Library words explained

On this page you will find useful explanations for words and phrases you will encounter whilst using Library Services.

A

  • Abstract
Summary of a journal article or book
  • Academic Liaison
    Librarian

A librarian who has specialist knowledge of the information resources available for your course.
Find out who your librarian is

  • Advanced Search
A feature you can use to perform detailed searches. For example, on the Classic Catalogue, you could use Advanced Search to restrict your search the material on a particular topic, published after 2001, that is currently available at the London Met library closest to where you are taught. There is also an advanced search facility on MetCat and on most databases too.
  • Article
A piece of writing published in a journal (also known as a periodical or serial) or magazine. This could be a research study, a report, or an opinion piece.
Find out more about journals go to Library Matters 
  • Artists’ books
Works of art in the form of a book. Contact library staff at Aldgate Library for more information.
  • Athens Account
We no longer use Athens. Most of our e-resources are accessed using your IT username and password. In case of difficulty, contact library staff.
  • Available
An item that should be on the shelves ready for you to borrow.

B

  • Back issues
Older copies/editions of journals/magazines.
  • Bibliographic details /
    Bibliographic information

The information you need to compile your bibliography/reference list  – for a book this would include the author or editor, title, publisher, place of publication, year of publication, and edition if 2nd edition or later.

  • Bibliography

List, usually arranged alphabetically by authors’/editors’ surnames, containing details of all the books, journal articles and other information sources that have been referred to in research for a book, journal article or a piece of coursework, usually placed at the end.

  • Book bin / Book return bin

Large wooden or metal container where books, or other library material you have borrowed, may be returned – note, if you are using book bins inside the library, the items must be returned on the Self-Service Machines before putting them in the book bins.

  • Book this item
Similar to a reservation. Used for Study Rooms or  3-day loan books.
  • Booking
Similar to a reservation. Used for Study Rooms or  3-day loan books.
  • Borrower number
Borrower number can be found printed above the barcode on your university i.d. Card. This is used to borrow items from the library.

C

  • Catalogue

A searchable online list of all the items, print and e-resources, that the library has in stock - there are two versions, the Classic Catalogue and Encore.

  • Catalogue record

An entry on the library catalogue giving you the complete details about the item: the author or editor (if there is one), title, publisher, year of publication, location, and current availability.

  • Charges

Money owed to the library. Charges may be fines for overdue items, or the cost of replacing material that has been lost, stolen, or damaged while on loan to you.
More information

  • Check-in

To return an item (American English).

  • Circulation

Anything to do with borrowing, renewals and fines.

  • Citation

A reference to an information source, identifying where the reference may be found, including the page number if appropriate.

  • Classmark / class number

The number on the label added to the spine of a book or other material on the library shelves. The library uses a classification system – each subject is given a number (classmark) and the material is arranged on the shelves in number order.
Get to know the classification system called Dewey.

  • Classic Catalogue

One of two versions of the library catalogue listing all the material - print, electronic, DVDs, CD-ROMs and other items - that the library has in stock. Use the Classic Catalogue to find books when you know the author, editor or title; the title of a journal; or the name of the database you want to use.

  • Classification

A system used to arrange material on the library shelves by subject - each subject is given a number (classmark) and the material is arranged on the shelves in number order. Overview and tutorial on the Dewey classification system 

  • Copyright
Legal protection given to artists, authors, songwriters and composers, preventing the illegal copying of their work.
More information
  • Core text
Material that is essential reading for your course. Also known as a key text.
  • Courtesy email / notice
An email reminding you that the items you have borrowed must be returned or renewed.
  • Current issue
The latest copy edition of a journal/magazine.

D

  • Database

A collection of online information, especially journal articles, that you can access on or off-campus to find information for your coursework. To find out what are the most useful databases for you to use, see the library guide for your subject.

  • Despatched

A new item that is on its way to the library – if you would like to see it when it arrives, you should reserve it.

  • Dewey Decimal System
The classification system used by the library to arrange material on the shelves - each subject is given a number (classmark) and the material is arranged on the shelves in number order. Description of the system in detail is found on this site.
  • Digital literacy

The skills you need to use IT (Information Technology), social media, and function in the online world effectively. Find out more about Information literacy and workforce development.

  • Drop-in
Informal session run by your Academic Liaison Librarian where you can get advice on finding information for your coursework.
More information
  • Due - followed by a date
If you see this on an item’s catalogue record, it means the material has been borrowed by someone else. If you would like to borrow it, you should reserve it.
  • Due date
The date by which an item you have borrowed must be returned or renewed.

E

  • e-book

A book you can read online. You can read e-books accessed via the library catalogue on or off-campus.

  • e-ISBN

Electronic International Standard Book Number, a unique number assigned to every e-book.

  • e-ISSN
Electronic International Standard Serial Number, a unique number assigned to every e-journal.
  • e-journal
A journal you can read online. You can read e-journals accessed via the library catalogue on or off-campus.
  • e-resources
Information sources you can access online. Also known as electronic resources or online resources. Include e-books, e-journals, e-theses, and databases. You can read most e-resources accessed via the library catalogue on or off-campus.
  • e-thesis
A masters level dissertation or PhD you can read online. See the British Library's EthOS collection.
  • Edition
A version of a book – the latest edition of a book will contain the most up-to-date information.
  • Electronic resources
Information sources you can access online. Also known as e-resources or online resources. Includes e-books, e-journals, e-theses, and databases. You can use most electronic resources accessed via the library catalogue on or off-campus.
  • Encore

One of two versions of the library catalogue, which lists all the material - print, electronic, DVDs, CD-ROMs and other items - that the library has in stock. Use Encore to find material on a topic, chapters inside e-books, and journal articles. You can also use it to find material in stock at other libraries outside London Met.

  • Error 404 / access
    forbidden
If you come across this message when trying to access an e-resource, contact library staff who will be able to advise you.
  • Ethos
The British Library’s electronic access to e-theses online.

F

  • FAQ

(Frequently Asked Question). Library’s FAQ page.

  • Fine

A financial penalty payable to the library if you keep an item you have borrowed after the date it should be returned or renewed (the due date). Also known as an overdue charge.
More information

  • For reference only
Material that may be used anywhere in the library in which it is kept but can not be borrowed.
  • Full text
The complete text of a journal article, as opposed to an abstract or a summary, usually made available online.

G

  • Group Study Room
A room where a group of you students can work together, usually bookable in advance either on the library catalogue or at the library help desk.
  • Group study zone
An area in the library you can work with other students.

H

  • ‘Hands-on’ workshop

Training session organised by your Academic Liaison Librarian where you will gain practical experience of finding information for your course.

  • HE Resources Collection
A collection of material relating to Higher Education kept on the second floor of Holloway Road library. Staff can borrow from the collection and students can use it for reference.
  • Hold
A reservation (American English).
  • Holloway Road (TP)
    Teaching  Practice
    Collection
A collection of material that is particularly useful for students on Education/Teaching Practice courses.
  • Home library

The London Met library closest to the campus where you study.
More information

I

  • Imprint

Part of an item’s catalogue record containing the publisher of the item, the place of publication, and the year it was published – you need this information for your bibliography/reference list.

  • In cataloguing

New material that isn’t ready to be borrowed yet – if you would like to borrow it when it is ready, you should reserve it.

  • In transit

An item that is being transferred (temporarily or permanently) from one London Met library to another.

  • In transit and 1 hold

An item that has been reserved and is being transferred from one London Met library to another in order to satisfy the reservation (Note – the word ‘hold’ means the same thing as a reservation; the number of ‘holds’ on an item may vary).

  • Index

1. An alphabetical list of topics, usually found at the back of a book.
2. An online list of journal articles (database) that you can search by subject to find material for your coursework.

  • Induction (library)

Introductory session, usually delivered by a member of library staff, introducing you to the library closest to where you are taught, its facilities, and resources.

  • Information Desk

Service point in the library where you can get information and advice on all aspects of using the library and collect heat-binders for binding your coursework which you will need to have prepaid for online via the eshop.

  • Information literacy / Information skills

The set of skills you need to find, use and manage information effectively.
Library Matters and Subject Support.

  • Information literacy
    training / Information
    skills training
A lecture, workshop, or one-to-one session, usually delivered by your Academic Liaison Librarian, which teaches the skills you need to find and use the information for your coursework.
  • Institutional repository
An organisation’s online archive for collecting, storing and disseminating material produced by the organisation in digital form.
  • Interlibrary loan (ILL)
Material that is borrowed for you by the library from another library (outside London Met).
More information
  • Invoiced
An item that is so seriously overdue a replacement charge has been added to the library account of the person who has borrowed it.
  • ISBN
International Standard Book Number, a unique number assigned to every published book.
  • ISSN
International Standard Serial Number, a unique number assigned to every journal title
  • Issue
1. An individual copy or edition of a journal (magazine).
2. Another word for borrowing material from the library.

J

  • Journal

Publication, that may be in print (hard copy) format or available online, that is published at regular intervals, for example, weekly, monthly, quarterly. Another name for a magazine or a periodical.

  • Journal article
A piece of writing published in a journal (also known as a periodical or serial) or magazine. This could be a research study, a report, or an opinion piece. Finding academic information for your assignment.
  • Just returned
An item has just been brought back to the library – ask library staff as it may still be in the book return bins or on a trolley at the Library Information Desk waiting to be shelved.

K

  • Key text
Material that is essential reading for your course. Also known as a core text.
  • Keyword
A word or short phrase you can use to search for material on a subject on the catalogue or in a database.

L

  • Library borrower
    number

The long number above the barcode on your London Met ID card.

  • Library Chat
A facility enabling you to ‘talk’ to library staff online. See details on Library Catalogue page.
  • Library induction

Introductory session, usually delivered by a member of library staff, introducing you to the library closest to where you are taught, its facilities and resources.

  • Library Information
    Desk
Service point where you can get information and advice on all aspects of using the library, pay fines, and buy consumables, such as cloth bags and heat-binders for binding your coursework.
  • Library Matters
An open module in Weblearn you can dip in and out of and study at your own pace, in any order, which teaches you the skills you need to find, use and manage information sources.
About Library Matters.
  • Library record
Information about you held on the library’s computer system. If there is a problem with your library record, you may not be able to borrow books or access e-resources. Contact library staff in case of difficulty.
  • Library use only
Material that may only be used in the library - it may not be borrowed. Also known as ‘for reference only’.
  • Library workshop
‘Hands-on’ session delivered by your Academic Liaison Librarian in which you will learn practical skills to find information for your coursework.
  • Literature review
A select analysis and review of existing research relating to your topic.
  • Loan period
The maximum length of time you can borrow an item for before it has to be returned or renewed.
  • Loan type
Entry in an item’s catalogue record that tells you how long you can borrow the item for.
  • Lost and paid
An item which has been lost, for which the person who lost it has paid a replacement charge.
  • LPC (Legal Practice
    Course) Room
The Legal Practice Resource Centre is situated in Room LC2-33 on the 2nd floor in the Holloway Road Learning Centre (Library). It contains practitioner materials, group and individual study facilities, and an IT suite. Access is only available to LPC students and staff, via their London Met ID card.

M

  • Materials and Products
    Collection

Collection of material samples including ceramics, textiles, glass, paper, metal, plastics and much more, as well as reference books and manufacturers’ information. This can be found in Aldgate Library on the third floor.

  • Missing

An item which cannot be found on the shelves – if you would like to borrow an item that has gone missing, it is best to reserve it as this will result in a replacement copy being purchased, provided the item is currently on sale and the library has sufficient funds to pay for it.

  • Monograph
1. Any printed work that is not a journal or periodical.
2. A book devoted to a single topic.
  • My account/renew
Your library account tells you what material you currently have out on loan from the library. You can also use My account/renew to renew items you have out on loan, to obtain a list of all the material you have ever borrowed, and to find out about the status of any reservations (holds) you have placed.

N

  • Not on loan

An item that is currently in the library and is available for you to borrow.

O

  • Offprint

A photocopied extract or chapter from a book or a photocopy of a journal article.

  • On order

New material that hasn’t arrived yet.

  • One-week loan

Material that can be borrowed (or renewed) for a week at a time.

  • On holdshelf

An item that has been reserved and is awaiting collection by the person who reserved it.

  • Online database

A collection of information, especially journal articles, that is available on the internet. Also known as a database.

  • Online resources
Information sources you can access on the Internet. Also known as e-resources. Includes e-books, e-journals, e-theses, and databases.
  • OPAC
(Open Public Access Catalogue) A computer in the library that can only be used to search for the material on the library catalogue. You can also access the catalogue from any computer with internet access.
  • Open access
    repository
A collection of academic and scholarly material, usually produced by universities and research institutions, that is freely available online.
  • Out on loan
Item that has been borrowed from the library.
  • Overdue item
Material that has not been returned or renewed on or before the due date.
  • Overdue charge
A financial penalty payable to the library if you keep an item you have borrowed after the date it should be returned or renewed, i.e. the due date. Also known as a fine.
More information
  • Overdue notice
E-mail reminding you that items you have borrowed are overdue. This is a courtesy service only. It is the user’s responsibility to ensure that loans are renewed or returned on time. 
  • Oversize books
Books that are too large to fit on the ordinary shelves – to find out where they are kept, ask Library Staff.

P

  • Peer reviewed

Books and articles that have been read/approved by experts in that field prior to publication.

  • Periodical

Publication, whether print or online, published at regular intervals, for example weekly, monthly, quarterly. Another name for a journal or a magazine.

  • Photography studio

Room in Aldgate Library that may be booked to photograph 2d or 3d work – you will need to hire/bring a camera as these are not provided by the library. For more information, speak to library staff at Aldgate Library.

  • Plagiarism

Passing off someone else’s work as your own.

  • Print credit

Money that you have added to your print account. You will need to top up’ online.

Q

  • Quiet study zone

An area in the library where you can work quietly, keeping conversations brief and to a whisper.

  • Quick Reference

A small collection of reference books – mainly dictionaries encyclopaedias, yearbooks and statistics – that you can look at in the library but can not borrow.

R

  • Reading for Pleasure

Collection of general interest (fiction and non-fiction) books called 'Reading for Pleasure'. The collections can be found in both the Aldgate and Holloway Road libraries and can be borrowed for 3 weeks.

  • Recall notice

Email from the library asking you to bring back an item you have borrowed, usually because someone else has reserved it.

  • Reference

A book, journal, or another information source that is referred in a piece of coursework or any other piece of writing whether printed or available on the internet.

  • Reference list

A list, usually arranged alphabetically by surname or depending on style used, which contains details of all the books, journal articles and other information sources that have been quoted or paraphrased or referred to your research when writing a book, journal article or piece of coursework and is usually placed at the end. 

  • Reference only

Material that may be used in the library but can not be borrowed.

  • Renew / renewal

If you haven’t finished using a three-day loan, one-week loan or a three-week loan item, you can borrow it for an additional three days/week/three weeks as long as it has not been reserved. This is known as ‘renewing’ the item. Your library items will be renewed automatically by the library system for you as long as they have not been reserved.
More information

  • Reservation shelves /
    Reservation
    pick-up point

An area close to the Library Information Desk where reserved items, awaiting collection, are kept.

S

  • Safari-Tech

A supplier of e-books, books that you can read online, on or off campus.

  • Sconul Access

Scheme enabling you to visit, and sometimes borrow from, the collections of most other UK university libraries.
More information

  • Self-Service Machines

Machines in the library that you use to borrow and return books and other material

  • Serial

A publication produced at regular intervals – for example monthly or annually.

  • Shelf mark

A label attached to the spine of material on the library shelves denoting the classmark (Dewey number) followed by the first three letters of the author’s surname (or first three letters of the title if there is no author).

  • Silent study zone
Area/zone in the library where no talking is allowed, including whispering.
More information
  • Site library

Either one of the two London Met libraries.
More information

  • Spine label
Classmark numbers printed on a label which are displayed on the spines of books. There are also coloured labels which help with recognising loan periods. Yellow is for one week loans, pink for three-day loans and black for Reference only items. Three-week loan items display a classmark number only.
  • Store
If you see this on an item’s catalogue record, it means the material is in a storeroom. If you would like to see it, speak to library staff.
  • Study room
A room where a group of students can work together, usually bookable in advance either on the library catalogue or at the library help desk.
More information
  • Study zones
Colour-coded areas for silent, quiet and group study.
More information
  • Subject gateway
A web page that lists or links to other web sites, usually arranged by subject.
  • Subject guide
An online guide, produced by your Academic Liaison Librarian, containing information about the information resources available to support your course.
Find out who your librarian is
  • Subject help drop-ins
Informal session run by your Academic Liaison Librarian where you can get advice on finding information for your coursework.
More information
  • Subject Librarian
The old name for an Academic Liaison Librarian – your Academic Liaison Librarian has specialist knowledge of the information resources available for your course.
Find out who your librarian is
  • Synergy Desk
Integrated large desk with a PC and a large screen where students can collaborate and prepare group work.

T

  • Teaching Practice
    Collection
A collection of material that is particularly useful for students on Education/Teaching Practice courses.
  • Three-day loan
Material that can be borrowed (or renewed) for 3 days at a time, as long has it has not been reserved.
  • Three-week loan
Material that can be borrowed (or renewed) for three weeks at a time, as long has it has not been reserved.
  • TUC Library Collections
A collection of material at Aldgate campus, relating to trade unions and employment, that may be viewed by appointment.
More information

W

  • Walk-ins E-resources

A limited range of e-resources available for use by visitors and alumni.

  • Welcome Room

Room in Holloway Road Library with PCs and an overhead projector which is used by library staff for student inductions and used for various university events and meetings.

  • Wiley Online Library
A supplier of e-books, books that you can read online, on or off-campus.

  • Workshop
A session, usually ‘hands on’, delivered by your Academic Liaison Librarian in which you will learn the skills you need to find information resources for your course.

Z

  • Zotero

A free online tool that helps you manage your references and to compile your bibliography.
More information and more about Referencing Software.

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