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Library and Information Resources

Library Lingo

Librarians sometimes use terms that may not be familiar to non-librarians.  If you came across something on the website and you're not sure of the meaning, look below for an explanation.

  • Abstract
    A preview of the article. This will usually give a summary and major findings of the author.  In some databases, this may be the only thing you have access to - not the whole article.  If you like the abstract and think the rest of the article will be useful, you can try to obtain the article through ILL.
  • Database
    An online tool that pools together multiple articles and journals to create a searchable collection. Databases are useful in that they search multiple resources at once: multiple articles, authors, journals, and years.  They make research much faster and easier!
  • E-journal
    A journal that can be accessed online.  You can browse and search these electronically, and articles can usually be downloaded in HTML or PDF format.  Sometimes, you may only have access to abstracts, and you will have to request the article through ILL.
  • Index
    An index will tell you what information can be found in a database.  It will not give you the information, but it can tell you where to find it.
  • Interlibrary Loan or ILL
    Interlibrary loan is a cooperative effort between libraries to provide materials not available in HACC’s library collection. If HACC does not own the material, you can ask them to try to obtain it from a another library for you.
  • Journal
    A publication that is regularly issued, and generally contains academic research which is peer-reviewed.  These are usually issued in print form, such as a magazine, newspaper, or even a book, but can be converted into microfilm, or digital files that can be accessed through online databases.
  • Peer review
    Journals and articles that are peer reviewed are those that are reviewed and critiqued by people in the same field, and with the same status of the author.  For example, an article written by a professor of history would be reviewed by professors of history in other institutions. If a work is peer reviewed, it has most likely been credited and accepted by other members in the author's field, making it a trustworthy source.
  • Periodical or serial
    These are publications that are issued periodically and may or may not be peer reviewed journals.  Like journals, they can be in print form, such as a magazine, newspaper, or even a book, but can be converted into microfilm, or digital files that can be accessed through online databases.
  • Reference Librarian
    A librarian who is responsible for helping patrons find information is a reference librarian.  Gettysburg campus reference librarians can be found at the main desk in the library during most operating library hours.  They can help you find resources for your project, assist you in navigating the online databases, and help perfect your citations.  Reference librarians are available to you 24/7 in a variety of ways.  Click here to contact a librarian now.
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