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*Research 101

Library and Research Vocabulary

As you use the library or research for an assignment, you will encounter specialized terms and words. This list includes many of the more common words you will find, along with definitions. You may also wish to view the Multilingual Glossary Language Table to translate library terms to seven languages.

Vocabulary List

An abstract is a short summary of a research article or paper that gives you an overview of the article's main ideas. An abstract is usually at the beginning of the article and can help you decide if you want to read the full article.
Annotated Bibliography
An annotated bibliography is a list of sources, like books or articles, that are relevant to a research topic. Annotated bibliographies usually include a citation and an annotation. An annotation is a short summary or description of each source and how it relates to the overall research.
An article is a written work published in a periodical. Articles are usually shorter in length than books. The content of an article will vary based on whether it is in a magazine, journal, newspaper, or trade publication.
Background Information
Background information means basic knowledge that is helpful for learning about a new topic. This is usually the first step in research. One good resource for background information is an encyclopedia.
Boolean Operator
A Boolean operator is a special word used to connect keywords together in a search. Search tools like the library catalog and databases use Boolean operators to determine how to use the connected keywords. Common Boolean operators are AND, OR, and NOT, and they help you improve your search results by combining or excluding keywords.
To browse is to explore an existing collection or list of resources to find items of interest.
Call Number
A call number is a combination of letters and numbers. Call numbers are assigned to most items in the library to give the location of the item on library shelves (the "address" of an item). Call numbers are on the spine (side) of an item.
Check Out
To "check out" an item means to borrow it. Most items in the Tyree Library may be checked out for four weeks. Borrowing is free for SF students, faculty, and staff. You can check out items at the Circulation Desk.
Circulating Collection
The Circulating Collection is the biggest collection at the Tyree Library, located on the third floor. The Circulating Collection has books and audiobooks that you can borrow for four weeks. Items go home with you and then back to the library when you are done.
Circulation Desk
The Circulation Desk is a place where users borrow, renew, return, and place holds on items, retrieve print reserves, and ask about the status of library materials. The Circulation Desk is on the first floor of the Tyree Library.
A citation is important information about a source. When you use a source in your paper, you include this information to inform your readers that you are using a source and to allow your readers to find out more about the source. Citations use a specific format and order, based on a specific style, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago. Citations usually include facts that help identify the source, like the author, title, and date.
Collections are different groups of library materials, usually based on the type of item. Collections are in different locations within the Tyree Library and may have different rules about borrowing. Example collections include the Circulating Collection on the third floor of the library (with 80,000 print books to borrow) or the Magazines and Newspapers collection on the first floor.
Conference Proceedings
Conference proceedings are collections of papers or presentations that are published after an academic conference. They contain summaries or full text of the research presented at the conference.
A database is a collection of subscription content that the library pays for you to access. Many databases are article databases, where full-text articles can be located and read. Library databases are available on the library website and are free for students.
DOI stands for "Digital Object Identifier." This is a unique code given to scholarly articles (and sometimes books) that helps people find and access that source easily. Example DOI: 10.1016/j.sjbs.2018.01.004
Due Date
The due date is the date when you must return an item to the library. Most items can be borrowed for four weeks, but different collections may have different rules for how long you may have an item from that collection.
An eBook is a book that can be read online. eBooks are identical in content to the print book version.
An edition of a book is a specific version of a book. Different editions may include changes in content, format, design, or additional information. Most editions are numbered, such as a 2nd edition.
An editor of a book collects chapters written by many author and organizes them into one book about a topic.
Embargo/Moving Wall
An embargo or moving wall is a specific time period when the full text of journal articles is not yet available to read in a database. Older articles gradually become accessible to everyone over time. For instance, if a journal has a moving wall of three years, you can read all articles older than three years old.
An encyclopedia is a specialized book with articles or entries written by experts to introduce and describe concepts. The articles are arranged alphabetically by topic. Most encyclopedias focus on one area, such as psychology or World War II. You can find many encyclopedias in the Reference Collection.
A filter is a way to limit your search results based on a specific feature, such as the date, the format of the item, or if it's a peer-reviewed article. Most databases and the library catalog have filters on the search results page.
Google Scholar
Google Scholar is a search tool from Google that searches for scholarly information, including journal articles, theses/dissertations, and conference proceedings. Information found on Google Scholar might not be available to read for free.
Hold/Place a Hold
A hold is a request for an item, and placing a hold is the action of requesting the item. You can place a hold for books, videos, music, or other items in the library. Items placed 'on hold' will be reserved, or held, for that person at the Circulation Desk or at an SF Center.
An index is an alphabetically ordered guide at the back of a book that lists important words, topics, and the page numbers where they are in the book. This is more detailed than a table of contents.
Interlibrary Loan
An interlibrary loan (ILL) is a free way to borrow a book or item from another library if your library does not own it. These items are sent directly to your library. There is another method called reciprocal borrowing that requires you go to another library to borrow materials.
ISBN stands for "International Standard Book Number." This is a unique number given to each published book that helps identify different books. Example ISBN: 9780226766119
Journals are regularly published collections of scholarly articles. The articles are usually between 10-30 pages each. Articles can be experts' original research or a review of current research on a topic. Most journals are peer-reviewed.
A keyword is a word or phrase that is a main concept of a research topic. Keywords can be used to search in a library catalog or database.
Librarian/Reference Librarian
Librarians are information experts. A reference librarian is a research expert who helps students and other library users find, evaluate, and cite books, articles, and other resources. Librarians help library users at the Reference Desk and via email, phone, chat, and appointment.
Library Card
Your SF ID card is your library card. Show it when you are borrowing items from the library. You may also use a government-issued photo ID. Show this at the Circulation Desk to borrow items.
Library Catalog
A library catalog is an online search tool to look for print and online books, physical and streaming videos, and other items owned by the library.
A magazine is a publication that covers a wide range of topics and provides articles, features, and news on various subjects. Magazines may be published weekly, monthly, or twice monthly. They target a general audience.
Media or multimedia are items that are not text-based. These are usually audio or visual, such as images, DVDs, CDs, or vinyl records. They can also be online in the format of streaming video or music.
A newspaper is a printed or online publication that is usually published daily. Newspapers provide news, current events, and other informative articles. Newspapers may be local, such as The Gainesville Sun, or focus on national or world events.
An article that is peer-reviewed means that it has been rigorously reviewed by experts in a subject to ensure accuracy and quality. These experts are the authors' peers. Peer-reviewed articles are more trustworthy than other types of sources.
A periodical is a newspaper, magazine, or journal that is published regularly. This might be daily, weekly, semi-monthly, monthly, or quarterly.
Permalink stands for "permanent link." Many databases have a permalink or share option that provides a permalink. The permalink will not change or expire like other links might. If a search tool provides a permalink, use it instead of the URL in the browser bar.
Plagiarism is using someone else's words, ideas, or work without giving them credit. Plagiarism is against the student code of conduct and may result in consequences, including failing an assignment, failing a course, or being expelled from school.
A preprint is an early version of a research paper or article that is shared with others before it is published, often before it has been peer-reviewed. Preprints might change when they are published in their final form.
Primary Source
Primary sources are original materials or firsthand accounts that come directly from the time period or event being studied. Examples of primary sources are diaries, letters, photographs, speeches, and interviews. An original research study is also considered a primary source in science. Primary sources are different from secondary sources.
Reciprocal Borrowing
Reciprocal borrowing is the ability to visit libraries that you are not a member of and borrow items from those libraries. Santa Fe College students can borrow items from all public colleges and universities in Florida, including the University of Florida, for free with their SF ID. For reciprocal borrowing, you must physically visit the other library to borrow items. This is different from interlibrary loan, which sends the item directly to your library.
Reference Collection
The Reference Collection is a library collection with books that provide background information, including many encyclopedias. In the Tyree Library, the Reference Collection is on the second floor, and those books do not leave the building (they cannot be borrowed).
Reference Desk
The Reference Desk is a place where you can get help from a librarian. In the Tyree Library, the Reference Desk is located on the second floor.
Renewing means extending the amount of time before an item must be returned to the library. An item with a hold cannot be renewed, since another library user wants to borrow it.
Research Topic
A research topic is a subject or question that you want to learn more about.
Reserves are items, such as textbooks or videos, that an instructor places in a special collection so that students can access the items for a class. Reserves are located behind the Circulation Desk, and most can only be used in the building ('in-house-use').
Scholarly means information that is written or produced by experts in a particular field or discipline. Scholarly materials can be academic books, journal articles, theses/dissertations, conference proceedings, or other formats.
Search Statement
A search statement is a specific way to search for items by combining keywords and Boolean operators. You can use search statements in databases and the library catalog. For instance, you might want to search for king kong NOT godzilla to find results about King Kong but eliminate results about Godzilla.
Secondary Source
A secondary source is a type of information that is based on other sources, rather than firsthand experience or original research. Examples include textbooks, articles that summarize prior research, and documentaries that discuss historical events. This is different from a primary source.
A source is a book, article, website, or any other place where information or data is found.
Subject/Subject Heading
Subjects or subject headings are specific words or phrases used to describe the main topic(s) of an article or book. By using subjects to search, you will find results that are specifically on a topic, instead of results that might mention the topic only briefly. Subjects are different from keywords because they are standardized; one term is used instead of multiple ways to say the same concept. For example, the official subject for the death penalty is capital punishment.
Table of Contents
A table of contents is a list of the chapters or main areas covered in a book, along with the page numbers where each begins. The table of contents is listed at the beginning of a book.
A thesis or dissertation is an in-depth research paper written by a graduate student to earn an advanced degree (master's or doctoral degree). A committee of university professors reviews a thesis or dissertation before the university accepts it and the degree is earned.
Trade Publication
A trade publication is a magazine or newspaper that focuses on a specific industry or profession. It provides information and news related to that field, including updates on new products, trends, and best practices.
Webpage vs. Website
A website is a collection of related webpages that are linked together and share a common name (e.g., CNN, Santa Fe College). Each webpage, on the other hand, is an individual document or page within a website. A webpage contains specific content, such as text, images, or videos.

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