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uWaterloo Library Terms



  1. An index that not only provides citations, but also
    gives a brief summary of each item indexed.
  2. A short summary of an article in a scholarly journal, usually appearing at the beginning of the article.
  3. A summary of a paper presented at a conference.

Annotated Bibliography

A list of works on a particular topic, with each entry accompanied by a note that explains, describes, and sometimes evaluates the publication. [See also: Bibliography]


An organized body of documents made or received in connection with the function of the institution or library. Archives are maintained and preserved as a part of the record-keeping process and are usually collected in a separate physical location.

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Bibliographic Record

It's the critical information that identifies an item, e.g. a complete bibliographic record for a book will include the author, title, publisher, and the date of publication. [See also: Citation]


A list of citations for books, periodicals (journal/magazine/newspaper articles) , government documents, and other materials. Published bibliographies on specific subjects are found in the reference section of the Dana Porter Library, main floor. [See also: Annotated Bibliography]

Book Review

An overview or a brief critical assessment, usually including a summary of the work and opposing views.

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Call number

A group of alpha/numeric characters given to books and other materials based on their subject matter. Library materials are stored under that number on a shelf. The call number label is usually located on the spine. [For help in reading and understanding LC Call numbers, see York University's Understanding Call Numbers page.]


A database containing records for materials of a specific library or group of libraries. [e.g., Primo - the joint catalogue of the libraries of the University of Waterloo, University of Guelph, and Wilfrid Laurier University]

Circulation Desk

The Circulation Desk at most libraries offer assistance with borrowing library materials, inquiring about and/or paying late fees, renewing and/or recalling books on loan, placing a library materials on reserve, borrowing reserved items, etc.


The act of giving credit when using (quoting and/or paraphrasing) someone else's thoughts and/or ideas. 


A bibliographic reference to a book, article, author, etc., especially in a scholarly work. [See also: Bibliographic Record]

Citation Style

The format in which you cite your sources. Some citation styles include APA, ASA, MLA, and Chicago format.

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An electronic collection of information, often featuring the citations and abstracts of journal articles and/or other publications. Some databases provide the full-text of materials, allowing you to both retrieve citations and read the complete document on your computer.


An original research paper required for a doctoral degree.

Document Delivery

An unmediated article delivery service where users can request the delivery of articles not found at any of the libraries in the TUG system (e.g., RACER).

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Government Publications

Materials created with the authority of any office of a legally organized government body including international organizations such as the United Nations. Government publications can be considered primary or secondary literature as they can be first-hand accounts presenting raw, unanalyzed material or they can offer commentary and analysis of a topic. While the Government Publications section of the Dana Porter Library is on the 5th floor and is a rich source for materials, many publications are now accessible via the Government Information web page.

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A print or electronic publication listing references to periodical articles by subject and/or author (e.g., The New York Times Index).

Information Desk

Staff at a library's Information Desk (or Reference Desk) provide answers and strategies to various research questions. Staff here will help assist with searches for books, journal articles, and other research documents covering a general or specific topic.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

A mediated book and journal article delivery service in which users can request books or articles not found at any of the TUG Libraries (e.g., RACER).


International Standard Book Number. A unique identification number that indicates publisher and country of publication.


International Standard Serial Number. A unique number provided to serial publications (e.g., journal, magazine, newspaper,etc.)

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Liaison Librarian

Also known as a subject librarian, a liaison librarian provides research assistance for students and staff belonging to a specific department or program (e.g., Biology).

Library of Congress Classification Scheme (LC)

The system of letters and numbers used by most North American academic libraries by way of organizing collections by subject. An alpha-numeric code, known as a call number, is given (affixed) to each item in the collection classified by this system. The Library of Congress makes its classification scheme available online.

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The handwritten or typed copy of an author's work before it is published.


A publication, either complete in one volume or intended to be completed in a specified number of volumes. Examples of monographs are books and multi-volume sets such as encyclopedias.

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Publications that are issued at least twice a year, including journals, magazines, and newspapers. The Library subscribes to both paper and electronic periodicals. Current periodicals are those which have recently arrived (either in paper or electronically). Bound periodicals are back issues in paper format, which have been sent to the bindery, covered with a binding, and placed in the stacks.

Primary Sources

Works that are the original source of information or creation.


Primo is a catalogue of library owned materials at Waterloo, Guelph and Laurier universities & the Annex (storage facility). Its Primo Central interface includes everything found in the Library's catalogue, plus hundreds of millions of online full-text journal articles available through the Library.

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RACER (Rapid Access to Collections by Electronic Requesting) is the name of the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) requesting system. Since Interlibrary Loan is a mediated service where users search for books or articles not found at any of the TUG Libraries, RACER acts as both a joint library catalogue and a requesting system. Users can search for items and make requests and Interlibrary Loan Department Staff acts on your behalf and they will fulfill the Interlibrary Request. 

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Secondary Sources

Works that treat or discuss information originally presented elsewhere. Secondary sources involve criticism, analysis, synthesis, interpretation, or evaluation of the original information.


A publication or work issued in successive parts, often at regular intervals. Examples include: periodicals, journals, magazines, newspapers, reports, proceedings, transactions, annuals, bulletins, and papers.


The stacks (or book stacks) are the part of the library which houses its collection available for free browsing and borrowing.

Subject Headings

Words or phrases assigned and used to index (organize) books, articles, etc., by topic. Determining the correct headings (controlled vocabulary) for a specific database or catalogue is an important part of effective research.

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An original research paper required for a master's degree.


The acronym for the TriUniversity Group of Libraries: University of Waterloo, University of Guelph, and Wilfrid Laurier University.


TUGDoc is the journal article delivery service offered for students who need to request print articles not found at their home libraries but found at the other two libraries in the TUG system. 

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March 20, 2013