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Library Glossary: Home

What do we mean when we say...?

We try not to use jargon, but sometimes we do. Use the tabs below to find out what some frequently used words and phrases mean. 

Library Glossary



A short summary of the main points of an article.


see Library account.


A piece of research published in a journal.

Ask Gateway

A DMU web site providing information and resources on how the University can help develop your study skills.



A strip of black and white stripes that a computer can read. Each barcode is unique to an item. Examples are on student ID cards and library books.


List of sources that have been used by the authors of books, journal articles or other pieces of research, but that have not been directly quoted from. It can be thought of as a list of background reading or further reading. A bibliography is different from a reference list.



A searchable electronic database of items showing whether they are available in the library, where they are located, and if they are on loan. DMU library's catalogue is available on dedicated computers in the DMU libraries.

Centre for Learning and Study Support (CLaSS)

Staff at this centre can help with various aspects of study, such as how to reference properly and improve English writing skills. They offer one-to-one half-hour tutorials, as well as workshops on various aspects of study and research. See the website [link to: ] or visit the Support Office for more information.


These are of two types: fines and miscellaneous charges. Fines are charged on each item if it is not returned by its due date. Fines can be avoided if the item is returned or renewed before or on its due date. Most miscellaneous charges are levied for replacing damaged or lost items. Charges must be paid off before the end of a student’s course.


see Centre for Learning and Study Support


All DMU libraries have an area near the entrance for various functions such as issuing, returning and renewing items, paying charges or asking about various aspects of a user's library account. Any function conducted at the counter needs a student ID card.



Collections of online information to which the Library has a subscription enabling use by DMU staff and students only. These mostly contain full text journal articles, abstracts and article references. Academic Search Premier and Scopus are two examples. An Athens account is necessary to access most databases.

Dewey Decimal Classification System (DDC) (also known as the Dewey System)

The Library uses this system to group items together when they have the same subject. Items are assigned a classification number according to their subject, and are shelved in numerical order according to these numbers. See also shelfmark.

DORA (De Montfort University Open Research Archive)

DMU's institutional repository holding copies of research and other work produced by DMU staff and research students.

Due date

The date by which an item should be returned to the library or be renewed. If an item is reserved by another user, the person who has the item may be asked to return it sooner than its due date.



A book that can be read online rather than in print format. The Library subscribes to several collections of e-books.


A journal that can be read online rather than in print format. Some e-journals are duplicates of ones that are held as printed copies in DMU libraries.

Enquiry desk

Points in the libraries where staff can answer many in-depth as well as simple queries regarding study and the Library. Kimberlin and Charles Frears Libraries have distinct enquiry desks, while enquiries at the Law Library are answered at the counter.


Find it @ DMU

A button that appears in the search results of some online databases. It provides a link to a service providing information on how articles can be accessed.


see Charge.



Harvard Referencing Style

A citation written in the style preferred by Harvard University in the USA. This style is the preferred one for most departments and faculties in DMU. See the Harvard Guide, which can also be found in hardcopy at any DMU library.


In process / on order

As soon as an item is ordered by the library, it is marked "on order" on the library catalogue. When the item arrives at the library and is being prepared to be put on the shelves, it is marked "in process". Items in process can be requested using a card available from the enquiry desks.

Inter library loans

If an item is not held at DMU Library, it can often be obtained from another UK academic library through the inter library loans service. More details are available from the Support Office.

Issue (1)

To take an item out of the library, either by using a self-issue machine or by taking it to a member of staff at the counter. A student card is required to issue items.

Issue (2)

A single instalment of a journal.


Anything held in the Library and shown in its catalogue. Most items in the library are books, but there are also many journals as well as other things such as videos and DVDs, CDs, media items including slide sets and audiobooks (books recorded on CD or audio cassette). Some items may be borrowed (see loan types), while others such as Not For Loan copies, reference items and all journals may only be used in the Library.


Just Ask!

The Library's online and telephone helpdesk. The email address is and the phone number is 0116 257 7042. These can be used to contact the Library from off campus.



 Large size (also called "Oversize")

In Kimberlin Library and the Law Library, items that are too tall for the normal shelves are therefore shelved separately. They are marked with the letter 'L' on the catalogue and above the shelfmark on the item.

Learning Zone

areas in DMU libraries designed to be used for group study.

Library account

A user’s record on the Library computer system showing how many items they have on loan, their address and other details. Users can access their record on the Library catalogue.

Library catalogue

see Catalogue.

Library Personal Identification Number (PIN)

A four-digit number that the Library sends to every student's DMU email account at the beginning of every academic year. PINs can be used to renew items that have been borrowed, to log in to the library website and to the photocopiers in the libraries.


To have an item issued to a user for a certain period of time. See also due date and on loan.

Loan types

Each item is issued for a certain length of time, which is shown on the date due slip inside the front cover. Loan types are 7 day loans, normal loans (21 days), reserved items and short loans. Items of loan types other than 21 day loans are identified by various stickers on their spines.

Lost property

These are personal belongings that have been accidentally left in the Library. On the city campus, these are kept at the counters and are taken to the Estates building on the next working day.


Maths Learning Centre

The Maths Learning Centre team in Kimberlin Library can help develop the maths skills needed for success in study.


In Kimberlin Library, these are film copies of past newspapers and some journal titles. They can be read using the reader-printer machines located on the Lower Ground Floor.




On loan

When an item is issued to a user, it is on loan and is therefore temporally unavailable to other users.

On order

see In process.

Open Access

A journal that is publicly available without charge on the Internet.


Items not renewed or returned to the library by their due date or recall date. These incur charges.


see Large size.



In Kimberlin Library and the Law Library, booklets that are too thin to stand up properly on the normal shelves are therefore shelved separately. They are marked with the letters 'PAM' on the catalogue and above the shelfmark on the pamphlet.

Peer-reviewed journal

see Journal.


see Journal.


see Library PIN.

Placing a reservation

see Reserve.


Using someone else's work or ideas without permission or acknowledgement and presenting them as one’s own. See the leaflet called “How to avoid Plagiarism and be citation wise”.



Reading Lists Online

Course reading lists available via the Library catalogue.


An email sent by the library to the email accounts of users who have borrowed items, asking them to return them before their due dates. See also reserve.

Reference, reference list

To “reference” is to make sure that the sources quoted in assignments and other work are properly referred to, both in the text and in the reference list, which is a list of these sources placed at the end of the work. See also bibliography.


To extend the due date on an item. If another user has requested that item, it is not possible to renew it and it must be returned by the due date - but see Recall.


see Reserve and Recall.

Reserve (also known as 'placing a reservation')

If an item cannot be found on the shelves, users can request it online. The library will then reserve it for them for eight days so that they can collect it, and will also notify the requester by email. When more than one person requests an item, it is given to the first person who requested it. See also Self-collection of reservations.


To give items back to the library, either through the self-return or at the counter. See also Renew and self-return.


Library staff on the Library floors who can be approached with Library queries and problems.


Self-collection of reservations

A system whereby users collect and issue their own reservations when the items have become available. See also Reserve and Self-issue.


Terminals in Kimberlin Library that allow items to be issued by users. Staff and student ID cards and Library PINs are required to use these terminals.


see Self-issue and Self-return.


In Kimberlin Library, the slots in the wall just before the entry turnstiles through which users can return items

Service desk

Counter or enquiry desk where Library staff are available to help users.


see Dewey Decimal Classification System.

Subject librarian

Professionally trained staff who can assist you with finding information on your topic. See the list of subjects and their librarians.

Support Office

An office on the Ground Floor of Kimberlin Library at which enquiries can be made about CLaSS and disabilities as well as general queries about Library procedures and resources.

Syndicate rooms

Rooms designed for group work by DMU students that can be booked in advance (recommended), or drop in on the day to see if a room is free. They are located in the Kimberlin and Law Libraries. Advance bookings can made at the Room Bookings Kiosk in the foyer of Kimberlin Library or online. You will need your student number and library PIN to book the room, and please make a note of the unique Room Access Code/PIN which you will be given, which you can share with other DMU students who will be using the room with you, in order to gain access to the room at your allocated time.





Any person who is authorised to use the Library. All DMU students and staff are users.



A series of issues of a journal, usually covering one year and sharing the same volume number. Articles can be found using the journal title and the volume, issue and page numbers.







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