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ENG 1020 Colley: Library Overview


Start by looking through the tutorial and website key below. Then dive in and start playing with the resources. 

Getting Started

The search box  (i.e. Summon) on the main library page is basically Google for the library. It searches across a wide variety of our resources and many (but not all) of our databases. Note - Summon is currently available for on-campus users only. 

Like Google, it has some specific strengths -- very fast searching, great matching of keywords -- and some specific weaknesses. It's not the best for using subject headings or controlled vocabulary to perform powerful targeted searches. For that, you should try a database specific to your discipline. 

For a starting point for your research, to get an idea what is out there based on a keyword search, and to search most of our resources at once, Summon is a great tool.

Library guides are librarian-created guides for the best places to go to research your subject. It's a great place to find out what databases are most useful!​


Get Your Hands Dirty!

  1. Find your campus's library hours and librarian contact information.
  2. Pick a broad topic (like teaching or literacy or shoes) and search for that term in Summon. Try a few of the options on the left side of the screen to refine your search topic and/or limit your results to just books or just articles.
  3. Locate CSM library databases and find a database that might be relevant to your area of study.
  4. Find a Library Guide that is the closest match to your program or research interests. Look at the contents under each tab in that Guide.

Remember: librarians can help you with keyword strategies for databases.

Glossary of Scary Library Terms

Abstract - A brief description of the contents of a journal article or book. Many article records in online databases include abstracts so researchers can easily determine if the article/book will be of value to their topic.

Annotated Bibliography – In addition to the citation information for the articles/books listed, an annotated bibliography includes a description of each item. The descriptions are written by the author of the bibliography and often include thoughts on why each reference is pertinent to his/her research.

Annotation – An explanatory or critical note or commentary. Annotation is also the process of adding an explanatory or critical note or commentary to a text. Reference lists are often annotated with comments about what each resource covered and how useful it was.

Appendix – A group of supplementary material appended to a text. It is usually related to the material in the main part of the text but not so closely related to it that it should be put into the main text. Put background information and supporting facts in the appendices. An example of a file that should be put in an appendix is a file of detailed charts and graphs of recent research closely related to the paper's main topic.

Archive – A place in which historical documents and other records are preserved. Usually operated by large organizations, they may or may not be open to the public.

Author – An originator of a creative work, particularly a writer of a text. Searching by author can be an effective form of information gathering.

Bibliographer – A librarian who selects library materials for a specific subject area, often working closely with faculty in the corresponding department(s) to decide on materials that best support the curriculum.

Bibliographic Record - A record in a database for an individual item (such as a book or journal). Information is divided into fields such as title, author, publication date, etc. This is sometimes referred to as the “full record” for an article or other entry in a database.

Bibliography - A list of citations to journal articles, books and other materials on a particular subject or by an individual author. Authors of research papers, journal articles, and books include bibliographies of the references used in their research.

Boolean Operators – The term applied to the words “AND” “OR” “NOT” when they are used to limit or expand a search in an electronic database.

counseling AND adolescents – (finds ALL keywords)
principals OR administrators -- (finds either one or both keywords)
recreation NOT hiking -- (finds 1st keyword, excludes the other)

Browse – To inspect something casually, particularly to use an internet browser to casually inspect Web pages. This involves following links from page to page (also called surfing) rather than searching directly. The main difference between browsing and searching is that with browsing you have very little advance knowledge of what will be on the next page.

Browser - Software on your computer allowing you to access the Internet: Internet Explorer and Firefox are a couple of examples.

Call Number – Numbers and letters assigned to each book in the library. Usually found on the spine of the book, call numbers group books by subject and make it easier to find a book on the shelves.

Catalog - The database of books and other materials housed within the library. CSM Library’s catalog is also called Follett.

Circulation/ Circulation Desk – The library department responsible for checking out books and other library materials. They also handle renewals, recalls, holds, overdue notices and reserves for materials in the CSM Libraries collection. The Circulation Desk phone number is 301-934-7626.

Citation - A reference to a book, article, or other material, that provides the information necessary for others to find the same work. A book citation includes author, title, publisher and year of publication; a journal citation includes author, article title, periodical title, date, volume, issue number and page numbers of the article.

 Examples of citations:

BOOK: Houston, P. D., Blankstein, A. M., Cole, R. W., & Hope Foundation. (2007). Out-of-the-box leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

ARTICLE: O'Connor, B., & Cordova, R. (2010). Learning: The Experiences of Adults Who Work Full-Time While Attending Graduate School Part-Time. Journal of Education for Business, 85(6), 359-368.

Controlled Vocabulary - A controlled vocabulary is a list of terms used by a database or catalog to categorize articles and books by topic. Sometimes called subject headings, sometimes called descriptors, these terms will differ for each database.

Copyright - Legal privilege granted to an author, composer, etc. for exclusive rights of publication and distribution of a work.

Database - A large collection of data or information that has been organized for rapid retrieval. CSM Libraries subscribes to over 50 online databases that support the programs of study offered by the College of Southern Maryland. Some databases provide citation information only, while others offer the full-text of articles online.

Descriptor - A word or phrase in a database’s Controlled Vocabulary. Descriptors are assigned to each article in a database based on the content of that article. Experienced searchers know that using descriptors or subject headings is an effective way to search for articles on a topic.

Dissertation – A document written in completion of requirements for a PhD; also called doctoral dissertation. A dissertation is the culmination of years of researching, writing, revising and stress.

Dissertation Abstracts International (DAI) – A database of dissertation citations and abstracts.

Document Delivery – This is a service that delivers electronic copies (PDFs) of journal articles and other documents. When you find articles on the internet you will often have a publisher or document delivery service offer to sell you the article. Instead of purchasing access to the article, CSM students should use ILL at no charge!

DOI Number – DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier. Online academic articles have been assigned an individual DOI number. Just like an ISBN number on books or an ISSN number for journals, the DOI number is unique to that article.

Edition – A version of a published text, or all the instances of a published text issued at a given time. An example would be the 2nd edition (2001).

E-Journal Portal –​  This is your gateway to the periodicals and books available to you online as a CSM student. Use E-Journal Portal to see what journals CSM Libraries' has and to check for online (full-text) access to an article before requesting it through Interlibrary Loan.

Entry – Any record, or a field in a record, that has been included, or entered, into a database. An entry word is the headword in a dictionary, encyclopedia, or glossary.

Field - A section of a bibliographic record containing specific information such as the author, title, abstract or descriptors for an item. It is possible to specify which field you want the database to search in for a particular keyword.

Full-Text Database - A database that provides the entire text of an article, usually in PDF or HTML format. Full-text articles can be printed, saved or emailed.

ILL – Acronym for interlibrary loan.

ILL – CSM Libraries' interlibrary loan and document delivery service. More info? Go to 

Index – An index is a book or database that lists citations to journal articles or books. Abstracts and full-text are usually not included.

Information Literacy – Critical thinking skills that enlighten the process of finding, evaluating and using information, including information found on the Internet.

Interlibrary Loan - A service that allows CSM’s students, faculty and staff to request books and articles that are not in the CSM Libraries' collection. We are able to borrow books and get copies of articles from other libraries. This service is free for current students, faculty, and staff.

Journal - A periodical containing scholarly articles written by researchers in a particular field. Journal articles often include an abstract and a list of references (bibliography).

Keyword Search – A search of a database using some keyword, a significant word from the title, abstract or descriptor of a record as a point of reference to the article's overall content.

Librarian - A professional educated and trained to assist you in finding and using information. The librarians at CSM Libraries are all members of the College of Southern Maryland's professional staff.

Literature Review – A systematic and thorough search of all material, print or electronic, published on a given topic. This can include books, journals, newspapers, catalogs, encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, bibliographies, handbooks, manuals, indexes, yearbooks, gazetteers, directories, chronologies, almanacs and guides.

Magazine - A periodical such as Time, Newsweek, Forbes, etc. that is published primarily for the general public. Magazine articles are not considered appropriate for most scholarly research.

Microform – A microform is a way to store and preserve articles and other documents. The documents are photographed and reduced to fit on a film or card. Special equipment is needed to view, scan or print articles and other documents stored in one of these formats. There are two microform formats at Foley Library:

Microfiche – Microfiche is similar to microfilm, but the images are on individual sheets of transparent plastic 105 x 148mm (approx. 4”x6”). Each sheet holds up to 98 page images.

Microfilm - Microfilm is a long strip of transparent plastic wound on a reel. One roll of microfilm can hold as many as 800 images of newspaper pages.

Monograph – A boring-sounding library term for a book on a single topic.

Off-Campus Access – See: Remote Access.

Online Catalog or Electronic Catalog – A record of the holdings of an institution (e.g. library or museum) or group of institutions (a consortium), often searchable, that can be found on the Internet.


Open Source- In production and development a philosophy or methodology promoting free redistribution and access to an end product's design and implementation details.

Peer-Reviewed Journal – Also called a “Refereed Journal”, this is a journal where articles must be reviewed by two or more other professionals in the field and prior to being accepted for publication.

Periodical – A generic term for publications such as journals, magazines or newspapers that are published at regular intervals.

Plagiarism – Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials. (Source: College of Southern Maryland's Student Code of Conduct, Section 2 no. 16;

Primary Source – The originator of a primary record. A primary record is a resource created by the individual(s) that initially experienced or used it. They create the records for their own purposes, records that often remain unpublished. Sometimes they witness an event, sometimes they are involved in an event, and sometimes the record is directly created by the event.


Recall - A special request for a book that is already checked out to someone else. That person will be notified to return the book within 7 days. Contact the Circulation Desk if you have questions about recalls.

Record – An individual entry in a database and simultaneously a collection of related data fields. Each field, although related, is of a different type to all the other fields in the record.

Refereed Journal – see Peer Reviewed Journal.

Reference Desk – The Reference Desk is “Help Central” at the La Plata Library. It is staffed by a librarian who helps students with their research, answer questions about library services. Note: A reference librarian is available at Prince Frederick and Leonardtown campus libraries. We help distant students, too. Use this web page to send us an email.

Remote Access - From off-campus, you have to log in to use our databases. Use the library off-campus web page and your student ID number for access or through MyCSMD under library access.

Renewal – An extension on a book’s loan period. Students can borrow most Foley Library books for a period of 3 weeks and can renew a book up to 2 times (as long as no one else needs it). More info?  See

Scholarly Journal – see Peer-Reviewed Journal.

SFX - The underlying software that links article records from databases (or Summon) to CSM Libraries' online journal holdings. See E-Journal Portal.

Subject Directory – A hierarchical grouping of related subject headings. The tree structure shows relationships between subject headings. They can be found either inside a database or separate from a database.

Subject Heading - See Descriptor.

Summon - Summon is a “next generation” catalog interface which provides access to all types of information which CSM Libraries has purchased or licensed. In one search, you can find books and articles from CSM Libraries' collection. Summon also provides several ways for you to narrow or clarify a search. If the full text of an electronic periodical or other digital resource is available, click on it from Summon and go directly to it. Note: Summon does not search everything at CSM Libraries, but it may be a good place to start.

Thesaurus - A list of subject headings or descriptors for a particular database. You can browse a database’s thesaurus to find controlled vocabulary terms to use in your searching.

Truncation – A search technique that expands a root word by using a specified symbol. In most databases, an asterisk * is used for truncation. For example: enter the keyword leader* to search for the words: leader, leaders, leadership. In the Foley Library catalog, a question mark is used for truncation: enter nurs? To search for nurse, nurses, nursing.