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Library Terminology


Recall: "A request for the return of library material before the due date."

Refereed journal: See Peer reviewed journal.

Reference: "1. A service that helps people find needed information. 2. Sometimes "reference" refers to reference collections, such as encyclopedias, indexes, handbooks, directories, etc. 3. A citation to a work is also known as a reference."

Remote access: "The ability to log onto (or access) networked computer resources from a distant location. Remote access makes available library databases to students researching from home, office, or other locations outside the library."

Renew/Renewal: "A lengthening (or extension) of the loan period for library materials."

Reserve: "1. A service providing special, often short-term, access to course-related materials (book or article readings, lecture notes, sample tests) or to other materials (CD-ROMs, audio-visual materials, current newspapers or magazines). 2. Also the physical location—often a service desk or room—within a library where materials on reserve are kept. Materials can also be made available electronically." To review a current list of textbooks and other items kept at the Circulation Desk at each Reynolds campus library, click here. See also: Course reserve


Scholarly: See Peer reviewed 

Search statement/Search Query: "Words entered into the search box of a database or search engine when looking for information. Words relating to an information source's author, editor, title, subject heading or keyword serve as search terms. Search terms can be combined by using Boolean operators and can also be used with limits/limiters."

Secondary sources: "Materials such as books and journal articles that analyze primary sources. Secondary sources usually provide evaluation or interpretation of data or evidence found in original research or documents such as historical manuscripts or memoirs."

Serial: "Publications such as journals, magazines and newspapers that are generally published multiple times per year, month, or week. Serials usually have number volumes and issues. The words journal, magazine, periodical, and serial may be used interchangeably."

Software: "The programs installed on and used by the components of a computer system (or, hardware)."

Stacks: See Book stacks

Style manual: "An information source providing guidelines for people who are writing research papers. A style manual outlines specific formats for arranging research papers and citing the sources that are used in writing the paper." See Citation. Also see our Citing Sources LibGuide .

Subject heading: "Descriptions of an information source’s content assigned to make finding information easier." See also: Controlled vocabulary, Descriptors.


Thesaurus: "A list of terms which serves as a standardized or controlled vocabulary for identifying, locating, and retrieving information."

Thumb drive: "A small portable device for storing computerized information. A thumb drive can plug into the USB (Universal Serial Bus) port of any computer and store electronic information."

Title: "The name of a book, article, or other information source."


Upload: "To transfer information from a computer system or a personal computer to another computer system or a larger computer system."

Uniform Resource Locator (URL): "The unique address for a Web page which is used in citing it. A URL consists of the access protocol (http), the domain name (, and often the path to a file or resource residing on that server."

User ID: "A number or name unique to a particular user of computerized resources. A user ID must often be entered in order to access library resources remotely."


Virtual reference: "A service allowing library users to ask questions through email or live-chat as opposed to coming to the reference desk at the library and asking a question in person. Also referred to as “online reference” or “e-reference.


Wireless: "The name given to any electronic device that sends messages through space via electric or electromagnetic waves instead of via power cords."

World Wide Web: "A network of information, as a part of the Internet, that includes text, graphics, sounds, and moving images. Also know as the Web or WWW or W3. It incorporates a variety of Internet tools into one method of access, such as the Web browser Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox."


Zip drive/zip disk: "Devices used in the creation of compressed (or “zipped”) electronic information."