Skip to main content

Library Glossary: A-C

A guide to Library words and phrases


Skip to: A B C




A short summary of the main content of an article or document. Reading the abstract can give you information about the article and help you to decide whether you want to read it in full.


The system we use to allow you to access electronic resources at home.


A piece of research on a specific aspect of a subject written by an academic or other expert and usually found in a journal.

Audio-visual (also referred to as AV)

Something that can be seen and heard. Used to describe Compact Discs (CDs), LPs, and DVDs.

Back to top



A list of books, usually found at the end of an article. A list of references of books, articles etc. that you have used for your assignment.

Borrower number

This is your 8-digit student number, followed by the 2-digit issue number on your University ID card (enter with no spaces) i.e. 1234567801. Use this to access your online library account, and the Digital Library, using your 4-digit library PIN (Personal Identification Number).

Back to top



An online database which lists a library's collection of books, E-books, CDs and DVDs and tells you where to find them. Also called an OPAC. Click here for the catalogue.

Centre for Academic Success

The Centre for Academic Success runs workshops and gives advice in 1:1 and small groups of students on a variety of subjects, including English, maths, programming, and study skills.


BCU's live text-based communication between the library user and librarian. This is used as part of the Library Help service


Fines you pay if you return/renew an item after the due date. These appear in the 'your account' section of iCity.


A brief description of a publication such as a journal article or book. If you use words or ideas from a book or an article in your assignment you must say where this comes from - this is the citation. Find details of how to Cite and Reference here.


To provide a brief description of a document you have used to inform your arguments in a university assignment. This protects you from allegations of plagiarism. Find details of how to Cite and Reference here.

Class mark (also known as shelf mark)

The arrangement of books in the library. Books are arranged in number order (Dewey Decimal system) reflecting the subject, for example, Cookery Skills are marked 641.5. You will find the class mark on the catalogue entry and on the spine of each book.‚Äč


The law of copyright exists to protect authors and publishers, preventing anyone making copies of their work without their permission. More information can be found here.

Back to top