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Curtin University


This is a list of terms and their explanations used by the Curtin University Sarawak Library. If you would like to suggest more terms for this list, please contact us.

Please note this is not an authorised dictionary of library terms and some of these terms may be used differently in other disciplines.



A summary of the content of a publication.
Alumni Borrower

Refers to students who have graduated from university. We provide continuing services for our alumni, including access to the library.
Article Find It
Allows you to check whether a specific journal article is available online. If it's not available, you be will offered other services that might help you to find your article.
Ask A Librarian Online:
An instant messaging service where librarians answer your questions online in real-time and help you find the information you need. If you have a complex question, they may need to contact you later by email or phone.



A list of references to works that have been consulted or referred to when preparing a publication. A bibliography usually appears at the end of a paper, article, book chapter, book, dissertation or report. A bibliography can also be a book consisting entirely of citations, usually in a specific subject area. See the Referencing page for further information.
Boolean Operators
Terms that help you to either narrow or broaden your searches in library catalogues and databases. They are the words 'and', 'or', 'not', typed between your search terms.



A database of all the material that a library holds or provides access to. It will show you where an item is located and if it is available or on loan.
Information such as author, date, title and page number which identifies a publication i.e. book, book chapter, journal, web page etc. Citations can also be called references and are listed in a bibliography or reference list, usually found at the end of the publication and listed in a specific referencing 'style'. See Referencing for information on referencing styles.
Closed Collection
This is a special collection of Library items that are only available for a 2 hour loan or 3 days loan and also can only be used in the Library.
Large moveable shelves, both electronic and manual, that are located on levels 1. They hold bound, and some loose, old newspapers.
The legal protection given to an author's work to protect them from unauthorised copying. All Curtin staff and students must comply with copyright legislation.



A collection of references to journal articles that may be searched with keywords for a topic, author, etc. Databases provide a summary of the article and may provide the complete article online. Other terms used are 'indexing database', 'full text database', 'online database', 'periodical database', 'bibliographic database' and 'journal database'.
Another term for thesis. See the search options available on the library web site Theses page.



E Journal
Electronic versions of journals that you can read online.
E Reserve
A collection of electronic documents available through the Library Catalogue. In the catalogue choose the Reserve/eReserve tab. e-Reserve items are generally journal articles, book chapters and conference papers recommended by lecturers.
EndNote is bibliographic management software that you can use to manage your references. You can create a 'library' or database of references and add the citations into a Word document to automatically produce your reference list or bibliography in a specific referencing style at the end of your essay. You can download EndNote from the Referencing section of this site.



You will hear this term used in relation to the catalogue. It refers to the groupings/categories listed on the L/H navigation pane which allows you to refine your search results
Find It:
You may see a Find it button next to a journal reference in a database. Clicking on this and then clicking the Go button can lead you to the full text of the journal article in another database or further information about where you can find the full article.



A menu system that helps you to find databases and other information sources in broad subject areas e.g. education, chemical engineering, applied geology, pharmacy etc. You can use Gecko's 'Metasearch' feature to search several databases at once and its 'MySpace' feature to choose and return to your favourite databases.



When you request an item and it is returned to the Library, it will be held for you at the Enquiries Desk ('on hold for you'). You will be notified by email when it is available for you to collect it.
Refers to items held by the Library. In the Curtin Library Catalogue the Check Availability tab provides details of our holdings. For example for print journals you can see the volumes and years we hold..



In Process
This is a term used in the Library Catalogue to describe an item that is not yet available for loan. The 'In process' number shows how close an item is to being on the shelf.
A Guide to finding information in 10 modules. It describes how you can approach finding information for any essay or presentation topic, whether you are studying from home or on campus. InfoTrekk Plus is a guide to finding more specialised information such as legislation, statistics and theses.
Interlibrary Loan
This service for Curtin staff, postgraduate and final year students will obtain items not held at Curtin from other libraries.
The International Standard Book Number is an internationally recognised standard number that uniquely identifies a book.
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is a unique eight-digit number used to identify a print or electronic periodical publication.



A journal is a periodical publication. It differs to a magazine, trade publication or newspaper in that its articles are usually better researched, longer and may have a list of references.



LC Subject Heading
Library of Congress Subject Headings are standard terms used to classify and describe the content of publications.



An Online Public Access Catalogue; for example, the Curtin Library Catalogue.



Patron Record
Your borrower information is available from the catalogue and the Library homepage. This allows you to check your current loans, fines or hold requests and you can also renew your existing loans.
Peer Reviewed Journal
This is a journal where experts in the same subject area as the author must review and approve the articles before they are published by the journal. Similar terms used are: 'refereed journal', 'scholarly journal' and 'academic journal'. To find peer-reviewed journal articles on a topic you can search a journal database.
A periodical is a regular publication such as a journal, magazine or newsletter. It may be published weekly, monthly, every six months or once a year etc. At Curtin, shelf numbers of periodicals begin with P; for example P 650 44910.
When the work of another person, or people, is presented as your own, without proper reference to the source. Plagiarism is a serious accusation in academia.
Generally refers to students that have completed an undergraduate degree and are continuing their studies



See Request
Reference Collection
A reference collection holds books such as dictionaries, encyclopaedias, atlases, pharmacopoeias and handbooks which you can only use in the library. In the Robertson Library, the Reference Collection is on level 2. Use the catalogue to find items, enter your search terms, then use the collection facet on the L/H navigation pane to narrow your results to Reference only. Other Curtin libraries have small reference collections.
To extend the loan period of an item that you have borrowed. You can renew items through the 'Your Borrower Information' link on the homepage and in the catalogue, but only before the date they are due to be returned.
Through the catalogue, you can request an item that is on loan to another person. They will receive an email and then must return the item to the Library earlier than the 'due date', so that you can borrow it. It can take about two weeks for a requested item to be returned and you will be advised by phone and email when you can collect it.



Scholarly Journal
This is a journal whose articles are written for a university or research audience by academics and researchers. They may be published by a university, scholarly society or commercial academic publisher. Their content is different from magazines and popular journals.
Any publication that is intended to be continued indefinitely and is issued in successive parts with a unique number (e.g. a volume, year or issue number). Examples are newspapers, print and online journals, annual reports, yearbooks, proceedings and even blogs having a unique number.



A research publication or 'dissertation' completed for a master or doctoral degree (PhD). It’s available online.



Generally refers to a student studying their first degree (usually a bachelor degree).



A part of a journal or book series. Volume numbers of journals usually increase each year and each volume may have several numbered 'issues' in a year.