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First - Generation Students Library Guide

This library guide is designed to introduce UConn First-Generation (first-gen) students to the UConn Library and to provide support to ensure success in accessing and utilizing resources and services at the library.

Basic Library Services

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Library Resources: Where to Start

UConn Library homepage - start your search here. Accessible 24/7 Find library hours, find books & articles, subject specialists, locations, and more 

Start Guides for Undergraduates - library resources to know from Research help, Library Services and Technology Support

Library Catalog - search for books, DVDs, journals, ebooks, ejournals, and more!

Databases - search databases for articles by subject discipline

Computers Labs  - select your campus location for lab information.
(*note as of March 2023: Stamford Library hours are not accurate. Contact the UConn Stamford library directly)

On Campus Printing  - On-campus printing at the University of Connecticut is powered by Wepa. Wepa is a cloud-hosted service that lets you print to any Wepa station with your mobile device, personal computer, or lab computer. Download the Wepa App

Equipment Rentals - Our libraries have a variety of equipment (including laptops, cameras, and more) that can be loaned out using your One Card. Contact your campus library for their policy concerning lending gadgets. For example, the UConn Stamford Library laptops must remain inside the library for a 3 hour loan period. Technology LendingStorrs Campus | Avery Point Campus |Hartford Campus | Stamford Campus | Waterbury Campus

Group Study Rooms - the libraries have individual and group study rooms for a student to work independently or collaboratively. Check your campus library location for their popular library spaces. 

What's a Call Number?

A call number tell you where the book is located in the library. Each book in the library has a unique call number. Call numbers appear on the spines of books and journals and in the library's catalog.  The call number is made up of a combination of numbers and letters that are read left-to-right, top-to-bottom. The call numbers used by the library are classified by subject, so you can often find several helpful books on the same shelf or nearby. Each line of the call number represents a separate piece of information relating to the item.

  • The first line identifies the general LC subject designation.
  • The second line identifies the specific LC subject.
  • The next line(s), identify the author/main entry information.
  • The following line(s) contain item specific information, such as the year the item was published or the collection copy number.  Not all items contain these line(s).

This information is used to find an item's exact location in the stacks.

For most academic libraries, the type of call numbers used are associated with the Library of Congress classification system. This link is to a document on the Library of Congress website that provides detailed information about the subordinate subject headings within each major subject:

Reading a Library of Congress Call Number

PE1431.G73 2014

P   Language and Literature ( General Subject)

PE English Language  (Subclass)

PE1431 Modern English ( Subtopic)

PE1431.G73   Graff (author)

PE1431.G73 2014  2014 indicates that this edition was published in 2014

PE1431.G73 2014   They Say/I Say: the Moves that Matter in Academic Writing

Library Lingo

Librarians and library professionals may use specialized terms when referring to services, resources, locations, etc. at the UConn Libraries. To get familiar with these terms, view the glossary below. For more terms visit ODLIS: Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science



a brief summary of an article


records kept because they have value and document evidence of past events; used to interpret and understand history.


a composition on a topic or subject, written by one or more authors usually published as part of a journal, magazine, or newspaper. 

Ask A Librarian

a reference service at the UConn Library for students, faculty, staff, and community partners to ask questions to librarians and library professionals.

assignment calculator

tool you should use for calculating how to manage your time for research assignments and get helpful tips


Information presented in a form other than words printed on paper.Examples include films, compact discs, audio tapes, and videos. Also called media.


The person or organization responsible for a written work (article, book, play, poem, etc.). 


barcode number

the 13-digit located on the back of books and other materials for circulation and inventory; barcode numbers are used to charge, discharge, and renew books on the online computer system.


This can be used in two ways.

  1. A compilation of citations used while doing research for an article or book. A bibliography is normally placed at the end of the work, with entries arranged alphabetically by author.
  2. A publication that consists of a list of books, articles, and other works on a particular topic.

boolean operators or boolean logic

an expression used to define searches in research databases; using the words "AND" "OR" or "NOT" 


bound periodical

Several issues of a journal or magazine that are fastened together between hard covers so that they resemble a book.


call number

a combination of numbers and letters that provide a unique description of each item in a library collection. Items are arranged on the book shelves by call number. For Example, HV9950 .A437 2012. Search this call number in OneSearch to discover which book it is!

catalog ( library catalog or online catalog)

a database listing and describing the books, journal articles, magazines, newspapers, audiovisual and other materials held by the UConn Library.  You can search for items in the catalog by Author, Title, Keyword or Subject.

check out

the ability to take most materials out of the library, for a loan period using your university ID card.  Check Out is done from the reference desk or self-check-out kiosk. 

check in

To return borrowed materials to the library. This is done by bringing the items to one of the security counters next to the main entrances. You may sometimes hear this procedure called "discharge."

circulation desk (or services desk)

the service point at which books  and other materials are checked in and out of a library, usually a long counter located near the entrance or exit, which may include a built-in book drop for returning borrowed materials


In the literary sense, any written or spoken reference to an authority or precedent or to the verbatim words of another speaker or writer. In library usage, a written reference to a specific work or portion of a work (book, article, dissertation, report, musical composition, etc.) produced by a particular author, editor, composer, etc., clearly identifying the document in which the work is to be found. The frequency with which a work is cited is sometimes considered a measure of its importance in the literature of the field. Citation format varies from one field of study to another but includes at a minimum author, title, and publication date. An incomplete citation can make a source difficult, if not impossible, to locate.

citation manager

Application software designed to enable researchers to collect bibliographic references quickly and easily, cite them properly, organize them effectively, and share them with others. Proprietary examples include EasyBibEndNoteMendeley, and RefWorks. A free open source example is Zotero.


The legal protection granted to authors, composers, and others to allow them to control the reproduction and distribution of their works. Almost all books, articles, and other library materials are copyrighted. Generally speaking, it is legal for you to make one copy of an article, or a portion of a book or other item, for your personal research use. However, you should not make more than one copy, or create computerized versions of them without permission from the copyright holder. If you have questions about copyright, ask a librarian for help.

course reserves

In academic libraries, materials given a shorter loan period (one-hour, three-hour, overnight, three-day, etc.) for a limited period of time (usually one term or semester) at the request of the instructor, to ensure that all the students enrolled in a course have an opportunity to use them. Items on closed reserve must be used on library premises. Instructors sometimes put personal copies on reserve, usually at their own risk.



a collection of information such as journal articles, books, magazines, and newspapers that can be searched to retrieve information.

digital reference

Reference services requested and provided over the Internet, usually via e-mail, instant messaging ("chat"), or Web-based submission forms, usually answered by librarians in the reference department of a library.

distinctive collections

rare books, manuscripts, and specialized materials related to art, design, music, theater, child drama, international studies, and other interdisciplinary subjects

due date

the date by which you must return to the library any library items that you have checked/loaned out.


e-book or e-Journal  (or e-Anything)

The "e" means "electronic." a digital version of a traditional print book that can be read on electronic devices such as a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.


full text (also 'full-text' or 'fulltext')

an entire text of a single work with an electronic copy that can be viewed on a computer or electronic device.


money charged to your account for items over due or not returned to the library. 


In context with a library catalog,  you can use filters to narrow your search results by categories date, location, language or resource type.


The larger of two categories of oversized books housed in special shelving to accommodate their size.


General Search

the library catalog and search tool for UConn Library, allowing you to search print and e-books, electronic resources, digital collections and more, all in one place.


A type, class, or style of literature, music, film, or art. Genre criticism originated with Aristotle, who divided literature into three basic categories: dramatic, epic, and lyric. Today, literary works are classified by form (novel, short story, poetry, drama, etc.), by theme (adventure, fantasy, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction, western, etc.), and less often by subject (carpe diem poem). 

google scholar

A free service launched by Google in November 2004 that allows users to search the Internet for scholarly literature across many disciplines using the company's proprietary search software. According to Google, search results are ranked by relevance using an algorithm that examines the full-text of the work, its author(s), the publication in which the article appeared, and how many times the work has been cited in other scholarly literature. Google Scholar provides access to abstracts, peer-reviewed papers, periodical articles, theses, and books from academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories, university intranets, and other scholarly organizations. 

government documents

Publications of the U.S. federal government, including transcripts of hearings and the text of bills, resolutions, statutes, reports, charters, treaties, periodicals (exampleMonthly Labor Review), statistics (U.S. Census), etc. In libraries, federal documents are usually shelved in a separate section by SuDocs number. The category also includes publications of other governmental bodies (state, local, territorial, foreign).

group study room

A small room available for use by students to study together as a group. To reserve a room, click on "Student Study Spaces" on the library website.



Words, phrases, or passages of text marked in a book with a broad-tipped, brightly colored pen for future study. The presence of highlighting diminishes the value of a book for resale, particularly for collectors. As a general rule, donated materials containing highlighting are added to a library collection only in exceptional cases. Highlighting can also be a form of defacement.


A request that an item checked out to someone else will be saved for you when it is returned to the library. You may "place a hold" on an item at the circulation desk.


This term often applies solely to the issues of a magazine or journal owned by the library, but it can also refer to all the materials (books, periodicals, audiovisual resources, databases, etc.) in the library's collections.



ID is an abbreviation for "identification." When using your ID for UConn or UConn Library services, you must also use a password--a short combination of letters and/or numbers known only to you--to prevent people from using your account without your permission (NetID). Your UConn ID is your library card.

interlibrary loan (ILL)

When a book or other item needed by a registered borrower is checked out, unavailable for some other reason, or not owned by the library, a patron may request that it be borrowed from another library by filling out a printed interlibrary loan request form at a service desk, or electronically via the library's Web site. Some libraries also accept ILL requests via e-mail or by telephone, usually under exceptional circumstances. Materials borrowed on interlibrary loan may usually be renewed on or before the due date.

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)

A unique ten-digit standard number assigned to identify a specific edition of a book or other monographic publication issued by a given publisher. The ISBN is usually printed on the verso of the title page and on the back of the dust jacket of a book published in hardcover, or at the foot of the back cover in paperback editions. The ISBN is divided into four parts separated by a space or hyphen: a group identifier one to five digits in length identifying the national, language, geographic, or other area in which the edition is published; a publisher prefix one to seven digits in length uniquely identifying the publisher; a title number one to six digits in length identifying the title, volume, or edition of the work; and a check digit that allows any transcription errors in the preceding sequence to be detected by a computer.

For example, in the ISBN 0-8389-0847-0, the 0 at the beginning identifies the United States as the country of publication, the second element (8389) identifies the American Library Association as the publisher, the third element (0847) identifies the 2003 edition of the book Metadata Fundamentals for All Librarians by Priscilla Caplan, and the 0 at the end is the check digit. When a calculated check digit is the number 10, the letter X is used, but in the other parts of the ISBN only the Arabic numerals 0-9 are used. 



A periodical devoted to disseminating original research and commentary on current developments in a specific discipline, subdiscipline, or field of study (exampleJournal of Clinical Epidemiology), usually published in quarterly, bimonthly, or monthly issues sold by subscription (click here to see an example). Journal articles are usually written by the person (or persons) who conducted the research. Longer than most magazine articles, they almost always include a bibliography or list of works cited at the end. In journals in the sciences and social sciences, an abstract usually precedes the text of the article, summarizing its content. Most scholarly journals are peer-reviewed. Scholars often use a current contents service to keep abreast of the journal literature in their fields of interest and specialization. 



A significant word or phrase in the title, subject headings (descriptors), contents note, abstract, or text of a record in an online catalog or bibliographic database that can be used as a search term in a free-text search to retrieve all the records containing it. 

Most online catalogs and bibliographic databases include an option that allows the user to type words that describe the research topic (in any order) and retrieve records containing the search terms in the data fields the system is designed to search whenever the keywords option is selected. One disadvantage of a keywords search is that it does not take into account the meaning of the words used as input, so if a term has more than one meaning, irrelevant records (false drops) may be retrieved.

loan period

The length of time for which an item in the circulating collection of a library may be checked out by a borrower. Under normal circumstances, loan period is determined by the loan rule applied to a specific item, based on item type and the borrower's patron type. In most libraries, circulating items (except reserves) may be renewed for an additional loan period, provided no holds have been placed by other borrowers. Most libraries charge fines for items returned after the due date. 

Library of Congress Subject Headings

The complete alphabetic list of controlled vocabulary created by catalogers and used in cataloging since 1898 at the Library of Congress in assigning subject headings to facilitate access to the information content of newly published works. The list has syndetic structure in the form of USE references to direct the user from a synonym or quasi-synonym to the preferred term, and UF (used for), BT (broader term), RT (related term), and NT (narrower term) notes to indicate semantic relations between headings. Reference librarians often refer to the list as "the big red books" because it is published annually in several large volumes traditionally bound in red. Click here to learn more about LCSH, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Library Catalog

The central list or index of materials within the UConn Library. It is also called the "Online Catalog."

library guides

tailored website created and organized by a librarian or library professional on a broad range of topics and courses. 

For Example: If you need assistance with citations, visit our Citation Styles library guide. 



A popular interest periodical usually containing articles on a variety of topics, written by various authors in a non scholarly style. Most magazines are heavily illustrated, contain advertising, and are printed on glossy paper. Articles are usually short (less than five pages long), frequently unsigned, and do not include a bibliography or list of references for further reading. Most magazines are issued monthly or weekly for sale at newsstands, in bookstores, and by subscription. A selection of recommended English-language magazines is listed by subject in Magazines for Libraries, published by ProQuest. For a directory of magazine Web sites, try NewsLink

maker space

a safe space to collaborate and explore; services include 3D printing and scanning, A/V studio, vinyl cutting, book scanning, electronics and sewing. 



Your digital identity at UConn. Your NetID and password credentials give you access to many computing services at the University of Connecticut. When you are off campus and attempting to access electronic resources (journal articles, ebooks, databases, etc.) from the UConn Library, the webpage may ask for your UConn NetID.


off campus

When you are not physically on your campus site to access resources in person. Access resources away from campus and attempting to enter a subscription database or other electronic resource, you will be asked to log in with your UConn NetID.

open access

Information content made freely and universally available via the Internet in easy to read format, usually because the publisher maintains online archives to which access is free or has deposited the information in a widely known open access repository. Open access is a new model of scholarly publishing developed to free researchers and libraries from the limitations imposed by excessive subscription price increases for peer-reviewed journals, particularly in the sciences and medicine. By breaking the monopoly of publishers over the distribution of scientific research, open access makes access to scientific information more equitable and has the added advantage of allowing the author to retain copyright. 

Books that are too large for normal shelves


peer review process

The process in which a new book, article, software program, etc., is submitted by the prospective publisher to experts in the field for critical evaluation prior to publication, a standard procedure in scholarly publishing. Under most conditions, the identity of the referees is kept confidential, but the identity of the author(s) is not. The existence and content of a manuscript under review is kept confidential within the offices of the publisher and by the referees, and all copies of the manuscript are returned to the publisher at the end of the process. In computer programming, source code may be certified by its owner or licenser as open source to encourage development through peer review. 

peer-reviewed article

Peer-reviewed articles are subjected to a process of critical evaluation by one or more experts on the subject, known as referees, responsible for determining if the subject of the article falls within the scope of the publication and for evaluating originality, quality of research, clarity of presentation, etc. Changes may be suggested to the author(s) before an article is finally accepted for publication. In evaluation for tenure and promotion, academic librarians may be given publishing credit only for articles accepted by peer-reviewed journals. Some bibliographic databases allow search results to be limited to peer-reviewed journals. 


A permalink is the link that is used to access a specific piece of content on your site. You'll see this in our library catalog to have direct access to the catalog record of your item.


a magazine or newspaper published periodically, quarterly, or annually. 

primary sources

In scholarship, a document or record containing firsthand information or original data on a topic, used in preparing a derivative work. Primary sources include original manuscripts, periodical articles reporting original research or thought, diaries, memoirs, letters, journals, photographs, drawings, posters, film footage, sheet music, songs, interviews, government documents, public records, eyewitness accounts, newspaper clippings, etc. The History Section of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) within the American Library Association (ALA) provides a guide to Using Primary Sources on the Web



To request that a book already checked out to someone else be returned to the library prior to its due date. When the book is returned to the library, it will be set aside for you and you will be notified.

reference collection
Location in each library where you can get help in using the library and receive answers to your questions.

reference desk (or services desk)

Location in each library where you can get help in using library resources, services, and receive answers to your questions.

reference librarians
Reference librarians are specialists in the field of information retrieval. Generally, they have a Masters degree in library and information science, and many have other graduate degrees as well. They are available at reference desks to help you find information.


To extend the due date for materials borrowed from the library.

reserve materials

A selection of specific books, journal articles and other materials which faculty have indicated that students must read for a particular course. These materials are usually kept together in one area of the library and circulate for a short period of time only. Inquire at reference desk.


secondary sources

journal articles, books, political commentary, etc. that explain or analyze primary sources. For example, a biography on the portrayal of someone's life. 

self check-out

the ability to check out library materials at a self-help kiosk located inside the UConn Libraries

special collections

Library materials that are not part of the open stacks. Most of these are items other than normal books and periodicals, such as rare books, manuscripts, photographs and historical artifacts that require special care and attention. The UConn Library Archives & Special Collections


the shelves that hold the library's books/  row of book shelves located in any UConn Library 

streaming videos

a sequence of compressed moving images one way over a data network that allows viewing to begin before the entire file has been transmitted. For example, live streaming platforms and Films On Demand or Kanopy. 

style manual 

a guide with a set of rules (punctuation, capitalization, quotations, plagiarism) for composition, including format and manner of citing sources, to be used in a particular discipline or profession or by a particular publisher. 

subject heading

controlled vocabulary that is used to take the guesswork out of searching by using a single term to describe a subject. At UConn we use the Library of Congress Classification Outline for most of our collections.

subject librarian (or subject specialist)

A person with exceptional education and experience in a particular subject or academic discipline. They maintain the collections and provide expert assistance with research in their respective specialties. To connect with a subject librarian go to the library website under the 'Research' tab.



A proposition advanced and defended in a formal disputation, especially by a candidate in partial fulfillment of university requirements for a master's degree. In the general sense, any proposition advanced and defended in expository speech or writing, usually given in the opening lines or paragraph(s).


The dropping of characters and the addition of a symbol at the end, beginning, or within a word in a keywords search to retrieve variant forms. Truncation is particularly useful in retrieving the singular and plural forms of a word in the same search.  For example, "teach*" could find records with all these words: teach, teacher, teaches, teaching, and teachable.


A printed or online instructional tool designed to teach novices how to use a computer system or electronic resource, usually in a self-paced step-by-step manner, often with questions at the end for testing proficiency. Online tutorials have been developed by instruction librarians to accommodate distance learners and students who prefer online library instruction. 
A list of terms used to describe the ideas in a particular group of materials. It suggests synonyms for effective searching of its associated database, and indicates relationships between and among ideas. Thesaurus terms may be called "descriptors" or subject headings.


Uniform Resource Locator (URL) represents a unique location or address of a resource located on the World Wide Web (www).



A company in the business of providing access to a selection of bibliographic databases by subscription (examplesEBSCOProQuest, Gale, etc.) or on a per search basis (OCLC FirstSearch and DIALOG), usually under licensing agreement. Providers of nonprint media are also commonly referred to as vendors. In a more general sense, any individual, company, or agency, other than a publisher, that provides products and/or services to a library or library system for a fee. 

video conference

A meeting of two or more participants conducted in real time at a distance using a video camera, microphone, and large television monitor or computer screen installed at each location, linked by satellite or digital network. Videoconferencing can save time and travel expense, especially in distance learning and in organizations with geographically separate units. 


Library materials that are part of a single title but appear as separately bound items. When individual issues of a periodical are bound together into a single unit, this is called a "volume." (Usually, this equals one year of that periodical.) Also, large works such as encyclopedias are divided into volumes.

credit to Arizona State University Library
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