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call number A unique number assigned by the library to each item in the collection. A call number serves two purposes: it places items in order on the shelves and it draws items on similar subjects together in the collection. Both location and call number are needed in order to find specific items and can be determined by using the catalogue.
catalogue A compiled record of the items in the collection. A catalogue is made up of data which represent actual items. Usually a catalogue contains both a physical description of the item (author, title, publisher, size, etc.) and a description of the subject content (subjects and aspects). A catalogue may come in a variety of formats depending on the size and nature of the collection.
checked-out In circulation to another user -- as in "That item is checked-out."
circulation Most libraries allow items to be charged out to users. This function is known as circulation and takes place at the Circulation Desk. The Circ Desk often forms the central point for directional and general information about library policies and operations.
databases A collective term usually used to describe online indexes and abstracts providing bibliographic information and occasionally expanded to include "real" databases containing raw data, statistical information, or similar material. The phrases "the library's databases" or "the licensed databases" usually refer to those databases to which a library subscribes.
hold A request for an item that is currently checked-out -- as in "That item is checked-out. Would you like to place a hold on it?"
holdings This term refers to the individual items held by the Library within a particular title. In catalogue records, holdings are often found in the "Library Has" line. For example, Time magazine is a weekly; knowing a library receives the magazine is only the first step. To find out exactly which weekly issues a library has, the user would check the holdings.
intercampus loan The ICL service allows users, under certain conditions, to borrow needed items, which a library does not hold, from another campus of a particular university system.
interlibrary loan The ILL service allows users, under certain conditions, to borrow needed items, which a library does not hold, from other libraries.
Library of Congress Or LC. The alpha-numeric classification system used by a library to assign a call number to each item held. Alternatively, the actual Library of Congress, in Washington, DC, which developed the system.
location The area within a library in which an item is housed. Both location and call number are needed in order to find specific items and can be determined by using the catalogue.
microform A item format that involves photographically recording and reducing information. Microforms include microfiche, microfilm, and microprint and require specialized equipment to enlarge items for reading and/or copying.
monograph A book, usually on a defined subject. See also: serial
periodical A periodical is a "serial with a distinctive title" issued at regular intervals, more often than once per year. The terms most commonly used for periodicals include: magazines, newspapers, and journals.
recall A request for a item that is checked-out to be returned to a library. Items on long-term loan are subject to recall.
reserves Reserves refer to items available for short-term loan through the Circulation Desk of a library. Most of these items are placed "on Reserve" by faculty at universities to ensure that all members of a particular class will have equitable access to assigned readings or related materials.
serial A serial is "a publication issued in successive parts, usually at regular intervals, and continued indefinitely." Included in serials are: periodicals, annuals, yearbooks, proceedings, and the like. See also: monograph.
stacks This is a short-hand term for a library shelves where most of the collection resides -- "It's in the stacks." In Canada and the United States, many university library stacks are open, which means users are free to browse. See also: storage.
storage An area separate from the open stacks, which houses seldom-used material. Material in storage must be retrieved by library staff.

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Created: 1998/09/11 Last updated: 2010/08/17
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