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International Students: Library Terminology

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Library Terminology

Library Terminology

As an international student, you may find some terms used in the Bellevue University Library unfamiliar. The following will provide you with a list of some common terms and their definitions, which may help you as you conduct library research.

An abstract is a concise summary of a periodical article or book. It can also refer to an electronic database or a set of print publications which provide citations and summaries of articles or texts published in periodicals, books or other materials. They can usually be searched by subject, author and/or title.

A bibliography is a list of reference materials such as books and articles used for research. It is often located at the end of an article or book. It can also refer to a collection of information sources on a specific topic, such as books and periodical articles that are published as a book.

Short for weblog, a blog is a type of website where entries are made and displayed in reverse chronological order. Blogs often provide commentary or news on a particular subject and may contain text, images, and links to other webpages or blogs.

Boolean Searching
A method of combining search terms in database searching using Boolean operators: AND, OR and NOT.

Call Number
A call number consists of a series of letters, numbers or symbols that identifies an individual book or material and shows the order in which the item is stored on a shelf or in a collection of materials. The call number label is usually located on the spine of a book. Most academic libraries in the USA use the Library of Congress classification system in order to determine the call number for each book.

Check Out
In order to borrow a book from the library for a certain period of time, you must take the book to the circulation desk and have it charged out with your university ID or library card.

Circulation Desk
The circulation desk is the place to check out and return library materials, establish your library account and ask questions about your library account and library services.

A citation is a reference source which usually includes article title, author, publication name, date, volume and pages from journals or books.

A database is a file or collection of bibliographic citations, data, full-text materials, or records of materials stored electronically in a manner that can be retrieved and manipulated.

Due Date
The due date is the date by which library materials on loan should be returned or renewed. If you do not return library materials by the designated due date, you are subject to fines or loss of borrowing privileges.

A periodical index is a list of bibliographic citations of articles in magazines or journals. It can be used to help find articles on specific topics. A book index is an alphabetical list of important words, phrases and subjects contained within a book along with a list of the associated pages that discuss those terms.

Library Catalog
The Library Catalog is an electronic database listing all the materials such as books and periodicals owned by the Bellevue University Library. Records in the database provide information about these items such as author, title, subject, call number, publication date, location, and availability.

Library Instruction
Library instruction usually consists of a lecture and demonstration.  It is a service provided by librarians to teach students how to use the library's resources efficiently.

Loan Period
This term refers to the length of time library materials may be borrowed.

Handwritten document or book.

The book checked out by you has not been returned or renewed by the due date.

Academic publications with reports on recent studies and/or scholarly essays that are printed on a regular basis, whether monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, annually, or biannually, are referred to as periodicals or journals.

Reference Collection
The reference collection consists of materials used frequently for general information. It includes encyclopedias, dictionaries, indexes, and other materials. These materials may not be checked out of the library.

Reference Desk
The reference desk is where you receive in-depth assistance from librarians in your library research. The desk is usually located near the reference collections.

Remote Access
Restricted library electronic resources can be used by students, faculty, and staff from an off campus computer. When working from an off-campus location you will need to log in with your BRUiN login for access to our electronic resources.


Renew is a service which allows you to extend the loan period for the book that you have checked out, unless another user has recalled the book. You can renew your books by using the "My Library Account" feature in the Library Catalog.

The shelves that hold the circulating library books are referred to as the 'stacks'. A user will need a call number, the number listed both in the book’s record in the Library Catalog and on the spine of the book itself, to locate the volume in the stacks.