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International Student Library Guide: Library Terminology

An Introduction to the Kraemer Family Library for International & ESL Students

Basic Library Terms & Definitions

Below is a list of basic terms used to describe the library and its' resources. For more in-depth definitions, see the links at the bottom of this box. 

Abstract: A summary or brief description of the content of a longer work like a book or journal article. 

Call number: A group of letters and/or numbers that identifies a specific item in a library and provides a way for organizing library materials. Books, movies, and journals are organized by call number. 

Catalog: An online database listing and describing the books, journals, government documents, films and other materials held by a library. Various search terms allow you to look for items in the catalog.

Circulation desk: The place in the library where you check-out, renew, and return library materials. You may also place a hold, report an item missing from the shelves, or pay late fees at this desk.

Collection: A group of items that have something in common. Library collections can include the “Reference Collection”, “DVD Collection”, or “Main Collection”.

Course Reserve: Select books, articles, DVDs, or other materials that instructors want students to read or view for a particular course. These materials are usually kept in one area of the library and circulate for only a short period of time.

Database: A collection of information stored in an electronic format that can be searched by a computer.

Grace Period: A time past the due date during which a late fee is waived.

InterLibrary Loan: A free service that allows you to borrow books from other libraries in the United States.

Journal: A publication, issued on a regular basis, which contains scholarly research published as articles, papers, research reports, or technical reports.

Keyword Search: To use one or two words that best describe a research topic when searching the catalog or databases. 

Late fee: A fine for having library items checked-out past the due date.

Peer Review: A process by which experts in a field review articles submitted to academic journals before they are published. Peer review helps to ensure the quality and reliability of journal articles.

Prospector: A system in Colorado that allows you to borrow books and movies from other Colorado libraries. This is a free service and useful if Kraemer Family Library does not own the item or our copy of the item is checked out.

Proxy Server: An internet server that allows specific users to access electronic resources from off campus. At UCCS, you sign into the Proxy by using your UCCS username and password.

Reference: A service that helps people find needed information. The Research Assistance desk is staffed by librarians who answer questions about the library or library research.

Reference books: A collection of books such as encyclopedias, indexes, handbooks, directories that are used for research. Reference books must stay in the library and are not available for check-out.

Renewal: An extension of the loan period for library materials.