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Library Policies and Practices: Library Glossary

Glossary of Library Terms

Book – A written work that has been published by being printed on paper pages, which are bound together.  Also called a monograph.

Circulation Desk – Located in the front lobby of the library, the circulation desk is where you check out library books, and materials your professors put on reserve.  Remember, your Student ID is your library card.

Database – A database is an organized collection of information records that can be accessed electronically. In the Library this includes indexing and abstracting databases, citation databases or databases of full-text journal articles.

Find It/Discovery Search - Located on the library web page, this tool searches all library resources including the databases and the library catalog.  Use this to find books, journal articles, government documents, archives, and other information. 

eBook - A book or government document delivered in electronic format.

Government Information - Material of any kind that is published and distributed by the United States Federal Government.  Government information can be accessed in a variey of formats including print, microfiche, CD/DVD, or through the Internet.

Library Catalog – A listing of all books owned by Northwestern State University libraries.  Includes information about the book, tells what the call number is, and whether the item is available for check-out.

Periodical or Serial – A magazine or other journal that is issued at regularly recurring intervals.

  • Journal – Usually refers to a scholarly or academic periodical or serial.  For example – Journal of Academic Librarianship
  • Magazine – Usually refers to a general interest periodical or serial. For example – People Magazine
  • Newspaper – Daily or weekly publication on folded sheets that includes news, articles, advertisements.  For example – The Natchitoches Times.

Reference Department – Located on the second floor of Watson Library, the Reference Desk is where to come for help using library resources, finding material in the library, help refining your topic, and general library assistance.

Reserve Readings – Articles or books placed at the Circulation Desk by professors for students to read for class or as part of an assignment.these have a limited checkout.

Search Term – The word or words that describe your search, which you use to find books or articles in the library catalog or a database.  Remember to keep these simple and concise. Search terms are not keywords.

Serials/Media Department - Located on the third floor of Watson Library, this is where journals and other media are housed.

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