Library Glossary

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A brief summary of an item, such as an article. Abstract databases do not include full-text (complete) documents.

Call Number

A combination of numbers and letters that shows where an item is located in the library. A call number label is placed on each item and the items are then arranged in alphanumeric order.

Campus to Campus Loan

An item that is sent from one STC campus to another campus for a specific user. Items are sent to the user’s preferred campus for free. Requests are made through the Campus to Campus form.


Activities that involve users borrowing items from the library.

Cite Sources

To give credit to a source of information. Citations should follow a consistent structure, such as the APA, MLA, or Chicago style. For more information, view our Writing & Citing Sources guide.


Library materials that have been grouped based on format or content. For example, items in the Electronic Collection and Oversized Collection are grouped by format. Items in the Juvenile Collection and New Collection are grouped by content.

Community User

Members of the community that wish to use the library, but that are not current students, faculty, or staff. Click here for more information on Community Users.

Course Reserves

Items placed at the library by instructors to supplement courses. These items can be checked out for 2 hours at a time and must stay within the library. Users can search Course Reserves here.


An online collection of journals, ebooks, images, and/or videos. Here you can find our complete list of databases.

Discovery Search

A search tool that allows users to search the Library Catalog and most, but not all, databases. Click these links to use Discovery Search or to find a list of databases that must be searched separately from Discovery Search.


The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique numerical identifier assigned to Web documents. Where available, the DOI is often used in citing Web documents.


A hold means that there is a waiting list to checkout an item. The first person to place a hold is given an opportunity to check out the item before the next person on the waiting list. Items can be placed on hold by selecting the “Place Hold” option beside the item description in the Library Catalog.


Items that are contained in the library collection. Holdings often show the campus and location where an item can be found.


A list that contains information about a collection of items, such as journals. An index does not include full-text (complete) documents.

Interlibrary Loan

An item that is sent from a library outside of STC for a specific user. All loans must follow the Interlibrary Loan Procedures.


The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a ten or thirteen-digit number assigned to a book or edition of a book. It can be used to search for a book in the Library Catalog.


International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is an eight-digit number assigned to a serial (journal, magazine, or newspaper) publication. It can be used to search for a serial publication in the Library Catalog.


A publication that contains articles that are written for professionals in a particular field. Most academic journals contain peer-reviewed scholarly articles, which are considered more reliable and credible than articles that appear in a popular magazine.

Journal Locator

A search tool that allows users to search for journals by title or articles by citation information. Click here for our Journal Locator.

Library Catalog

A tool to search items in the library’s physical collection. Users can search specific collections, such as the New Collection or Juvenile Collection, a specific format, such as DVD, and Course Reserves. You can find the Library Catalog here.

Library Materials Delivery Service

A service where library materials are sent to Distance Learning students and faculty that reside outside of Hidalgo and Starr counties. All requests must follow the Library Materials Delivery Service Procedures.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Teaching, learning, or research materials, such as textbooks and course materials, that are published under an intellectual property license that allows for free use, adaptation, and distribution, or which are otherwise not restricted by copyright.


An individual that uses the library in-person or online.


A permanent link to a specific online item, such as a webpage, article, or video.


To present another person’s ideas or work as one’s own without giving credit to the original source. Plagiarism is a form of academic dishonesty penalized under the STC Student Code of Conduct.

Ready Reference

A collection of more frequently consulted items from the reference collection, which are located in a separate area from the rest of the reference collection.

Reference Collection

A collection of items, such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases, that are used to look up specific information. Reference materials may not be checked out from the library.

Reference Librarian

A librarian who specializes in assisting users with research.


Information collections and tools to help you find content within them. Here is a list of our primary Resources.


Materials that are published at regular intervals, such as journals, magazines, and newspapers.

Subject Guides

Guides created by library staff to help you find the most useful information in a specific subject area. Click here to view our Subject Guides.


A Web-based lesson to help you better understand the library, information resources, and how to do effective research. Click here to view our Video Tutorials.