Mar 13th, 2019

The “Library Urban Dictionary”

Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed at the many different terms used by librarians? Does it sound like a different language? Fear not, this handy A-Z blog is designed by librarians to help you understand the complex and (sometimes dry) language used by librarians today.

A.) Academic Journal- A single, field-specific publication that consists of multiple scholarly journal articles. Many–but not all–academic journals are also peer-reviewed.

B.) Boolean Search- A way to search for materials that is more accurate than a standard search; Boolean searches include the words “AND”, “OR”, or “NOT” as part of your search. Some rules to remember: AND narrows your search, OR broadens your search, and NOT excludes irrelevant terms.

C.) Catalog- An online search interface used to provide access to the many materials owned by HPU libraries, especially books and eBooks. Ours is called Discovery, and you can search it from the library homepage.


D.) Database- An electronic search interface that houses collections of academic journals, books, eBooks and other miscellaneous materials (such as book reviews, newspapers, pamphlets, etc.) designed to be easily searchable by patrons. Examples of popular databases include JSTOR and ProQuest Central. We have over 200 to choose from, which you can browse at Databases A-Z:

E.) EndNote-A program that helps patrons create and store citations for research assignments; EndNote covers many of the major citation styles. You can learn more about this robust program on our EndNote guide.

F.) Follow-Me-Print- The cloud-based printing system used by HPU.

G.) Google….still used by librarians. But for academic research, try searching the HPU-specific Google Scholar instead!

H.) HPUShare- The system that HPU patrons can use to request interlibrary loans (see below).

I.) ILL- An acronym for “Interlibrary Loan,” the process of borrowing materials from another institution if HPU libraries do not have what is needed.

J.) JournalFinder- A search interface you can use to determine if Smith Library has access to a specific journal, newspaper, magazine or other periodical.

K.) Keywords- The search terms used to retrieve source materials from library databases. Pro tip: If you enclose them in quotation marks you can search for a phrase instead of the individual terms.

L.) Libguide- “Library Guide” which can be topic, citation or research guides. A research guide is a field-specific collection of resources designed to help you complete research projects. Research guides are available for any subject you can think of, from English to design.

M.) Monograph- A fancy word for “book.”

N.) NCLive- A consortium used by many libraries in North Carolina to provide online access to needed resources.

O.) Open Access: Sources available for free to the general public. For example, much of today’s publicly funded medical research is made available on PubMed Central. NCLive has a project which makes college textbooks in popular subjects available open access. We call these OERs (open educational resources).

P.) Peer-Reviewed-An academic journal article or book that has been reviewed by experts from the field prior to publication.

Q.) Qubein Library- The communications library at HPU–a beautiful place to study!

R.) Reserves- Also called “course reserves” or “library reserves,” these are materials placed on reserve for a class so they will be available to all students 24/7. Ask for print reserves at the circulation desk (you can check them out for four hours) or search our e-reserves here.

S.) Serials- This word refers to any title published in a series–usually academic journals. Often used interchangeably with “periodicals,” though this term is a bit more broad.

T.) Three-Dimensional Printing (3D Printing)- Also referred to as “additive manufacturing”, 3D printing is a method of printing that produces a physical object instead of an ink and paper copy. You can learn more on our 3D printing libguide or ask about our 3d printer in Media Services on the lower level of Smith Library.

U.) University Archives- A repository of historical documents, records, photos and other materials associated with HPU. Some of the collections are digitized and available on the archives section of our website, including the Zenith yearbook since 1927 and the Hi-Po (High Point College’s student newspaper) from 1926-1993.

V.) Virtual Reference- The term we use for research services provided online via e-mail or chat. Patrons can use the chat box on the library home page to ask questions of HPU librarians while sitting in the comfort of their own home/apartment/dorm/dwelling.

W.) Works Cited- The page at the end of a research paper used for citing all resources used to create the paper; also called a “references” page or “bibliography.”

X.) Ummm….I’ve got nothing.

Y.) YA Fiction-Young Adult Fiction, which is a distinct genre for teen readers (think Harry Potter and Hunger Games.) Our collection of 1,000+ YA titles is currently housed in the Wanek Center Learning Commons.

Z.) Zotero- A free alternative to EndNote that helps you manage and cite research sources. Zotero is an add-on for Mozilla FireFox.

These are just some of the many terms used by modern librarians. I hope this dictionary has helped you to understand the complex and often confusing language of librarians. Still have questions? Ask a Librarian!

-Bryan Nicholls, ILL Assistant/Evening Library Supervisor

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