Find Info


Dec. 22 - Jan. 4, 2015

Mon 8 AM - 10 PM
Tue 9 AM - 6 PM
Fri 9 AM - 5 PM
Quiet Study Area
Winter Session



Academic Journal
Boolean Searching
Call Number
Card Catalog
Circulation Desk
Cross Reference
Due Date
Find It!

Information Literacy
Interlibrary Loan Services
Keyword Searching
Microforms/ Microfilm
Peer Review
Periodical Indexes and Abstracts
Popular article/press

Primary Source
Reader/Printer Machine
Reference Collection
Remote Access
Reserve Collection
Scholarly Journal
Search Engine
Secondary Source
Subject Headings
Virtual Library
World Wide Web


Academic Journal - See Journal

Archives - Collection of manuscripts and other materials pertaining to the history of the college. At BMCC we collect mainly local official publications and memorandum relating to the academic enterprise, such as minutes, reports and college bulletins.

Article - writing on a particular topic that is printed in a newspaper, magazine or journal.


Barcode Number - The 14-digit number appearing beneath the barcode found in the end papers of a book. Barcode numbers for BMCC library books begin with the numbers " 3 1470 " and are used to charge, discharge, and renew books. CUNYCard also uses a barcode number to identify a library patron. Patron barcode begins with "2 1470" for BMCC.

Bibliography - A bibliography is a list of citations for books, periodical articles or other materials. Published bibliographies on specific subjects are often found in the reference collection.

Biography - Someone's life story, usually told in a book or long article.

Boolean Searching - In searching a database, operators such as AND, OR, and NOT that are sometimes used to combine search terms to broaden or narrow the results of a keyword search. Combining terms using operators is called Boolean searching.

Browser - Short for Web browser, a software program used to locate and display Web pages. The most popular browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari (Mac).

Browsing - To look leisurely or randomly through a library collection, book, magazine or other publications. Recently it also means scanning through Web pages for information.


Call Number - Call numbers are placed on the spine of the book to locate it in the stacks. They are also in the Library Catalog to help you find the book. At BMCC we use Library of Congress call numbers, a combination of letters and numbers (e.g., QA 76.5 .I15 1997).
How to Read Call Numbers.

Card Catalog - Traditionally, card catalogs were pieces of furniture containing drawers filled with cards that provide information about books in the collection. The card catalog in the BMCC Library has been replaced by an online electronic catalog (Library Catalog) since 1989.

Circulation Desk - A service desk (or counter) where books and other materials are loaned or charged out to library users. Library materials which do not circulate (for example, reference books and periodicals) can be used inside the library.

Citation - Information which fully identifies a publication. A complete citation usually includes author, title, name of journal (if the citation is to an article) or publisher (if to a book), and date. Often pages, volumes and other information will be included in a citation.

Collection - The materials owned by a library. In publishing, it also means a book consisting of articles or essays complied from other sources.

Cross Reference - A term used in catalogs, thesauruses and indexes to lead you from one form of entry to another (e.g., American poets see Poets--American).

CUNYPlus - The City University's (and BMCC's) Library Catalog. Where you go to find where books are located.


Database - A collection of information arranged into individual records to be searched by computer.

Due Date - the date by which you must return books you've checked out from the library.


E-book - an electronic book; the BMCC library purchases eBooks through the database NetLibrary.

Entry - See Record


Field - A part of a record used for a particular category of data. For instance, the title (ti) field displays the title for each record in the database. Some of the other fields in the CD-ROM databases are author (au), journal (jn) and abstract (ab). The BMCC Library Catalog contains additional fields that give the description, call number, location, holdings, and circulation status of an item at BMCC.

Find It! - When you see "Find It!" next to a citation in one of our databases, click the button to see if the library subscribes to the journal the article is in.

Full-text - means 'entire article', or 'entire text'. Some databases provide access to the 'full-text' of articles, while others only provide citations.


Hold - A library user may place a hold on a book charged out to another person, this ensures that the person placing the hold will be next in line to receive the book when the book is returned.

Holdings - A set of fields in the BMCC Library Catalog in serial records that shows exactly which years and volumes of that serial are available at BMCC. Records for multi-volume books also contain a holdings field.


Information Literacy - The American Library Association defines information literacy as a set of abilities requiring individuals to "recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information." ALA also states that "information literacy is a survival skill in the Information Age." "Information literacy forms the basis for lifelong learning. It is common to all disciplines, to all learning environments, and to all levels of education. It enables learners to master content and extend their investigations, become more self-directed, and assume greater control over their own learning."

Interlibrary Loan Services - Interlibrary lending and borrowing services provide access to materials that cannot be found in the BMCC Library. At BMCC, this service, which includes document delivery, is currently limited to faculty and staff.

Indexes - see Periodical Indexes and Abstracts.

ISBN - International Standard Book Number. Unique number assigned by the publisher to a specific book title.

J - K

Journal - periodically printed publication with articles, typically written by researchers and academics. Also referred to as a "Scholarly Journal" or "Academic Journal."

Keyword Searching - Keyword searching allows a user to construct a search by looking for a word or combination of words from the author, title, or subject fields of the BMCC Library Catalog. The location code "BM" can also be searched.


Magazine - a publication typically focused on a particular topic that is written by journalists and usually printed once a month.

Media - DVD's, Films, tapes and other audio-visual materials that require the use of special listening or viewing equipment.

Menu - Choices and commands that are displayed on the screen and can be selected by the user.

Microforms/Microfilm - Documents and serials, often ones that are bulky or liable to deteriorate rapidly, which have been photographed to reduce the storage space required and to preserve them. Common formats for microforms are microfilm or microfiche. College catalogs, telephone books, newspapers, magazines and government documents are examples of microforms in many college libraries.

N - O

Newspaper - a publication written by journalists and usually printed every day or every week that reports the news and current events.

OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) - A computerized catalog that contains records for books and other materials in the BMCC Library and the other eighteen libraries of the City University of New York. Within CUNY, CUNY+ is the online catalog system that offers both a text and browser-based version.


PDF - Portable Document File; a format of online text that must be viewed with a PDF reader (often Adobe Acrobat, which is available free online).

Peer Review - a process by which experts on a particular topic assess the quality of a scholarly journal article before it is published.

Periodical Indexes and Abstracts - Periodical indexes list articles which have appeared in journals, magazines, or newspapers. They list author, title, name of periodical, volume, pages and date of publication. Abstracts are indexes that also contain article summaries. Most indexes and abstracts are online, while some older ones are still available in print form in the Periodicals or Reference departments.

Periodicals - Publications which are issued at least twice a year, including journals, magazines and newspapers. Records for periodical titles are listed in DPER or DNEW databases in the BMCC Library Catalog. Many are available online through the Library Web site. See also Serials.

Plagiarism - According to The American Heritage College Dictionary, the definition of 'plagiarism' is "to use and pass off as one's own (the ideas or writings of another)" and "to appropriate for use as one's own passages or ideas from (another)."

Popular article/press - as opposed to the scholarly/academic article or press; refers to newspapers or magazines written by journalists for general readers.

Primary Source - An original, first-hand account of an event or time period. See also Secondary Source.

Proxy - For BMCC it is an application to redirect a request received from a remote library user to a particular Internet services, such as a restricted database. In the process, the user's status is being checked (authenticated) to ascertain that the user is a legitimate member of the college. This process is referred to as remote patron authentification.


Record - A collection of related data, arranged in fields and treated as a unit. The data for each article in a full-text e-journal database makes up a record. The complete information for each item in the BMCC Library Catalog is also a record.

Reader/Printer Machine - Used to read or print microfilms.

Reference Collection - A selection of electronic and printed library materials used by reference librarians to help people find information or to do research. Reference collections contain many sources of information, such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, almanacs, directories, or statistical compilations. They may also have bibliographies, indexes, and abstracts. Printed reference materials usually do not leave the library. Online reference materials are available in the Library Web-site.

Reference - A department within a library where you can find librarians on duty whenever the library is open.

Renewal - An extension of the loan period for charged library materials. Renewals may only be handled in person at the circulation desk. Students registered for online courses may also renew a book by phone.

Remote Access - Accessing the library's subscription databases from a computer off-campus.

Reserve Collection - A collection of specific books, periodical articles, videotapes, and other materials which faculty have indicated that students must read or view for a particular course. These materials are kept together behind the circulation desk and circulate for a short period of time only. To locate reserve materials, you may use the course reserve module in the Library Catalog, or ask at the circulation or reference desk for the reserve lists. Each library has its own reserve system.


Scholarly Journal - See Journal

Search Engine - A program that searches documents for specified keywords and returns a list of the documents where the keywords were found. Although search engine is a generic term, often it is used to describe systems like Alta Vista or Google that enable users to search for documents on the World Wide Web.

Secondary Source - a book or essay that explains, analyses or is otherwise about another book, work, or essay. Contrast with a Primary Source.

Serials - Publications that appear more or less regularly--daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually, for example.

Server - A server is a computer program that provides services to other computers (Clients) via network connections. The computer that a server program resides in is also called a server.

Stacks - The stacks are the part of the library which houses the physical collection. Books and paperbacks are arranged alphabetically on shelves based on a classification system in the stacks.

Subject Headings - Words or phrases assigned to books and articles and used to index these items by topic. Determining the correct headings for a specific database or catalog is an important part of effective research. See also Thesaurus.


Thesaurus - A list of all the subject headings or descriptors used in a particular database, catalog, or index. The thesaurus for the BMCC Library Catalog is called Library of Congress Subject Headings.

Truncation - Typing a special symbol at the end of a word to find all possible endings of that word. If you wish to truncate a word while searching the BMCC Library Catalog, use the question mark (?); other databases may use the pound sign (#), the asterisk (*), or another symbol. For example, k=FREUD? in CUNY+ will find FREUD as well as FREUDIAN.

U - W

URL (Universal Resource Locator) - The address that defines the route to a file on the Web or any other Internet facility. The URL's are typed into the browser to access Web pages, and can also be embedded within the pages themselves to provide links to other pages.

Virtual Library - Information resources or information services that are available over the Internet. At BMCC, the Virtual Library site provides access to a large number of library resources (indexes, journals, and reference materials, for example) and online reference service via the campus computer network. Students access these resources through a browser on a workstation anywhere on campus or remotely from home.

World Wide Web - A client-server information system that uses the Internet to access computers containing millions of hypertext documents.