Library language and jargon

This guide will help you to understand the various terms, vocabulary and jargon that you may encounter using library services and resources.

Abstract

A summary of the main points covered in an article or book. You can read the abstract to help you decide if the full article or book is relevant to your topic.

Alumni

Graduates or former students of a University. Newcastle University Alumni can apply to use the Library.

Archives

Documents and papers created in the past and which have been preserved permanently for their historical or research value. The Library's archive collections are held in Special Collections on Level 1 of the Philip Robinson Library.

Article

A short written work usually published in a journal, magazine or newspaper.

AV

Audiovisual resources. Music, film and language materials on audio or video cassettes, or CD or DVD discs.

Barcode

The unique number which is assigned to a book when it is received by the Library, e.g. M12025005957. The catalogue uses this number to recognise a book.

Bibliography

A list of references (see: Reference) that tells you which books and journals an author has referred to or consulted in the course of researching and writing their work. Many people choose to use the EndNote software to help them create consistent bibliographies.

Borrower ID

The long number beginning with the letter U, found on your Smartcard.

Catalogue

See: Library Search

Classification

The system used to organise books on Library shelves by subject. Newcastle University uses the Dewey classification system, usually called the Dewey decimal system.

Classmark

See: Shelfmark

Closed access

Material not held on the shelves in the Library but which is kept in a special store and needs to be requested.

Cluster

One of the areas in the Library where there are computers provided for use by students.

COPAC

A resource which enables you to search the online catalogues of major University, Specialist and National Libraries across the United Kingdom.

Copyright

The laws protecting "intellectual property" such as books, journals, images, films, music and databases. Copyright limits what you can do with these resources, and what you can copy.

Database

A body of information organised in such a way that it can be searched. Most databases are stored in computerized format.

Dewey decimal system

A classification system used to arrange books on our Library shelves by subject. The Dewey decimal system gives each subject a number, or classmark, and the books are shelved in number order.

E-book

An electronic or online version of a printed book.

E-journal / electronic journal

An electronic or online version of a printed journal.

Edition

Information about a particular impression or issue of a book, e.g. whether it is a 1st edition or a 5th edition etc. Books can be issued more than once, sometimes many times over. The latest or most recent edition will usually contain revised and updated information.

EndNote

A software package which enables you to organise you lists of references and create bibliographies.

E-resources

A collective term meaning electronic books, electronic journals and databases.

Finding Aid

A description or list of the contents of an archive or manuscript collection. Sometimes called a handlist. The Library's archive and manuscript collections are held in Special Collections on Level 1. Finding aids and handlists are available in paper form in the Special Collections Reading Room or on the Special Collections web pages. See also: Handlist, Archives and Manuscripts.

Folio

Used to describe a large item which is too large to fit on the ordinary shelves and can be found in the Oversize section of the Library. See: Oversize.

Government Publications

Materials published by UK Parliament and Government departments and agencies, such as Acts of Parliament, Bills, Departmental Reports and transcripts of the proceedings in the House of Commons and House of Lords (Hansard).

Handlist

A list of the contents of an archive or manuscript collection. Sometimes called a finding aid. The Library's archive and manuscript collections are held in Special Collections on Level 1 of the Philip Robinson Library. Finding aids and handlists are available in paper form in the Special Collections Reading Room or on the Special Collections web pages.

See also: Finding Aid. Archives. Manuscripts.

Hold request

A request made for a book which is currently on loan to another reader. You can make a hold request by logging into the Library Search.

Holdings

A statement of the number of copies of a book or journal owned by the Library.

ILL

Inter-Library loans. A service by which the Library will try to acquire a book or journal which you need but which we do not have. Located at the Main Counter on Level 2 of the Philip Robinson Library.

Imprint

Information about a book's publisher, place of publication and date of publication, usually found at the bottom of the title-page.

Index

An alphabetical listing of subjects and names in a book, showing the page numbers on which a particular subject or name can be found.

International Student

A student who has come to Newcastle from another country.

ISBN

An International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a unique number given to every published book. It has 10 or 13 digits. An ISBN is useful if you want to order a specific book from a bookseller, or find it in the Library catalogue.

IT Service

Previously known as ISS (Information Systems and Services). The University's central computing service which provides most of the computer services used by staff and students. The IT Service is responsible for the large PC Cluster on Level 2 of the Philip Robinson Library.

ISSN

International Standard Serial Number. A unique number given to every published journal. It has 8 digits. An ISSN is useful if you want to distinguish between different journals that may have the same name.

Journal

A publication issued in separate parts over a period of time and often containing articles on primary and current research. Another word for a Journal is a Periodical.

Keyword

A word that you use in order to find an item when searching an electronic database. Keywords are not the same as subject headings, and often are not as effective in locating relevant documents.

Laptop Loans

A service by which staff and students can borrow a laptop for use in the libary. This service is available at all libraries, ask at the main counter.

Law Library

Located in the Law School and provides resources for students and staff learning and researching law.

Liaison Assistant

Each subject area has named members of Library staff responsible for helping students and staff. You can contact your Liaison Librarian or a Liaison Assistant if you need help in finding or accessing resources for your course of study. They will always be happy to help.

Liaison Librarian

Each subject area has named members of Library staff responsible for helping students and staff. You can contact your Liaison Librarian or a Liaison Assistant if you need help in finding or accessing resources for your course of study. They will always be happy to help.

Library Search

The online discovery tool that allows you to search the library's print and electronic resouces.

Login / Login Page

The set of details- usually a user name and a password- which you need to provide in order to access certain electronic resources available through the Library.

Long Loan

Items which are issued for 4 weeks. You may be asked to return them sooner if the item is requested by another user.

Manuscripts

Documents or papers which were written by hand. Usually used to mean handwritten documents or papers which were written in the past and have been preserved permanently for their historical or research value. The Library's Manuscript collections are held in Special Collections on Level 1 of the Philip Robinson Library.

Microfilm, microfiche & microform

Microforms are printed documents that have been photographed, reduced in size and printed onto film. They are used as a compact way to store documentation which is not heavily used. Microfiche is in the form of small sheets of film. Microfilm is a long roll of film. To read microforms you need to use a microform reader. Microform readers can be found in the Microform Research Room on Level 3 of the Philip Robinson Library. See: Microform Research Room.

Microform Research Room

The room which Library members can use to read and print out works on microfilm and microfiche. Located on Level 3 of the Philip Robinson Library. Ask at the Level 3 information desk for advice on how to use one of the machines. See: Microfiche, microfilm and microform.

Monograph

A book.

Next Day Loan

Library books which are due back by closing time the next day. They have a large overdue charge if returned late.

Overdue charge

A sum of money charged for the late return of a Library item.

Oversize

Used to describe a large item which is too large to fit on the ordinary shelves.

PC

A personal computer that you would typically find on a desktop.

PC Cluster

One of the areas in the Library where there are computers provided for use by students.

Periodical

See: Journal

Plagiarism

Using the words or ideas of other people and saying they are your own.

Print Services

A service which offers digital printing and document scanning and can produce documents, fliers, booklets and posters. There is also a binding service for theses and dissertations. There is a charge for these services. Print Services is on Level 1 of the Philip Robinson Library.

Quarto

Used to describe a large item which is too large to fit on the ordinary shelves and can be found in the Oversize section of the Library. See: Oversize.

Rare Books

Books which are special because there are very few copies of them in existence. Or books which are special because of their age, where they come from or how they were made. The Library's rare book collections are held in Special Collections on level 1 of the Philip Robinson Library. They can be searched on Library Search.

Reader Services

The department of the Library responsible for running many of the services which the Library offers to students and staff, including the main counter on Level 2 of the Philip Robinson Library.

Reading List

List given out by lecturers or tutors containing the books or articles which should be read by those studying a particular module or course. A reading list can be either in paper form or electronic form via the catalogue. A reading list will usually contain three types of suggested book/article: "Essential reading" means books or articles which you must read. "Recommended reading" means books or articles which you will find it very useful to read, although you do not have to read them. "Background reading" means books or articles which might not be directly related to your topic, but which provide information which will help you understand your topic.

Recall

The email/notice sent to a reader who has a book on loan which has been requested by another reader. The recall will ask you to return the book by a certain date.

Reference

An acknowledgement that an idea, a quote or a piece of information that you have used in your work is taken from someone else's work and information about where you have taken it from.

Reference only

Items which can only be used in the Library and cannot be borrowed.

Renewal

Borrowing an item again once the initial borrowing period has run out.

Research Reserve

A collection of lesser-used books and journals which are held off-campus. If you want any item which is held in the Reserve, you can request it via Library Search.

Restricted issue

Items which have some restrictions to how long you may borrow them for or where you may use them.

Philip Robinson Library

The Philip Robinson Library is the main campus Library and has resources for all subjects except medicine, dentistry, biomedical sciences and law.

SCONUL

The Society of College, National and University Libraries. SCONUL enables members of one academic Library to make use of another in the United Kingdom. To make use of the SCONUL scheme, please talk to staff on the main issue counter on Level 2 of the Philip Robinson Library.

Search engine

Software that searches the web. For example, Google and Ask are popular search engines.

Search Terms

The different words you might use to Words to describe a search topic. You can use search words to find books on a particular topic in the Library catalogue.

Self-issue

Terminals where you can issue items out to yourself using your Smartcard.

Self-return

Terminals where you can return your items yourself using your Smartcard.

Serial

See: Journal

Shelfmark

The number used to arrange books on our Library shelves by subject. The Library catalogue gives the shelfmark of each item. You need the shelfmark to find the item on the shelf. You will find the shelfmark somewhere on the item, usually on the spine of a book. See also: Dewey decimal system.

Smartcard

Your University ID Card. Carries your photo, name and Student Number, and a barcode. You need it to access the Library building, to borrow books and to make photocopies.

Special Collections

The Library's collections of rare, historical or special material including books and archives and manuscripts, which are kept on closed access See: Closed Access.

Special Collections Reading Room

The room on Level 1 of the Library where Special Collections material can be used. Also called the Enright Room.

STC

Student Texts Collection.

A collection of books or journals which are in heavy demand and which students or staff can use for a shorter time period. You can book a 4-hour slot to look at an STC item by logging into the catalogue. The STC is on Level 2 of the Philip Robinson Library. Overdue charges are very high for late STC books.

Sub Library

The section of the Library where you will find a particular book or journal. The sublibraries in Newcastle University Library are: Philip Robinson Walton Law Computing Special Collections Research Reserve Electronic (meaning part of our Electronic resources).

Subject librarian

Another term for Liaison Librarian. See: Liaison Librarian.

Thesis

A long piece of work produced by a PhD student and containing detailed research on a specific subject. Theses are kept in the Library store and need to be requested online though the catalogue.

URL

A Uniform Resource Locator is the 'address' of a web page, for example http://www.ncl.ac.uk/library is the URL for Newcastle University Library.

Walton Library

The Walton Medical and Dental Library is in the Medical School and holds resources for those studying or teaching the Medical, Dental, Biomedical Sciences and Psychology.