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Finding and Using Information: Glossary


We don't set out to use acronyms, or jargon but sometimes they do creep in to our speech so we put together this list to help you understand some of the most common words you will hear library staff say. There are probably other words, let us know if you hear them and want us to add them to this list, to help others. We have a Library Frequently Asked Questions page too, that has a lot of the most commonly asked things, with prepared answers, so you don't even have to ask us. 

ARC The ARC (Automated Reserve Collection) at UL Library is an automated storage and retrieval system.  The facility has the capacity to store c.500,000 books and is the first of its kind of automated storage and retrieval systems in Europe.

Catalogue: An online database which lists the library’s collection of print and audio-visual resources.

Citation: A brief description of a publication referring to a specific passage, text, author etc. It appears as a Reference or Footnote and contains sufficient details to enable you to locate the publication. Please refer to the library’s booklet Cite It Rite for help with referencing.

Database: An electronic catalogue or index. It often includes details of individual articles within journals and sometimes chapters in books and is searchable.

Dewey Decimal Classification/Shelf Mark:  A code that appears on a label on the spine of each item in the Library numbering subjects from 000 to 999. Items are arranged by shelf mark and/or alphabetical order. See the Library floor plan and book marks for subject locations


E-book or E-journal: A book or journal that is in electronic format and can be read in full online.

Inter-Library Loan (ILL): A loan made between libraries which you may need to request if items you want are not held by the Library in print or online.

Journal: (also called a periodical or a serial) A publication that contains scholarly articles and is published at regular intervals.

Journal article: An item of research written by an academic or other expert, to communicate new ideas or findings to the wider research community. Several articles are published together within a journal issue.

NFL Sometimes you will see on our catalogue that a book is NFL (Not For Loan). Like Reference books, these can't be borrowed but you CAN use them in the library, make a scan of what you need using the library's free hi-resolution scanner on the ground floor

Primo is the Library’s search engine and allows you to find items that are in the library catalogue in addition to other electronic material that the Library owns.

Reference collection describes items that you may use in the Library but may not borrow such as dictionaries, atlases and encyclopaedias.

Self-issue/ Self-return: Borrow/returning an item from/to the Library using an automated machine.


Special Collections: A collection of old and rare books, manuscripts and other archive materials.  Special Collections can be visited, by appointment, email 

Store Level: This is a store room in the garden level (basement) of the Library, GLG-003, where lesser-used items such as books, journals, reference material and back runs of newspapers are held.