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Terms and Definitions

  • 4x4 - This is a nickname for the OU Net ID. It's the username you use for most university websites and library services. Check the definition for "OU Net ID" for more information.
  • Call Numbers - Call numbers function as a book's address. Once you learn how to read them, they can take you straight to where the book is on the shelf. They are the way we manage to keep track of all of the books on our shelves.
  • Catalog - Have you ever received a catalog in the mail showing everything a company has for sale that season? The library catalog is similar - it helps you find everything that is available. Each book, article, or other resource has an entry in the catalog that briefly describes what it is and has some information to help you access it. 
  • Database - A database is a digital collection of materials. It might contain articles, pictures, scanned newspapers, videos, or descriptions of physical objects, among other things. Some databases contain a variety of materials, while others are very specific. For example, there are several databases at OU that only contain historical newspapers. 
  • Digital Resources - This refers to anything that the library has available online that you might find useful. For example, online journals and databases are both digital resources.
  • Discover - this is the online search box for the library catalog.
  • ILL - Pronounced by saying each letter individually: I-L-L.This is an abbreviation for Interlibrary Loan. Check out the definition for "Interlibrary Loan" for more information.
  • Interlibrary Loan - Sometimes libraries borrow things from other libraries. If there is a resource we don't have that you need, we can often find another library that will let us borrow it for you. This process is called Interlibrary Loan. The abbreviation is ILL - you might hear us say we need to "ILL" something. 
  • Journal - Journals publish academic articles regularly. They are kind of like magazines, but for academics. Most journals are peer reviewed, making them a higher quality resource for research than magazines.
  • Library of Congress - Although this refers to an actual library, typically you will hear "Library of Congress" when talking about call numbers. This is because the Library of Congress has created its own system for organizing books and other materials. Many other libraries use this system. OU uses it for most of its physical objects. Check out the definition for "Call numbers" for more information.
  • LOC - This is the abbreviation for "Library of Congress." Check the definition for "Library of Congress" for more information.
  • OU 4x4 - This is a nickname for the OU Net ID. It's the username you use for most university websites and library services. Check the definition for "OU Net ID" for more information.
  • OU Net ID - This is a series of letters and numbers that you are given as an OU student or employee. It acts as your username for many different university websites and services. Usually, it consists of the first four letters of your last name and the last four digits of your student ID number, though there are exceptions. For example, a 4x4 might look like "name1234".
  • Peer reviewed - Quality academic sources are peer reviewed. This means that other experts in the field read the author's work and checked it for quality before it was published. While it is possible for peer reviewed sources to be incorrect or for there to be disagreement within a field, the fact that they are being checked by other experts means that there has been a safeguard in place to help prevent bad research or information from being published. This safeguard is what makes a peer reviewed source better for your research.
  • Research Guide - A research guide is a collection of resources and instructions about a particular topic that a librarian has prepared and put all in one place. Using a guide is a great way to find relevant resources fast. 
  • Resources - This is a general term referring to anything the library has available for you to use. This might include journal articles, textbook lending, or even services like research consultations. However, you'll often hear it used to refer to things you might use for research purposes - articles and books, for example.
  • Search Engine - Search engines are very common - some popular ones include Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. Search engines help you find websites and other things on the internet. A search engine will try to provide the most relevant results to whatever you typed in. 
  • Subject Liason - A subject liason is a librarian who specializes in a particular subject. Also called a subject librarian. 
  • Subject Librarian - A subject librarian is a librarian who specializes in a particular subject. Also called a subject liason.