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Library Lingo: Library Lingo: A-C

Gives definitions of Library and Information Literacy terms


Abstract = a short summary of an article or book.

  • Useful to read before you decide to download or read entire artcle
  • Helps you understand what is the main point of the article (in the author's view)
  • Useful to search instead of full-text if you want to narrow your search

Advanced Search

Many advanced features can help you refine your search. For example, several search terms can be combined, and searches can be limited by various fields such as date or language


A research profile/ strategy that you may preset to have table of contents or lists of article citations e-mailed directly to you.


Public records or historical documents, or the place where such records and documents are kept.


A contribution written for publication in a journal, magazine, or newspaper.

Article Title

An article title is the large heading displayed above the article's content.The title indicates what the article is about and distinguishes it from other articles.


The writer of a book or article.

Basic Search

The Basic Search lets you create a search with limiters, expanders, and Boolean operators.


complete or selective list of works compiled upon some common principle, as authorship, subject, place of publication, or printer.


A detailed account of a person’s life written by another person

Boolean Operators

Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT)  - used to connect keywords when searching


 retrieves both terms

 narrows down a search

 retrieves either one or two or all term

 broadens a search

 excludes terms so that each search result does not contain any of the terms that follow it. 



Watch the "Use Boolean Operators" Smart Search vodeo to learn more.


Call Number

The unique group of letters and numbers given to each item in the library according to its subject matter. A label with the call number is usually located on the spine or cover of the item and indicates where the item is shelved.


You can learn more about call numbers and classification numbers from the Classification LibGuide.


To borrow an item from a library for a fixed period of time in order to read, listen to, or view it. Check-out periods vary by library. Items are checked out at the circulation counter.


Circulation Counter

A service point where you check out, renew, and return library materials. You may also ask general questions, report an item missing from the shelves, or pay late fees or fines there.

Here is the location of HKUST's Circulation Counter on the G/F of the Library's floor plan


Citation =  written reference to a book, article, video, etc.

It lists the author, title, date of publication, and other information somone would need to locate the item.

View video on "What is a Citation?"  (2 min 35 sec)

Citation Styles

A particular method of documenting references. Some disciplines or academic departments require writers to use a specific style.

The General Citation Guides page  on the Basic Referencing LibGuide to learn more.

Conference Papers / Proceedings

In academia, proceedings are the collection of academic papers published in the context of an academic conference. They are usually distributed as printed volumes or in electronic form either before the conference opens or after it has closed. Proceedings contain the contributions made by researchers at the conference. They are the written record of the work that is presented to fellow researchers.


Copyright is a legal right created by the law of a country, that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to its use and distribution, usually for a limited time, with the intention of enabling the creator  to receive compensation for their intellectual effort.

Go the the Copyright LibGuide to learn more.

Course Reserve

Course reserve items are normally recommended readings and selected texts that are set aside by your faculty. They can be borrowed for a short period (2 hours, 1 day, 3 days, or 7 days). Very high fines may incur when overdue.

Go to the Course Reserve section of the Get Started LibGuide to learn more.


The years, viewpoints, and content material covers.

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