When using the library you will encounter a range of terms and acronyms that can often be confusing. We hope this short glossary will be of some help. If you cannot find what you want here you could try the 'A-Z index of this site'.
Abstract - a summary.
Aleph - the name of the library's computer system, from Ex Libris Ltd.
Boolean searching - searching using 'AND, OR, NOT' between search terms. Details on boolean searching.
Blackboard - an online learning environment system used at this university and many others Details on Blackboard, Blackboard website.
Catalogue - the Library Catalogue has been superseded by Library Search (see below).
CD-ROM - Compact Disc Read-Only Memory: an electronic storage device for information, which can include databases.
Citation searching/ Cited reference searching - a special type of search available on certain databases Details of citation searching.
COPAC - Copac is a combined library catalogue of many university, special, and national libraries in the UK and Ireland.
Classmark - books, and other materials, are arranged by subject classmark on the shelves. The classmark is displayed on the spines of the items. You can browse using a classmark on Library Search.
Impact factor - a measurement intended to give an indication of how important different journal titles are. Impact factors for science and social science titles are given in Journal Citation Reports (JCR)
Inter-library loan (ILL) - a loan made between libraries, which you may need to request if items you want are not held by the University Library in print or online. More about ILL.
ISBN - International Standard Book Number: most books published since the mid-1960s have one of these unique identifying numbers. Books are now published with both ISBN-13 (new style) and ISBN-10 (old style) numbers, and the ISBN-13 converter allows you to work out one from the other. Amazon often quotes both for a particular new book and they are usually given on library catalogues (see the Details option on UOB Library Search). Search for a book using its ISBN on Google, Google Scholar, library catalogues, UOB Library Search, or some databases.
ISSN - International Standard Serial Number: most journals published have one of these unique identifying numbers. Search for a journal using its ISSN on Google, Google Scholar, library catalogues, UOB Library Search, or some databases. SUNCAT, a catalogue of journals available in many UK academic and research libraries
JANET - Joint Academic Network: an electronic communications network for UK higher education.
Journal - a journal is defined as a publication appearing usually at regular intervals in a numbered sequence. Alternative terms are serial, periodical and magazine (though this last is little used in academic environments). See also Electronic journals.
JSTOR - a digital archive of core scholarly journals. At Bristol access is via our eJournals catalogue though you can also connect to JSTOR directly.
Keyword(s) - important words which summarize information. You can use keywords when you search the Internet, library catalogue or a database. Further information about choosing and combining search terms.
Libertas - the name of the library's old computer system and catalogue, replaced in Summer 1999 by the Aleph system.
Library Search - the replacement for the Library Catalogue and some functions of MetaLib introduced in October 2014. Our customised version of Primo from Ex Libris. More about Library Search.
Loan - an item, for example a book, which is being borrowed.
MetaLib: your resource gateway - our gateway to databases and key Internet resources now superseded by Library Search and our Databases page.
MIMAS - Manchester InforMation and Associated Services: a database host.
MyBristol - MyBristol is the University of Bristol’s web portal, a gateway to web-based services within and beyond the University.
Off-site Proxy - the Off-site Proxy allows members of the university to make their computer be recognised as though it were on the University network address and allow access to resources which are normally restricted to on-campus use only. Information on how to access electronic resources when I’m outside the University.
OPAC - Online Public Access Catalogue: also refers to a terminal for accessing Library Search.
Open access publishing - An article is "Open Access" if it can be freely accessed by anyone via the internet, rather than only available in full-text to subscribers.
Overdue notice - an overdue notice is sent to a borrower if they keep an item past its 'Date due for return'. Further details of library borrowing, including how to renew your loans.
Periodical - a periodical is defined as a publication appearing usually at regular intervals in a numbered sequence. You may be more familiar with the alternative term journal.
Portal - MyBristol is the University of Bristol’s web portal, a gateway to web-based services within and beyond the University.
Primo - Our Library Search system (see above) uses Primo from Ex Libris.
Remote Desktop - the Student Remote Desktop and the Staff Desktop allow members of the university to access the University from any computer with an Internet connection, with a full remote desktop, which works in exactly the same way as if you were sat at a PC on Campus. Information on how to access electronic resources when I’m outside the University.
Research Reserve - the Library has an off-campus book store called the Research Reserve. Further details, including how to request items from the Research Reserve
Reservation - to obtain an item currently on loan to another you may make a reservation request, using the Reserve option on Library Search. Further details of reservations.
Retrieve - to get or fetch some data from an information source like a database.
Search engine - indexes to resources on the internet. There are many different ones. A selection of search engines can be found in the internet searching section.
Serial - a serial is defined as a publication appearing usually at regular intervals in a numbered sequence. You may be more familiar with the alternative term journal.
Series - a series is defined as a publication appearing at intervals in a numbered sequence.
SFX - the software used for our 'Get it!' service, from Ex Libris.
Sherpa - a number of tools to help researchers find out how to make their research publicatications open access. Includes Sherpa FACT, Sherpa JULIET and Sherpa Romeo. Sherpa website.
Shibboleth - an authentication system for gaining access to electronic resources which we subscribe to, such as databases and ejournals. Replaced the ATHENS system at the University of Bristol in August 2008. Further details.
Standard loan - Standard loan is 28 days for undergraduates and taught postgraduates, and 84 days for research postgraduates and staff.
Subject gateway or tree - a subject breakdown of Internet resources. Links to some examples.
Web of Knowledge - a portal to various databases including Web of Science (see below) which are individually available through our Databases page. Web of Knowledge portal.
Web of Science - a number of databases comprise the Web of Science - Core Collection
abstr. - abstract, abstracted
anon. - anonymous
bibliog. - bibliography: A bibliography is a list of references, to books or sometimes to articles in journals. Bibliographies can take a variety of forms. Details on bibliographies.
c. - circa, about
ca. - circa, about
cc - carbon copy
cf. - confer, to compare one source with another
chap. - chapter
comp. - compiler
ed. - edition
(ed.) - edited by
Ed. - Editor
e.g. - exemplii gratia, for example
esp. - especially
et al. - et alia, and others
etc. - et cetera, and the rest
f. - following page
ff. - following pages
hbk. - hardback
ibid. - ibidem, in the same place, usually found in a list of references and which means in the same book, or journal, referring to the previously mentioned reference.
id. - idem, the same author
i.e. - id est, that is
illus. - illustration(s)
(illus.) - illustrated by
infra - below
loc. cit. - in the passage already quoted
ms. - manuscript
mss. - manuscripts
n.d. - no date
no. - number
No. - number (as in Number 6)
non seq. - it does not follow
op. cit. - opere citato, in the work quoted
p. - page
passim - here and throughout the work
pbk. - paperback
pp. or p.p. - pages
Pt. - part
rev. ed. - revised edition
ser. - series
[sic] - thus, so written
s.l. - sine loco, no place
s.n. - sine nomine, no name
Suppl. - supplement
supra - above
trans. - translated by
vol. - volume (as in one volume)
Vol. - volume (as in Volume 3)
AbeBooks Glossary - includes sections on book sizes, book condition descriptions, common abbreviations, and a general glossary listing other relevant book terms.