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Library Overview

Welcome to CSM Libraries! This guide is your introduction to the resources we offer.

Glossary of Academic/Library Terms


A shortened version or edition of a written work that leaves out less important parts (such as appendices, graphics, and notes) while keeping the overall meaning and presentation


A brief summary of the contents of a journal article or book; often included in article records of online databases to help researchers determine if an article is relevant to their research topic

Abstract & Index Database

A database of article records that includes only the abstract (summary) and indexing information (author, title, publisher, date, etc.), but does not provide access to the full text of the article

Academic Journal

See: Scholarly Journal

Advanced Search

A search option in most databases (along with many websites and search engines, such as Google) that provides more options for specifying or limiting your search than the basic search function offers

Alt Text

Alternative Text; a short written description of visual media (such as images), useful when the image cannot be viewed properly

Annotated Bibliography

A bibliography (list of citations) that also includes a description or other notes for each source (in addition to the citation information)


A note that provides description, explanation, criticism, and/or commentary; See also: Annotated Bibliography

APA Style

APA (American Psychological Association) Style is a writing and citation style commonly used in the social sciences, business, and nursing


Supplementary materials included at the end of a text that provides related information; examples include charts or graphs, a copy of survey questions used in a study, suggestions for additional reading, and illustrations


A place that stores and preserves historical documents (including primary sources); often affiliated with a museum, library, or organization (such as a government or a company)

Author-Date Format

A citation format option in Chicago Style; generally used in social sciences and follows similar rules to APA Style


Audio-visual; includes any audio or visual formats such as film, video, audio recording, and images


A preference or prejudice in favor of (or against) one idea or thing compared with another

Bibliographic Record

A record in a database or catalog that provides information about an individual item (such as book or journal); See also: Record


A list of citations or references of sources used in research; in APA Style, this is titled "References"; in MLA Style, this is titled "Works Cited"

Boolean Operators

Words (AND, OR, NOT) used in online databases that limit or expand a search; AND signifies that both/all words must be present; OR signifies that one or both/all words must be present; NOT signifies that the word(s) should be excluded; check out the Research Help Library Guide for more details

Call Number

Numbers and letters assigned to each book in the library to help group books by subject and make it easier to find them on the shelves; See also: Library of Congress Classification or Dewey Decimal Classification


A database of books and other materials held by the library

CC License

A type of license used in place of copyright that allows for easier sharing or reusing of copyrighted materials (such as books, documents, music, etc.) See also: Creative Commons

Chicago Style

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) is a writing and citation style commonly used in the arts and humanities - especially literature, history, and performing arts (such as music)


The library department that handles borrowing of library books/materials including checking out items, renewals, recalls, holds, overdue notices, and reserves; contact CSM's Circulation Desk at 301-934-7626 or


A reference to a source (such as an article or book) that provides information to help others find the same work; often follows specific formats based on type of source and citation style (usually APA, MLA, or Chicago) being used

Citation Chaining

See: Citation Chasing

Citation Chasing

A search method where researchers examine the references of sources they already have in order to find more sources on a topic; reverse citation searching (or backward citation chasing) involves finding the sources listed in the source's citations; forward citation searching involves finding sources that cited the source after its publication

Citation Manager

Applications, software, or other programs that allow researchers to collect references, organize them, share them, and generate citations for bibliographies; examples include NoodleTools, EndNote, Mendeley, and Zotero; many require subscriptions or other costs, but CSM provides free access to NoodleTools (see the NoodleTools Guide for more information)


A process used to organize objects or concept into logical hierarchies of classes, subclasses, etc.; examples of library classification systems include Library of Congress Classification (often used by college libraries) and Dewey Decimal Classification (often used by public libraries)


A group of materials (such as books, periodicals, audio, video, or other sources) held by a library, usually maintained to include information that meets the needs of the library's users (in a school context, this means providing materials relevant to the curriculum)

Conference Paper

A paper presented at a formal conference (gatherings held by groups or organizations to discuss topics and issues in a discipline, subject, or field); conference papers are often published collectively in conference proceedings

Controlled Vocabulary

A list of terms used by a database or catalog to categorize sources by topic; may also be called subjects, subject headings, subject terms, or descriptors; in databases especially, controlled vocabulary functions similarly to social media hashtags, so that clicking on a subject will show all sources that were tagged with that subject


A legal right given to creators (authors, composers, etc.) that give them exclusive rights of publication and distribution of their intellectual property (books, illustrations, scores, films, or other works)

Course Reserves

Library materials given a shorter loan period (such as a few hours or days) for a limited amount of time (a term or semester), usually at the request of an instructor, allowing all students in a course to access the materials; some reserves are available for in-library-use only

Creative Commons

A nonprofit organization and network dedicated to expanding access and collaboration opportunities to creators of works; developed copyright licenses (See: CC License) that allow for creators to choose whether others are allowed to share, adapt, or build upon their work and how to give credit (attribution) to the original creator


Quality and trustworthiness of a source and its informational content


Analysis, evaluation, or interpretation of a work (such as literature or art), often using theories or specific concepts


How recent or up-to-date information is in a source


Pieces of information such as numbers, figures, or facts

Data Set

A collection of related data

Data Visualization

Graphical representation of data through charts, maps, graphs, word clouds, diagrams, or other visual media


A collection of information (citation information and/or full text of sources) that has been organized and is searchable; See also: Abstract & Index Database and Full-Text Database

Database Record

An entry in a database that represents and provides information about a source, often including titles, authors, publication information, and subjects


See: Controlled Vocabulary

Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)

A system used for classifying books or other library materials by subject, represented by numbers; many public libraries use this system


Purposely spreading false information, usually as a way to influence others


A long (often book-length) research paper written to complete a PhD; See also: Thesis


Digital Object Identifier; a unique string of characters used to identify a specific object (such as a journal article) that works like a barcode or URL


A database provider that provides electronic access to journals and specific databases (including citation-only and full-text); CSM Libraries provide access to several EBSCO databases for general/multi-discipline research, subject-specific research, and reference sources


A version of a published text


A person who prepares a work (such as a journal or book) for publication and is in charge of collecting content for the work


A persuasive essay that provides the opinion or position of the editor(s), often in response to a current social, cultural, political, or professional issue; See also: Opinion

E-Journal Portal

A searchable list of journals available through CSM Libraries and databases, with information about online full-text access; use this to check for an article before requesting it via ILL


A period of time after articles are published before they become available with full text in an online database

Empirical Research

A type of research based on actual observations or experiments, using quantitative and/or qualitative methods; often described as a study and mentions participants/subjects, data, and other measurements


A note providing clarification or in-text citation that appears at the end of an article, chapter, or work; notes are indicated in the main text with a superscript number

Et al.

An abbreviation used in citations, usually when there are three or more authors/collaborators

Fair Use

A section of copyright law that allows use of copyrighted work (without obtaining permission from the owner) for specific purposes such as teaching or research, as determined by four factors; for more information, see: Title 17 U.S. Code 107


A section of a bibliographic record that includes specific types of information such as the author, title, abstract, or other descriptors

Finding Aid

A guide, inventory, or index used in archives that provides more details about each item (often primary sources) than a library catalog record would


A note providing clarification or in-text citation that appears at the bottom of a page; notes are indicated in the main text with a superscript number


The entire text of a source (such as an article), as opposed to citations or abstracts

Full-Text Database

A database that provides the entire text of sources (such as articles), usually in PDF or HTML format


A database provider that provides electronic access to journals and specific databases (including citation-only and full-text); CSM Libraries provide access to several Gale databases including In Context: Biography, In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, Literary Index, and Literature Resource Center

Google Scholar

A free service that uses Google's search software and allows users to search for scholarly/academic literature such as journal articles, books, and other sources; unlike library databases, Google Scholar often does not include access to full-text

Government Documents

Publications from the government such as bills, reports, laws, transcripts of hearings, and other publicly-available resources; many state libraries and large universities are "depository libraries" and keep copies of government documents for public use


A request for a library book or item, often used to be "next in line" for a book that is currently checked out


A direct connection to a specific webpage (URL) or section of a document


An abbreviation used in footnotes, endnotes, and bibliographies to indicate that the source is the same as the previous entry


See: Interlibrary Loan


A book or database that lists citations (See also: Abstract & Index Database); also may refer to a listing of topics at the end of a book with page numbers of where each topic was mentioned

Information Literacy

Critical thinking skills needed for finding, evaluating, using, and creating information

Interlibrary Loan

A (free!) service that allows CSM students, faculty, and staff to request books or articles that are not in the CSM libraries collections or databases

Internet Archive

A nonprofit organization that preserves and provides access to digital and digitized texts (such as eBooks), audio, video, and software

In-Text Citation

A reference to a source within the text of a paper that briefly identifies the work that is quoted or paraphrased, with a corresponding full citation in the bibliography, reference list, or works cited page


International Standard Book Number; the unique barcode number assigned to each book (or eBook)


International Standard Serial Number; the unique 7-digit number assigned to specific serials (such as journals or other periodicals)


A specific publication from a periodical or journal; most journals publish multiple issues each year, with each issue containing different articles


A periodical containing professional or scholarly articles, usually written by researchers in a particular field; journal articles often include an abstract (summary) and list of references (bibliography)


Words or phrases used to find sources that discuss a specific topic; used in database searching to find relevant sources where the keywords may be in the source's title, abstract, or other fields

Known-Item Search

A search (in databases, catalogs, or other resources) for a specific item, using citation information

Letter to the Editor

An opinion or response written by a reader and sometimes printed in the editorial section of a periodical


A professional who is trained to teach information literacy skills and assist with finding, evaluating, and using information; most librarians have a masters degree (MLIS or similar); at CSM (and many other colleges), some librarians are faculty and also teach credit-bearing courses

Library Guide

A resource (often online) that provides information and suggestions for researching a specific topic or using library resources

Library of Congress Classification (LCC)

A system used for classifying books or other library materials by subject, represented by letters and numbers; many college, university, and government libraries use this system

Library Orientation

An introduction to library resources, services, and tools to help students find and use information, develop research skills, and strengthen information literacy

Library Policies

Rules, statements, or codes of conduct explaining expectations for using the library (both the space and the resources)


A tool in library databases and catalogs that allow you to narrow a search based on specific criteria such as publication date, source type, language, peer review, and other factors

Literary Criticism

See: Criticism

Literature Review

A complete search of all research and published materials about a specific topic including books, journals, bibliographies, and other sources

Longitudinal Study

A method of research where the same incident is observed over an extended period of time (intermittently or continuously) to identify patterns or changes


A periodical, usually published primarily for the general public, that is usually considered a popular source, not a scholarly source; examples include Time, Newsweek, and Forbes


A work (usually text) that has not been published or printed yet


The type of format used to convey information; examples include broad categories such as writing as well as specific formats such as articles, books, or webpages


Information about an object, usually following some sort of standardized structure or formatting rules; for example, metadata for a book in the library catalog includes information such as the book's title, author, call number, etc.

Methods (Methodology)

Quantitative, qualitative, or mixed systems used for researching, often specific to a discipline, subject, or activity; examples include surveys, interviews, experiments, case studies, etc.


A type of format used to store and preserve documents (such as articles) by photographing then reducing images to fit on a film or card; formats include microfilm and microfiche, and require special equipment to view, scan, or print stored documents


Information that is inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading

MLA Style

MLA (Modern Language Association) Style is a writing and citation style commonly used in the humanities, especially language and literature


A book about a single topic


A portal used to access many CSM resources including MyLearning, class registration, library databases, student email, and other tools


A research management tool that helps with citing sources, taking notes, and organizing or outlining research; CSM provides access to NoodleTools to all current students (email for help creating an account); check out the NoodleTools Guide for more information

Notes-Bibliography Format

A citation format option in Chicago Style; uses footnotes or endnotes along with a bibliography


Optical Character Recognition; an electronic process that scans and analyzes typed or printed pages then converts the words into text that can be read and edited on a computer


See: Open Educational Resorces

Off-Campus Access

See: Remote Access

Online Catalog

A record of all materials that an institution (such as a library) or group of institutions (such as a consortium) holds, often made searchable and available online

Open Access

A scholarly publishing model that makes information digital and freely available, rather than requiring a subscription or other payment

Open Educational Resources

Educational materials (including lesson plans, textbooks, etc.) that are openly licensed making them free to use, customize, and share


A persuasive essay that provides the author's opinion or position, often in response to a current social, cultural, political, or professional issue

Parenthetical Citation

See: In-Text Citation

Peer Review

A rigorous review process (often including revisions) by other professionals in the author's field prior to publication

Peer-Reviewed Journal

A journal where articles must be reviewed by (at least two) other professionals in the field prior to being accepted for publication


A general term for publications that are published at regular interviews such as journals, magazines, and newspapers


A stable URL that will always link back to the same page, as opposed to temporary links such as those created during a search

Persistent Link

See: Permalink


Using another person's words or ideas without giving credit to that person; in an academic context, this includes copying exact quotations without citing the source, paraphrasing or describing and idea you learned from a source without giving credit, and not providing complete or accurate information in citations


A version of a work distributed prior to the actual publication date, such as copies of a paper that will be published in a journal (for distribution at a conference) or an advanced reader copy of a book (for book reviewers)

Primary Source

A document with first-hand information or data; examples include witness accounts of a historical event, letters, diaries, interviews, or public records


Published materials from a conference or other meeting of a society or association, such as presented papers and panel transcripts

Professional Journal

A periodical that publishes information relevant to a specific profession; may also include scholarly content


A database provider that provides electronic access to journals and specific databases (including citation-only and full-text); CSM Libraries provide access to several ProQuest databases for general/multi-discipline research, subject-specific research, and reference sources


An application or program that talks between a network or server and an individual device (computer, smart phone, etc.); at CSM, a proxy is used to allow students to access library databases and other school resources from off-campus by "tricking" the server into thinking that the device is on the local network

Public Domain

Works not protected by copyright (including works with expired copyright) that can be printed, distributed, sold, or shared online without restrictions; this includes many government documents, older literary works, and even computer software


A person, corporation, or organization that prepares, distributes, and sells publications such as journals and books

Qualitative Research

A type of research that objectively and critically analyzes behaviors, beliefs, feelings, or other values ("People suffering from Illness A tend to be more cautious.")

Quantitative Research

A type of research that uses numerical data to try to establish causal relationships between variables ("Based on 100 interactions, A causes B.")


A request for a library book or item that is already checked out to someone to be returned, often within 7 days of the notice


An entry in a database or catalog that includes a collection of related data or fields (such as a title, author, and publication date of a book)

Refereed Journal

See: Peer-Reviewed Journal


A citation (in APA Style) used to inform your research; also refers to the research help provided by librarians


A judgement of how applicable or useful information is to the subject being researched


See: Credibility

Remote Access

A way to access resources (such as the library databases) from off campus by logging into myCSMD before clicking on the resource


An extension of a book's loan period

Research Guide

See: Library Guide

Research Help

A service provided by reference and instruction librarians; includes assistance with choosing a topic, strategies for finding or evaluating sources, help with generating citations, and any other steps in between

Research Question

A question or statement that identifies the main idea to be answered in a paper or presentation


See: Course Reserves

Reverse Citation Searching

See: Citation Chasing


An evaluation or analysis of a published or creative work, such as a book or performance


Rich Text Format; a document file format that allows you to import text from one type of format to another (such as Word to PowerPoint)

Scholarly Communication

Academic or research-related work including journal articles, books, white papers, reports, presentations, proceedings, and other methods for discussion

Scholarly Journal

A journal that publishes academic research and scholarship, often requiring peer-review before publication

Search Strategy

A plan for conducting searches, including development of a clear topic/subject, keywords, subject terms, and places to search

Secondary Source

A document that is one step removed from an original or primary source; often describes, analyzes, or summarizes content of primary sources


A periodical or other publication issued in parts under the same name but with numbers or dates to differentiate between issues


A group of individually published works that are related in some way, such as by subject or in a specific order


Software that links article records from databases to the CSM Libraries' E-Journal Portal

Source Type

The medium of a source or document; examples include journal articles, books, book chapters, magazine articles, newspaper articles, images, video, and audio

Stable URL

See: Permalink


The shelves where library books and materials are stored


A topic or discipline; See also: Controlled Vocabulary

Subject Directory

A group of related subject headings, often displayed as a tree structure that illustrates the relationships between subjects

Subject Heading

See: Controlled Vocabulary

Subject Term

See: Controlled Vocabulary


A list of controlled vocabulary for a specific database


A long research paper, often written to complete a degree (usually at the masters level)

Thesis Statement

An assertion or argument about a topic that outline how the topic will be explored in the rest of the paper or presentation

Trade Journal

A periodical that publishes information and news relevant to a specific industry or type of business


A search technique used in databases that allows you to search for multiple related words at once by expanding a root word with a specific symbol (usually an asterisk *); for example, nurs* will search for nurse, nurses, and nursing


A division of a work with its own pagination, table of contents, or other features; volume can refer to a specific publication of a journal or a bound book that is part of a larger set (such as encyclopedias)


Virtual Private Network; technology that allows you to hide your IP address and protect your online identity when using the internet

White Paper

An official report, such as specific government documents or authoritative reports written by researchers


A search technique used in databases that allows you to search for multiple related words at once by inserting a specific character in the middle of a search term to signify that any character or no character can be found in that location; databases use many different symbols for wildcards, but common ones include number symbols # and question marks ?; for example, wom#n will search for 'woman' and 'women' while colo?r will search for 'color' and 'colour'

Works Cited

A list of citations of sources used in research when writing in MLA Style