What Does It Mean When a Librarian Says…?

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Post contributed by field experience student Sydney Adams. 

Sometimes it may seem like librarians are speaking another language. That’s normal, especially for undergraduate students new to academic research. Librarians use a lot of jargon! Here are some quick definitions for the next time you wonder “What is my librarian talking about?”

 

Database—An online collection organized by topic of articles, data, or citations that you can search for information related to class projects and more. Search for databases by title or subject on the Duke Libraries website. We have more than 1000!

 

Get It At Duke Button Get It @ Duke Button—A button that takes you directly to the full-text PDF of articles and other sources you need for your research. Always access databases through the Duke Libraries website so that you can use the “Get it @ Duke” button! If you use Google Scholar, check out our blog that provides instructions on how to get Duke library links in your searches

 

Interlibrary Loan—A service that allows you to borrow materials from another library if we do not have them at Duke. You should never pay for an article while you’re here!

 

Scholarly Source—A source that elevates the quality of your research paper or project. Scholarly sources are written and reviewed by experts in your field of study and are usually published in academic journals, but they can also include published books, conference proceedings, and reports.

 

Special Collections—Collections of items, digital or physical, that are especially rare or unique. At Duke, our special collections are housed in Rubenstein Library. Learn more about Rubenstein’s collections and exhibits online. 

 

Stacks—The area where the library’s books and other materials are stored. At Lilly and Perkins & Bostock, we have “open stacks” where you can search for materials yourself. The stacks are labeled in yellow on our floor maps.

 

Subject SpecialistsLibrarians who serve specific schools, departments, and programs. Have a research question? Reach out to the subject specialist for your area of study!

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