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Library Services for International Students

Library Terms

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

Article: A brief work—generally between 1 and 35 pages in length—on a topic. Often published as part of a journal, magazine, or newspaper.

Bibliography: A list containing citations to the resources used in writing a research paper or other document.

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 and journals are organized by call number using the Library of Congress system of classification.  DVDs are assigned a number as they are received; use the DVD number to ask for a film at our Multimedia services desk. Here is a list to browse.  Find the call number by searching our main page Library Search.  The book will include a map showing what floor the library is on. If you need help locating a book, journal or DVD, stop by the Research Help desk.

Catalog: An online database listing and describing the books, journals, government documents, films and other materials held by a library.  In the Advanced Search form, limit to the Source: Library Catalog in the right menu (example).

Check-out: To borrow an item from a library for a fixed period of time in order to read, listen to, or view it. Books, laptops, equipment, and supplies (scissors, markers, flash drives) are checked out at the Circulation Desk  Books circulate for a whole semester with two renewals (if another student recalls it, you would have to bring it back sooner).  DVDs and CDs can be checked out for 7 days with two renewals.

Circulation deskThe 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.

Citation: A reference to a book, magazine or journal article, or other work containing all the information necessary to identify and locate that work. A citation to a book includes its author's name, title, publisher and place of publication, and date of publication.

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.

DissertationAn extended written treatment of a subject (like a book) submitted by a graduate student as a requirement for a doctorate.

Interlibrary LoanA free service that allows you to borrow books from other libraries in the United States and across the world.

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

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

Library Search: The search discovery tool of the library, it is the “Google” of our resources, searches for books and articles

Open Stacks:  The stacks are open for you to browse for books and journals.  DVDs are found behind the Multimedia Desk.  Provide the student worker with  DVD number from the catalog; they'll pull the DVD and check it out for you.

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.  Sometimes professors will ask you to find peer reviewed artices; they may also ask for scholarly or academic articles.

Plagiarism: Using the words or ideas of others without acknowledging the original source.

Primary source: An original record of events, such as a diary, a newspaper article, a public record, or scientific documentation.

Reference: A service that helps people find needed information. The Research Help desk is staffed by librarians who answer questions about the library or library research. You have a personal subject librarian based on your field of study.  Email your librarian research questions or request a meeting for a consultation; they'll assist you in finding information for your paper.

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. They are located in the Reference Stacks.

Secondary sources: Materials such as books and journal articles that analyze primary sources. Secondary sources usually provide evaluation or interpretation of data or evidence found in original research or documents such as historical manuscripts or memoirs.

Textbooks:  Books designed to support a course assigned by faculty that are available in the bookstore.  As they tend to be frequently updated and expensive, the library does not generally purchase them (but it is worth checking the catalog).   If they are too expensive for you, ask you professor to put a copy on Reserves in the library or consider renting a textbook (ask at the bookstore). 

TOEFL Practice Sites

These sites provide interactive TOEFL practice vocabulary quizzes.
TOEFL Vocabulary Test
TOEFL Vocabulary Practice Quiz