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Abstract: A brief description or summary of the contents and/or composition of a book, article, or other document, published or unpublished, usually accompanied by a citation or bibliographic reference to it.

See also -- Citation

Acquisitions: Materials which are 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.

Advanced Search: One of the search modes available in the library catalogue. This search mode uses a series of dropdown menus and textboxes to construct a search.


Almanac: An annual publication containing a variety of facts and statistics, often presented in figures, tables, or charts.

See also -- Reference Material


Alphabetization: Arranging a list of words, names, or phrases according to the letters of the alphabet. In the main there are two methods in use: 1. ‘word by word’, or ‘nothing before something’; 2. ‘letter by letter’ strictly according to the letters irrespective of their division into words, or of punctuation.

Alumni member: Refers to students who have graduated from university. We provide continuing services for our alumni, including access to the library.

Annotated Bibliography: A list of books, articles, or other documents on a topic or by a particular author containing a citation of each item, as well as a brief description and/or a critical evaluation of it.

See also -- Bibliography

Anthology: A collection of literary works by different authors, often limited to a specific subject, genre, or time period.

APA style: A set of rules and guidelines for citing references as well as preparing and submitting manuscripts for publication from the American Psychological Association. These rules are detailed in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.


Atlas: A collection of geographic maps, tables, plates, etc.


Audio-visual materials: Non-book materials such as records, tapes, slides, films, microforms, video CD.

Author: The person, persons or corporate body, responsible for the writing or compilation of a book or other publication not a periodical.

Author entry: A catalogue entry under the name of the person or body responsible for the writing, or compilation, of a published work.

Authority file: The computerized list of subject, series, and name headings used in the Online Catalog.

Authority record: A record, which gives the form selected for a heading in a catalogue. If a personal name is used as a heading, references to sources and records of variant forms are given; if a corporate name, sources, brief history and any changes of name are given.

Authority list: A list of all personal and corporate names, names of anonymous classics and sacred book, the titles of anonymous books and the headings for series, which are used as headings in the catalogue.

Autobiography: An account of a person's life written by that person.

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Back issue / back file: The file of “back numbers’ or “back issues” of a periodicals.

Bar-code: A code arranged in a series of parallel lines or bars, representing data that is transferred by a bar-code scanner or light pen into digital signal for computer use.

Bibliography: A list of references to works that have been consulted or referred to when preparing a publication. A bibliography usually appears at the end of a paper, article, book chapter, book, dissertation or report. A bibliography can also be a book consisting entirely of citations, usually in a specific subject area.

Bibliographic record: The unit of information fields (e.g. title, author, publication date, etc.) which describe and identify a specific item in a bibliographic database.

Bibliographical information: Details concerning a publication, which are sufficient to identify it for the purpose of ordering. They may include the following: author, title, publisher, place of publication, edition, series note, number of volumes, parts and price.

Biennial: A publication issued every two years.

Bi-monthly: A serial publication issued in alternate months.

Bindery: Books that need repair and loose issues of journals that are combined or bound into a single volume are sent out of the library system to a company which binds them. These items are not available to users until they come back to the library system.

Boolean operators: Terms that help you to either narrow or broaden your searches in library catalogues and databases. They are the words 'and', 'or', 'not', typed between your search terms.

Borrower information: Your borrower information is available from the catalogue and the Library homepage. This allows you to check your current loans, previous loans, fines or hold requests and you can also renew your existing loans.

Bound journal: Journal back-issues which have been bound; usually a number of issues of a periodical comprising a volume and bound.

Broader term: A term which denotes a concept which is broader than one with a more specific meaning, e.g. Science in broader than Anthropology.

See also -- Narrower term

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Call Number: A unique set of letters and numbers designated according to a classification scheme, by which an item in the library's collection is labeled, identified in a catalogue, and may be located. For example, TX537 .P277h 2008.

Catalogue: A database of all the material that a library holds or provides access to. It will show you where an item is located and if it is available or on loan.

CD-ROM: Compact Disc-Read Only Memory. A technology that allows users to access and read information from a database imprinted on a compact disc. CD-ROMS are also used to store music, video and other audio-visual media.

Citation: Information such as author, date, title and page number which identifies a publication i.e. book, book chapter, journal, web page etc. Citations can also be called references and are listed in a bibliography or reference list, usually found at the end of the publication and listed in a specific referencing 'style'.

Citation Index: An index that consists of a list of works that have been cited in later works and a list of the works from which the citations have been collected.

See also -- Index

Circulation: 1. The American term for the department of a library which lends books for home-reading. Called ‘Lending’ in the UK; 2. The total number of books issued from a library in a given period.

Circulation Counter: The counter at the entrance to the library where University Library, materials are checked out or returned. Materials on reserve in print are stored here as well.

Collection: A set of book shelves, also known as stacks, where materials are shelved by type of material or content. For example, the Open Collection houses paperback and hardcover fiction and non-fiction in all subject areas.

Controlled Vocabulary: A means of searching a resource using words or terms selected by the creator of the resource or by an organization or individual other than its user. In contrast to a keyword, which can be any word or term selected by the user of the resource. Searching a resource using controlled vocabulary is usually more precise and focused than searching by keyword. Descriptors and subject headings are types of controlled vocabulary.

See also -- Keyword

See also -- Subject Heading

Copyright: The legal protection given to an author's work to protect them from unauthorised copying. All staff and students must comply with copyright legislation.

Corporate entry: A catalogue entry made under a government, government department, society or institution or other body, of a work issued by the body or under its authority.

Cross-reference: In indexing and cataloguing, references or direction from one heading to another.

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Database: A collection of references to journal articles that may be searched with keywords for a topic, author, etc. Databases provide a summary of the article and may provide the complete article online. Other terms used are 'indexing database', 'full text database', 'online database', 'periodical database', 'bibliographic database' and 'journal database'.

Dictionary: A reference tool comprised of alphabetically arranged entries, each providing the spellings, pronunciations, origin and history, modern definitions, usages or translations of a word according to each of its parts of speech.

Dissertation: Another term for thesis. A research publication completed for a master level. The University Library keeps print dissertations in its closed collection.

DOI: A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a persistent identifier for digital content.

Duplicate: A second, or subsequent, copy of a book already in stock. Strictly it should be identical in edition, imprint, etc.

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E-book: A generic term for products of electronic and multi-media publishing.


Edition: All the copies of a work published in one typographical format, printed from the same type or plates, and issued at one time or at intervals. An edition may comprise a number of impressions.

Editor: A person employed by a publisher, who prepares someone else’s work for publication. The editorial work may be limited to mere preparation of the matter for printing, or may involve considerable revisionary and elucidatory work, including an introduction, notes and other critical matter.

E-journal: Electronic versions of journals that you can read online.

Encyclopedia: A reference tool containing articles about persons, places or things. General encyclopedias, like the Encyclopedia Britannica, address a wide range or topics, whereas a subject specific encyclopedia, like the Encyclopedia of Birds, is more specialized.

See also -- Reference Material

Endnote: EndNote is bibliographic management software that you can use to manage your references. You can create a 'library' or database of references and add the citations into a Word document to automatically produce your reference list or bibliography in a specific referencing style at the end of your essay. This service is provided at Reference Desk.

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Field: An individual component of a record within an index or database. The fields are: Database, Location, Call Number, Number of Items, and Status.

Field Limiter: In the library catalog, and many online indexes and databases, a means of limiting a search to a particular field or fields. Imposing a field limiter on a search term(s) results in the retrieval only of those records containing the term(s) as searched within the specified field(s). Frequently called limits or limiters.

See also -- Field

See also -- Limits

See also -- Advanced Search

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Gazetteer: A geographical dictionary that includes location (often expressed in latitude and longitude), population, and other geographically related information of a given place.

Government Document or Publication: Any document issued by, under the authority of, or at the expense of a recognized government. Government documents include publications from states, the federal government, and transnational or international organizations such as the ASEAN.

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Handbook: Intended for ready consultation or reference, a handbook (or manual) either compiles facts about a subject or provides instructions of methods or procedures for how to perform a specific set of functions.

See also -- Reference Material


Hold: When you recall an item and it is returned to the Library, it will be held for you at the Circulation Counter ('on hold for you'). You will be notified by email when it is available for you to collect it.

Holdings: Refers to items held by the University Library.

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Impact factor: This is the measure of the frequency with which the 'average article' in a journal has been cited. The impact factor will help you evaluate a journal's relative importance, especially when you compare it to others in the same field. It is calculated by dividing the number of current citations to articles published in the two previous years by the total number of articles published in the two previous years.

Imprint: The statement in a book concerning the publication or printing of a book. Also called ‘biblio’. The publisher’s imprint is the name of the publisher and the date and place of publication, it is usually appears at the foot of the title page, and sometimes more completely on the back. The printer’s imprint gives the printer’s name and the place of printing, it usually appears on the back of the title page, on the last page of text, or on the page following.

In process: This is a term used to describe an item that is not yet available for loan. The 'In process' number shows how close an item is to being on the shelf.

Index: An alphabetized table, file, or list designed to facilitate the reference of subjects, names, or places in a particular work or set of works. Generally, it points to where information can be found.

1. List at the end of books, encyclopedias, etc. that indicates by author, title and/or subject the location of information within the book or encyclopedia.

2. Tool that arranges (by author, title, or subject) citations to articles in a selected group of periodicals.

See also -- Citation Index

See also -- Periodical Index

Interlibrary Loan: Also known in acronym as ILL. The process through which a library borrows material from another library or organisation. If the item that you are looking for is not owned by University Library in print or electronically, and you may request the item via Interlibrary Loan service. Requests are made using the online Interlibrary Loan Request Form.

ISBN: The International Standard Book Number is an internationally recognised standard number that uniquely identifies a book.

ISSN: International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is a unique eight-digit number used to identify a print or electronic periodical publication.

Item Record: A record in the library catalog which describes a book, document, periodical or other material of which the library owns a copy or to which its users may have access. It consists of fields specifying for each item the author's name(s), title(s), place of publication, publisher name, edition statements, date of publication, physical description. Also included in the item record is the location of the item in the library, its call number, and its status, or if it is accessible via the Internet, a link to it.

See also -- Call Number

See also -- Field

See also -- Record

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Journal: A journal is a periodical publication. It differs to a magazine, trade publication or newspaper in that its articles are usually better researched, longer and may have a list of references.

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Keyword: A word or term, chosen by the user that best summarizes the information being sought. A user can search the library catalog or other database for either a single keyword or a combination of keywords in order to retrieve records containing the keyword(s).

Keyword Search: One of the search options available in the library catalog. When searching by Keyword, the user may combine words or terms using Boolean operators.

See also -- Boolean Operators

See also -- Advanced Search

See also -- Relevance Search

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LC Subject Heading: Library of Congress Subject Headings is standard terms used to classify and describe the content of publications. You can search on these terms in the Library Catalogue but you must know the exact LCSH term. It is best to choose a keyword search.

Library of Congress Classification: A system of organizing material owned by a library, created by the Library of Congress.

See also -- Call Number

See also -- Subject Heading


Library orientationSee also -- User education.

Limits: In the library catalogue and some other databases, a means to restrict a search to include only items that contain a certain characteristic. Common characteristics for limiting a search include: date of publication, periodical title, type of resource (book, video, periodical, etc.), language, and availability in full-text. In the library catalog, the limits feature is not available for Author, Subject or Call Number searching.


See also -- Field Limiter

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Magazine: A periodical published by a commercial press, intended for a general readership. Usually features news stories or articles on popular topics written by journalists, reporters or others rather than by scholars, professionals or experts.

See also -- Periodical

See also -- Journal

Main entry: The basic catalogue entry; the main entry has the fullest particulars for the complete identification of a work.

Manuscript: A document of any kind, which is written by hand, or the text of a music or literary composition in hand-written or typescript form, and which, in that form, has not been reproduced in multiple copies.

MARC: The MARC format was developed to provide an internationally acceptable standard for the exchange of bibliographic data in machine-readable form.

Monograph: A separate treatise on a single subject or class of subjects, or on one person, usually detailed in treatment but not extensive in scope and often containing bibliographies. Frequently published in series. In cataloguing, any publication which is not a serial.

Monthly: A periodical, which appears once a month.

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Narrower term: A term which denotes a concept which is narrower than that of a term with a broader, more general meaning, e.g. Chairs is narrower than Furniture.

See also -- Broader Term


New edition: An issue of a book in which misprints noticed in an earlier edition have been corrected. In current publishing practice, reprints, which are made a substantial number of years after the original edition is regarded as new editions.

Newspaper: A periodical issued at frequent intervals (usually daily, semi-weekly, or weekly) containing news, opinions, advertisements and other information of current and often local interest.

See also -- Periodical

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Online Catalog: The electronic version of a library catalog accessible through the Internet.

OPAC: An Online Public Access Catalogue.

See Also -- Online Catalogue

Open Collection: Applied to collection where users are admitted to the shelves.

Out of print: A book is out of print when the publisher has no more copies for sale and no intention to reprint. Abbreviation of O.P.

Overdue: Colloquialism for an overdue book and also for an overdue notice.

Overdue book: A library book, which has been retained longer for home reading than the period allowed.

Overdue notice:  A request to a user asking for the return of a book, which has been kept beyond the time allowed.

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Peer reviewed journal: This is a journal where experts in the same subject area as the author must review and approve the articles before they are published by the journal. Similar terms used are: 'refereed journal', 'scholarly journal' and 'academic journal'. To find peer-reviewed journal articles on a topic you can search a journal database.

Periodical: A serial published indefinitely at regular or stated intervals, generally more frequently than once a year. Each issue is numbered and/or dated consecutively and contains articles, stories, or other writings. Journals, magazines and newspapers are periodicals.

See also – Journal

See also – Magazine

See also – Newspaper

See also -- Periodical Index

See also – Serial

Periodical Index: An index to selected journals, magazines, or newspapers (periodicals), usually organized by a particular subject or periodical type. Used to find information about articles contained in the periodical(s) covered.

See also – Index

See also – Periodical

Plagiarism: When the work of another person, or people, is presented as your own, without proper reference to the source. Plagiarism is a serious accusation in academia.

Photocopy Card: Copy Cards are used to pay for copies in the library Xerox machines. The photocopy card can be purchased at Circulation Counter for RM5.00. RM0.10 of value is deducted from the card for each single-sided photocopy

Postgraduate: Generally refers to students that have completed an undergraduate degree and are continuing their studies.

Prospectus: 1. A leaflet or pamphlet issued by a publisher and describing a new publication. 2. A publication written to inform, arouse interest in, and encourage the reader to take some action concerning, a book about to be published, a school or other education institution, or the issue of stock or shares of a company, etc.

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Record: An individual component of a database containing information such as citation(s), statistics, text, etc.

See also -- Database

See also -- Item Record

Reading shelves: Examining books to see that they are in correct order on the shelves. Also known as ‘Shelf tidying’, ‘Shelf checking’ and in American practice as ‘Shelf reading’ and ‘Revising shelves’.

Red Spot Collection: The collection is located at Circulation counter which holds material in high demand that is selected by lecturers as essential reading. Items can be borrowed for twenty-four (24) hours and. Fines will be imposed  - RM0.50 per hour.

References: A list of publications to which an author has made specific reference; usually placed at the end of an article or chapter, or at the end of a book, sometimes in chapter order.

Reference Material: Material designed to be consulted for brief items of information such as facts, statistics, background information, etc. which you can only use in the library. Reference material can either be general in nature, such as the Malaysiana or Encyclopedia of Britannica.


See also --Almanac

See also -- Dictionary

See also -- Encyclopedia

See also -- Handbook

See also -- Yearbook

Reference Desk: The location in the library where you can find a reference librarian and ask for help in finding information or using the library's resources.

Reference librarians: Reference librarians are specialists in the field of information retrieval. Generally they have a certified qualification in library and information science, and many have other graduate degrees as well. They are available at reference desks to help you find information.

Relevance Search: One of the search options available in the databases. When searching by Relevance, the retrieved records are automatically ranked according to how relevant they are to the keywords that were entered. The scheme give more importance to records that have the words in the title and subject headings, and records that have frequent occurrences of the words.

Renew: To extend the loan period of an item that you have borrowed. You can renew items through the ‘Library Patron Access’link on the OPAC homepage, by calling, emailing or by coming to the Circulation Counter, but only before the date they are due to be returned.

Request: This service can only be used whenever the item is on lending status, you may 'Request' the borrowed item(s) by login to Patron Access and key-in your ID and the Password. Once the person returned the item, you will be updated via email. Seven days is given for you to collect the requested item, if the item remain uncollected the item will be returned to shelf.

RSS: RSS stands for 'Really Simple Syndication' or 'Rich Site Summary'. Instead of having to visit all of your favourite sites and blogs, you can use RSS to receive updates of these sites automatically.

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Scholarly journal: This is a journal whose articles are written for a university or research audience by academics and researchers. They may be published by a university, scholarly society or commercial academic publisher. Their content is different from magazines and popular journals.

Search Statement: A phrase or combination of words that are entered into the library catalog or other database in order to find information.

See also -- Database

See also -- Search Term

Search strategy: The plan adopted for answering a particular enquiry, or more specifically, the search statements used to answer an enquiry.

Search Term: A word that is entered into the library catalogue or other database in order to find information.

See also -- Database

See also -- Search Statement

Serial: Any publication that is intended to be continued indefinitely and is issued in successive parts with a unique number (e.g. a volume, year or issue number). Examples are newspapers, print and online journals, annual reports, yearbooks, proceedings and even blogs having a unique number.

Series: 1. Volumes usually related to each other in subject matter, issued successively, sometimes at the same price, and generally by the same publisher, in a uniform styles, and usually bearing a collective ‘series title’. 2. Succeeding volumes of essays, etc., issued at intervals or in sequence.

Shelf readingSee also -- Reading shelves

Shelving: 1. All the shelves in a library. 2. The act of putting books away in their proper places on the shelves of a library.

Stack: A unit of connected book cases or shelves usually arranged in rows, for storing the library's collection.

Subdivision: 1. The word commonly used to denote the process of dividing a scheme of classification into its parts. 2. The result of such subdivision.

Subject Heading: Standardized term or phrase, often including subdivisions, used to categorize records of items related by subject, including persons, places, or things, often qualified by chronological period, geographical region, or type of document.

See also -- Library of Congress Classification

Subject Search: The means of searching the library catalogue in order to retrieve all records containing a specific subject heading.

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Thesaurus: A reference tool which identifies and indexes synonyms and antonyms of words. In database searching, a thesaurus identifies controlled vocabulary to be used for information retrieval.

See also -- Controlled Vocabulary

See also -- Database

Thesis: A research publication or 'dissertation' completed for a master or doctoral degree (PhD). The University Library keeps print theses in its closed collection.

Title List: A button in the library catalog that, when clicked, returns the user to the list of titles that were retrieved by a search.

Truncation: When searching by keyword, a means of looking for all the variations of word, or root word, endings.

See also – Keyword

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Unbound journals: Past years of journals and magazines can be bound with hard covers like books, while the most recent issues are 'unbound' or loose on the shelves.

Undergraduate: Generally refers to a student studying their first degree (usually a bachelor degree).

University Library: A place in which literary and artistic materials, such as books, periodicals, newspapers, and tapes for reading, reference or lending.

User education: A programme of information provided by libraries to user, to enable them to make more efficient, independent use of the library’s stock and services. A program of user education might include tours, lectures, exercises and the provision of support materials. Also termed library instruction and library orientation.

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Verso: The left-hand page of an open book or manuscript, usually bearing an even page number. The reverse, or second, side of a sheet of paper to be printed.

Volume: A part of a journal or book series. Volume numbers of journals usually increase each year and each volume may have several numbered 'issues' in a year.

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Weeding: Items those are no longer in the library collection.

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Yearbook: An annual compendium of facts and statistics on a particular subject for the preceding year.


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