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Choosing your research tools: Learning the language of "research"

This information about how and what research tool to use will help you begin your research with confidence.

Deciphering the jargon

Below are some common terms you will see as you begin college level research

Database: In Library terminology, a "database" is pretty much any online source of information which has a search engine. Some common types include:

  • Academic databases or article Indexes -- these databases index individual articles within specific academic fields. The journals and books indexed by these databases may or may not be online or even available at Drew.
  • Online Collections of e-journals and/or e-books, can be either grouped by the publisher or collected and re-sold in subject-themed packages 
    • Any of the above may also include or be focused entirely on...
      • specialized content types like reference sources, primary sources, newspapers, dissertations, government documents, technical reports, or standards.
      • non-text materials like statistical data, maps, images, music, or videos.
  • Citation Indices track who cited specific articles and books.

Interlibrary Loan: According to the American Library Association (ALA), ... "Interlibrary loan is the process by which a library requests material from, or supplies material to, another library. ... The purpose of interlibrary loan as defined by this code is to obtain, upon request of a library user, material not available in the user's local library." Drew LIbrary will obtain materials through interlibrary loan for Drew affiliates, as described in the ALA statement. 

Library Catalog is an index of all of the books and journals owned or subscribed to by Drew. (Union catalogs combine the holdings of multiple institutions.) Catalogs typically only describe full books and journals, not individual chapters or articles. Sometime you'll find that information in Worldcat.

Monographs: From the Oxford English Dictionary (OED): (a monograph is) "...a detailed written study of a single specialized topic (distinguished from general studies in which the topic is dealt with as part of a wider subject)."

Worldcat: is a searchable index of "... the world's largest network of library-based content and services. WorldCat is a "master" catalog of library materials."  Once an item is located via Worldcat, it can be requested through interlibary loan (ILL).


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