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 "Academic Integrity Policy" (new policy for fall 2022) which describes the college's definition of plagiarism and explanation of punishment if found plagiarizing.

Primary sources: Are materials 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.