In order to use the library successfully, it is helpful to understand certain library terms and concepts. Definitions on this page will acquaint you with the ORU Library. If you have any questions, please contact the librarian at the Library Services Desk for assistance.



An abstract is a brief summary of an article or book.

AND is a Boolean search operator used to combine search terms so that each result contains all terms searched.


A bibliographic citation is information that identifies an article, book, web resource, or other resource. In general, an article citation includes the author, title of the article, title of periodical, volume, page(s), and date; a book citation usually includes the author, title, publisher, and date; and web citation will may also include a URL or DOI. See opens new windowCiting Sources or refer to a print style manual for more citation information.

Bibliography refers to the citation list of resources used in scholarly work. APA (American Psychological Association) style uses the term "Bibliography," MLA (Modern Language Association) style uses "Works Cited," and Turabian style uses "Reference List."

A biography is information about a person. The Biographical Information guide provides tips for searching databases.

Boolean operators such as "AND", "OR", or "NOT" are used when searching databases. They combine search terms in order to narrow or expand the search results. Use AND to narrow the search by linking terms together (sleep AND students). Use OR to broaden a concept by including more terms to describe it (teens OR young adults OR youth). Use NOT to eliminate terms that you do not want in your search results.


Call numbers are unique combinations of numbers and letters that identify the book (or other library material) and its place on the shelf relative to other books. opens new windowLearn more

CD-ROM (Compact Disc - Read Only Memory) is a technology for putting information, such as periodical indexes and abstracts, on a small disc so it can be accessed by a computer.

Citation is a reference to a book, newspaper, journal article, or other resource used in a scholarly work. In general, an article citation includes the author, title of the article, title of periodical, volume, page(s), and date; a book citation usually includes the author, title, publisher, and date. Citations for online resources may require a URL or DOI. See "Bibliographic citation."

Circulation is the library department that checks out and reshelves materials, and handles overdue fines. opens new windowLearn more


A database is a resource of organized information, CD-ROM or online, that includes indexes and citations but may also include abstracts and full text. Examples of periodical databases include Academic Search Complete, Business Source Complete and Education Source; examples of ebook databases are Ebook Central and eBook Collection. Note: EBSCOhost is not a database but part of EBSCO Information Service, which develops, produces and provides research databases, and more. See: opens new windowWhat Are Databases and Why You Need Them (YouTube, 2:34 mins.)

Digital Showcase, ORU's institutional repository, is a growing collection of scholarly, creative and historical works. opens new windowLearn more.


Full text, which may be used in conjunction with "database," "journal" (periodical title) or "article," identifies that the entire article is online. In reference to full text databases, although the majority of the articles in the database are available in full text, some are indexed only.

Functionality refers to the useful features and behaviors that a computer program or application, such as a database. It answers the question, "What does it do?"


An index is a reference source that lists citations to articles on a particular topic, name, place, etc. An index list provides bibliographical information on selected subjects, or topics, under various search categories such as author, title, and keyword.

User interface refers to the way data is input and how information is displayed on the computer monitor.

Interlibrary loan, or ILL, is a library service (department) that gets materials from other libraries. opens new windowLearn more


A journal is a publication that contains scholarly articles with bibliographies written by experts concerning research in professional and academic fields. Examples: Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, Asbury Theological Journal,Nonprofit Management and Leadership, and Shakespeare Quarterly. Not all scholarly journals contain the word "journal" in the title. opens new windowLearn more

Journal Finder+ is an ORU database that contains all ORU periodical titles--journals, magazines, newspapers, trade publications--with links to online full text titles and a link to the ORU library catalog for those titles that are available in microform, CD-ROM, and/or print formats. opens new windowGo to Journal Finder+


LIBBIs are library student workshops. opens new windowLearn more

LIBBI Lab, or Library Instructional Lab, is located in on the 2nd floor across from the elevators. LIBBI sessions are held in the LIL. opens new windowView the schedule.


A magazine is a periodical that contains articles of interest to the public. Magazines usually have colorful covers, many pictures, and contain advertising. Usually there is no bibliography. Examples: opens new windowNewsweek, opens new windowConsumer Reports, opens new windowSports Illustrated and opens new window Time. Some periodicals that have the word "journal" in the title are not peer-reviewed, scholarly journals. For example, opens new windowThe Wall Street Journal is a newspaper. opens new windowLearn more

MESH refers to the Medical Subject Heading in databases such as CINAHL Complete and MEDLINE.

Microfiche ("mi-kro-feesh"-"mi-kro-fish") is the same thing as microfilm, but instead of being a long strip of film on a spool, microfiche is a sheet of plastic film about 4 by 6 inches in size.

Microfilm is a strip of film that is wound on a spool and contains magazine articles or other material reduced in size. The print is too small to see without the aid of one of the projectors in the periodicals room on the fourth floor.

Microform is the general term for any kind of information that is reduced in size and put on a form of plastic sheeting.


Natural Language searching is a search using regular spoken words and phrases.

NOT is a Boolean search operator that excludes terms from the search so that results do not contain the specified term(s).


OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog)is the opens new window Library catalog that enables you to locate books and other materials in the Learning Resources Center. opens new windowLearn more

OR is a Boolean search operator that combines search terms so that each result contains at least one of the terms. Using OR broadens search results.


Peer reviewed means experts in the field evaluated the validity of an article before publication.

Periodical is the generic name for a "periodic" publication such as newspaper, journal, or magazine. Periodicals are published at regular intervals that may be daily (as in the case of a newspaper), weekly, monthly, annually, or other regular time period. opens new windowLearn more

Print periodical titles, including magazines, are shelved on the last row of shelves on the 2nd floor. To find print and online periodical titles, search Journal Finder+.


Refereed refers to journals or articles that are peer reviewed.

Reference books are books that cannot be checked out of the library, but you are welcome to use them while in the library. They are kept in the Reference Room on the fourth floor. opens new windowLearn more

Remote access, or off campus access, refers to the availability of many of ORU's electronic resources via the Internet to off campus ORU students, faculty, and staff. If off campus, enter your Single Sign-On (SSO) when prompted.

Reserve materials are materials that professors choose to set aside to ensure the entire class has access to them. Students can use reserve materials in the library or check them out for a short time, such as for two hours or maybe overnight. Reserve materials are located at the Library Services Desk. (Books are put on reserve so that everyone in a class does not have to buy the books and so that one person will not check out the book for the normal two-week period, thus keeping anyone else from using the book.) opens new windowLearn more


Truncation refers to a special search symbol used at the end of a word in order to retrieve all possible endings of that word. A common truncation symbol is the asterisk (*). For example, searching "evangel*" retrieves the words evangel, evangelists, evangelism, evangelical, evangelized, etc. Additional information about truncation can be found in the Help section of the database you are searching or on library guides. opens new windowLearn more


Works Cited is the label used in MLA (Modern Language Association) style for the list of resources used in a scholarly work.