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Library Resources for Distance Students

What the library has for distance students and how to access it.

Vocabulary

vocabulary

Library vocabulary A-I

Articles

The kind of articles your instructors want you to use are collected in academic journals. They tend to contain the most up-to-date information and focus on one aspect of a topic.

Boolean Terms/Logic 

The words AND, OR, NOT are powerful ways to join search terms. They help focus your search to return the results you want. See these tutorials for examples of how to use Boolean Terms.

Call Numbers 

Each physical object (book, DVD, etc.) in the library has a call number, which is the address that will take you to the shelf where the book is. Call numbers are organized by subject, so when you find one book on a subject, chances are the books nearby will be on the same or a similar subject. The range of the call numbers of the books on a shelf is printed on the end of each row of books. The library maps give a rough guide as to which call numbers are where in the library.

Catalogue

The catalogue is a database that lists all of the physical and electronic books, as well as other media such as DVDs and CDs that we have. It can be searched by author, title, subject, keyword, etc.

Circulation / Borrower Services

This is the part of the library on the Main Level that looks after the checking in and out of books and other materials. They are also responsible for your library account, course reserves, and sell print and photocopy cards.

Citation

The information about a book or journal. For a book it usually includes: the author(s), title, publisher, city of publication and date. For journals, the author(s), article title, journal name, volume, issue, and year or publication. Each citation style (APA, MLA, Turabian, etc.) displays this information in a different way.

Course Reserves 

Occasionally an instructor will put a book, CD, DVD, print-out, etc. on Reserve. These items are available for shorter periods than usual (2 hours to 3 days, depending on the prof's request). The purpose is to allow everyone in the class to access the materials. They are available from Borrower Services on the Main Level in the library.

Embargo 

Some electronic journals have a period (from 3 months to 2 years, but typically 12 months) where we can't access the electronic version of an article. It is still possible to order them through interlibrary loan, though.

Full-text

Used with electronic journal articles. It means the complete text of the article. Some databases have only the reference and abstract and you need to look elsewhere for the full text.

Interlibrary loan 

No library has everything, so we have agreements with other libraries that allow users to order books and obtain articles from other libraries. Distance users see this page.

Issue

A publication of a journal or magazine. The issues published over a defined period of time (usually a year) make up a volume.

 

Library vocabulary J-Z

Journals 

Academic magazines. They are made up of collections of articles. At one time they were print only, but now almost all of our journals are electronic only.

Keywords 

Important words related to your topic. Searching using keywords is similar to doing a Google search. You're looking for any occurrence of your terms, meaning you will get more results, but many of them may give you articles or books where your keyword isn't the main topic of the article or book. 

Peer-reviewed/Scholarly/Academic

Peer review is the process by which articles are approved for publication. Other experts in the subject area (peers) read an article, make suggestions for changes, and when they are satisfied with its quality, it is published.

Scholarly/Academic refers to the audience for whom the articles are written. Scholarly/Academic articles may or may not be peer reviewed, but peer reviewed articles are almost always scholarly and academic. Your instructor will usually tell you what type of articles are suitable for an assignment.

Reference 

Can mean any of the following:

  1. a book or article citation, e.g., Scholz, C. H. (2002). The mechanics of earthquakes and faulting. Cambridge University Press.
  2. the reference books that are often kept in a special section of a library. Typically they are specialized encyclopedias and dictionaries, useful for getting ideas about your topic when starting your research. They may not be checked out of the library, so they should always be available. Some reference works are electronic and can be found by searching the catalogue for encyclopedia AND psychology (or whatever your subject terms are). If you need a brief section from a particular print reference book, e-mail us at infodesk@twu.ca and we can send you the amount permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  3. librarians who help you with your research are sometimes called "reference librarians."

Reference manager 

Sometimes called bibliographic software. Software that is either on your computer or on the Web that you use to collect references and which helps to format your bibliography in the style your instructor is asking for. Common reference managers include: EndNote, RefWorks, Zotero, etc. The library supports EndNote.

Stacks 

A word that isn't used too much now. It means the part of the library with sets of bookshelves.

Subject Headings 

Sometimes called: Thesaurus, MeSH, CINAHL Subject Headings, Subject Terms, Subjects, etc. These are terms librarians apply to books and articles to describe what they are about. Keyword searches look only for occurrences of words, but a subject heading search looks for a book or article that is about a topic. A search using subject headings usually gives fewer but better quality results.

Technical (Tech) Services 

The part of the library where staff order materials, catalogue them, prepare them for shelving, and do repairs.

Volume  

  1. a book,
  2. in the case of journals it means the collection of issues printed over a period of time, usually a year. Also see issue.