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Research Guides

Orientation: Getting to know the UI Library: Terminology

Learn about the library, its people, resources and services.

Terms you may encounter

Call Number. The combination of letters and numbers which show where an item (book, journal, document, etc.) can be found on a shelf: its "address." Materials about similar topics are grouped together.

Circulation Desk. The library service desk where people may arrange to borrow materials and request course reserve items.

Citation. A description which provides enough information about an item so that the reader can identify it. A book citation usually includes the author, title, publisher and place of publication, as well as the date. A journal or periodical citation includes the title of the article, the author of the article, the journal it is published in, the date, volume and pages numbers. A web page citation includes the title, author, URL, and date accessed.

Course Reserve Item. An item set aside for special use or class use. If in print format it is kept at a Reserve Desk and checked out for a limited time. Readings such as articles from journals or on web sites are available online.

Database. A collection of information stored in electronic form. The information for each item is called a record

ISBN. International Standard Book Numbers are assigned to each book that is published, and serve as unique identifying numbers.

ISSN. International Standard Serials Number is a unique identifying number assigned to each periodical (journal, newspaper, or magazine) published.  For example, the ISSN number for the Journal of Insect Physiology is 0022-1910.

Index. (1) An alphabetical list which covers the most important information mentioned in a written work. For each item mentioned, the index gives the page where it is discussed. (2) In a database, an index is the collection of search keys that point to the records in the database that match the search. See also Periodical Index.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL). The process of borrowing materials not held in the UI Library from some other library or service.

Library of Congress Classification (LC). LC is the system of organization used by the Library of Classification Congress in Washington, DC. to classify materials by subject area. These call numbers start with letters.

Main Stacks. Main stacks refers to book shevles located on the 2nd - 4th flloors of the UI Library.

Microfilm or Microfiche. Microfilm (in rolls), microfiche (on sheets), or microprint (on opaque cards) is made from photographs of magazines, newspapers, historic books, or other printed materials. The print is reduced to fit on the film or fiche and can be enlarged on a microform reader.

Online Catalog. A library catalog stored and maintained in a computer. The UI online catalog helps you locate books and will tell you where an item is located.

Periodicals. Publications which appear more than once a year and which contain articles. Other names for periodicals are journals or magazines or newspapers. 

Primo. Primo is the UI Library's search system for books and ebooks, music, video, articles. It searches the holding of the UI Library, Summit libraries (36 other academic libraries across the Northwest, including the University of Washington, Washington State University, and the University of Oregon) and libraries worldwide through Worldcat.

Reference Desk. The library reference desk is where people can receive help in finding information and using the library. 

Request. A "request" may be placed when a book or other library item is already checked out and another user wants the item. 

Summit. Summit is a consortium of 37 academic libraries across the Northwest, including the University of Idaho, University of Washington, Washington State University, and the University of Oregon.

Worldcat. Worldcat is a global catalog of library collections that includes books, music, video, articles and more.