This glossary defines selected words, phrases and acronyms used in Study Smart. Many additional links to online dictionaries, thesauri, encyclopaedias, and directories may be found in the QUT Library electronic reference listings.

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A summary of an article or paper, often appearing at the beginning of the paper. An abstract field may also be available in some indexes.
Access account and password
Your QUT Access username and password provides you with access to all major online services at QUT.
Precision, exactness
Often published on an annual basis, an almanac contains facts of a miscellaneous nature and quite often includes statistical information. Plural: almanacs.
Either of these possibilities.
To furnish (a literary work) with critical commentary or explanatory notes; gloss. The act of adding notes (annotations).
A periodical published yearly; a yearbook
Writing on a specific topic or subject found in a journal, periodical, magazine, or newspaper.
A book or bound collection of maps.
Audiovisual materials
Non-book materials, such as audio-cassettes, records, slides,video recordings,computer programs and films.
Audiovisual Services
A section of the University that offers audiovisual support; this can include the loan of digital cameras, MP3 recorders, Laser pointers, DVD players, monitors and data projectors.
The writer of a book, article, or other text.
AV Services
See: Audiovisual services.


Back up
The act of making multiple copies of your work to safeguard again lost or damaged information.
There are two meanings. Firstly, a list comprising (a) works cited in the text; and (b) other relevant works consulted. Other names for this list include 'References', 'Lists of References', or 'Sources Consulted'. Secondly, a publication that consists of a list of books, articles etc. on a particular subject.
An account of a person's life written, composed, or produced by another.
The saving of favourite web sites in a browser or bookmarking program.
Boolean operators
Named after George Boole, an English mathematician who invented them as part of a system of logic in the nineteenth century. The operators include AND, OR, NOT (or AND NOT) and are used to indicate to databases and search engines which words to include and exclude. For example, “dolphins and seals” finds records with both terms included, “dolphins or seals” finds records with one, or the other, or both terms included.
A software program that is used to view information on the World Wide Web. Examples are Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and Edge.


Call number
A number used in libraries to classify a book and indicate its location on the shelves.
A list or itemized display, as of titles, course offerings, or articles for exhibition or sale, usually including descriptive information or illustrations.
A person who reviews the content of an item and assigns relevant subject terms to the record for that item. See indexer.
Compact Disc Read Only Memory. CD-ROMs are similar to music CDs and are designed to store large amounts of digital data. A computer software program allows the user to access a CD-ROM database interactively. This data may be printed or downloaded to a floppy disc.
To provide information (a citation) in the text that links a reader to a reference to the original author of a quote or paraphrased concept.
Cited author
An author whose work has been used (cited) by other authors.
Classification code
A code given to the subject of an item to locate it within similar items, whether in a physical location on library shelves or in a database.
An idea, thought, notion, or general theme. A phrase or series of terms describing a problem.
A meeting for consultation or discussion.
A collection of information, usually including a username and the current date and time, stored on the local computer of a person using the World Wide Web. Cookies are used chiefly by web sites to identify users who have previously registered or visited the site.
Course reserve collection
Material that is in constant, heavy demand. It will be located in the open access areas of your branch Library. Loans are limited from one to two hours. Course Reserve material can be found through the Library Search. Some Course Reserve material may be electronically retrieved.


A database is information stored, typically in electronic format. It may contain bibliographic or numerical data, which is generally structured so that it can be sought and retrieved automatically. A collection of data. See also: Electronic databases.
A subject heading or term used to describe a topic.
Dewey Decimal Classification System
The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system is used by QUT Library to organise titles by subject area on the Library shelves. The system divides knowledge into ten main fields, in 000s-900s, which are further broken down in a hierarchy of increasing specificity. Each area of knowledge has its own number range.
Document delivery
QUT Library's Document Delivery service includes: Interlibrary Loans; Document Delivery, the supply of documents and other materials from vendors other than libraries (such as commercial document suppliers); and Intercampus Loans.
A character string used to identify electronic documents such as individual journal articles.
A group of networked computers that share a common communications address.


Books displayed and available to read and download online.
Edition statement
The total number of copies of a particular book, newspaper, etc., that are published at the same time.
Electronic databases
Databases, such as indexes, are produced by commercial firms, government departments, professional bodies, and research organisations. These may be in CD-ROM format in the Library, or accessed remotely via the internet. Many of those the Library subscribes to you can search from the Library PADs, computer laboratories or staff offices.
Electronic mail. Messages, usually text, sent from one person to another via computer. Email can also be sent automatically to a large number of addresses (Mailing List).
Based on documented observation or experience rather than by theory or logic. Thus, empirical journal articles report original research findings drawn from experiments or trials run by the author.
A book or set of books containing many articles arranged in alphabetical order which deal either with the whole of human knowledge or with a particular part of it.
External Hard drive
A type of hard drive disk connected externally to your computer to provide extra memory space. Often used to archive or back up work, or to free up memory space on the computer’s internal hard drive.


A field is part of a record held in a database, containing specific information. For example, an author field contains the name of the authors that wrote the indexed work.
A file is a collection of machine-readable material arranged in some systematic order.
Part of a computer system intended to block unauthorised access.
Software that is provided without charge
Also seen as full-text, full text. Signifies that the entire article is available for viewing in the database. It is usually available in either HTML or PDF formats.


General collection
Find here books, conference papers, videos, kits, computer software, etc., all shelved together by subject. This collection is for loan.


A book which contains instructions or advice about how to do something or the most important and useful information about a subject.
To place a request, via the Library Search, for an item to be "reserved" for you. Plural: holds.
Hyper Text Markup Language
HTML: the coding language used to create Hypertext documents for use on the World Wide Web. HTML looks a lot like old-fashioned typesetting code, where you surround a block of text with codes that indicate how it should appear; additionally, in HTML you can specify that a block of text, or a word, is linked to another file on the Internet. HTML files are meant to be viewed using a World Wide Web client program (browser), such as MS Internet Explorer or Netscape. See also: client, WWW.
Hypertext link
Generally, any text that contains links to other documents, words or phrases in the document that can be chosen by a reader and which cause another document to be retrieved and displayed.


See: Intercampus Loan.
See: Interlibrary Loan.
  1. An alphabetical list at the end of a book or periodical which gives page references to where names and subjects can be found.
  2. An alphabetical list of terms, (eg. Author, keyword) providing points of access to search a database.
A person who reviews the content of an item and assigns relevant subject terms to the record for that item. See also: cataloguer.
Information Literacy
To be information literate, an individual must recognise when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use the information needed effectively. Ultimately the information literate people are those who have learned how to learn. They know how to learn because they know how information is organised, how to find information, and how to use information in such a way that others can learn from them. (American Library Association, 1989).
Intercampus Loan
QUT students and staff can request material held at other QUT branch Libraries to be sent to their home campus for collection.
Interlibrary Loan
Interlibrary Loans obtain books, periodical articles and other items not held by QUT Library. Usually staff and postgraduate students are eligible for ILL loans relating to teaching or research. Requests can be lodged at your branch Library using an ILL/Document Delivery form or lodged electronically.
The publicly accessible worldwide system of interconnected computer networks.


Contains scholarly research articles, papers, or reports. See: Periodicals.


A significant word in a title or document.


A law or set of laws suggested by a government and made official by a parliament.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
The Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) comprise a thesaurus of subject headings, maintained by the Library of Congress (US) for use in bibliographic records.
One that limits; a limiter of choices. Plural: limiters.


Contains popular articles. See periodicals.
A small reference work, especially one giving instructions.
Mathematical symbols
The + or - symbol placed immediately in front of a word being searched (no spaces) to ensure that the works containing the terms are either included or excluded in the list of results.
An item dealing with a particular subject.
Moys classification system
The Moys classification system is used in the Law Library. It divides the collection into more specific law subjects.


A function of searching whereby the terms within a set of parentheses (brackets) is searched first to ensure the correct logic of the search is maintained. Used when mixing Boolean operators in the same search statement. For example, circus and (trapeze or highwire) will find results that include circus and trapeze, circus and highwire, and circus and both terms.
Note taking
The act of taking notes to record main points made by the author.


See: Boolean Operators.


A restatement of a text or passage in another form or other words, often to clarify meaning.
Either or both of the upright curved lines, ( ), used to mark off explanatory or qualifying remarks in writing or printing or other expression; considered or treated as a collective entity in a mathematical operation. Plural: parentheses.
Portable Document Format. The extension of the file is .pdf. This format was developed by Adobe ® Systems for ease of document sharing on the Internet and for easy printing of documents. It retains the original layout of the document when converted to a PDF file.
Peer reviewed
An article that has been read and critiqued by the author's peers.
A publication issued in successive individual parts at regular or irregular intervals with no foreseeable end, for example, journals, magazines or newspapers. Also known as serials. Plural: periodicals.
Periodical collection
Holds periodicals in various formats - paper, microfiche, video, all shelved by subject. This collection is not for loan, unless otherwise indicated, and has the collection prefix 'P'.
Phrase searching
Phrase searching refers to the use of inverted commas to force a search tool to find terms in a phrase only. For example: "acquired immune deficiency syndrome".
The act of using another person's work without crediting that person through a citation and reference.
Downloadable digital audio files usually available in a series.
Primary source
These are original materials, which have not been filtered through interpretation, or often even evaluation by a second party.
A copy of a printed work offered for distribution.
A person or business engaged in publishing periodicals or books or music.


A record is a group of fields that contain specific data describing the indexed entry of a piece of written work such as a journal article or conference paper.
When an article or other item is given to an appointed person for review, especially for a settlement, decision, or an opinion as to its quality, it is said to have been refereed.
A reference is a description of a work by another author that has been quoted or paraphrased by the citing author; a reference usually appears at the end of a work and is linked to a citation in text.
Reference collection
The Reference Collection holds specialised publications which are usually consulted for brief facts or as an entry point to other literature. This collection typically holds dictionaries, encyclopaedias, bibliographies, directories, indexes and abstracts, atlases etc. This collection is not for loan and has the prefix 'R' on spine labels.
Standing for Really Simple Syndication, a format of web feed used to publish frequently updated content- such as blogs, news, podcasts, video- to the chosen RSS reader of a user.
RSS reader
A program used to collect RSS feeds.


Of, relating to, or characteristic of scholars or scholarship: scholarly pursuits; a scholarly edition with footnotes. Academic; learned.
Search engine
A computer program that searches a database of web sites for specified keywords.
Search statement
The keywords and connecting operators (ie Boolean operators) that are typed into a database to retrieve information.
Search term
The words used in a search for information.
Search tools
General term for resources that enable you to identify and obtain different types of publications. For example: QUT Library Search, databases, internet search engines or subject directories.
Secondary source
Information about original information which has usually been selected or modified for a particular purpose or audience.
A mobile phone with advanced computing ability and internet connectivity, usually operated primarily by touch screen.
Social media
The collective name for web based and mobile technologies that create participatory and collaborative online content.
Something that resembles or suggests a backbone, as: the hinged back of a book.
Software that collects information about another computers activities.
Recommendation or specifications on quality, safety, dimensions, codes of practice, methods of testing, symbols and terminology.
Streaming media
Multimedia played over the internet as they are downloading, rather than having users download the file first.
Subject heading
Keywords used in the description of a topic. A subject heading is a word or phrase which is assigned to an item to describe its subject content. QUT Library uses Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and Medical Subject Headings (MeSH).
An agreement to receive or be given access to electronic texts or services, especially over the Internet.
A word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another word or other words in a language.
The pattern of formation of sentences or phrases in a language.
Combine so as to form a more complex product.


A complete computer contained entirely in a flat touch screen.
A group or classification, or synonyms, or a list of descriptors (subject headings). Often publishers of periodical indexes/abstracts or other databases produce a thesaurus or list of preferred or 'controlled' subject headings. Plural: thesauri.
Being at the right time.
An identifying name given to a book, play, film, musical composition, or other work.
Trade publication
Trade publications are periodicals which publish information relevant to a specific industry.
A systematic, usually extensive, written discourse on a subject.
A system of searching that allows you to place a symbol at the end of a word to find variants of that word. For example - aborig* = aborigine, aborigines, aboriginal, aboriginality. The symbol is dependent on the database used.
Txt speak
Abbreviations and slang used in SMS or texting between mobile phones.


Uniform Resource Locator. The address of a file on the Intranet.


The quality of having legal force or effectiveness.
  1. A collection of written or printed sheets bound together; a book.
  2. One of the books of a work printed and bound in more than one book.
  3. A series of issues of a periodical, usually covering one calendar year.
  4. A unit of written material assembled together and catalogued in a library.


Web page
A document on the World Wide Web, consisting of an HTML file and any related files for scripts and graphics, and often hyperlinked to other documents on the Web.
Many databases allow a symbol known as a wildcard to be placed within a word to find variants of that word, e.g. wom?n = woman, women. Plural: wildcards, wild cards.
World Wide Web
Abbreviated as: WWW. Two meanings - First, loosely used: the whole constellation of resources that can be accessed using Gopher, FTP, HTTP, telnet, USENET, WAIS and some other tools. Second, the universe of hypertext servers (HTTP servers) which are the servers that allow text, graphics, sound files, etc. to be mixed together.


A documentary, memorial, or historical book published every year, containing information about the previous year.