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Online Library Introduction (OLI)

Al things OLI: pre-recorded asynchronous OLI, post-OLI survey, Glossary of Library Terms, and more.

OLI Library Terms Defined

Confused by library terms? Consult the following list for help.

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Short description or summary of a book, article or other library resource. Abstracts often appear in online database records.

Academic journals
Periodical that covers research in a specific field. The content is typically written by scholars.

Academic Success Center
Collection of student services that includes tutoring, the writing and math centers, and the science study lab. Located on the second floor of the CyFair Library.

Process that involves following steps and using specific terms to retrieve desired information.

APA (American Psychological Association) Style
Standard of writing and citation created by the American Psychological Association. Used widely in the social sciences and other scientific fields.

Special collections of valuable materials (usually one of a kind or limited edition) that are of historical significance.

A written and published document found in a magazine, newspaper, or journal.


List of citations to works used by an author to write a paper, article, or book.

Boolean Operators
Words that can be used to group search terms to expand or narrow search results. Include AND, OR, and NOT.


Call number
Alphanumeric code that identifies a specific book or other item in the library and also indicates its location within the library. The CyFair Library uses the Dewey Decimal System to organize library items.

Online tool used to locate items such as books, DVD’s, CD’s and other holdings in the library.  

Chicago Manual of Style
Writing style and citation guide often used in history and the arts.  It is sometimes referred to as Chicago, CMS, or CMOS.

Department within the library that oversees the checking in and out of materials, maintaining the physical book collection, production of library cards, etc.

Information about a book, journal article, or other source; it includes all of the information needed to identify this source, such as author, title, publication information, date, and page numbers. Different disciplines require different citation styles. See APA Style, CMS Style, MLA Style.

see Chicago Manual of Style.


Educational learning platform used by the Lone Star College system. Contains important information such as course information, including syllabi, lessons, resources and grades

Subscription-based, searchable collection of resources. May include journal articles, news pieces, book reviews, magazine articles, films, and more. Some databases cover many disciplines and others cover only one subject area.

Dewey Decimal System
Widely used classification system for library items devised by Melvil Dewey, currently used by CyFair Library. Dewey call numbers typically have three whole numbers followed by decimal numbers. Fiction items are organized using the first three letters of the author's last name.


Digital version of a book that can be viewed on, and sometimes downloaded to, a computer or other electronic device. Accessible via library databases, including the eBook Collection, Ebook Central, and OverDrive.


Full Text
The complete text of an article, book, or other item. Many library databases allow access to the full text version of journal articles, books, and other materials.


Google Scholar
Search engine that provides links to full-text articles to which CyFair Library subscribes or to articles made freely available by the publisher. Search results include mainly journal articles, books, reports, and dissertations. Some sources may be protected by a paywall or they may not actually be high quality academic sources.


Hold (verb)
To reserve an item in the library's collection (print or electronic) using the library catalog.

Hold (noun)
A library item previously placed on hold and awaiting check out.


1. Usually found at the end of a publication, a list of names or topics that directs you to the pages where those names or topics are discussed within the publication. 2. A printed or electronic publication that provides references to periodical articles or books by their subject, author, or other search terms.

Information literacy
The study and teaching of how and when to locate, evaluate, and ethically use information for research and for personal use, as well as how to recognize and avoid false or misleading information. This is typically taught by information professionals, like librarians, researchers, and professors. Anyone can develop information literacy skills at any stage of life.

InterLibrary Loan
A library service whereby you may reserve and obtain a resource from another library. If Lone Star College or Harris County Public Library doesn’t have the book or article you need, you can request the item using our Interlibrary Loan Request Form. If the needed material is owned by a library within the LSC or HCPL systems, you may place a hold on that item and have it sent to the library of your choice.


Type of periodical that covers research in a particular discipline; usually published several times a year. These tend to be well researched and they are reviewed for quality before publication (see peer review). For example, The Journal of Nutrition publishes new research studies, information, and articles about what new discoveries have been made about what we eat and how it affects our individual and societal health. Some of these may be publicly accessible if they're open access, but many are behind paywalls and can only be accessed for free by students using a library database.

Journal Index
Searchable list of journals, typically available at your library. A journal index can help you identify relevant journals in your area of study.


Word used to describe a subject or topic, similar to a hashtag. These words are often connected by a Boolean operator to link them together, search for multiple terms at once, or to exclude a term from a search. Most library databases and catalogs work using keyword searching. Unlike a subject heading, a keyword is not a form of controlled vocabulary.

Keyword Searching
Using keywords to locate research materials about a topic, similar to searching using hashtags or tags. Not a form of controlled vocabulary.


Special websites custom made by librarians on specific subjects.

Library of Congress System
Classification system developed by the Library of Congress and used by many academic libraries. Because LSC-CyFair Library is both a public and academic library, it uses the Dewey Decimal Classification System for all library materials.

Trained professional whose job it is to recommend, interpret, evaluate and/or use information resources to help individuals with specific information needs.


Print or online publication intended for a general audience that is issued on a weekly or monthly basis.

MLA Style
see Modern Language Association

Modern Language Association Style
Writing style and citation guide often used in the humanities.

Single publication, usually in the form of a book, that focuses on a particular topic or subject.


A regularly published news source, commonly available both in print and online. Some examples include the Houston Chronicle, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.


Open access
Information in the form of books, magazines, journals, among others, that is provided freely, without restriction, via the internet.


A barrier to access which requires payment in order to read content. Many sources blocked by a paywall on the open web may be available via the library databases.

Peer review
A quality-control process in which experts review journal article submissions and either approve or reject them for publication. Helps ensure that studies with flawed methods or conclusions don't reach the publication stage.

Peer-reviewed journals (see Journals)
A journal in which included articles have been reviewed by experts in the field prior to publication.

Provides consistent access to a website, even if the site's address changes with hardware or file re-configurations.

Publications that are published periodically, i.e. daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly. Some examples are newspapers, magazines, and journals.

To use someone else’s ideas as your own. Common forms of plagiarism include, but are not limited to, copying and pasting from an article without citation, altering a few words from an article, and failing to cite each instance the idea is used.

Primary source
An original record of events, such as a diary, a newspaper article, a public record, or scientific documentation.

Event that is conducted or sponsored by the library.


A collection of information about an item listed in a database. For example, a record for a journal article will contain citation information (author, title, journal title, publication information, volume number, date, page numbers) as well as subject headings, an abstract, and other information.

Reference assistance
All the functions performed by a trained librarian employed in the reference department of a library to meet the information needs of people, including but not limited to answering questions, instructing users in the selection and use of appropriate tools and techniques for finding information, directing users to the location of library resources, assisting in the evaluation of information, referring people to resources outside the library when appropriate, keeping reference statistics, and participating in the development of the reference collection.

Selected course materials, such as books and articles, that instructors want students to read or view for a particular course. These materials are usually kept in one area of the library and circulate for only a short period of time.


Scholarly communication
The means by which individuals engaged in academic research and creative endeavor inform their peers, formally or informally, of the work they are engaged in or have accomplished. Scholars communicate by writing books and journal articles for publication, presenting conference papers that may then be published in proceedings and transactions, submitting reports in fulfillment of grant requirements, creating and maintaining websites for the academic community, and corresponding with peers via e-mail and electronic mailing lists. Broadly defined, the process includes not only the creation and dissemination of scholarly works but also evaluation of quality (peer review) and preservation for future use.

Scholarly journals (see Peer-reviewed journals)

Secondary sources
Materials such as books and journal articles that analyze primary sources. Secondary sources usually provide evaluation or interpretation of data or evidence found in original research or documents such as historical manuscripts or memoirs.

Any document that provides information sought by a writer, researcher, library user, or person searching an online catalog or database. Also refers to a document that provides information copied or reproduced in another document, such as a quotation or excerpt. In literature, the story, legend, or work that inspires or provides elements of plot or characterization for another literary work, for example, the chronicles of English history on which William Shakespeare based some of his history plays. (see primary source, secondary source)


An edition of a book specifically intended for the use of students who are enrolled in a course of study or preparing for an examination on a subject or in an academic discipline. Sometimes published along with a workbook, lab manual, and/or teacher's manual.

Trade publications (see Journals)
Periodical devoted to disseminating news and information of interest to a specific category of business or industry, often published by a trade association.

Supplementary instruction designed to help people who need extra help with their studies. Information on tutoring services available at Lone Star College is kept updated at the following link: 


Writing Center
Many higher education institutions maintain a writing center that provides students with free assistance on their papers, projects, reports, multi-modal documents, web pages, etc., from consultants. Although writing center staff are often referred to as tutors, writing centers are primarily places for collaboration in which writers and tutors work together to help writers achieve their goals. Typical services include help with the purpose, structure, function of writing, and are geared toward writers of various levels and fields of study. Writing centers may offer one-on-one scheduled tutoring appointments, group tutoring, and writing workshops. Services may also include drop-in hours. Writing tutors do not assign grades to students' writing assignments.(from Information on LSC CyFair’s Writing Center is kept updated at the following link: