Library & Research Terms Defined


Abstract: A summary of a journal article. Abstracts are typically found on the first page of most scholarly articles.

Annotated bibliography: A list of research sources which includes citations and additional information explaining the importance of each source to your research.

Dewey Decimal Classification: A system used to organize library materials typically used by public libraries and in high school library collections.

Interlibrary loan: A system where libraries work together to share books and other material.  When a library doesn’t own an item, it may be able to borrow it from another library in the system.

Library of Congress Classification: A system originally developed by the Library of Congress to organize its book collections. This system is typically used by college libraries.

Peer-review: A process where experts from an area of study judge the quality of an article or book before approving it for publication. Peer-reviewed journals may also be called refereed or scholarly journals.

Plagiarism: The act of using someone else’s words or ideas without giving them credit (whether intentional or not).  It is a violation of academic ethics.  Review SUNY Oswego's "College Policy on Academic Integrity" which describes the college's definition of plagiarism and explanation of punishment if found plagiarizing.

Primary sources: Are material which provide a personal or first-hand account of a topic or an historical event.  The author is a witness to the event or has personal knowledge of the topic. Some examples include diaries, speeches, fiction, lab reports, and court cases.