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Glossary of Library Terms

Abstract – A summary of a journal article. Reading the abstract first can help you determine whether or not the full article will be useful. Some journal databases will have only abstracts or will have a combination of abstracts and full-text articles.

Bound Periodical – A set of print magazines or journals that have been collected together and bound like a printed book, making it easier to preserve their contents and store them on one of the library shelves. At the USF Tampa Library, most bound periodicals are found in the Basement (beginning 2012 Fall Semester).

Call Number – A unique series of letters and numbers assigned to a book to tell you where it can be found on a library shelf. DVDs, CDs, government documents, microforms, and print periodicals are also assigned call numbers. You can use the USF Libraries Catalog to find out what call number has been assigned to a particular item.

Catalog – A database that can be searched for books and other items to see if the library has the item in its collection. For electronic items (such as e-books), the catalog provides a link to the item. For print items, the catalog provides the call number to help locate the item on the library shelf. For circulating items, the catalog tells you whether or not the item has been checked out, and if so, when it is due to be returned to the library.

Circulate, Circulating Collection – If a book or other item can be checked out and removed from the library by a student or faculty member for a period of time, it is said to “circulate”. The USF Tampa Library’s 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors contain the Circulating Collection (books that circulate). The DVDs and CDs on the 6th floor also circulate, as do many of the government documents in the Basement. To check out a circulating item, take it to the Library Services Desk on the 1st floor, together with your USFCard.

Citation – Information that uniquely identifies a source used for a paper or presentation, allowing others to find it. A citation usually consists of a title, author, publication date, and other publication information.

Database – An electronic collection of information, such as journal articles. Some databases contain magazine articles, newspaper articles, other written material, images, sound files, or video files.

Dissertation – A book-length research document produced by a student to fulfill the requirement for earning a doctoral degree. A similar document produced by a masters-level student is known as a thesis.

Full Text – The entire text contents of a research article, instead of just the abstract. Some journal databases provide full-text for all of their articles, while other databases provide the full-text for only some of the articles and only abstracts for other articles.

Government Documents – Printed materials produced by the U.S. federal government or by the Florida state government. These reports and other materials are shelved in the USF Tampa Library’s Basement, and many of them can be checked out.

Hold Request – A request that a book that has been checked out to someone else be returned earlier than its due date so that the requesting user can check it out. To place a hold request, click the link in the USF Libraries Catalog just below the book’s due date. This sends a notification to the person who has checked out the book, asking them to return it to the Library. As soon as the book is returned, the user who placed the hold request will be automatically notified that the book is at the Library Services Desk, ready to be checked out by the user.

InterLibrary Loan (ILL) – A way to obtain a book or article from another library that is not held by the USF Tampa Library

Journal – A magazine-like periodic publication that contains research articles

Microfiche, Microfilm, Microform – Because some publications were printed on paper that was not designed to last a long time (newspapers), or would take up a lot of room if stored in the library (magazines or educational reports), these publications have been photographed and reduced in size onto a plastic-like storage medium known as microforms. Microforms that are rolled up like an old movie film are known as microfilm, while those that are on individual sheets (each about the size of an index card) are known as microfiche. Microfilm and microfiche can be read using special viewing machines, and can be scanned and saved as a PDF file (or other format) onto a USB flash drive, or emailed.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Article – A research article that has been submitted by its author(s) to a journal for publication, but first reviewed by several other researchers (the “peers”, also known as “referees”) for appropriateness and to meet that field’s standards, in order to obtain approval for publication.

Periodical – A serial publication (see Serial) that comes out more than twice a year, such as a journal, magazine, or newspaper.

Refereed Journal Article – See Peer-Reviewed Journal Article.

Reference Book, Reference Collection – A book that is not intended to be read in its entirety but instead is designed to be used to look up the answer to a question is known as a reference book. Reference books in the USF Tampa Library are usually kept in the Reference Collection (this includes the Ready Reference collection on the 1st floor, the main Reference Collection on the 4th floor, and the Reference Annex in the Basement). These books may not be checked out but may be used inside the Library (including photocopying or scanning relevant pages).

Reference Services, Reference Librarian – Assistance in using the library is known as reference services, and includes answering questions about the library’s resources and services. Reference services in the USF Tampa Library also include assisting students and faculty in finding appropriate materials for their assignments and research. Reference services at the USF Tampa Library are provided by faculty known as reference librarians, or by other trained library staff. To use reference services, users may visit or call the Library Services Desk (located on the Library’s 1st floor) or may contact a librarian by email, chat, or text message.

Reserves – items that are in high demand by students (such as for a class assignment or for test preparation), and that have been re-located to the Library Services Desk, usually at the request of a course instructor. Reserve items are usually highly restricted in how long the item may be checked out, in order to provide access by as many different students as possible.

Scholarly Journal Article – See Peer-Reviewed Journal Article.

Serial – A publication that comes out more than once, such as a journal, magazine, newspaper, or yearbook

Stacks – The library shelves

Thesis – See dissertation.

Volume – A collection of periodical issues, usually published within the same year or part of a year

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