This guide to terminology is to help you with terms used regularly in the library which may be unfamiliar to you. If you are uncertain of anything, please ask the library staff - they are here to help you.
Abstract. A summary of the content of a book, journal article, thesis or other publication.
Academic Liaison Librarian. A librarian who has special knowledge of the resources in a particular subject area. Each Faculty/academic discipline has its own Academic Liaison Librarian. We answer enquiries, teach information skills, order library stock and generally look after the library needs of the students and staff in our subject area. Check our list of subjects to find contact details for the Academic Liaison Librarians who looks after your subject area.
Article. A document within a journal or newspaper issue. Usually written by one or more named authors.
Back issues. Older issues of a journal. See also current copy.
Bibliography. A list of references to books, journal articles and other information sources. A bibliography may exist as a separate entity, offering a list of sources on a particular subject; it also frequently forms part of a publication, or assignment, being placed at the end of the work and including (but not always limited to) all sources referred to in the work.
Boolean searching. A method of searching for relevant entries on a database, using the words 'AND, OR, NOT' to combine search terms. These words are known as "Boolean operators".
Catalogue. A listing of all the materials held in a library. The Oxford Brookes University Library catalogue is part of LibrarySearch and is available on the Library home page. It includes details of all resources held in all Brookes libraries.
Call number. Code of numbers and letters on the spine of a book, and found on the LibrarySearch system. The call number is the key to finding the book in the Library. Also known as a classmark or shelfmark.
Citation. The basic information about an information source of any kind (book, journal, website, lecture, conference paper etc), sometimes called a reference. For example, a book citation would include author(s), title, year, edition, place of publication and publisher.
Citing your sources means acknowledging within your piece of work the sources from which you obtained information. See the Library referencing and plagiarism webpage for further guidance.
Current copy. The most recent issue of a journal.
Database. An online collection of data that can be searched in a systematic way. Many databases serve as indexes to journal articles, usually in a broad subject area, and many of these also include the full text of the articles (e.g.PsycInfo). Other databases comprise full text documents (e.g. Construction Information Service). See Find a database for a complete list of databases available to Brookes students and staff.
Dewey Decimal System. The system of classifying library materials used in Oxford Brookes Library. Each item is given a call number or shelfmark (a set of numbers and letters) according to its subject and this is included in the record for that item on the LibrarySearch system. It is through these shelfmarks that you know where to find items in the library. In this way, books on the same subject are shelved together to enable browsing. For more details of the system see the Guide to the Dewey Decimal Classification Scheme (Word and PDF versions available).
Dictionaries. Books containing alphabetical listings of words with their meanings.
Dissertation. A lengthy piece of original work written as a requirement for an academic degree. Also known as a thesis.
Encyclopaedias. Works containing information on all subject areas. Some encyclopaedias are subject specific. The entries within an encyclopaedia are normally arranged alphabetically.
Full text. The entire content of an item, such as a journal article, book or report, available in electronic format. Some databases contain the full text of journal articles.
Hold. A system of requesting that a specific book is kept for you to collect. Also known as a reservation.
Index. A list to enable specific contents of a resource to be found. An index is often, but not always, alphabetical, and can be a list of subjects, authors, or any other relevant matter.
Interlibrary Loan. A Library service through which users can request books, journal articles, conference proceedings and theses not held at Brookes. For further information see: Interlibrary Loans service.
ISBN. International Standard Book Number. Books published since 1969 have one of these unique identifying numbers .
Journal. Also commonly known as a periodical or magazine, a journal is a publication published regularly (e.g. weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually) under the same title. Journals may be e-only, print only, or published both in print and online. Check the Library home page to find out which journals are held.
LibrarySearch. LibrarySearch includes a listing of all the materials held in a library, plus information about many more information sources not held at Brookes. Use LibrarySearch to find and view books, journals and e-books.
Literature search. A systematic and thorough search for material already written on a specific topic.
Oversize. Larger books shelved separately - the word 'oversize' is used for books on LibrarySearch.
Peer Review. A 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.
Plagiarism means passing off someone else's words or thoughts as your own. Find out more about plagiarism.
- Items that you may read when in the library, but you cannot borrow and take out of the library
- Description of a source (e.g. book or journal article); the description includes author, title, year, publisher etc. It will give all the information that is needed to be able to locate that source in a Library or online. Sometimes referred to as a citation
Reference list. A list of references to books, journal articles and other information sources. A reference list often forms part of a publication, or assignment, being placed at the end of the work and including all sources referred to in the work. The term may be used interchangeably with bibliography, or may refer specifically, and only, to a list of reference sources specifically referred to in the work.
Referencing means acknowledging within your piece of work the sources from which you obtained information. See referencing and plagiarism page for more information.
Renewal, Renew. To keep an item (book, DVD) for a longer period of time. See our borrowing and returning page for more information.
Reservation - see Hold.
Shelfmark - see Call number
Short Loan Collection. A collection of some key books and other resources for specific courses, which are shelved separately and can be borrowed for a limited number of hours. For more information, see the Borrowing section of the borrowing and returning page.
Synonyms. Words having the same meaning (or nearly the same) as another word, eg boat and ship.
Thesaurus. A list of words with their meanings and synonyms (words with the same or similar meanings).
Thesis. A lengthy piece of original work written as a requirement for an academic degree. Also known as a dissertation.