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Library Terminology  

Here is a glossary of library terms
Last Updated: Oct 4, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
Library Terminology Print Page

Library Terminology

partial view of an abstractABSTRACT  A summary of an article's contents.  Databases often contain abstacts as a decision making tool so you can judge whether or not to pursue that full article.  

partial screen shot of a literature cited page BIBLIOGRAPHY  A list of bibliographic citations, (also called Works Cited, Literature Cited , Reference List) at the end of a journal article or book that lists the sources used by an author. There are also entire books that are bibliographies. Bibliographies can be useful for discovering additional sources for your research. You will probably be required to make a bibliography when you write a term paper.  More about Bibliographic Citations (and making Bibliographies) ; about Annotated Bibliographies.

book cover

BIOGRAPHY  A book, or information about an individual's life.  An autobiography is a biography of a person written by that person.  More on finding Biographies 

BOOK REVIEW  A crititical evaluation of a book, usually found in popular magazines and newspapers. More on Finding Book Reviews.

call numberCALL NUMBER  The combination of letters and numbers on a sticker, usually located on the spine or front cover of library materials (books, journals, DVDs, etc.). Use the call number from the Library Catalog to find the material in the library building. Call numbers are designed to group like subjects together, so you can use them to browse for materials. Most of our Ebooks and Ejournals do not have call numbers.  More on Call Numbers

CIRCULATION / RESERVE DESK Come to the second floor Circulation / Reserve Desk to checkout materials, deal with problems with holdsreturns, paying fines,  library PIN/passwords, noise complaints, check out Reserve materials, and pickup Holds, Document Delivery and LINK+ materials.   Common circulation questions 

CITATION  A "citation" is a string of data that describes a publication.  A citation usually contains the title, author, and pertinent publication information of cited books and journal articles. More about Bibliographic Citations. Part of a screen shot of the Databases page

DATABASE  An searchable collection of organized information. Many databases contain the full text of articles. Some databases only give you the author, title, and publication information and frequently an abstract which summarizes the main ideas of an article. After you have selected a citation to an article, click on the Find It! button to determine if the article is available full text online.  Go to our Databases; More on Find IT!

DISSERTATION or THESIS An academic thesis or dissertation is a large research paper written by students in order to complete their master's or doctoral degrees (PhD). Generally, "thesis" refers to a Master's degree and "dissertation" refers to a Doctoral degree. More on finding Dissertations and Theses.

DOCUMENT DELIVERY  If the Cal Poly Pomona Library does not have a particular journal article or book which you need, you may request a free copy online via the Document Delivery Service.  They may borrow a book, get you a photocopy, or send you an electronic copy. This is similar to the LINK+ system, except that Document Delivery is for both books and articles. Part of a screen shot of the electronic book "Food and Transformation" The differences are explained on our Get Materials Not At this Library page. Other libraries may call this service Inter Library Loan.

partial screen shot of the Electronic Journal American Journal of Political ScienceELECTRONIC BOOK  An online version of a printed book.  Our ebooks are intended to be read using a web browser.  You can search the Library Catalog for ebooks by using the pulldown for ebooks. More on eBooks.

ELECTRONIC JOURNAL  An online version of a printed journal. Our ejournals are intended to be read using a web browser.  You can search the Library Catalog  for ejournals by using the pulldown for electronic journals. 

FIND IT!  If the database you are searching does not have an article available full text, you may click on the Find It! button to determine if your article is available in full text in another database. More on Find IT! 

full text indicators from EbscohostFULL TEXT  An indication that you can read the entire item online.  Full text items in the library website are often in the pdf format.

HOLD  If the book you want is checked out, click on the "Request" button in the library catalog to be put on a waiting list for that book.  When the book is returned to the library, the you will be notified and the book will be held for you at the Circulation / Reserve Desk for 10 days.   More on Holds.

screen shot of the library catalogLIBRARY CATALOG   The Library Catalog is a searchable database that tracks what the Library owns, both in the building and online. It has links out to external websites for products that we have paid for. You may search by author, title, subject, call number, or keyword. You may also search the Library Catalog for books, eBooksreserve items, journal titles, and sound recordings or videos. The Library Catalog is available from  the Library home page,

LIBRARY PIN/PASSWORD   Your library PIN//PASSWORD  is needed for many transactions in the library and to logon to databases, electronic journals and electronic books accessed from the Library website.   For assistance with your library PIN go to the Circulation / Reserve Desk.

Link+ LogoLINK+  A free book borrowing system that draws from many libraries throughout California and Nevada.  If you can find a book in the LINK+ database that our Library does not have, you can request that it be brought here to the Circulation / Reserve Desk to be checked out.  You will need a Library PIN//PASSWORD to do this. This service is similar to DOCUMENT DELIVERY (above).  The differences are explained on our Get Materials Not At this Library page.

MICROFICHE or MICROFILM  Film based products either in sheets (MICROFICHE) or rolls (MICROFILM)   upon which printed information is reproduced (usually journal or newspaper articles, but may include report or book material). MICROFICHE and MICROFICHE are housed in cabinets on the second floor arranged by the call number. Nearby are special "reader/printers" that allow you to read, print or save print images to a USB flashdrive from the fiche or film.   

periodicalsPERIODICAL  A magazine, journal, or newspaper published on a continuing basis, such as weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Some of our periodicals are located on the third floor of the Library, arranged by call number. ejournals pulldown from the library catalogWe have far more available as Electronic Journals, searchable with the Library Catalog  by using the pulldown for electronic journals. 

PEER REVIEWED  Many of our journal articles are peer reviewed:  they have gone through the peer review process to filter for quality before they are published. More on Peer Reviewed Journals, also  Searching for Peer Reviewed Articles.

PHAROS  One of the two systems in the library for pre paying for printing and copying.  Pharos is for cash payment. The other system, Broncobucks is for credit and debit cards. More on Printing and Copying. Pharos is also the name of our computer reservation system.

RENEW You can extend your loan period by renewing online by selecting “My Library Account” from the Library Home Page.  If no one has a hold on the book, you will receive an extended due date. Research Help Desk

RESEARCH HELP DESK  You can come the the second floor Research Help Desk for assistance in finding the material or information you need.  Check the Library Hours to see when the desk is open.

RESERVE  Faculty can set aside materials for your class, which you can check out for a limited period of time, ranging from two hours to one week, at the Circulation / Reserve Desk.  Not to be confused with holds. There are also some Electronic Reserves, which you can read online.  Finding Course ReservesAbout Course ReservesAbout Electronic Reserves.

special collectionsSPECIAL COLLECTIONS / ARCHIVES This is where rare, valuable, historical, hard to replace and specialized materials are kept.  See their website for details.  Their website also has some online exhibits.

TECH HELP DESK Come to this service desk, located on the second floor, for help with printing, scanning and copying problems and help with application software. Check the Library Hours to see when the desk is open.

Zotero LogoZOTERO is a kind of free Reference Management Software: it manages bibliographic information and related research materials. It can be an add on to Firefox or a standalone with integration with some other browsers.  See our ZOTERO Guide


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