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Library Language: words and their definitions

Can't find your word in the list? Suggest a new word or phrase to be included in the glossary.

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Abstract: A summary of a longer piece of text, often found at the beginning of journal articles.

Advanced search: This term is found in library databases used to search for journal articles. It gives you more options to help you get more accurate and relevant results.

Alerting service: Some databases will send you an email when an article you are interested in is published in a journal.

Alphabetical order: Words arranged in order of the Roman alphabet. (Aa, Bb, Cc, Dd, Ee, Ff, Gg, Hh, Ii, Jj, Kk, Ll, Mm, Nn, Oo, Pp, Qq, Rr, Ss, Tt, Uu, Vv, Ww, Xx, Yy, Zz).

Archive: A collection of historical material.

Article: See definition for journal article.

Atrium: An open area sometimes with a glass ceiling. It is also used as a name at the University. For example, Richmond Building has an area called the Atrium on the ground floor and the cafe area at Emm Lane Campus is known as the Atrium. 

Author: The person who has written the book or journal article.

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Barcode: Every item in the Library has a barcode which is a unique code. It is usually found inside the front of the book. You need to scan this when using the self-service machines. (It is not the one that is printed on the book by the publisher).

Barcode in a library book.

Bibliography: List of books and other materials which have been used to write a piece of work. See reference list

Blackboard™: The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) used by the University of Bradford is called Blackboard. This is where you find your modules online.

Book return machine: See self-return machine.

Boolean logic: Boolean logic is a way of narrowing or expanding a database search by linking search terms with AND, OR, NOT.

Borrower: A registered member of the Library. 

Borrower number: This is the number of your student card which you will need to access your borrower record. It is the same as your student number.

Borrower record: You can access your borrower record from the Library Catalogue. You can check the books you have borrowed, reservations, fines etc. you may have on your record.

Bradford Scholars: This is the University of Bradford online research repository. Here you will find a range of materials including conference papers, research reports and theses written by University of Bradford authors.

British Government Publications (BGP): This is official material produced by the British Government‌. 

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Catalogue: Electronic list of all the items available in the Library for you to search.

It will tell you the following details:

  • Length of time you can borrow the book.
  • If it's available to borrow.
  • A classmark will tell you where to find it on the shelf.
  • Useful details about the book e.g. edition.

Catalogue PCs: A small number of computers in the Library which are only for access the Library Catalogue.

CD-ROM: CD-ROMs are discs for holding information. On the catalogue you may find some material which is available on a CD-ROM. 

Citation / Cited: When you refer to another source (e.g. book, journal) in your original piece of work (e.g. essay or dissertation) it is called a citation. See the library web page on referencing for more information.

Classification: The status classification on the Library Catalogue means a book is waiting for a classmark and is not yet on the shelf. You can still place a reservation on these books.

Classmark: Books in libraries are organised according to a classification system. This enables libraries to place books on the same subject together on the shelves. The classmark is a combination of letters and numbers.

Use the Library Catalogue to find the class number for an item, and then find the book on the shelves in the Library. 

Sections such as Commonweal and Health Studies Collections (found in J. B. Priestley Library) have a different system. 

Collaborative work: Students working together as a group.

Commonweal Collection: This is an independent specialist Library about non-violent social change found in the J. B. Priestley Library.

Conference proceeding: A collection of papers from speakers at conferences.

Copy / copies: This has two different definitions in the Library:

  1. A photocopy or print out from a printer.
  2. The number of books of a particular title.

Copyright: This is legal protection given to any person who creates certain types of materials, including books, journal articles and computer programs. Copyright limits the amount of photocopying you can do from books and journals. More information about copyright is available on the Library homepage.

Current: Up-to-date information (publisherd recently).

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Database: A library database is an electronic collection of information which you can search. Databases focus on a particular subject area and are used to search for journal articles

Development Collection: The Development Collection is a separate collection which contains material about development studies. 

Dissertation: A dissertation is a long piece of writing generally on a topic chosen by the student. You can find electronic copies of some recent postgraduate MA and MSc dissertations in Summon®, or PhD theses in Bradford Scholars.

DOI®: Digital Object Identifier. A DOI is a permanent identifier to enable a student to find an item electronically. For example, a journal article can have a DOI (e.g. 10.1000/182). People using a DOI to link to a journal article on the Web can always find the article as the DOI never changes.

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eBook / electronic book: This is a book which is available in an electronic format / online.

Edition: Published books sometimes need updating. This means a new version or edition of the book may be published. Some books have many editions and it is recommended you use the most recent.

Editorial: This has two definitions. Sometimes this is a short piece of writing which expresses the opinion of the editor. In others, it can be a summary and background to the contents of a journal.

eduroam®: Connection to the network (WiFi). It is possible to log into this service when visiting other universities.

eJournal / electronic journal / online journal: This is an electronic copy of a journal which is available to view online. Access is usually only available if the Library has purchased a subscription for the journal

Email: This is the electronic delivery of messages. You have a University of Bradford email address. It is very important that you check your email on a frequent basis. This is one way your academic lecturers, course administrators (admin) and the Library will communicate with you.

EndNote®: This is a piece of software designed to help you organise your references and create citations and a reference list in your assignments.

Enquiry Desk: You can ask here for help using our services. This is located on Floor 0 in the J.B. Priestley Library or next to the entrance of the Management and Law Library.

eResources / electronic resources: This is a collective term used to describe databases, eJournals, eBooks and websites.

European Documentation Centre (EDC): This is official material produced by the European Union. 

e:Vision: This is where you can see the information that the University holds about you, for example, your contact details and module results. You will find a link to e:Vision from the University's internal homepage.

Exam papers: You can find past exam papers online on Blackboard.

EZproxy®: You may see this word when you are searching our databases for material. It is part of the login process. Usually you will just need your username and password. If you have any problems, please look on the accessing eResources page on the Library website or contact the Library for help.

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Fine: This is the money you will have to pay if you are late returning your library books, group study room keys and laptops.

Full text: You will often see this term in a database. It means the complete text of a journal article or book is available to read.

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Group Study Room (G.S.R.): These are rooms in theJ.B. Priestley Library which you can book for two hours for 3 people or more. There are also some at the Emm Lane Campus and these can be booked at the Emm Lane reception desk.

Group study room.

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Health Studies Collection: These are books located on Floor 0 of the J.B. Priestley Library.

Hold: See Reservation.

Hold Shelf / Reservation Shelf: If you reserve a book it will be kept for up to one week in the Self-Service Room‌ or at the Enquiry Desk at the Management and Law Library. You will be sent an email to let you know it has arrived. Read the email carefully, because it explains how to collect your book.

HTML: Hypertext Markup Language. Articles are sometimes available to open as HTML files in databases. It will look like a web page when you read it.

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Impact factor: The impact factor measures the number of times an article has been cited. The measure helps academics and librarians assess how influential an article / research paper has been.

Index: An index is is a list of words found at the end of a text book which helps you find relevant pages.

Index page.

Induction: See Library induction.

Information Desk: This is a place on Floor 1 where you can ask the Librarian for help. 

Information desk.

Information skills / information literacy: The ability to find, evaluate and use information effectively.

INST: You may see the letters INST on the Library Catalogue. This is an abbreviation of 'institution' and appears in the classification number of items in the Development Collection. Items are arranged alphabetically by the name of the organisation that published the report. You will need to write down the name of the organisation in order to find the item on the shelves. 

Interlibrary Loans (ILL): If you need a book or journal that we don’t have in the Library we can try to borrow it for you from another library.

Issue: This has two definitions in the Library:

  • To borrow library items. When you borrow something you must issue it to your library account using our self-service machines.
  • Each individual copy of a journal is called an issue (or part). Issues can be published weekly, monthly or several times a year depending on the journal, and are often referred to by number. For example, in a monthly journal the January issue is issue number 1, the February issue is number 2 and so on.

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Journal: A journal is a collection of articles written by different authors. See journal article

There are different types of journals: scholarly, which contain peer-reviewed papers or more popular publications (magazines). Most journals can be found online through the Library Catalogue and Summon® and we have some in print on Floor 02 of the J.B. Priestley Library and Floor 0 of the Management and Law Library.

Journal article: A specialized piece of academic writing. There are different types, for example, original research papers, reviews of other people's research and editorials. 

Just returned: This is a book that has just been returned and may be waiting to go back onto the shelves. Please ask at the Enquiry Desk on Floor 0.

Just received: This is a book that has just been bought by the Library and is waiting to go onto the shelves. You can reserve these books using the Library Catalogue.

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Keywords: These are words used to search the catalogue or databases to find information on a particular subject.

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Laptop loan: Laptops can be borrowed from the Enquiry Desk at the J.B. Priestley Library and the Management and Law Library for up to 24 hours.

Laptop loan cabinet: This is a self-service machine that you can borrow laptops for up to two hours. It is located opposite the Floor 0 Enquiry Desk.

Learning Mall: The area from the J. B. Priestley Library entrance to Student Central. Here you will find group study rooms, the Library entrance, a seating area, book return machine, cash point and toilet.

Librarian: A person who works in a library, manages the book collection and teaches students how to find information. 

Library Catalogue: See Catalogue.

Library induction: A process designed to introduce you to all the services, resources and people who can help you use the Library.

Literature review: This is a process you will have to go through at the start of your research. You will need to find out what has been published in books and journals in your area of research.

Loan period: This is the length of time you can borrow a book.

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Management and Law Library: This is the Management and Law Learning Resource Centre in the Faculty of Management and Law. It is a separate library at the Emm Lane Campus.

Mezzanine Floor: 

Microfiche: These are like microfilms but are flat sheets instead of reels of film.

Microfilm: These are reels which contain reproductions of documents which need to be read with special microfilm readers.

Mono printing: If you choose to print in black and white it is sometimes called mono or monochrome in the printing options on your computer.

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Need Help? An online enquiry service found on the Library homepage where you can ask a Librarian a question.

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Off-campus / off-site: If you want to access resources from home it is sometimes referred to as off-campus or off-site access. See the page on accessing eResources on the Library web pages for more information. 

Open Access publishing: Open Access is about making research outputs freely available online for anybody to access.

OpenAthens account: If you are trying to use some electronic resources, you might see these words at the login stage. Click on 'Library Resources' on the Library homepage to find more information about OpenAthens accounts.

Oversize books: These are books which are too big to fit on a standard shelf. Check the floor plan for the exact location on each floor. 

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Paper: See Journal article.

Paper copy: A term used to refer to a printed copy rather than an online version.

Part: This is another name for issue that you find in a journal. See issue.

Password: This is a secret set of letters and numbers that you use with your username to access University services.

Patent: A patent is a detailed description of an invention, published in the process of getting legal protection for the invention.

PC clusters: A room or area with computers that students can use. 

PDF: Portable Document Format. These types of files can display document text, images and will be displayed in the authors' intended format. Articles are often available to save as a PDF file in databases.

Peer-review: This is a process where experts in a particular subject will evaluate the research in an article before it is published.

Periodical: See journal.

Phishing: Phishing is the use of fake email messages that claim to be from an institution or company that you may trust (eg universities or banks) in an attempt to steal personal information from you (eg passwords or credit card numbers). The University will never ask you for your password via email. You should not respond to this kind of message and should delete the email.

PIN: Personal Identification Number. You need this to access your borrower record, renew your books and use the self-issue machines. If you have forgotten this you should set a new library PIN via the Password info page.

PlagiarismThis is when a student copies someone else’s work and takes credit for it without acknowledging the source.

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Reading lists: A list of essential and recommended books and journals for your course.

Record: This word is sometimes used to refer to your borrower account (borrower record). 

Reference: This has two definitions in the Library:

  • An item which can only be looked at in the Library.
  • Details of an information source that you have used in your work.

Reference list: At the end of your work you list all the sources (books, journals, websites etc.) that you have used. See the library web page on referencing for more information. 

Renew: If you want to extend the amount of time you can keep a book you will need to renew it. The Library will send you an email to remind you to do this.

Repository: An electronic collection of resources. At the University of Bradford this is called Bradford Scholars.

Reservation / reserve / hold: If you want a book and all the copies are out on loan you will need to place a reservation on the book. To do this you need to click on the reserve button on the Library Catalogue record. When the book is returned we will keep it for you. The Library will send you an email and the book will be waiting for you in the Self-Service Room‌ at the J.B. Priestley Library or behind the Enquiry Desk at the Management and Law Library.

Reservation shelf: See Hold shelf.

Review article: An evaluation of the research currently published on a specific topic.

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Scanners: Computers with scanners attached should be used for scanning only. If they are being used for anything else and you need to scan, please ask a member of staff for help. The printers also have a scan to email facility.

SCONUL Access Scheme: This is a scheme where you can visit other university libraries. Ask at the J.B. Priestley Library Welcome Desk or the Management and Law Library Enquiry Desk for further details.

Self-issue machine: A machine located in the library which can be used to borrow books. You will need your student card and PIN to use the machine.

Self-return machine: A machine located next to the Library entrance where you can return your books.

Book returns self-service.

Self-Service Room: This is a room next to the Library Counter where you find the books you have reserved and the short loan items.

Self-service room.

SFX: When you search for journal articles in a database you will often see an icon for SFX in the list of results. When you click on the SFX link it will show you if an article is available in full-text. 

SLC: Short Loan Collection. Popular books which you can borrow for a 24 hours. This collection is located in the self-service room on Floor 0 of the J.B. Priestley Library and behind the Enquiry Desk at the Management and Law Library.

Special Collections: Rare books and archives are located on Floor 02‌ in Special Collections. These materials need special care and must be read in the reading room. Make an appointment in advance.

Staff File Collection: Lecturers can place material which is essential for the course in the Staff File Collection. These items are kept behind the Library Counter and can be borrowed for 2 hours.

Standard: A standard provides specifications and guidelines that can be used to ensure materials, processes, products and services meet the desired requirements.

Subject Librarian: Subject Librarians can help you find information for your assignments and help you with referencing and plagiarism.

Summon®: An easy search engine which provides you a Google-type search of all the content available in the Library.

Systematic review: A systematic review is a literature review focused on a defined research question that tries to identify all high-quality research evidence relevant to that question. Systematic reviews of high-quality randomised controlled trials are crucial to evidence-based medicine. For more information see the Health Sciences Subject Guide.

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Thesis: A thesis is a long piece of research for a PhD or MPhil. All theses are kept in print in the Library. Some recent theses are available electronically in Bradford Scholars.

The Cloud: The Cloud is a free WiFi service for visitors who are unable to use eduroam®. 

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UB number: This is on your student card. You will need your UB number and your PIN to use the printers and borrow books in the Library.

uobroamnet: This is one of the wireless networks for students and staff on campus.

URL: Uniform Resource Locator. It is the address for a web page on the Internet. (e.g.

Username: A unique name which the University gives to you to access services. For example, fsmith2.

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Volume: Journals are usually published in volumes. A volume can contain several issues.

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Welcome Desk: This is located at the entrance of the J. B. Priestley Library. If you have a question about the Library go the Welcome Desk and a member of staff will help you.

Library Welcome Desk.

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