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Information for International Students: Library Terms

Welcome international students to the UCI Libraries

Frequently Used Library Terms

This Glossary lists frequently used library terms at UC Irvine. You can help us develop the Glossary by suggesting a new term that is confusing to you, but not listed below or at the Library Definitions page. 

Abstract: a concise summary or description of a periodical article or book. An academic work usually has an abstract. Some databases and indexes will provide an abstract along with the citation for a work.

Library Search: The UCI Libraries' online catalog, which allows you to search all kinds of materials held by the Libraries, including Langson Library, Science Library and Grunigen Medical Library.

Archive: has two meanings: (1) historical documents, such as working papers, manuscripts, sketches, and photographs. They are generally rare or unique and thus can be used only in library; and (2) a space that house such kind of historical documents.

Science Library: one of the largest consolidated science, technology, and medicine libraries in the nation.  A self-guided tour to the library can be found here. The building number on the campus map is 520.

Ask A Librarian: A service provided by the UCI Libraries to you who need help in finding information and who is frustrated in starting your research. There are many ways you can ask. Find details here.

Barcode: optical machine-readable label attached to library materials. Every library material has a unique barcode attached, which can be usually found at the back of a library item.  

Bibliography: a sorted list of citations that an author has directly referenced or consulted in writing a book or article.

Boolean Search/Operator: AND, OR, NOT are three commonly used operators. While the words AND and NOT can be used to narrow down search results, the word OR is for broaden the results. Examples would be "international student AND UCI", "international student NOT UCI" and "(international OR foreign) student", which will retrieve different international student populations.

Call Number: a group of combined letters and numbers that identifies a specific resource in the library and is essential to locate the material on shelves.

Check Out: to borrow library materials for a certain period of time so that you may read, listen to or watch it. Checkout periods may vary. See here for details. 

Check Out Desk: a designated place where you can check out library materials.

Citation: basic information needed to identify and obtain a particular article, book or other library materials. When you mention any piece of information in your work that are from other sources, citations should be provided to give credit to this sources and help you avoid plagiarism and maintain academic honesty.

Connect from Off-Campus: an extra step you need to take before using library-owned online resources and databases, when you are not on the campus. It is for  you to prove that you are UCI students. There are two ways of Connect from Off-Campus: WebVPN and SoftwareVPN. Your UCI NetID is your login and password. 

Copy Card: a card that can be swiped at any copier, printer release station, or microform reader/printer to pay for copies or prints. Your campus ID cards can now be used as a copy card.  Funds can be added by using a value adding machine in the libraries. 

Course Reserve: A selection of books, articles, film DVDs, or other materials that your professors want you to read or view for a specific course. Print reserve materials can be checked out at the Check-out desk for several hours. Electronic reserve can be directly accessed online. 

Database: a collection of information resources that stored and organized in an electronic format and can be searched via a single computer and a computer connected to the Internet. Some databases provide fulltext whereas others just provide citations. 

Due Date: The date on which a library material checked out to  you has to be returned. You may find the date information by logging into My Library Account, with your UCI Net ID and password. You may also extend the due date by renewing in My Library Account. 

Gateway Study Center: Located just across the plaza from the Langson Library, the Gateway Study Center usually opens extended hours, and even 24 hours during pre-finals and finals week. It is also equipped with public computers, printers, and group study rooms.  

Holdings: library owned materials in all formats. 

Holds: In case a library item is checked out to someone else, you may recall or place a hold on this item through My Library Account or at any check out desk. If an item is placed on-hold, the current borrower will be notified through email and has to return the item within 10 days to avoid fines. See also Recalls

Grunigen Medical Library: located in the city of Orange, it is UCI's medical library mainly serving the educational, research and clinical needs of health professionals, students, and researchers at the UCI Medical Center and College of Health Sciences. Click here for more information. 

InterLibrary Loan (ILL): a library service allowing students and faculty to borrow materials not owned by UCI Libraries from another an outside library.

Langson Library: As one of the eight original buildings on campus, designed by architect William Pereira in 1965, Langson contains the collections and services that support research and teaching in the Arts, Humanities, Education, Social Sciences, Social Ecology, and Business & Management. A self-guided tour to the library can be found here. The building number on the campus map is 102.

Library Card and Library Account Number: Your UCI student ID card is used as library card. The 14-digit number on the ID card is your library account number. 

Multimedia Resource:

Melvyl: a union catalog of local (UCI) and many other national/international libraries. It allows you to search all kinds of materials held by the UCI Libraries, and beyond. Melvyl is a good place to go if you can't find what you need in Library Search, the UCI Libraries' online catalog.

Primary Source: an original record of events. Examples of a primary source could be a diary, a newspaper article, a recording of interview, a photo, or original data collected from scientific experiment or survey. 

Recalls: see Holds

"Ask Us" Reference Desk​: is an "information desk" where you can ask course or research related questions or go for help.

Renew: An action you can take in My Library Account for library materials to be checked out so that you can keep them longer

Software VPN: a robust way of authenticating  yourself as a UCI student when you are off-campus and want to get full access to the Libraries' licensed online resources. See also Web VPN

Subject and Course Guides: a good place to consult for finding best resources in your research or study area, including databases, books, journals and more. For example, if you have a business question, the Business Subject Guide will provide database recommendations and ways to get started with related topics. Subject and Course Guides are created and maintained by our subject librarians.

Subject Librarian: is a subject expert in the Libraries who develops library collection in the subject area and can be  your guide to the services and collections related your study area. You may find your subject librarian here

Web VPN: a simple way (no need for software download and installation) of authenticating yourself as a UCI student if you are off-campus and want to get remote access to the Libraries' licensed online resources. Compared to Software VPN, Web VPN may cause Web pages load more slowly and may not work for some online resources. 

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