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Library Lingo

Not exactly sure what Interlibrary Loan is? Did someone tell you to go look in the stacks, and you're not sure if they were trying to insult you? Learn the library lingo here, in order to better understand and utilize your library.

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A brief summary of the contents of a journal article or book.


A reference book, usually published annually, containing lists, charts and tables of useful factual and statistical information either on a wide variety of topics or a single subject.

Annotated Bibliography

A bibliography that includes a brief description of each article or book listed. The description should help the reader evaluate the content and usefulness of each item.


Documents created by a person or organization in the course of the conduct of affairs and preserved for their historical value. Also the location where archival materials are kept. At Kettering, the Scharchburg Archives can be found on the main floor of the Campus Center, between the elevators and the bookstore.



Bibliographic Instruction

Instructional programs designed to teach library users how to locate the information they need quickly and effectively. BI usually covers the library's system of organizing materials, the structure of the literature of the field, research methodologies appropriate to a specfied discipline, and specific resources and finding aids (catalogs, indexes and abstracts, databases, etc.). 

Bibliographic Record

An individual record in a database that describes and identifies a specific item (such as a book or journal) by fields (title, author, publication date, etc).


A list of citations to journal articles, books and other materials on a particular subject or by a particular author. A list of references given at the end of research reports, journal articles, and books.

Boolean operators

Terms such as "and," "or," and "not" used to express the relationship of one term to another when searching databases.


Software program used to view and interact with various types of Internet resources available on the World Wide Web. Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer are three common examples.



Call Number

The unique combination of letters and numbers on the spine of each book in the library, used to group materials by similar subjects and enable the material to be found on the shelves. For broad subject classification, see Library of Congress Subject Headings.

Checked Out

A term indicating that a particular item is on loan to a patron. If you're willing to wait for the item, you can place a hold.

Circulation Desk

The counter where patrons check out and return library materials. Renewals, holds, and reserve books can also be found here.


A reference or footnote to a book, article, or other material that contains all the information necessary to identify and locate the work. A book citation includes author, title, publisher and year of publication; a journal citation includes author, article title and periodical title, date, volume and page numbers of the particular article. This is the information you will need to write your bibliography.


Legal privilege granted to an author, composer, etc. for exclusive rights of publication and distribution of a work. Libraries have a special interest in fair use of copyrighted material.




An organized collection of information, data, or citations stored in electronic format. They can be searched for specific information or records by techniques specific to each database.


Another word for subject heading used in many electronic journal databases.




Kettering Library's online catalog of books, journals, documents, DVDs, and other materials owned by the library.


A book or set of books of information containing short articles usually arranged in alphabetical order.


A short literary composition on a single subject expressing a personal view.




A particular section of a bibliographic record, containing specific information such as the author, title, or publication date of an item.

Full-Text Database

A database where the entire text of an article can be viewed, printed and/or downloaded.






Results retrieved from a search in an electronic database.


A service provided by the Library where a patron can put a hold on an item that is checked out to another patron. When the item is returned it will be held at the Circulation Desk for the patron.




A printed or electronic publication that lists citations to journal articles or books.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

A service that allows current students, faculty and staff to request books and articles from other libraries if the material is not available at the Kettering Library. 


A group of interconnected worldwide computers using an agreed-on set of standards and protocols to request information from and send information to each other.




A publication containing scholarly articles written by experts on current research in a particular field. Articles are usually accompanied by an abstract and bibliography.



Keyword Search

A search method that allows the search for the occurrence of a word anywhere in a record. 




A professional specially educated and trained to assist you in finding and using information.

Logical operators

See Boolean operators.




A periodical published primarily for the general public rather than for scholars.


Flat, plastic sheets containing microimages of pages and read using a special machine.


A film containing reduced images of printed matter and stored on a reel. Readable on a special machine.


Printed material that has been photographed and reduced to a film format to help preserve the material and decrease the space needed for storage. Special equipment is needed to read stored information. Typical formats include microfilm and microfiche.


Library term for a book on a single topic.





Off-Campus Access

See Remote Access.

Online Catalog

A searchable, computerized database of materials owned by a library and displaying the call number and location of the material. The catalog for the Kettering Library is called e-Library and is powered by the PALnet consortium.



Peer-Reviewed Journal

See Refereed Journal.


A publication with a unique title that is issued at an established interval (weekly, monthly, quarterly). Examples include journals and magazines.


Using another person's work as your own and without attributing to the original author.

Primary Source

A primary source is an original object or document - the raw material or first-hand information.

Primary sources include historical and legal documents, eye witness accounts, results of an experiment, statistical data, pieces of creative writing, and art objects. In the natural and social sciences, the results of an experiment or study are typically found in scholarly articles or papers delivered at conferences, so those articles and papers that present the original results are considered primary sources. See also: Secondary Source.






See Bibliographic Record.

Refereed Journal

A journal where articles are reviewed and selected by professional colleagues for publication. Check Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory (Reference Z 6941 .U5) to determine if a publication is refereed.

Reference Desk

Service area or information desk in the library where patrons can get help from library staff in using the library, locating library materials, searching library databases, and answering general questions.

Reference Stacks

The area where non-circulating materials are kept. These include indexes, encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and other reference materials.

Remote Access

The ability to log on to and access resources on a computer network from a distant location. The Kettering Library’s resources and databases are available off-campus to current students, faculty and staff by using the entire number from the bottom of their Kettering ID card.


Extending the loan period or due date of materials. You can do this online, by phone, or ask at the Circulation Desk.


Library materials made available by professors for specific classes. Items can be checked out for a short period of time. To find out what books are available for your class, check at the Circulation Desk. To find out what notes, old tests, and other materials are available for your class, log in to Blackboard and click the eReserves link on the landing page.



Scholarly Journal

See Journal and Refereed Journal.

Secondary Source

A secondary source is something written about a primary source. Secondary sources include comments on, interpretations of, or discussions about the original material. You can think of secondary sources as second-hand information. If I tell you something, I am the primary source. If you tell someone else what I told you, you are the secondard source. Secondary source materials can be articles in newspapers or popular magazines, book or movie reviews, or articles found in scholarly journals that evaluate or criticize someone else's original research. See also: Primary Source.


Library term for publications issued at regular intervals. This can be a periodical, journal, magazine, newspaper, annual report, conference proceeding, etc.


The area of a library where the main body of the collection (usually books and periodicals) is stored when not in use, usually on rows of free-standing double-faced shelving.

Subject Guide

A list of resources on a specific topic, usually compiled by a librarian or researcher with specialized knowledge of the subject. Subject guides at the Kettering Library include recommended databases, journals, books, and internet resources for specified topics.

Subject Heading

A standard search term assigned to an item record to identify its primary content. Finding and using the appropriate subject terms are important parts of an effective search.

Subject Search

A search technique which requires using the database's own exact, pre-determined vocabulary. See also Subject Heading. 




A list of subject headings or descriptors assigned in a particular database, index, or online catalog that can be used to search that database.


In a keyword search, a word root followed by a truncation symbol to retrieve variant endings. For example, use librar* to find library or librarian or libraries or librarians or librarian's or library's)




Uniform Resource Locator. The unique address of every item on the Internet, used to locate and retrieve a particular page. For example:





World Wide Web (WWW)

An information system using the Internet to access information stored on computers worldwide.