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Glossary: An alphabetical list of common library terms

The terms below are commonly used in our Library. Words in italics have their own entry on the list.

Abstract: A summary of a piece of writing. A term most commonly associated with journal articles.

Annotation: An explanatory or supplementary note or comment in a book, usually by someone other than the original author. See also notes.

Article: A piece of writing on a specific subject.  Articles can vary in length, from a couple of hundred to several thousand words.  One issue of a journal, magazine, or newspaper is normally made up of several articles.

Automatic renewal: The process by which library loans are automatically renewed unless they are needed by another borrower.

Bibliographic information: Information relating to the publication details of a resource, e.g., author, title, publisher, date of publication, edition, volume. See also citation.

Bibliography: A systematic list of resources (books, articles, websites etc.) consulted in order to produce a piece of work. Different from a reference list.

Boolean logic: The use of the words AND, OR, and NOT in keyword searches to include or exclude certain words.
(Fun fact: the inventor of Boolean logic, George Boole, was born in Lincoln and lived here for many years. He is considered one of the founders of modern computing.)

Call number: Another word for shelfmark.

Citation: Bibliographic information set out in a precise order for inclusion in a reference list, bibliography, reading list or database. See also bibliographic details and referencing.

Copyright: A form of legal protection afforded to creators of intellectual works that dictates if and how their work can be used or re-used.

Database:  A collection of data in an electronic format which can be searched and/or browsed.  Many of the electronic resources provided by BGU Library are databases.

Dewey: Refers to Dewey Decimal Classification; the classification system used in our library.

E-book: (Electronic book).  A book in electronic format designed to be read on a computer or hand-held device. 

E-journal: (Electronic journal).  A journal that is published online only, or both in print and online.

Electronic resource / e-resource: See online resource

Full-text: A document (e.g. a journal article) available to view online in its entirety.  As opposed to an abstract.

Hold: The ability to reserve a library resource that is on loan to another borrower. Also called a reservation.

Index: An alphabetical or themed list of topics accompanied by relevant page numbers, normally found at the back of a book.

Inter-library loan: A service offered by many libraries whereby patrons can request to borrow books and journal articles from other libraries.  At BGU, charges apply for this service.

Issue: Interchangeable with the word part to describe a single, published part of a journal, as in ‘the latest issue of Film Quarterly was published last week’.

ISBN: (International Standard Book Number).  A unique 10- or 13-character code that identifies a particular book. ISBNs can be written with or without hyphens, e.g., 978-1427971511 or 0405479412. ISBNs are mostly numbers but sometimes contain the letter X.

ISSN: (International Standard Serial Number).  A unique 8-character code that identifies a particular journal. ISSNs are always written with a hyphen between the fourth and fifth characters, e.g., 1234-2156. ISSNs are mostly numbers but sometimes contain a letter X.

Journal: A serial on a specific subject; like a magazine but with more detailed academic and professional articles.  See also part, issue and number.

Keyword: A descriptive word or phrase used to search databases and other online resources.

Monograph: A scholarly book or lengthy essay that examines a specialised subject in detail.

Notes: Supplementary comments and information provided in books and journal articles by the author/s. Usually displayed at the bottom of a page, or at the end of a chapter, article, or publication. See also annotation.

Number: Refers to the identification of journal issues. Many use volumes and parts but some use only a number and date, e.g., Number 348 (2011).

One week loan: High demand resources with a 7-day loan period (also known as ‘owls’).

Online resource: Any type of resource accessed via a computer e.g., an e-book, e-journal, or database.

Part: Interchangeable with the word issue to describe a single issue of a journal. See also volume.

Peer review: A process by which, prior to publication, a journal article is scrutinised by a group of subject experts to ensure academic rigour and integrity.

Periodical: Another word for a serial (i.e., something published periodically).

Plagiarism: The act of passing someone else’s work off as your own.

Reading list: A list of resources to support a particular module or course, usually compiled by the person teaching it.

Reference: Refers to resources that can’t be borrowed or taken out of the Library, i.e., ‘this item is for reference only’.

Reference list: A list of citations at the end of a piece of work which includes only those items specifically referred to or quoted within the work. Different from a bibliography.

Referencing: A set of rules governing the way other people’s work is acknowledged in written assignments (e.g. ideas and quotes included in the text, citations in the reading list). The system used at BGU is described in detail in the University’s Handbook for Written Coursework.

Reservation: Another word for a Hold.

Serial: Any type of publication published regularly (e.g., monthly, quarterly, annually). Includes journals, magazines and newspapers.  

Shelfmark: The short code showing where an item belongs on the Library shelves. Normally displayed on book spine as a short sequence of letters or numbers.

Standard loan: The standard length of time you can borrow a BGU Library book or other resource for.

Volume: A single issue of a journal is normally identified by two numbers: a volume and part. The volume usually reflects the number of years that a journal has been published for, and the part normally reflects the number of issues published in the volume up to that point. In citations, volumes and parts are often written as volume (part), e.g. 1 (3), or volume:part, e.g., 3:1.

WorldCat: the name of our library catalogue and resource discovery tool.