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International Student Guide: Glossary of Library Terms

Information about how to access reading, entertainment, and research materials such as online periodicals, books, DVD movies, and full-text eBooks about your home country.


As a foreign student, you may find some of the words used in the Library unfamiliar or confusing. This Glossary will introduce you to common library terminology and definitions. Remember, if you don't understand a word, you can always ask your professor or a librarian to explain!

If you are looking for translations of common library terms, you may find some of them here. A Multilingual Glossary Language Translation Table is also available for Chinese, Korean, Japanese, French, Spanish and Arabic.


Glossary Terms


Glossary Terms -- IN PROGRESS


An abstract is a concise summary or description of a periodical article or book. An academic work usually has an abstract. Some databases and indexes will provide an abstract along with the citation for a work.


(1) Archives are collections of historical or public records such as personal letters, institutional papers, rare books, or other ephemera. (2) Archives can also refer to the physical space where archives are kept.


An article is a brief work, usually 1 - 45 pages long, on a topic. Articles are usually published as part of a journal, magazine, or newspaper. Articles may have one or more authors.


An attachment is a separate file (e.g., a text document, a spreadsheet, an image, or a video or audio clip) that is sent with an email.


A barcode is a machine-readable code in the form of numbers and a pattern of parallel lines of varying widths, printed on and identifying a product.The library affixes barcodes to all circulating material and is used by the Library circulation desk to check-out the item to a borrower. Your WilmU ID card also has a barcode that is unique to you. You need your ID card barcode to borrow materials from the Library.


A bibliography is a list of citations to the resources used for research. Bibliographies are usually located at the end of a book, article, or research paper. When submitting your own work, it is almost always necessary to include a bibliography of the resources you used for research. A bibliography can also refer to a collection of information sources on a specific topic that is published as a book.

Canvas and Library ID

Your Library ID is a unique alpha-numeric that the University has assigned to you. It is a combination of your initials and a number, for example, wng30833.  You will be asked to enter your myWilmU credentials when accessing library resources from off-campus.

Boolean Searching or Boolean operator

Boolean Searching is a method of searching that involves combining search terms using Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT). Using AND or NOT will narrow your search results. Using OR will broaden your search results. Sometimes professors or librarians will suggest that you use Boolean Searching to refine your search results.

Internet Browser or Browser

An internet browser is a software program that allows the user to access the internet. It is often referred to simply as a "browser." Examples of browsers include Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari.

Call Number

A call number is a group of letters and/or numbers that identifies a specific item in a library and provides a way for organizing library materials. Most academic research libraries in the United States use the Library of Congress Call Number System. An example of what a call number could like is LB1025.2 .N456 1998. Call numbers are usually located on the spine of a book. You need to know the call number in order to find the item on the shelf.


See Delaware Library Catalog.


While the word "chat" can mean to have a usually short, informal conversation with someone, it has another meaning too. To chat means to communicate with someone via typed messages computer to computer. Chatting is the same thing as instant messaging, or IMing. Chat services are available through Gmail, Yahoo, MSN, and AOL. The WilmU Library Chat is at XXX

Check Out

To check out means to borrow an item from the Library for a fixed period of time in order to read, listen to, or view it. Check-out periods vary according to the type of item and whether or not someone has a hold on that item. Contact the Circulation Desk for more information

Circulation Desk

The Circulation or Information Desk is located on the New Castle main campus. Other sites including Dover and the Wilson Graduate Center may be consulted for circulating materials.This Service Desk is where you would go to check out or return materials to the Library. You can reach the Circulation Desk by phone at 302-356-6879 or 1-800-451-5724.


A citation is 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, place of publication, and date of publication. There are many different citation format styles; examples include the MLA style, the Chicago style, the APA style. All WilmU classes use the APA style.

Citation Manager

A citation manager is a type of software that can help you organize your citations for your research. Using a citation manager, you can store, retrieve, edit, and organize citations, and you can use it to create your bibliography. Examples of citation managers are RefWorks, EndNote, Procite, and Zotero. To find out more about citation help, click here.


Consortium means a partnership or association, and at the Library it refers to the group of local libraries that WilmU belongs to. All WilmU faculty and students enrolled in degree programs have access and borrowing privileges at regional libraries through our membership in the Tri-State College Library Cooperative (TCLC). Click here to see the list of consortium libraries.

Copyright and Copyright Infringement


Course Reserves (see Reserves)

Course reserves (also called reserves) are materials (books, articles, videos, etc.) that faculty members place at the library. These items may be owned by the library or by the professor who placed them on reserve. Generally, they are high-use items with shorter loan periods to accommodate demand.


A database is a collection of information stored in an electronic format that can be searched by a computer. You can find a full list of all the databases licensed by the WilmU Library by clicking here.

Delaware Library Catalog

The Delaware Library Catalog is the name of the WilmU Library's online library catalog. You can find it at We use an online catalog only; there is no physical card catalog. Use the DLC to identify relevant print books and other library resources.




A dissertation is an extended written document about a subject (like a book) submitted by a graduate student as a requirement for a doctoral degree. A dissertation is sometimes called a "thesis," though masters students do not refer to the thesis that they write as a dissertation. Copies of approved dissertations written by WilmU students are retained in electronic format only. You can also search the Dissertations & Theses database to find dissertations written by non-WilmU students.


To download means (1) To transfer information from a computer to a program or storage device to be viewed at a later date or (2) To transfer information from one computer to another computer using a modem.

Due Date

The due date for an item is the date before which library materials on loan should be returned or renewed. Materials not returned or renewed by designated due date may sometimes be subject to fines or loss of borrowing privileges.

E-book or Electronic Book

An e-book is an electronic version of a book that can be read on a computer. Most of the WilmU Library's e-books can be found through ebrary or by using the Library's Discovery search widget at


An encyclopedia is a work containing information on all branches of knowledge or treating comprehensively a particular branch of knowledge (such as history or chemistry). Encyclopedias often has entries or articles arranged alphabetically. The WilmU Library has many encyclopedias in print as well as electronically.



Full-text refers to a complete electronic copy of a resource, usually an article, that can be viewed on a computer. The term "full-text" is often used to refer to the electronic version of an article or book that is also published in print. Many of the Library's databases provide full-text articles.

Government Document or "Gov Doc"

A government document is an official government publication issued by a government agency. Government publications contain information covering a wide variety of subjects.

Holds and Recalls

If you need a book that is not currently available, you may request that a Hold be placed on the item. When the book is returned, we will notify you by email and hold the book for 10 days.


These are the items owned or held by the library.  They include a large variety of materials such as books, e-books, journals, archival materials, audio materials and video materials. 

Hyperlink (see Link)


Instant Messaging or IM

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a service which helps eligible patrons obtain materials that are unavailable through the WilmU Library. This service is also referred to as ILLiad. Use your myWilmU credentials to login to ILLiad.



Library Website





When an item is listed as "non-circulating" that means that you may be able to look at it but not borrow it from the Library.

Online Catalog (see Delaware Library Catalog)


Overdue means that an item that you've checked out is late for return, or, in other words, past its due date. You cannot renew an overdue item if someone else has requested it.


Peer-Reviewed Journal



Primary Source

Proxy Server (see also EZ Prozy)

Recall (see also Request)

Reference Center or Reference Desk

Reference Collection

Remote Access

Renew and Renewal



Secondary Source


Study Carrel

Style Guide or Style Manual