Library Lingo Decoder
Academic Journal: These are also known as scholarly journals. They are periodicals, just like magazines and newspapers, meaning that they are published at certain intervals during the year (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly). The articles in scholarly journals are of much better quality because they are written by leading thinkers, researchers, scientists, and writers in a field. In order for an article to be published in one of these journals, other thinkers, researchers, scientists, or writers who do the same kind of work must read, critique, and approve the article for publishing. This process is called peer-review. You may be required to use all or some academic journals for some assignments (such as literary criticism), but not for others. Keep in mind that the peer review process takes time (as in months), so there is a lag before really current topics show up in searches. If you are using the EBSCOhost database, there is a limiter that you can check off to make sure all of your results come from academic journals.
APA-style Citations: When you write a scholarly paper, article, thesis, dissertation, or book, you are engaging in a kind of conversation with other scholars in that field. You may use their ideas in your work, but you must tell your readers where you found that information. This is called a citation, and must have certain elements (author, title, journal name, volume, issue, date, etc.), and these elements must be in a certain order with specific punctuation. The standard citation style for Psychology and some other fields is APA, for American Psychological Association. Using this standard style will enable your professor to know exactly where you got your information when they are evaluating your work, but the citation will also help someone interested in the topic to find additional reading. Librarians can help you with these citations, but the real experts are the folks in the Tutoring Center. They have prepared some wonderful handouts that are now online. Here is the guide for citing in APA style: http://www.bucks.edu/media/bcccmedialibrary/tutoring/documents/writing/APA%20Ref.%20Citation%20Guide.pdf. If you someday prepare an article of other work for publication, you will be required to follow APA or some other standards for the body of the work as well.
Full-Text Articles: The databases we use don’t always have the rights or clearance to supply you with the entire article. The database may give you only a citation which tells you where to find the article (much like the MLA and APA styles described here). In this case, we say that the database indexed the article rather than providing it. In this case, you will have to check the Library’s other databases and its print subscriptions to see if the article can be found in some other source. If not, you can ask the library to do an Interlibrary Loan for you, where you will receive a copy of the article. Librarians can help you check the library’s holdings and fill out an Interlibrary Loan form if necessary.
Interlibrary Loan: Almost as long as libraries have existed, they have shared their resources. If you identify a book or article that our library does not have, you can ask us to find you a copy from some other library. Most of the time with books, we can find some other library willing to lend you their copy through us, and you will return it through us. If it is an article you seek, the lending library will usually send us a photocopy, but once in a while they will send it electronically. To start this process, fill out one of the forms (books or articles) found on the library’s website, or follow this link: http://www.bucks.edu/academics/learn/library/ill/. Please remember that it could take two weeks or longer to get the book or article into your hands. This all depends on the lending library, mail service, and variables we have no control over. We will do our best to expedite the process for you.
Library Catalog: This is an old-fashioned term for the big index or database of the library’s holdings: books, ebooks, DVDs, CDs, pamphlets, maps, and whatever the library has available. Our library’s catalog is available by clicking on a link on our website here: http://www.bucks.edu/academics/learn/library/ or by using one of the widgets we’ve placed on our research guides. You can search by keyword, title, author, periodical title, and subject heading, and in the actual non-widget catalog you can limit your results by format and location (campus).
LibGuides: This is the brand name for the research guides librarians provide for classes they teach and other areas of inquiry. We collect tutorials, widgets, videos, text boxes, contact information, and other features relevant to a course on these guides, and make them known to any courses with which we are involved. Consult these guides if you come up with a question during research or other library tasks, and you will probably find your answer. Here is the dashboard which will lead you to the many Bucks LibGuides available: http://bucks.libguides.com/ .
Microfilm: Some of our periodical holdings are preserved on rolls of film for which you will need a special reader. We have the New York Times, Bucks County Courier Times, and some other periodicals in this format. The Library Catalog will tell you if an item is in this format. Currently, the microfilm cabinets and readers live in their own room on the main floor of the Library.
MLA-style Citations: When you write a scholarly paper, article, thesis, dissertation, or book, you are engaging in a kind of conversation with other scholars in that field. You may use their ideas in your work, but you must tell your readers where you found that information. This is called a citation, and must have certain elements (author, title, journal name, volume, issue, date, etc.), and these elements must be in a certain order with specific punctuation. There are many styles of citation, but the one we use most of the time at Bucks is MLA. MLA stands for Modern Language Association. Using this standard style will enable your professor to know exactly where you got your information when they are evaluating your work, but the citation will also help someone interested in the topic to find additional reading. Librarians can help you with these citations, but the real experts are the folks in the Tutoring Center. They have prepared some wonderful handouts that are now online. Check out this one for MLA-style: http://www.bucks.edu/media/bcccmedialibrary/pdf/MLAHandout7thedi.pdf. If you someday prepare an article of other work for publication, you will be required to follow MLA or some other standards for the body of the work as well.
Peer-Reviewed Articles: (These are explained in the definition for academic journals, too.) When a researcher, scientist, academic thinker or writer wishes to publish their article, this article must be critiqued and vetted by a team of experts in that same field. These experts are the writer’s peers because they have the expertise to know if the work is solid, original, and if it adds something new to the existing literature. They will either approve or reject the article, or, they may approve it pending certain corrections by the author. Scholars need to publish articles in their field because this serves as evidence that they are contributing. If they don’t show this evidence, they could lose their positions or funding in favor of someone who is contributing. All of this means that the articles showing up in academic journals are the best in the field.
Popular or Non-Scholarly Periodicals: These are the magazines that you are used to seeing on newsstands and in bookstores. They are usually printed on glossy paper, and contain many images and advertisements because they exist to make money. Newspapers also fit into this category. These are credible sources and do not have the publishing lag time that academic journals do. However, the articles in these publications are written by writers who are not always experts on their topics, and their work is approved or rejected by editors instead of peer-reviewers. These are perfectly legitimate sources for some work you might be doing, especially if you are working on a timely Business, Health, or Social Issue topic. If you have any question about the expertise of the author, you can always research what other work they have done in this area. (Google them!)