Help with Library words

  • This guide 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 who answers enquiries, teaches information skills, orders library stock and generally looks after the library needs of the students and staff in their subject area. Check our list of Academic Liaison Librarians to see who looks after your subject area

    Article A document within a journal or newspaper issue. Usually written by one or more named authors 

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    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"

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    Catalogue A listing of all the materials held in a library. The Oxford Brookes University Library catalogue is called  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

    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 webpages for further guidance

    Current copy The most recent issue of a journal

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    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 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  

    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

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    Encyclopaedias  Works containing information on all subject areas. Some encyclopaedias are subject specific.  The entries within an encyclopaedia are normally arranged alphabetically. 

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    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 

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    Hold A system of requesting that a specific book is kept for you to collect. See Reserving items for more information


    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  

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    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 webpages to find out which journals are held

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    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.

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    Oversize Larger books shelved separately - the word 'oversize' is given on the Library catalogue record 

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    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

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    1. Items that you may read when in the library,  but you cannot borrow and take out of the library
    2. 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 Citing information sources and plagiarism for more information 

    Renewal, Renew To keep an item (book, DVD) for a longer period of time. See  Renewing items for more information 

    Reservation - see Hold

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    Shelfmark - See Call number 

    Short Loan Collection 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 guide to Short Loan

    Synonyms Words having the same meaning (or nearly the same) as another word, eg boat and ship.

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    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 

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