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Curtin University
Library

Glossary

This is a list of terms and their explanations used by the Curtin University Library. If you would like to suggest more terms for this list, please contact us.

Please note this is not an authorised dictionary of library terms and some of these terms may be used differently in other disciplines.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


A

Abstract
A summary of the content of a publication.
Alumni borrower
Refers to students who have graduated from university. We provide continuing services for our alumni, including access to the library.
Article find it
Allows you to check whether a specific journal article is available online. If it's not available, you be will offered other services that might help you to find your article.

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B

Bibliography
A list of references to works that have been consulted or referred to when preparing a publication. A bibliography usually appears at the end of a paper, article, book chapter, book, dissertation or report. A bibliography can also be a book consisting entirely of citations, usually in a specific subject area. See the Referencing page for further information.
Blue zone
An area on the east end of level 6 of the Robertson Library consisting of rooms with computers including a wired computer lab. and a training room with more than 20 computers. The feature walls are painted a brilliant blue. All computers are linked to network printers.
Boolean operators
Terms that help you to either narrow or broaden your searches in library catalogues and databases. They are the words 'and', 'or', 'not', typed between your search terms.
Borrower information
Your borrower information is available from the catalogue and the Library homepage. This allows you to check your current loans, previous loans, fines or hold requests and you can also renew your existing loans.

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C

Catalogue
A database of all the material that a library holds or provides access to. It will show you where an item is located and if it is available or on loan.
Citation
Information such as author, date, title and page number which identifies a publication i.e. book, book chapter, journal, web page etc. Citations can also be called references and are listed in a bibliography or reference list, usually found at the end of the publication and listed in a specific referencing 'style'. See Referencing for information on referencing styles.
Community borrower
Members of the general community who pay an annual membership to use the library.
Copyright
The legal protection given to an author's work to protect them from unauthorised copying. All Curtin staff and students must comply with copyright legislation.

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D

Database
A collection of references to journal articles that may be searched with keywords for a topic, author, etc. Databases provide a summary of the article and may provide the complete article online. Other terms used are 'indexing database', 'full text database', 'online database', 'periodical database', 'bibliographic database' and 'journal database'.
Dissertation
Another term for thesis. See the search options available on the library web site Theses page.
Document delivery
This service for Curtin staff and postgraduate students will obtain items not held at Curtin from other libraries in Australia or overseas.
DOI
A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a persistant identifier for digital content.

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E

E journal
Electronic versions of journals that you can read online.
E reserve
A collection of electronic documents available through the Library Catalogue. In the catalogue choose the Reserve/eReserve tab. e-Reserve items are generally journal articles, book chapters and conference papers recommended by lecturers.
Empirical article
An empirical article is a research article that reports the results of a study that uses data based on actual observation or experimentation.
Endnote
EndNote is bibliographic management software that you can use to manage your references. You can create a 'library' or database of references and add the citations into a Word document to automatically produce your reference list or bibliography in a specific referencing style at the end of your essay. You can download EndNote from the referencing section of this site.
ERIC
A huge education database with references and abstracts of journal articles and ERIC documents (online from 1993). Curtin Library also holds most ERIC documents on microfiche on level 4 of the Robertson Library.

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F

Facet
You will hear this term used in relation to the catalogue. It refers to the groupings/categories listed on the L/H navigation pane which allows you to refine your search results.
Find it
You may see a Find it button next to a journal reference in a database. Clicking on this and then clicking the Go button can lead you to the full text of the journal article in another database or further information about where you can find the full article.

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G

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H

Hold
When you request an item that is held by another borrower and it is returned to the Library. You will be notified by email when it is available for collection from the hold shelves in the Reserve Collection.
Holdings
Refers to items held by the Library. In the Curtin Library Catalogue the Check Availability tab provides details of our holdings. For example for print journals you can see the volumes and years we hold.

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I

Impact factor
This is the measure of the frequency with which the 'average article' in a journal has been cited. The impact factor will help you evaluate a journal's relative importance, especially when you compare it to others in the same field. It is calculated by dividing the number of current citations to articles published in the two previous years by the total number of articles published in the two previous years.
In process
This is a term used in the Library Catalogue to describe an item that is not yet available for loan. The 'In process' number shows how close an item is to being on the shelf.
ISBN
The International Standard Book Number is an internationally recognised standard number that uniquely identifies a book.
ISSN
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is a unique eight-digit number used to identify a print or electronic periodical publication.

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J

Journal
A journal is a periodical publication. It differs to a magazine, trade publication or newspaper in that its articles are usually better researched, longer and may have a list of references.

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K

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L

LC subject heading
Library of Congress Subject Headings are standard terms used to classify and describe the content of publications.
LibGuides
These are guides that contain listings of recommended resources for finding information, such as databases, journals, books, web pages and other useful resources most relevant to your area of study. They also provide access to a range of learning tools, for example, interactive tutorials.

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M

Microfiche
A sheet of film containing a number of very small images (of pages, photos etc.). You will need to use a microfiche reader/printer to read and print the pages.
Microfilm
A length of film containing a number of very small images of pages, photos etc. You will need a microfilm reader/printer to read and print the pages. Many daily newspapers are published in microfilm to save space.

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O

Off campus library service
This loan and photocopy service is available to post graduate students who are enrolled at Curtin but who do not live in the Perth metropolitan area or in the post code areas of Kalgoorlie/Boulder (where we have branch libraries).
OPAC
An Online Public Access Catalogue; for example, the Curtin Library Catalogue.

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P

Peer reviewed journal
This is a journal where experts in the same subject area as the author must review and approve the articles before they are published by the journal. Similar terms used are: 'refereed journal', 'scholarly journal' and 'academic journal'. To find peer-reviewed journal articles on a topic you can search a journal database.
Periodical
A periodical is a regular publication such as a journal, magazine or newsletter. It may be published weekly, monthly, every six months or once a year etc. At Curtin, shelf numbers of periodicals begin with P; for example P 650 44910.
Plagiarism
When the work of another person, or people, is presented as your own, without proper reference to the source. Plagiarism is a serious accusation in academia.
PMID
PubMed Identifier (PMID) is a unique number assigned to each PubMed citation.
Postgraduate
Generally refers to students that have completed an undergraduate degree and are continuing their studies.
Primo
This is the user interface that we use for our catalogue.

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Q

QR codes
QR (Quick Response) codes are a special type of barcode which hold encoded information like text and URLs. The codes are read by a barcode reader in a camera phone.
Quarto
The letter 'Q' before a shelf number means 'quarto' or large book. Quarto books are usually found on separate shelves. You can use a floor plan to find where they are.

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R

Recall
See Request
Reciprocal borrower
A student or staff member from Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University, UWA or other institution that has borrowing privileges at Curtin.
Reference collection
A reference collection holds books such as dictionaries, encyclopaedias, atlases, pharmacopoeias and handbooks which you can only use in the library. In the Robertson Library, the Reference Collection is on level 2. Other Curtin libraries have small reference collections.
Renew
To extend the loan period of an item that you have borrowed. You can renew items through the 'Your Borrower Information' link on the homepage and in the catalogue, but only before the date they are due to be returned.
Request
Through the catalogue, you can request an item that is on loan to another person. They will receive an email and then must return the item to the Library earlier than the 'due date', so that you can borrow it. It can take about two weeks for a requested item to arrive.
Reserve
The Reserve Collection on level 2 of the Robertson Library holds material in high demand that is selected by lecturers as essential reading. Items can be borrowed for two hours and, in some cases, overnight.
Robertson library
The Robertson Library is the main library (building 105), on the Curtin campus in Bentley. It was named after Thomas Logan Robertson.
RSS
RSS stands for 'Really Simple Syndication' or 'Rich Site Summary'. Instead of having to visit all of your favourite sites and blogs, you can use RSS to receive updates of these sites automatically.

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S

Scholarly journal
This is a journal whose articles are written for a university or research audience by academics and researchers. They may be published by a university, scholarly society or commercial academic publisher. Their content is different from magazines and popular journals.
Serial
Any publication that is intended to be continued indefinitely and is issued in successive parts with a unique number (e.g. a volume, year or issue number). Examples are newspapers, print and online journals, annual reports, yearbooks, proceedings and even blogs having a unique number.
Sorting shelves
Books and journals that have recently been returned are placed on sorting shelves before they are filed at their permanent Shelf Number. Sorting shelves are found on Levels 4, 5 and 6 in the Robertson Library and in all other Curtin libraries. Check these shelves if you can't find an item that the catalogue shows should be available ('Check Shelf').

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T

Thesis
A research publication or 'dissertation' completed for a master or doctoral degree (PhD). The Robertson Library keeps print Curtin theses in its closed collection and many are also available online.

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U

Unbound journals
Past years of journals can be bound with hard covers like books, while the most recent issues are 'unbound' or loose on the shelves, just as you buy them from a newsagency. You will find unbound issues of journals on level 4 of the Robertson Library. In other campus libraries, current issues of a journal may be shelved next to the older, bound, volumes.
Undergraduate
Generally refers to a student studying their first degree (usually a bachelor degree).

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V

Volume
A part of a journal or book series. Volume numbers of journals usually increase each year and each volume may have several numbered 'issues' in a year.

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W

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Z

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