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Finding Resources: Glossary of Library Terms

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Abstract: A brief summary of a scholarly article, research paper, or academic document.

Academic Integrity: The basis for ethical decision-making and behaviour in an academic context. This is reflected in norms of acceptable academic practice and is informed by the values of honesty, trust, responsibility, fairness, respect and courage. Click here to learn more

Academic Skills Hub: An online resource to support University of Suffolk students in the development of core academic skills. Click here to visit the Academic Skills Hub

Academic Writing: A formal style of writing used in universities to communicate ideas, information and research.  It tends to follow certain conventions in terms of content, structure and style. Click here to learn more

Advanced Search: Refers to a feature in search engines, discovery tools,  or databases that allows users to refine their search queries using specific criteria, enabling more targeted and precise results.

APA Referencing: a standardised citation style developed by the American Psychological Association, commonly used in the social sciences, to acknowledge and properly cite sources in academic writing. Also see Reference and Reference List. 

Assistive Technology: refers to tools, devices, or software designed to assist individuals with disabilities in performing tasks, such as reading, writing, or navigating digital interfaces. Click here to learn more. 

Audio-visual material: content that combines both auditory and visual elements, such as videos, presentations, or multimedia resources, often used for educational purposes.

Automatic Renewals: a library service that automatically extends the borrowing period of checked-out materials unless another user has requested the item. All 1-week and 3-week loan items will automatically renew for up to one year on University of Suffolk students and staff accounts. 

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Bibliography: a comprehensive list of sources, such as books, articles, and other materials, that have been consulted and/or cited in the preparation of a scholarly work.

Boolean operator: A Boolean operator is a term used in search queries to connect or exclude keywords, with common operators including AND, OR, and NOT, helping to refine and narrow search results. Click here to learn more. 

Brightspace: the University of Suffolk's Online Learning Environment (OLE). Learn more about Brightspace here. 

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Call number: A unique combination of letters and numbers assigned to library materials to indicate their specific location on the shelves, facilitating easy retrieval.

Careers Collection: A book collection within the library that focuses on career guidance, job searching, and professional development; located within the Study Skills Collection. Click here to learn more. 

Citation: A reference to a source used in academic writing, providing details such as the author, title, publication date, and other information to acknowledge and enable the retrieval of the source.

CiteThemRight: The official referencing guide selected by the University of Suffolk to support students and staff in correctly citing sources in a range of citation styles. Click here to learn more. 

Collusion: Unauthorised collaboration or cooperation on an academic assignment, project, or assessment when individual work is expected, violating academic integrity policies.

Conference proceedings: A collection of papers, abstracts, and presentations presented at an academic conference, often published as a book or a special issue of a journal.

Conference paper: A scholarly work presented at an academic conference, typically discussing research findings, projects, or developments in a specific field.

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Database: A database is an organised, searchable collection of information. Although databases can contain a wide range of resource types, many of the databases you will use contain journal articles. Learn more about searching Library Databases here

Dewey Decimal System: The library classification system used at the University of Suffolk, in which each item is assigned a unique numerical code based on its subject.

Discovery: The University of Suffolk’s library catalogue; Discovery contains all of our 151.3 million print and online resources, including books, eBooks, journal articles, audiovisual materials, and more!

Dissertation: A research project completed as part of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. Learn more about doing your dissertation here. 

DOI (Digital Object Identifier):  A string of numbers, letters and symbols used to permanently identify an article or document on the open web. While a web address (URL) can change, an article DOI will never change.

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eBook: A digital book that can be read on electronic devices, such as computers, tablets or mobile phones. Learn more about using eBooks here. 

Edition: Refers to a specific version or printing of a book, often distinguished by changes, updates, or revisions from previous versions.

Editor: An individual responsible for reviewing, revising, and preparing written content for publication, ensuring clarity, coherence, and adherence to editorial standards; this can entail collating and organising separate chapters or articles from different authors into a book or journal issue. 

Embargo: A period during which access to certain information or content is restricted or withheld, often for a specific duration or until certain conditions are met.

EndNote: A reference management tool used to organise, store, and format bibliographic citations for academic papers and projects. Also see Reference Management Tools

Essential reading: Refers to materials, such as books, articles, or documents, that are considered crucial or indispensable for understanding a particular subject or topic. These resources are recommended for in-depth knowledge and are often assigned or suggested by course teams. 

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Filter: A tool used to refine and narrow down search results, helping users locate specific information or resources within a collection.

Formative Assessment: Informal assessment which does not count towards the final module grade designed to monitor and support students' progress and understanding throughout the learning process.

Full Text: A complete document is available; often used in reference to journal articles, where a full copy can be read online or downloaded. 

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Grey Literature: non-traditional, unpublished, and often informally produced materials, such as reports, theses, and conference proceedings, which may not be readily available through conventional publishing channels.

Group Study Area: A study area in the Library dedicated to group study; students are encouraged to use this space to collaborate with peers and engage in discussion. Learn more about our group study area here

Group Study Pod: Study pods located within the Group Study Area of the library, Learn more and book here. 

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Harvard Referencing: a standardised citation style to acknowledge and properly cite sources in academic writing.The most commonly used citation style at the University of Suffolk. Also see Reference and Reference List

Holdings: Holdings refer to the entire collection of books, periodicals, and other materials that a library possesses and makes available for borrowing or reference.

Hold Shelf: A designated area where reserved or requested items are temporarily placed for patrons to pick up; the Hold shelf is located to the immediate left of the Library Helpdesk. 

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Interlibrary Loan: Allows University of Suffolk Library patrons to borrow materials unavailable in our existing collections from other institutions in the UK and internationally. Learn more about our Interlibrary Loan service here

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Journal: Refers to a periodical publication containing scholarly articles, research studies, and other contributions within a specific field. Learn more about journals here

Journal Article: Written work or research published within a journal, often presenting original findings, analysis, or scholarly discussion on a particular topic. Learn more about journals here

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Keyword: A significant term or phrase that captures the essence of a topic, enabling effective search and retrieval of relevant information sources. Click here to learn more about generating effective keywords

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Library account: A portal through which to review and renew existing loans, reserve items, create interlibrary loan requests, and save searches. Access your library account here

Library catalogue: A comprehensive database containing records of all materials available in a library. Also see Discovery

Literature Review: A critical examination and summary of existing scholarly works and research relevant to a specific topic, often conducted as part of academic research or writing.

Long overdue: Items which have been overdue on your account for 4 weeks or more; long overdue items are subject to replacement charges as outlined here

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Magazine: A periodical publication that typically contains articles, photographs, and advertisements, covering a variety of topics and aimed at a general or specialised audience.

Main Book Area: Refers to the area of the Library where the majority of our book collection is kept. 

Mezzanine: An upper-level library study space, reachable by stairs from the primary Group Study Area; offers extra study areas and computers. 

MHRA Referencing: a standardised citation style, commonly used in the humanities, to acknowledge and properly cite sources in academic writing. Also see Reference and Reference List

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Newspaper: A periodical publication that provides current news, information, and commentary on various topics, typically published daily or weekly.

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Open Access Repository Suffolk (OARS): A digital archive of research and enterprise output produced by University of Suffolk staff. Access OARS here

One-to-one appointment: Refers to a scheduled 45-minute session with a member of the Academic Skills Team, to provide students with personalised support in the development of key academic skills. Book an appointment here

Online shop: The University of Suffolk's online storefront; library patrons can use the online shop to pay charges and external membership fees. 

Open Access: Refers to the unrestricted availability of scholarly publications, allowing users to access, read, and download information for free on the open web. 

OpenAthens: An authentication service sometimes used by libraries to provide secure access to online resources, ensuring that authorised users can use subscription-based content or databases from any location. The University of Suffolk does not use OpenAthens, consult our guide on accessing full-text resources here

OSCOLA Referencing: a standardised citation style, commonly used in Law, to acknowledge and properly cite sources in academic writing. Also see Reference and Reference List

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Panopto: The University of Suffolk's video hosting and streaming service. Course teams use Panopto to record live lectures so students can re-watch them afterwards. Learn more about Panopto here

Peer review: A process in scholarly publishing where research articles or academic work are evaluated by experts in the same field before being accepted for publication, ensuring the quality and credibility of the work.

Periodical: A periodical is a publication issued at regular intervals, such as magazines, journals, or newspapers, containing articles, stories, or other content related to specific topics.

Plagiarism: The act of presenting someone else's ideas, words, or work as one's own without giving proper credit, violating academic and ethical standards. Learn more about plagiarism here

Primary research: Refers to the process of collecting original and firsthand data directly from sources, such as conducting surveys, interviews, experiments, or observations, to address specific research questions or objectives. This type of research is conducted by the researcher and is not based on existing data or sources.

Primary source: An original and firsthand document, artefact, or record that provides direct evidence or information about a particular event, person, or time period, often used in historical or research contexts for authenticity and immediacy.

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Quiet Study Area: Study areas in the Library dedicated to individual or small group study; these spaces are designed to foster a peaceful and focussed study environment while allowing for quiet discussion. Learn more about our quiet study areas here

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Reading list: A list of essential and recommended resources associated with a specific module and provided by course teams. Also see Essential Reading and Recommended Reading

Recommended reading: refers to suggested books, articles, or resources that are advisable for further exploration or understanding of a specific topic, often assigned or suggested by course teams. 

Reference: A source of information, such as a book or article, consulted for research, study, or verification of facts.

Reference List: A compilation of sources cited in a document, paper, or research project, providing bibliographic details for each reference used. Learn more about referencing here

Reference Management Tools: Software applications designed to help researchers and academics organise, store, and format citations and references for their scholarly work.  Learn more about reference management tools here.

Reference Only: Materials in a library that are not available to borrow but can be used within the library premises for consultation purposes.

RefWorks: A web-based reference management tool that assists researchers in organising, storing, and formatting citations for their research papers and projects. See also Reference Management Tools

Renew: To extend the borrowing period for checked-out materials, allowing patrons additional time with the items. See also Automatic Renewals

Replacement charge: A fee imposed by the library for lost or damaged materials, covering the cost of replacing the item in the library's collection. Learn more about replacement charges here

Reservation: A patron's request to reserve or temporarily secure a book or other library material. Once the item becomes available, the library holds it for the requesting patron to pick up. See also Hold Shelf. Learn more about reserving items here

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Scholarly Journal: A periodical publication containing academic articles, research studies, and reviews written by experts in a specific field, often peer-reviewed for quality and credibility. See also Trade Journal

SCONUL Scheme: A cooperative arrangement among higher education libraries that allows eligible university students and staff to access and borrow resources from other participating libraries. Learn more about joining the SCOUL Scheme here

Secondary Research: Involves analysing and interpreting existing data and sources to gain insights without conducting new data collection.

Secondary Source: A document or material that interprets, analyzes, or comments on primary sources, providing secondhand information or analysis of a particular topic.

Self-service Kiosk: Enables patrons to independently check out, return, or renew library materials and may offer additional services such as account information and fine payments.

Serial: Refers to any publication issued in successive parts, such as magazines, journals, or newspapers, with each issue usually having its own publication date.

Shelfmark: A unique code or label assigned to a specific location on library shelves, indicating where a particular book or resource can be found. See also Call Number.  

Shibboleth: An authentication and authorization system used by some institutions to provide secure access to online resources, allowing users to access content with their institutional credentials. The University of Suffolk does not use Shibbolethconsult our guide on accessing full-text resources here.

Silent Study Area: A study area in the Library for silent, individual study. Learn more about our silent study areas here.  

Stacks: Refer to the shelves or storage areas in a library where books and materials are kept and can be retrieved by patrons.

Stock Suggestion: A recommendation made by library users for the acquisition of specific books or materials to enhance the library's collection. Submit your stock suggestion here

Student card: An identification card issued to University of Suffolk Students. Used to gain entry to campus facilities and access Library services.

Study Skills Collection: A book collection within the library which includes a range of resources concerning essential academic, research and employment skills. Located in the Library Foyer. 

Summative Assessment: Formal assessment which does count towards the final module grade, designed to demonstrate student understanding and knowledge against stated learning outcomes. See also Formative Assessment

Systematic Review: A comprehensive and structured analysis of existing research studies on a specific topic, employing rigorous methods to synthesise and summarise the evidence available. Learn more about systematic reviews here

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Thesis: A formal and extended research document submitted as a requirement for a postgraduate research degree (PhD), presenting the author's original research findings and scholarly arguments

Trade Journal: A periodical publication that focuses on a specific industry, profession, or trade, providing news, trends, and information relevant to professionals within that particular field. See also Scholarly Journal

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Wellbeing Collection: A book collection within the library which includes a range of resources concerning developing personal wellbeing; includes a range of fiction books to encourage reading for pleasure. Located in the Library Foyer. Learn more about our Wellbeing Collection here

Workshop: An interactive session where participants engage in hands-on activities, discussions, and practical exercises to develop specific skills, gain practical knowledge, or explore a particular subject in a collaborative and participatory learning environment. Browse optional Library Workshops here

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Zotero: A reference management tool used to organise, store, and format bibliographic citations for academic papers and projects. Also see Reference Management Tools

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