Learn to Speak "Library": Basic Vocabulary


A short summary of an article, book, dissertation or other longer work.


An individual piece of writing on a particular subject in a magazine, journal or newspaper.

Barcode number:

A 14-digit number used to identify library users and materials.


A list of citations for books, articles and other publications on the same subject.

Call number:

A combination of letters and/or numbers that put books in order on the bookshelves and assist in locating materials in the library.  Call numbers are based on the subject of the book.


A file of all the books and other materials in a library. The Mossey Library catalog is online. Search here for books and other materials available in the library.

Check out:

To borrow an item from the library.


Desk, department and service where you borrow and return library materials, pay fines for overdue (late), damaged or lost materials, and request materials placed on reserve.


Brief information that describes a book or article. For books, a citation includes author(s), title, and place, publisher and date of publication. For articles, a citation includes the author(s) and title of the article; name of the journal/periodical; volume (issue) number, date and page numbers.

Due date:

Date when an item borrowed from the Library must be returned. Fines (money) may be owed when an item is overdue (not returned on time).


Money owed for not returning library materials borrowed on time. 


A subject guide for periodical articles.  It gives citations—journal title, date, volume and pages—and, sometimes abstracts for articles on a particular topic.

Loan (ILL):

A free service to borrow materials from other libraries that are not available at Mossey Library or via MeLCat.


A scholarly publication containing articles written by different experts about research or experiments—usually published regularly.


A publication containing news, current events and articles on popular topics of general interest.


Publications such as newspapers, journals and magazines that contain articles and are usually published more often than once a year. 


Department and service with library faculty and materials available to help you start your research and find information on your topic. 


Located behind the circulation desk, the department where instructors keep books, articles and other class-related materials for students to use in the library for a limited time. 


Request that the due date for an item borrowed from the Library be changed, so that the item can be borrowed for additional time.


Areas where bookshelves are located in the Library.

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