a booking, you specify the date and time that you want to use the Key Texts or study room, and we reserve it for you.

Boolean logic
Boolean logic is a way of narrowing or expanding a database search by linking search terms with the connectors AND, OR, and NOT.

Borrower
A registered member of the Library. Check how many books you can borrow.

Borthwick Institute for Archives
The Borthwick Institute's collection includes archives from around the world, from the 12th century to the present day. It is located in on the first floor of the Raymond Burton Library.

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C

Catalogue
See the definition of YorSearch.

Catalogue PCs
There are over 40 computers in the Library which you can use to search for items on YorSearch.

Cataloguing
See the definition of Being catalogued.

CD-ROM
CD stands for Compact Disc and ROM for Read Only Memory. CD-ROMs are discs for holding information. On the catalogue you may find some material which is available on a CD-ROM.

Citation
When you refer to another information source (eg book, journal) in your original piece of work (eg essay or thesis) it is called a citation, because you are citing the source of your information.

Citing and referencing
At the end of an assignment you must include a reference list (or bibliography) listing all the information sources (books, web pages etc) you have referred to (cited) in your writing. Your lecturer may ask you to use a particular style of citing and referencing, for example Harvard or Vancouver.

Classmark
See the definition of Location.

Collaborative study
Open areas where groups can work together and where you may be able to move the furniture to suit your needs. For example, the study spaces on the first floor of the Harry Fairhurst Building.

Compact store
Two rooms where most of the Library's print journals are stored. Compact stores 1 & 2 are located on the ground floor of the JB Morrell Library. See the floor plan for Morrell Floor 0:

Conference paper
Conferences are gatherings of researchers and professionals within a certain field. During a conference, papers are presented that outline and discuss the latest research and advancements in the field. Conference papers are published in a variety of ways - they may be gathered together and published in a volume called a "conference proceeding", as a book, or as a special issue or supplement to a journal.

Conference proceeding
A collection of papers/articles which have been presented by speakers at a conference.

Copy/Copies
This has two different definitions in the Library:

  • A photocopy or print out from a printer, for example: "It costs 15p for an A4 colour copy".
  • Books, when we have more than one, for example: "We have 10 copies of that book".

Copyright
This is legal protection given to any person who creates certain kinds of materials, including books, journal articles and computer programs. Copyright limits the amount of photocopying you can do, if any, from books and journals.

Counter
See the definition of Help Desk.

Current
A piece of information which has been published recently.

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D

Database
In a library context, a database is a electronic collection of information which you can search for journal articles or subject specific information. You can access all of the databases the University pays for via the E-resources Guide. Look at our Subject Guides to find out what databases to use for your subject.

Dissertation
A long piece of writing based on extended reading and some independent research at undergraduate level. A requirement of some degree programmes. See the definition of thesis.

DOI
Digital Object Identifier. A DOI is a permanent identifier (for example, 10.1080/07294360050020499) which is linked to an electronic document, such as a journal article. If you know a document's DOI you can search for it online, even if you don't have other details such as the name of the journal or URL.

Due date
When you borrow a library item you only have the item for a limited period, for example for four weeks unless the item is requested. The date you must return or renew it by is called the due date. You can check the due dates of the items you have borrowed on your Library Account.

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E

Ebook/electronic book
An ebook is a book which is available in an electronic format, so you can read it online.

Edition
Published books sometimes need updating. This means a new version or edition of the book may be published. Some books have many editions. Your module reading list will recommended which edition you should use. You can view the editions of a book that we have by clicking on the "View x editions or versions" link on YorSearch.

Editorial
In some cases this is a short piece of writing which expresses the opinion of the editor. In others it can be a summary and background to the contents of the journal.

eduroam
Our wireless network is called eduroam. It allows anyone with an IT Services userrname and password to get Internet access in locations across campus. Once registered, your device will also connect to the eduroam wireless network in other universities which also use eduroam.

Ejournal/electronic journal/online journal
This is an electronic copy of a journal which is available to view online. Access is usually only available if the Library has purchased a subscription for the ejournal.

Email
This is the electronic delivery of messages. You have a University of York Google email account. It is very important that you check this on a regular basis as the Library will email you when you need to return items you have on loan to the Library and when items you have requested are ready for collection.

EndNote/Endnote Web
EndNote/ Endnote Web is a piece of software designed to help you organise your references and assist you in citing and referencing.

Enquiry Desk
See definition of Help Desk.

E-resources/electronic resources
This is a collective term used to describe databases, ejournals, ebooks and websites. Find out what e-resources the Library takes, and gain access, by searching or browsing the E-resources Guide.

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F

Fine
When you borrow a library book and someone else requests it, you must return that book to the Library. If you do not return the requested book on time you will be asked to pay a fine. This fine will increase with every additional day your book remains overdue. Your Library Account shows you your current 'fines & fees', fees refers to charges made for the interlibrary loans you have received or for items you have lost.

Flexible loans
Most items borrowed from the Library have flexible loan periods. This means that the due date can change if someone else needs to read the item you have borrowed. We will email you to tell you when you need to return an item to the Library early because someone else needs it/has requested it. For more information see our Borrowing web pages.

Folio
If you find an item on YorSearch marked as 'folio' it means it is an oversized item and is shelved separately to the normal book collections. Please ask library staff if you need assistance to find a folio item.

Full text
You will see this term on YorSearch and on electronic databases. It means the complete text of an electronic journal article, book or thesis is available to read online. When you find an article you want to read, look out for a full text link or download the PDF in order to view the whole article.

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G

Group study room
A room where you can work together with other students as a group. Some group study rooms can be booked before you need to use them, so that you can plan ahead.

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H

Harry Fairhurst Building
One of the three buildings which form the main University Library located on Campus West. The Harry Fairhurst is where you will find study spaces, computers, and the research study and lounge (see below).

Help Desk
Located on the ground floor of the JB Morrell Library and in the King's Manor Library, this is where you can ask for help using our services. See the floor plan for Morrell Floor 0

HTML
Hypertext Markup Language. Articles are often available to open as HTML files in databases. It will look like a web page when you read it.

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I

Impact factor
This relates to journals and measures the average number of times articles from a journal have been cited in other articles over a specific period of time. The measure can be used to compare different journals within a subject area, as a guide to a journal's influence. Academics may try to publish their research in a journal with a high impact factor.

 

Index
You will find an index at the end of a text book. It is an alphabetical list telling you the detailed contents of the book and the relevant page numbers.

Information skills/information literacy
The ability to find, evaluate and use information effectively. If you want to improve your skills, contact your Academic Liaison Librarian.

In print
This refers to a paper copy (also known as a hard copy) which is available in the Library.

Interlending and Document Supply
If you need a book or journal that we don’t have in the Library we can try to get it for you from another library, as an interlibrary loan. You can make a request for an interlibrary loan through our Interlending and Document Supply (ILDS) service.

Issue
This has two different definitions in the Library:

  • To borrow Library items. When you borrow something you must issue it to your Library Account using our self-service machines.
  • Each individual copy of a journal is called an issue (or part). Issues can be published weekly, monthly or several times a year depending on the journal, and are often referred to by number. For example, in a monthly journal the January issue is issue number 1, the February issue is number 2, and so on.

IT Services username and password
All University staff and students are given an IT account, with an IT Services username and password. You use your IT Services username and password to use IT facilities, for example a computer in an IT study area, and also to access the Library's electronic resources.

IT Support
Information Technology help and support. If you have a question about using a computer, help is available from the Library & IT Help Desk. The Help Desk is located on the ground floor of the JB Morrell Library.

Item in place
If an item is shown as 'Item in place' on YorSearch it means it is on the library shelves for you to use.

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J

JB Morrell Library
One of the three buildings which form the main University Library located on Campus West. The JB Morrell is where you will find most of our book and printed journal collections.

John Barry Audiovisual collection
Located on the ground floor of the Harry Fairhurst Building, this is the room where the Library's DVDs, CDs, videos and tapes are located. See the floor plan for Fairhurst Floor 0:

John Paynter Music Library
Located on the ground floor of the Harry Fairhurst Building, this is the room where the Library's books, scores and journals on music are located. See the floor plan for Fairhurst Floor 0:

Journal
A journal (also known as a periodical) is a publication with a particular subject focus which is published regularly. Scholarly journals are where academics publish their research. Journals can be printed, or electronic and accessed online, or both.

Journal article
Journal articles are where academics (for example, your lecturer) publish their research. They are also known as research papers. An individual issue of a journal will contain several different articles written by lots of different authors. Journal articles are good to use for assignments as they are current and often peer-reviewed.

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K

Key Texts collection
The Key Texts collection contains popular items in high demand which you can only borrow for a short period of time. The collection is located on the ground floor of the JB Morrell Library, and in the King's Manor Library.

Keywords
These are words used to search YorSearch or databases to find information on a particular subject.

King's Manor Library
The University's King's Manor Library is located in the centre of York and is where you will find some of our collections (eg books on architecture, heritage management) and important collections of slides and photographs.

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L

Liaison Librarian
See the definition of Academic Liaison Librarian.

LibAnswers
Our online help and support system. Use LibAnswers to contact us for help, advice and information. Search LibAnswers to find an answer to a question you may have about Library services.

Library account
All students and staff have an online library account, known as My Library Account. This provides a summary of the books, requests and fines you have in your name. You can use your Library Account to extend the time you can keep a library item for; this is called renewing. You can access your Library Account via YorSearch, our Library catalogue. Use your IT Services username and password to log in to your account.

Library catalogue
See the definition of YorSearch.

Library induction
A process designed to introduce you to all the services, resources and people who can help you use the Library.

Library number
This is the number on the back of your University Card, also your Library Card, which you will need to know if you request an item and come to the Library to collect it.

Literature review
This is a process you will have to go through at the start of your research. You will need to find out what has been published in books and journals in your area of research.

Loan
When you borrow an item from the Library it is 'on loan' to you. Your Library Account shows you your current 'loans' which are the items you are currently borrowing from the Library.

Loan period
This is the length of time you can borrow a book.

Location
Books in the Library are organised according to a letter and number system, we call this a subject classification system. This enables the Library to place books on the same subject together on the shelves (eg G 1.1 for industrial relations books). A label on each book shows its location. When you find a book you want to use on YorSearch, make a note of the location (also known as the classmark) so you can find it on the library shelves.

Lost item charge
It is important that you look after the items you have borrowed from the Library. If you don't and you lose a book and cannot return it to the Library we will ask you to pay a lost item charge, a charge for losing the item.

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M

MFDs
Our printers are called MFDs or multifunction devices because they can print, photocopy and scan. Some MFDs can print in colour, others just in black and white.

Microfiche
Microfiche are like microfilms but are flat sheets instead of reels of film.

Microfilms
These are reels which contain reproductions of documents which need to be read with special microfilm readers.

Monograph
A monograph is a book by a single author which focuses on their own research. A monograph is longer than a journal article and is different from a text book which looks at lots of different research and viewpoints on a particular subject.

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O

Online
This means it is available electronically on the Internet.

Open Access
An open access journal article is one which is freely available online to anyone. The Library does not have to pay for open access articles.

Overdue
If you don't renew or return an item you have borrowed by its due date, the item becomes overdue. If an item is requested by someone else and is overdue you will be asked to pay a fine (see above).

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P

Paper copy
A term used to refer to a printed copy of a journal article rather than an electronic version.

Password
See the definition of IT Services username and password.

PDF
Portable Document Format. This is a type of computer file which can secure pictures etc. within it. Journal articles are often available to save as a PDF file in databases.

Peer-review
A process where subject experts evaluate the quality of research undertaken before an article is approved for publication. You should use peer-reviewed (also referred to as "refereed" or "scholarly") articles in your assignments/research as they have been approved by scholars in your field for quality and importance.

Periodical
This is a term used to describe a journal.

Phishing
Phishing is the use of fake email messages that claim to be from an institution or company that you may trust (eg universities or banks) in an attempt to steal personal information from you (eg passwords, credit card numbers). The University and the IT Support Office will never ask you for your password via email. You should not respond to this kind of message and should delete the email.

Plagiarism
Plagiarism is when a student copies someone else's work and takes credit for it as their own idea without acknowledging the source.

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Q

Quarto
These are oversize books which are too big to fit on a standard size shelf. On the first and second floor of the JB Morrell Library quarto books are shelved at the end of the ordinary size books in each subject. On the third floor of the JB Morrell Library, quarto science books are shelved together. See the floor plan for Morrell Floor 3 to find out the location of the science quartos:

Quiet zone
There are certain areas in the Library where you will see a sign saying Quiet zone. You must minimise the noise you make in these areas. You cannot work in a group or talk constantly/loudly in these areas.

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R

Raymond Burton Library for Humanities Research
One of the three buildings which form the main University Library located on Campus West. The Raymond Burton is where you will find some of our Special Collections, and both quiet and silent study areas.

Recall
If someone else requests an item that you have on loan, we will recall that item. We will ask you to return the item to the Library before the due due so that someone else, the person requesting the item, can have it. Remember to check your University Google Mail account regularly as this is how we will let you know that an item is recalled and you need to return it to the Library.

Record
This word is used to refer to an entry on YorSearch, for example, to find the details of a book.

Reference
This has two different definitions in the Library:

  • Reference only books: If you find an item on YorSearch marked as 'Reference' it means it can only be used in the Library. Reference items are labelled with ‘REF' stickers.
  • The details of an information source you have used for an academic assignment: Most assignments require you to include a reference list or bibliography at the end of your work listing all the information sources you have referred to in your writing. See also the definition of citing and referencing.

Renew
If you want to extend the amount of time you can keep a book you will need to renew it. The Library will send you an email to remind you to do this.

Repository
A mechanism for managing and storing content or information.

Request
If you want a book and all the copies are out on loan you will need to place a request on the book to get it. Make sure there are no other copies of the item showing as available "Item in place" before you try to reserve it.

Research study and lounge
The research study and lounge is an area on the second floor of the Harry Fairhurst building for postgraduates and visiting academics to study in or relax.

Return point
This is the place where you return your borrowed books in the Library.

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S

Self-service issue and return
We have self-service issue and return machines so you can borrow and return library books yourself using your University/Library card.

Silent zone
There are certain areas in the Library where you will see a sign saying Silent zone. You must not make any noise in these areas.

Special Collections
Rare books and archives. These materials need special care and some items will only be available under supervised access. Read the Collections guide if you want to know more about the Special Collections held by the Library.

Stack
See the definition of Compact store.

Studious Buzz zone
There are certain areas in the Library where you will see a sign saying Studious Buzz zone. You can work in groups in these areas and talk quietly.

Subject classification
See the definition of Location.

Subject Librarian
See the definition of Academic Liaison Librarian.

Systematic review
A systematic review is a literature review focused on a defined research question that tries to identify, appraise, select and synthesise all high quality research evidence relevant to that question. Systematic reviews of high-quality randomised controlled trials are crucial to evidence-based medicine. For more information see the Health Sciences Subject Guide which lists systematic review resources and guidance.

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T

Thesis
A thesis is a long piece of personal research written by a candidate for a postgraduate university degree. You can find electronic full text copies of some recent Masters theses on the York Digital Library, or PhD theses on White Rose Etheses Online.

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U

University Card
Your University Card is also your Library card. Always bring it with you, as you'll need it to borrow items and enter the Library buildings between 20:00 (8pm) and 08:00 (8am).

URL
Uniform Resource Locator. It is the address for a web page on the Internet (eg http://www.york.ac.uk/library).

Username and password
See the definition of IT Services username and password.

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V

Volume
Journals are published in individual copies called issues. Several issues are grouped together to make a volume. Journals usually publish one volume per year which is made up of several different issues.

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W

White Rose Research Online (WRRO)
WRRO is the University of York, Leeds and Sheffield's shared online research repository (storehouse/database). Here you can find a range of open access research materials produced by academics at one of the three universities, including conference papers and journal articles. PhD theses are held on White Rose Etheses Online.

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Y

York Digital Library (YODL)
YODL is an online repository for multimedia resources at the University of York. It provides access to images, past exam papers and Masters theses.

York Minster Library
York Minster Library is the largest cathedral library in the country. University of York staff and students can use and borrow items from the Minster Library.

York Print Plus
The University’s printing, copying and scanning service for students and staff, run by IT Services, is called York Print Plus.

Yorkshare
The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) where you find your modules and reading lists online.

YorSearch
YorSearch is the name for our Library catalogue. The Library catalogue is an electronic list of all our library items including books, journals, theses, DVDs, electronic books and electronic journals. You can use the Library catalogue to search for library items and it will tell you:

  • which library or libraries have an item in stock
  • if an item is available to borrow
  • the item's location, which tells you where to find it on the shelf
  • useful details about the book, eg the edition.

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With acknowledgement and thanks to Kirsty Carver, Sophie North and the Library International Group at the University of Bradford, who prepared the original Library Language glossary and have permitted re-use by the University of York.