Common Library Terms & Acronyms




Brief summary of the content of a book, article, speech, or other material.

access point

Name, term, heading, or code in a bibliographic record with which library materials may be searched, identified, and retrieved.

accession number

Identifying number for a document in a database.


UC San Diego's Academic Computing & Media Services; visit Services for Students for information on passwords and printing accounts.


Materials purchased for library use. Activities related to obtaining library materials by purchase, exchange, or gift, including pre-order bibliographic searching, ordering and receiving materials, processing invoices, and the maintenance of the necessary records related to acquisitions.


Annual compendium of facts and statistics, both current and retrospective, of practical use to readers.


Off-site storage facility for UC San Diego library materials. Request delivery of materials from the annex to campus through the online catalog or Annex Request Form.

annotated bibliography

List of works with descriptions and a brief summary or critical statement about each.


Critical or explanatory note, sometimes included in a bibliography or citation.


Collection of stories, plays, or poems, selected by an editor.

APA style

Set of rules and guidelines for citing references, as well as preparing and submitting manuscripts for publication from the American Psychological Association; detailed in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.


Part of a written work, not essential to the completeness of the text, which contains complementary information such as statistical tables or explanatory material.


Organized collection of documents and records of an institution, government, organization, or corporate body, or the personal papers of an individual, family, or group, preserved in a repository for their historical value.


Ask a Librarian allows library users to ask questions through email or live chat instead of visiting the library reference desk to ask in person. Also referred to as online, digital, or e-reference.


Book of maps and geographic tables.


Writer of a book, essay, story, play, poem or other work. Some works have two or more co-authors, while authorship for others is attributed to an organization, conference symposium, or institution. Other individuals such as an editor, playwright, director, composer, performer, or other, may also be considered an author.


Security process that typically employs usernames and passwords to validate the identity of users before allowing them access to certain information.


Account of one's life written by oneself. See also biography.


Electronic photocopy delivery service that lets members from selected user groups request articles for transmission via the web; visit avanti document delivery service for eligibility, restrictions, and other details.




Printed label containing machine-readable data in the form of vertical lines or bars. Used to identify books and other materials in the library; read by a scanner when item is checked out. Also the 14-digit number found on the back of one's campus ID card.

bibliographic record

Description of a specific document consisting of the title, statement of responsibility (author, editor, etc.), edition, type of publication, publisher, date and place of publication, physical description, series, notes, and standard numbers (ISBN, ISSN).


List of references used in a book or article. Long bibliographies may be published separately as books or online.


A company that binds books that need repair and loose issues of journals that are combined or bound into a single volume. Items sent to the bindery are not available to users until they come back to the library system.


Account of a person's life, written by another person, referred to as the biographer.


UC San Diego's Biomedical Library Building.

book return

Place to return books borrowed from the library; located near library front desks, main entrances,to library buildings, and in the turn-around just northwest of the Geisel building. Do not leave RESERVE or MEDIA items in book return bins other than those at the library front desks.

book review

Evaluation of a new book expressing an opinion on the quality of the material.


Method of marking and retrieving specific websites. Many browsers enable you to store bookmark collections on your personal machine; tagging allows you to store favorite sites in a web-based bookmark account (example:

Boolean searching

Using special commands (operators) to tell a database system how words being searched relate to one another. The three basic Boolean operators are AND, OR, and NOT. AND will narrow a search. OR will broaden a search. NOT will remove a concept from a search.

bound periodical

Older issues of periodicals that have been bound together as a book to preserve them and make storage easier.


Software used to access the World Wide Web. Browsers are client software that accesses information from the World Wide Web servers. Examples include Firefox, Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla, etc.



call number

Unique location code that appears on the spine of a book or other item to tell you where it should be found on the shelves. UC San Diego uses the Library of Congress call number system.


Online database with detailed descriptions and location information for materials in a library collection. UC San Diego's local catalog is called Roger. The UC-wide catalog is called Melvyl.

chat reference

Real-time service provided by librarians over the Internet that allows you to ask reference questions from anywhere. UC San Diego offers an Ask-A-Librarian chat service, as well as reference and information by email and text.

check out

Borrow materials from a library for a fixed period of time. Loan periods, borrowing limits, and renewal policies vary depending upon the status of the borrower (faculty, graduate student, undergraduate).


To loan library materials to users. Most UC San Diego library materials circulate (can be checked out).


Library materials that can be borrowed/checked out.

Circuit, San Diego:

Service allowing UC San Diego library cardholders to borrow books from local partner libraries (San Diego State University, Cal State San Marcos, University of San Diego, San Diego City & County public libraries). If a book is not available at UC San Diego, link to Circuit from the UC San Diego catalog and use the Request feature to have items sent to UC San Diego for pick-up and use.

circulation desk

The area where you can check out, return, or renew library materials; generally near the main entrance; also referred to as the Front Desk.


Brief description of a text (book, article, web page, etc.) that has been quoted or used as a source. Exact arrangement and formatting of a citation is dictated by a style manual, which varies by discipline or subject matter. A citation in MLA style would appear as follows: Burns, Tom, and Sandra Sinfield. Essential Study Skills: The complete guide to success at university. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2003. The same citation in APA style would appear as follows: Burns, Tom, & Sinfield, Sandra. (2003). Essential Study Skills: The complete guide to success at university. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

citation index

Special type of index which lists works cited in later works, with a list of the sources from which the citations were gathered. Used by researchers to locate sources related by subject to a previously published work (e.g., Science Citation Index).

Citation Linker

Online form that lets you input a citation for an article, dissertation, book chapter, etc. to see if The Library owns or has access to it.


A method of arranging materials such as books or journals, often by topic. The UC San Diego Library uses Library of Congress (LC) Classification for most materials. Use of classification allows library users to browse shelves to find additional items on the same or related subjects.

collected works

The totality of works by one author (essays, stories, poems, plays) brought together in one volume or a series of volumes.

community borrowing

See Borrow and Request

compact shelving

Type of library shelving using movable shelves to maximize storage capacity and space. Currently used on Geisel's 1st Floor.

controlled vocabulary

List of descriptors or subject headings used to describe items in a bibliographic database.


Built-in computer mechanism which remembers passwords, computer addresses, and other personal information and repeats it when needed; may be disabled.

copy card

Card that enables its user to print from a computer, or to make copies of a document at a copy machine. At UC San Diego, student, faculty and staff ID cards also serve as copy cards. Copy/Print Card Loader machines (also called IACCESS Machines) are located in the Geisel East Learning Commons, behind the Information Desk near the Geisel main entrance, near the Geisel 1st Floor Computer Commons, and in the BLB Learning Commons.

course management system

Integrated online applications that allow users to view and complete class materials and post messages, which facilitate discussion beyond the classroom. May also be referred to as "Learning Management System" (LMS) or "Course Management Software."

courtesy cards

See Get a Library Card.


Legal right granted to an author, editor, composer, playwright, publisher, or distributor to exclusive publication, production, sale, or distribution of a literary, musical, dramatic, or artistic work.

course reserves

Service in which, at faculty request, certain library materials are temporarily assigned a much shorter loan period, to ensure that all students taking a course can share materials. Restrictions on use of reserve materials vary.

cross reference

In a catalog or index, a direction that leads a user from one entry or subject heading to another.

current periodicals

Most recent issues of a journal or magazine that a library has received.




Comprehensive collection of related data (articles or other materials) organized for convenient online access. See the UC San Diego Library list of available databases.

depository library

Library legally designated to receive all or some of the government publications provided free by the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and other federal agencies.


Subject terms, usually from a thesaurus, used in a database to describe the content of a book or article.


Alphabetical list of words and generally accepted definitions, etymologies, pronunciations, and other information.


List of names, addresses, and telephone numbers of a specific group of persons, companies, organizations, or publications.


Formal and lengthy written discourse, required by universities in partial fulfillment of requirements for a Ph.D.

document delivery

Service that retrieves items requested by library users and provides photocopies or electronic delivery of those materials.

due date

Date on which materials must be returned to a library.



East Asia Collection

Collection located on 4th floor of Geisel Library which focuses on collecting modern and contemporary Chinese, Japanese, and Korean (CJK) language materials in the humanities and social sciences, including literature, history, sociology, linguistics, and philosophy pertaining to the region. With over 150,000 volumes in print, 1,200,000 digital titles (in 12 CJK databases), 19,000 visual images, and 3,000 films, this expanding collection is rapidly becoming recognized as a regional as well as a national resource center for researchers and students in the field of East Asia area studies.


Also known as an electronic book, it is a traditional print book that is made available digitally, in which format it is searchable. Available through the library catalog and through subscription services made available by the library system, e.g., NetLibrary:


Some books are revised and republished: the first new versions are often called "revised" or "second" editions; later editions are numbered sequentially.


Person who selects, prepares, and compiles the works of other writers for publication.


Website graphically modeled on an existing print journal, or which provides access to an online journal for which there is no print counterpart; also called electronic journal.


Period during which articles in a periodical are not available in full-text online; usually the 3, 6, or 12 most recent months.


Method of encoding data so that it cannot be read except by someone with the key to decode it. Theoretically, encryption could guarantee the privacy of information sent over the Internet, but some encryption codes have been broken by unauthorized people.


Reference book (one or more volumes; sometimes available online) containing information on all subjects, or limited to a special field or subject.


Citation management tool similar to RefWorks; learn more here.


Notes (or statements explaining the text or indicating the basis for an assertion or the source of material quoted) that appear at the end of a work.


Online system used for library course reserves; look up your course reserve materials here.


Also known as electronic or online reserves, these are academic materials The Library has made available to students in digital format at faculty request. E-reserves are accessed through the library catalog or Course Reserves. ID and password supplied by the professor are needed to obtain the material.




Acronym for Frequently Asked Questions, generally a web page addressing questions asked regularly by new users.


Category of information, such as title, author, abstract, or subject which the user can specify to be searched in an online catalog or database.


Designation after the call number of a book that indicates that the item is large or oversize, often shelved separately from other materials. Oversize materials are currently on Geisel's 8th Floor.


Explanatory information about material in the text, numbered consecutively, and usually placed below the text.


Refers to a database or other electronic resource that provides the entire text of the works it contains (e.g., journal articles), in addition to the citation and abstract of each work.




Dictionary or index of geographical names with locations.


Large library building at UC San Diego which was renamed Geisel Library in 1995 in honor of Audrey & Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) for the generous contributions they made to The Library and their devotion to improving literacy.


Geographic information systems; library service allowing you to organize, explore, visualize, and analyze information geographically, by using a system based on layers. Located on 2nd Floor West of Geisel Library. Learn more here.

government document

Publication created by a government (hearings, reports, treaties, periodicals, statistics, etc.). The government documents collection for the UC San Diego Library is on the 2nd Floor West of Geisel Library.




Reference book providing concise data and other information on a specific subject.

hard copy

Printed material, as opposed to information in microform or digital format.


Service of the Library by which a user may request to be emailed as soon as a book that has been checked out becomes available. The book is kept at the Front Desk for a limited time for pickup. Holds can generally be placed on any regularly circulating library materials.


All materials (print, non-print, and electronic) owned by a library.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)

Coding language focusing on data-display, used to create web pages so that information (text and graphics) can be displayed in various different web browsers.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)

Internet Protocol used to transfer hypertext documents from an Internet server to a client computer. Other common Internet Protocols are gopher and ftp.


Document that has links to other documents embedded in it.




Place of publication, the name of the publisher, and the date of publication of a book.


Campus unit offering digital document service for campus faculty, administration, and students (including document capture, retrieval, and printing). The main Imprints service is in the Price Center; a smaller unit is on 2nd floor of Geisel Library.


The Information Desk, just inside Geisel Library's entrance, is one place to ask general questions about The Library.

information literacy

Ability to define problems in terms of information needs and subsequently locate, evaluate, and apply information effectively and ethically.


Alphabetical list of names, places, and subjects discussed in a book, which includes the page number(s) on which each is discussed.

interlibrary loan (ILL)

Library service whereby students, faculty, and staff may request to borrow materials from another library if the item is not owned at UC San Diego.

IP address

IP stands for "Internet Protocol." An IP address is a four-part number used to uniquely identify a particular computer on a network using the TCP/IP (Internet) Protocol. For example, could be an IP address.

ISBN (International Standard Book Number)

Unique 10- or 13-digit number given to every book or edition of a book before publication to identify the publisher, title, edition, and volume number. The four-part code identifies the item concisely, uniquely, and unambiguously. The four parts of the ISBN are: Group identifier (e.g., national, geographic, language, or other convenient group), publisher identifier, title identifier, and check digit.

ISSN (International Standard Serial Number)

International numerical code that identifies concisely, uniquely, and unambiguously a serial publication.


All copies of a specific periodical title published on the same date.




Publication distributed periodically (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.), devoted to a specific field or subfield of knowledge. Journals usually contain scholarly articles written by professors, researchers, or experts in a subject area.




Word used in searching catalogs and databases to describe a topic in a document.




Research assistance, subject guides, and useful resources compiled by librarians to assist with particular classes, subjects, resources, and more.


Person responsible for the care of a library and its contents, including selection and processing of materials, delivery of information, instruction, loan services, and more.

library card

Your UC San Diego ID card serves as your library card; no special library activation is needed prior to use. Always have your ID card available for checkout of library materials. community borrowing entry for borrowing privileges for community members and courtesy cards entry for faculty, staff, and students from other eligible schools and members of other eligible groups.

Library of Congress (LC) Classification

Classification system used by the Library of Congress, and also for most UC San Diego library collections.

Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)

Standard list of words or groups of words under which books and other material on a subject are entered in a catalog. These are helpful when searching the online catalog and are included in catalog records.

literary criticism

Books or articles that discuss and/or judge an author's writing.

loan period

Amount of time library materials may be borrowed; varies depending on type of material borrowed and the borrower's status (student, faculty, staff). Learn more about borrowing policies to or visit your library account for due dates of borrowed material.


Needed to access protected databases or services, these character strings provide information that indicates that you are a valid user. For example, you may be required to supply an appropriate user-ID and password to use library services from off-campus.




Periodical intended for the general public rather than for scholars (e.g., Newsweek, Time, Business Week).

Mandeville Special Collections (MSC)

Special Collections is part of the UC San Diego library system dedicated to collecting and preserving materials of historical importance to the state or the university or that are rare or unique. These materials may not be checked out, but may be consulted in The Library. Mandeville Special Collections (MSC), on Geisel Library's 2nd Floor, is one part of The Library's Special Collections & Archives (SCA) program. The SIO Archives, located on the SIO campus, is the other part (appointment required).


Non-print materials such as films, filmstrips, videocassettes, audio compact discs, audiocassettes, and vinyl LPs. Many of these materials are kept at the media desk on the 1st floor of Geisel Library.


"Medical Subject Headings" used to provide consistent access to medical resources; used in online catalogs, the MEDLINE database, and other related medical databases.


Meaning data about data, metadata is used in libraries to describe both printed publications and digital objects. For example, information such as title, author, ISBN, subject, publication year, and more is inserted into the online catalog or database records for books, articles, digital objects, and other library materials to enable users to easily search for and confirm the identity of desired items.


A metasearch sends search terms entered by users into an online catalog, search engine, or database to multiple databases or search engines, consolidating the results into a single list and enabling a user to enter search criteria only once while searching several sources simultaneously.


4x6 inch sheet of film used for storage of miniaturized text. Many of these materials are kept in the Geisel Library, 2nd floor west.


Continuous roll of film used for storage of miniaturized text (usually journals or magazines). Many of these materials are kept in the Geisel Library, 2nd floor west.


Film medium for storage of miniaturized text, including both microfiche and microfilm.


Device that connects a PC to the Internet and converts digital signals from the computer to a form that can be sent using a voice (analog sound signal) telephone line and vice versa. Short for modulator/demodulator.


Publication that appears one-time only. Books or reports are usually monographs; periodicals are not.

My ILL / My ILL Requests

The list of resources you currently have checked out from the library through interlibrary loan (ILL). Visit this page check the status of requested items and view or renew items you have checked out. For instructions on using the My ILL Request service more details are available.

My Library Account

The list of resources you currently have checked out from the library. Click on My Library Account from within the catalog or from the upper right of the library homepage and log in using your barcode (14-digit number on the back of your ID card) and password. You can view and renew materials from here.




Serial publication printed and distributed daily or weekly containing news, opinions, advertising, and other items of general interest. The UC San Diego Library subscribes to various local, national, and international newspapers.


Items that must be used in The Library such as reference books, periodicals, and some reserve materials.


Short for the Northern Regional Library Facility, a large cooperative library storage facility housing infrequently used library materials belonging to northern California libraries. Use Melvyl to request physical items from NRLF be delivered to campus, or to request delivery of electronic or paper copies of articles/excerpts.



off-campus access

To access most library e-journals and databases from off campus, you need to set up your computer using the instructions provided here.

OPAC (online public access catalog) / online catalog

Electronic database indexed by keyword, author, title, and subject that is used to learn whether the library owns a particular book, government document, or periodical and to find out where it is located. UC San Diego's local catalog is called Roger. The UC-wide catalog is called Melvyl.


Item checked out that the borrower has kept past its due date. Overdue reserve items are subject to a fine.




Pagers, available at the Front Desk, are used to alert users when a checked-out reserve item of interest has been returned and is available.


Term often used to indicate a library user.

patron record

Data kept by a library's electronic system containing information about a borrower's account (address, telephone number, items checked out, holds, unpaid fines, etc.).

PDF (Portable Document File)

File format requiring Adobe Acrobat Reader to download and view; often used by resources to make a copy of an item such as a journal article available online. PDF files can preserve the exact duplication of the original paper copy, including graphics, tables, fonts, layout, colors and pagination, in effect serving as a photocopy.

peer review process

Method used by scholarly journals to assure the quality and relevance of the articles they publish. When an article is submitted, the editor sends copies to several reviewers (or "referees") who are recognized experts in the subject of the article. Each reads the article and offers an opinion on whether it is worthy of publication in the journal, using such criteria as soundness of investigative method, whether the author shows adequate knowledge of research on the subject to date, and whether the articles adds to knowledge in the field. Only if the reviewers agree that it meets the relevant criteria will the article be published.

peer-reviewed article

Scholarly article published in a peer-reviewed journal.

peer-reviewed journal

Also called a "refereed" journal. A scholarly journal that used the peer review process to select material for publication.


Publication distributed on a regular schedule (e.g., weekly or monthly). Popular periodicals are called magazines and scholarly periodicals are called journals. Newspapers are also periodicals.


Using another person's ideas or exact wording without due credit; learn more here.


Digital audio file either hosted on a web page or, strictly speaking, distributed to listeners via RSS subscription.


Process of maintaining library and archival materials in condition suitable for use, either in their original form or in some other, usually more durable, form.

primary source

Source providing firsthand knowledge used in the preparation of a later, derivative work. Primary sources include correspondence, diaries and other personal papers, photographs, interviews and transcripts, government documents, historical records, and newspaper clippings.

proxy cards

See details here.

proxy server

Enables a UC San Diego user who is off campus to access databases that are restricted to UC San Diego use only. Visit this page to set up your home computer using the proxy server.

public domain

Material in the public domain is not copyrighted and may be used freely for any legal purpose. Works may be in the public domain for several reasons, including when copyright has expired or the owner has given up the copyright. Material published by the federal government is not copyrighted.



rare book

Valuable book which so difficult to find that it seldom appears in the antiquarian market. Most libraries keep their rare books in special collections to which access is restricted.

recall notice

All borrowers of UC San Diego library materials are entitled to use the materials for a minimum of two weeks. After that, if another user makes a recall/hold, library staff will email the borrower to return the material for the next user.


Each item or document in a database (could be a citation, table, or complete full-text document).


Said of a periodical or other serial when manuscripts are evaluated by at least one subject specialist in addition to the editor before being accepted for publication.

reference materials

Resources that allow users to locate facts or identify information quickly; housed as a separate reference collection. Reference materials include many sources of information, such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, bibliographies, indexes, abstracts, almanacs, directories, or statistical compilations. These materials are generally for library use only.

reference (or service) desk

Place in the library where reference librarians and assistants give directions, answer questions, and show how to find and use library materials.

reference librarian

Reference librarians have a master's degree in library science and often other graduate degrees as well. They help you find materials needed for research, show you how to use online and other resources, and teach you about the research process.


Citation management tool similar to EndNote; learn more here.


Extend the loan period of library material; multiple renewals are generally permitted for UC San Diego library material unless another user has requested the item; reserves may not be renewed.


Location, usually within a library or archive, where manuscripts, rare books, papers, photographs, government documents, and other records of historical interest are stored. Digital repositories are accessible electronically.


Service in which, at faculty request, certain library materials are temporarily assigned a much shorter loan period to ensure that all students taking a course can share materials. Restrictions on use of reserve materials vary. Physical reserves are accessed through the library catalog or the e-reserves search form; call numbers for physical reserves are also found in those locations. Take the call number to the designated service desk.For more information on course reserves see the Library reserves FAQ


Critical commentary typically including analysis, evaluation, interpretation, or critique of the content and quality of books, movies, software, etc.

revised edition

Edition of a book that incorporates changes made by its author or editor since the publication of an earlier edition. In certain fields where timeliness is very important (science, medicine, technology, etc.), the reader should be aware of whether a work is the most recent edition.


The UC San Diego Library's local catalog named after Roger Revelle.


Rich site summary or really simple syndication. XML-based application that allows a subscriber to get automatic notification when content on a website is updated.



San Diego Circuit

Service allowing UC San Diego library cardholders to borrow books from local partner libraries (San Diego State University, Cal State San Marcos, University of San Diego, San Diego City & County public libraries). If a book is not available at UC San Diego, link to Circuit from the catalog and use the Request feature to have items sent to UC San Diego for pick-up and use. Additional details here.

scholarly journal

Periodical containing scholarly articles on research and development, usually characterized by a list of references at the end of the articles and written by experts in the subject area.

search engine

Navigational tool to search the Web by topic or keyword using natural language searching; examples include Google, Ask, Yahoo, etc. Note: Search engines will return a list of sites containing your search terms, but the results are not "reviewed" for you. Be sure to review all search engine results for credibility and reliability.

search strategy

Methodology for focusing your research on a particular topic; plan or steps taken to locate research materials. Creating a search strategy involves determining the information needed and kinds of resources needed (primary, secondary, books, articles, etc.), and establishing appropriate keywords and concepts.

secondary source

Interpretations and commentary on primary sources; these may include biographies, dissertations, journal articles, and indexes or bibliographies.


Machines for self-service checkout of library materials are located near the entrances of both the Geisel and Biomedical Library Buildings. A UC San Diego Library ID card is required, but a PIN is not.


Term describing a wide range of publications issued in successive parts with no predictable end in sight. Magazines, journals, newspapers, annual reports, some conference proceedings, and annual reviews are examples.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) Archives

Located at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the SIO Archives are available by appointment only.

Special Collections

Special Collections is part of the library system dedicated to collecting and preserving material of historical importance to the state or the university or that are rare or unique. These materials may not be checked out, but may be consulted in the library. Mandeville Special Collections (MSC), on Geisel Library's 2nd Floor, is one part of the Library's Special Collections & Archives (SCA) program. The SIO Archives, located on the SIO campus, is the other part, appointment required.


Short for the Southern Regional Library Facility, a large cooperative library storage facility housing infrequently used library materials belonging to southern California libraries. Use Melvyl to request physical items from SRLF be delivered to campus or to request delivery of an electronic or paper copy of an article.


Areas of a library where books and periodicals are shelved.

stop word

Words which cannot be used as a search term in a particular database; they tend to be small, frequently occurring words such as "from", "or, in", and "of" that are often ignored when entered as keyword search terms.

style manual

Guide providing rules and formats for arranging footnotes, citations, and bibliographies. Examples include MLA, APA, Chicago, etc. Choice of style manual depends on discipline or subject matter.


A secondary or explanatory portion of a work's title, which frequently follows a colon or semicolon in bibliographic references.

SuDocs number

Classification number assigned to and used to arrange U.S. federal government documents. The SuDocs classification system differs from that of the Library of Congress used elsewhere in The Library.


Section added to a book or journal after it has been published to provide more up-to-date information or to focus on a special topic.



tertiary source

A work containing information which is a distillation and collection of primary and secondary sources. Examples include almanacs, encyclopedias, and fact books.


  1. Book of synonyms and sometimes antonyms.
  2. Alphabetical list of terms and concepts representing the specialized vocabulary of a particular field. One example is the Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms. Used by librarians and others to conduct focused searches in online databases.


Publication(s) reporting original research typically required for a master's degree.

title page

First important page in a book; contains the title, author(s), editor(s), or organization responsible for the intellectual content of the work, edition (unless it is the first), and place of publication, publisher, and date of publication. (The date is sometimes located on the copyright page.)

trade journal

Periodical restricted to the interests of a trade or industry. Examples include Manufacturing Chemist and Aerosol News.


Search technique in which you use a symbol to search for variations on a word. For example, use ? or * at the left, right, or middle of a search term to retrieve multiple possible words ("furni?" to retrieve "furniture" or "furnishings"; "cardio*y" for "cardiology" or "cardiopulmonary"; or "?pane" for "windowpane" or "counterpane"). Or use # to find words with alternative spellings ("arch#eology" for "archeology" or "archaeology"), or use ! to find single-letter spelling variations ("wom!n" for "woman" or "women").




University of California Office of the President.


Complete (not shortened) version of a novel or dictionary.

URL (uniform resource locator)

Distinct address of a website; method for stating the exact address or location of resources on the Web. URLs are case sensitive, so they must be entered exactly as given. For example, the URL for the UC San Diego Library is




Single book or bound periodical, often part of a set of books or series of periodicals.

VPN (Virtual Protected Network)

Enables a UC San Diego user who is off campus to access databases that are restricted to UC San Diego use only. Visit this page to set up your home computer using the VPN.




Symbol used in searching to represent one or more letters; most often used to find plurals and other variants of words. Commonly used symbols include ?, *, and +. A wildcard symbol may replace a single letter (as in "wom*n" to search for "women" or "woman" in one search) or any number of letters (as in "psycholog*" to search for "psychology", "psychologist", and "psychological"). See also truncation.


Name given to any electronic device that does not use a power cord, but rather operates via electromagnetic wave transmission.


Items no longer in the library collection.

works cited

Name for references or bibliography when using MLA citation style.




eXtensible Markup Language: Coding language designed to focus on describing data rather than on displaying data (like HTML). In describing data, XML makes the content/data of an XML document more "portable." (For example, an RSS feed in XML allows the content/data of a web page to be displayed in any number of ways in RSS readers.)




Annual documentary, historical, or memorial publication containing information about the previous year.




Prepared by the National Information Standards Organization, Z39.50 is an information retrieval service definition and protocol specification for library applications which defines how one computer system can co-operate with other systems for the purpose of searching databases and retrieving records.


Free tool that works with content in your web browser to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.

Last updated: June 2017

Your ID card is also your Library card!


See Also