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Library Glossary: A-C

A guide to Library words and phrases


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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.

Academic Development Department (ADD)

The ADD support students within the Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences. Staffed by academic support staff they offer workshops and tutorials on a 1:1 and small group basis covering academic writing, critical analysis, referencing and numeracy.

Advanced search

Advanced search is offered on the library website and library databases. It allows you to build a search using AND, OR and NOT to help narrow and refine your results. For tips on how to put an advanced search together take a look at our Searching Guide. 


A collection of historical documents.


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


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

Audio-visual (also referred to as AV)

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

Automatic Renewal

Automatic renewal means your items on loan will be renewed for a further two weeks, unless:

  • They have been reserved by another user
  • They are orchestral sets or other performance material
  • They are Inter-Library Loans
  • They are Laptops

For more information take a look at our Borrowing Information page.

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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).

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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

Conference Proceedings

A collection of papers published from an academic conference


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.

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