Owl FAU Libraries
Reference Department


FAU Libraries Reference Department

Building LY 3, 1st Floor East
Boca Raton Campus

Reference Office Phone:
(561) 297-3785

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Library Vocabulary



Abstract: a brief summary of an article, book, or other published work, typically found at the beginning of a journal article.

Bibliography: a list of resources on a specific topic. Annotated bibliographies include brief descriptions of the resources.   Also known as 'references' or 'works cited'.

Call Number: indicates where a book, journal or library material is located in the library. FAU Libraries use the Library of Congress classification system, which uses letters and numbers to designate subjects covered (example: PE1075 .L47 2007).

Catalog (Library Catalog): a library’s comprehensive list of its books, journals, videos, and other materials (includes digital). The FAU library catalog is available online and is searchable by title, author, subject, etc.

Citation: provides specific information that identifies an article, book, or information source. Citations usually include author's name, title, journal name (for articles), publisher (for books), publication date and other appropriate information.

Course Reserve: collection of books and other materials that have high use or have been put aside by professors and can be retrieved at the circulation desk. From the Library Catalog, select the tab for Course Reserves.  Reserve materials have a limited check out period.  

Database: may include articles, statistics, images, music and/or other types of information that are normally searchable by keyword or subject. For example, see Academic Search Premier.

eBook: also known as an "Electronic Book."  A book published in an electronic format.

eJournal: also known as an "Electronic Journal." A journal published in an electronic format, which may be published in print then made available electronically.

EZproxy: provides off-campus access to library electronic resources for current FAU students, faculty and staff. It is also known as "Off Campus Connect."

Electronic Resource: any library material that is made available electronically, such as an eBook, database or journal article.

Find It @ FAU: when trying to locate full text not available in a particular database or journal, this link searches other databases and the catalog for a source which will provide the full text.  If the Library does not have access to the full-text in print or online, it will direct you to Interlibrary Loan.

Full Text: the complete article or book and not just the abstract or citation.

Government Document:  any publication distributed by a governmental body.  Many branches of the federal, state, and local government publish information about their activities, research, etc., and make them available to the general public.

ILLiad: System used to make interlibrary loan requests. First-time users must register.

Index: a list of citations to journal articles or books arranged by subject, author or title. Indexes may be in print format, electronic format or both. Full text access may or may not be provided by “Find It @ FAU."  An example of an online index is Web of Science.

InterLibrary Loan: a way to obtain materials not owned by FAU Libraries, such as copies of journal articles, books, etc. It is also used to request materials not owned by a particular campus library but available from another FAU campus library. Current students, faculty and staff may request materials be sent to the FAU libraries to be checked out.

Journal: a periodical that contains articles that are usually written by experts such as scholars and researchers (example: JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association).

Keyword: Any significant word or phrase, especially a word used to describe the contents of a document.

LibGuides (Subject / Class Guide): an online compilation of resources created by librarians to assist students in their research. To see examples, go to the LibGuides page.

Library Catalog: an online list of books, journals and other materials owned by the FAU Libraries.

Magazine: a periodical that contains articles of general interest written by writers or journalists who may not be experts in a field (example: Newsweek).

Microfiche: a sheet of film containing images or documents drastically reduced in size. The film then is taken to a microfiche reader to be enlarged, then viewed, copied, printed or saved in its original size.

Microfilm: a roll of film containing images or documents drastically reduced in size. The film then is taken to a microform reader to be enlarged and then viewed, copied, printed or saved in its original size.

Off Campus Connect: provides remote access from off the FAU campus to library databases for affiliated users (FAU students, faculty and staff). It is also known as EZproxy.

Peer Review/ Refereed:   refers to a scholarly journal that requires an article to be critically evaluated by one or more experts on the subject, known as referees, responsible for determining if the subject of the article falls within the scope of the publication and for evaluating originality, quality of research, clarity of presentation, etc. May be called 'peer-reviewed,' 'academic' or 'scholarly.'

Periodical: a publication that is published on a regular basis (daily, weekly, etc.). Magazines, journals, and newspapers are types of periodicals.  For an example, see The New York Times.

Primary Source: a first hand or eye witness account created at the time an historical event occurred.  Primary sources may include letters, manuscripts, diaries, journal entries, newspapers, speeches, interviews, government documents, oral history, recordings, research data, objects or artifacts.

Scholarly Resource:  a publication written by academics, researchers, or other scholars.  These publications communicate new research and scholarly ideas. May be called ‘refereed,' 'academic’ or ‘peer-reviewed’ resources.

SearchWiSE: one search box provided by FAU Libraries in which you can perform a combined search of databases, electronic resources, the library catalog, etc.

Secondary Source: a second-hand report or review. An accounting of events or experiences (an article, a book, a news story, etc.) not personally observed or experienced by the writer.

Subject: Any one of the topics or themes of a work, stated explicitly in the text or title or implicit in its message.

Subject / Course Guide (LibGuides):  helpful aid that students can use to research certain topics (e.g. "Bioethics"). These guides usually contain listings of recommended resources for finding information, such as databases (for finding articles), books, web pages or other useful resources.

URL: acronym for address that identifies the location of a web page. Complete title is Uniform Resource Locator.

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