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Library Basics: Library Language

Library Dictionary

Abstract – a brief summary of an article or a book.

Article – a story, report, opinion, or paper published in a newspaper, journal, magazine, encyclopedia, or a website. A collection of articles make up a journal.

Bibliography – a list of sources (books, journals, websites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic. It is usually found at the end of a book or an article. Similar to a References or Works Cited.

Boolean Operators or Connectors – a method of connecting words and/or phrases to broaden or narrow a search. See the graphic below for how to use.

Call Number – a combination of letters and numbers for library items. This will help you locate the item in the library. See below for an example of call numbers in Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal, the two main systems used at Livingston Lord Library.

Circulation Desk – the desk where you check out items, pay fines, borrow equipment, access course reserves and requested books and interlibrary loan items.  The lost and found is located here as well. It is located on the first floor of the library.

Citation – information that identifies a book or an article. It will usually have a title, author, publisher, and date. There are several different styles of citation (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.); it is important to use the correct style. Consult your course syllabus or ask your instructor about the specific style for a given class or discipline. Citations are used within the body of a work (in-text citations) and at the end of a work (bibliography, references, or works cited).

Database – a collection of data organized for rapid search and retrieval. There are general and subject specific databases.

Full text, PDF and HTML – different formats for viewing information online. HTML has text that is already formatted for

printing. A PDF will open using Adobe Reader and will look like it appears in the original source.

ILL – InterLibrary Loan. If the library does not have the item you want, it can be requested from another library. See this guide for more information.

Keywords – the most important words in a research statement or question. They are the words that create significance or meaning. Keywords often lead to subject terms, which are keywords that are specifically assigned by a governing body, such as the Library of Congress.

Library Catalog – a register of all items held by the library, including information on where to find the item and if it is available to check out. The catalog at Livingston Lord Library is called Dragon OneSearch. Use it to find books, articles, movies, music, maps, and more by searching using a title, an author name, a subject term, or a keyword.

Periodical/Journal/Magazine – items that are published on a regular schedule (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly etc.) that contain articles. Magazines, journals, and newspapers are all periodicals, as are yearbooks and annual reviews. Examples include Rolling Stone, The Journal of American Folklore, Nature, and National Geographic.

Reference/Research Support Desk – Need help with your research or class assignment? The reference desk is your place for info! Contact experienced librarians in person, by chat, over the phone, or via email.

Research Guide – Research assistance, subject guides, and useful resources. Locate them here.

Reserves – these are items that your instructor has placed “on hold” so everyone in the class can have access. It may be in print or electronic. Print copies are held at the circulation desk. Search for reserves through Dragon OneSearch Advanced Search by selecting MSU Moorhead Course Reserves. 

Scholarly/Peer Reviewed – articles and books written by professionals, researchers, and scholars within a particular field. These are reviewed by other subject scholars before being published.

Stacks – where the books are shelved. They are mostly located on the 3rd and 4th floors, with specialized collections on the 1st and 2nd floors.