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*Library Orientation

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This page will orient you to the library website, starting with the main library page and how to conduct a search on the library webpage. Next, we will introduce you to the research guides and where to look when you need help.

Check out the Paws-On Activity section, then test what you've learned by taking the quiz before heading on to the next section.

Getting Started

1. SearchEverything: Library search. See the next box for more info. :)
2. Articles: Search for a specific journal, newspaper, or magazine. If we have it, this tool will tell you where and give you a link to find it. Great for looking up citations!
3. Databases: Search for articles in our databases
4. Research Guides: Created by faculty librarians to support your course work
5. Today's Hours: See the hours for each of our campus locations 
6. Ask a Librarian: Chat live with a librarian for help right now
7. Reserve a Study Room: Reserve a study room on the Bolivar or Springfield campus for up to 2 hours each day
8. Schedule a Research Appointment: Set up a time for one-on-one help with a librarian

Library Search Box

The SearchEverything box on the library homepage searches across a wide variety of resources much like a web search. It will search the SBU physical catalog, electronic resources and many of our databases, as well as resources available through our partner libraries - it searches almost everything. SearchEverything is a great place to start when you don't know where to start.

The Catalog tab serves as the SBU library catalog and is the only way to search for books, eBooks, music, videos, and “things” like puzzles and board games owned only by the SBU libraries. 

SearchEverything is a great place to start looking for articles and books on a topic, but for powerful, targeted searches that use subject headings or a controlled vocabulary, try a database specific to your discipline or topic. To see these in action, check out the Library Resources section. 

Bearcat pointing to Paws on Activity


 Conduct a search using the SearchEverything box using the keywords
"student" and "success"
What kind of resources did you find? Practice limiting the results. 

Research Guides

Research guides are librarian-created guides for the best places to go to research your subject or for supplemental information for your class. These are an excellent place to find additional resources to support your learning. Research guides can always be found at the top of the library website. 

Course and subject guides can be accessed a number of different ways: 

  • by default, all guides are listed in alphabetical order
  • you can narrow the guides by subject, type, or owner
  • You can search for a guide by the name of the guide or keywords that might be found on the guide.  

Bearcat pointing to Paws on Activity


Do you remember how to find the Research Guides?
Look for the Research Guide titled "About Us" - it will give you lots of great information about the SBU Libraries! Explore other guides by Faculty Librarians or in your subject areas.

Quiz Yourself!

Library Lingo

Librarians have been known to throw around a lot of technical terms and phrases, forgetting that not everyone knows what we are talking about. Here is a list of some of these terms in plain English.

A to Z Journal Tracker – This is your gateway to the periodicals available to you online and in print as a SBU student. Use A to Z Journal Tracker to see what journals SBU Libraries have and to check for online (full-text) access to an article before requesting it through Interlibrary Loan.

Abstract - A brief description of the contents of a journal article or book. Many article records in online databases include abstracts so researchers can easily determine if the article/book will be of value to their topic.

Annotated Bibliography – In addition to the citation information for the articles/books listed, an annotated bibliography includes a description of each item. The descriptions are written by the author of the bibliography and often include thoughts on why each reference is pertinent to his/her research.

Annotation – An explanatory or critical note or commentary. Annotation is also the process of adding an explanatory or critical note or commentary to a text. Reference lists are often annotated with comments about what each resource covered and how useful it was.

Appendix – A group of supplementary material appended to a text. It is usually related to the material in the main part of the text but not so closely related to it that it should be put into the main text. Put background information and supporting facts in the appendices. An example of a file that should be put in an appendix is a file of detailed charts and graphs of recent research closely related to the paper's main topic.

Archive – A place in which historical documents and other records are preserved. Usually operated by large organizations, they may or may not be open to the public.

Author – An originator of a creative work, particularly a writer of a text. Searching by author can be an effective form of information gathering.

Bibliographer – A librarian who selects library materials for a specific subject area, often working closely with faculty in the corresponding department(s) to decide on materials that best support the curriculum.

Bibliographic Record - A record in a database for an individual item (such as a book or journal). Information is divided into fields such as title, author, publication date, etc. This is sometimes referred to as the “full record” for an article or other entry in a database.

Bibliography - A list of citations to journal articles, books and other materials on a particular subject or by an individual author. Authors of research papers, journal articles, and books include bibliographies of the references used in their research.

Boolean Operators – The term applied to the words “AND” “OR” “NOT” when they are used to limit or expand a search in an electronic database.

counseling AND adolescents – (finds ALL keywords)
principals OR administrators -- (finds either one or both keywords)
recreation NOT hiking -- (finds 1st keyword, excludes the other)

Browse – To inspect something casually, particularly to use an internet browser to casually inspect Web pages. This involves following links from page to page (also called surfing) rather than searching directly. The main difference between browsing and searching is that with browsing you have very little advance knowledge of what will be on the next page.

Browser - Software on your computer allowing you to access the Internet. Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari are the most common browsers.

Call Number – Numbers and letters assigned to each book in the library. Usually found on the spine of the book, call numbers group books by subject and make it easier to find a book on the shelves.

Catalog - The database of books and other materials housed within the library. SBU's Library's catalog is accessed through SearchEverything on the library's home page.

Circulation/ Circulation Desk – The library department responsible for checking out books and other library materials. They also handle renewals, recalls, holds, overdue notices and reserves for materials in the SBU Library collection. The Circulation Desk phone number is 417-328-1620.

Citation - A reference to a book, article, or other material, that provides the information necessary for others to find the same work. A book citation includes author, title, publisher and year of publication; a journal citation includes author, article title, periodical title, date, volume, issue number and page numbers of the article.

 Examples of citations:

BOOK: Houston, P. D., Blankstein, A. M., Cole, R. W., & Hope Foundation. (2007). Out-of-the-box leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

ARTICLE: O'Connor, B., & Cordova, R. (2010). Learning: The Experiences of Adults Who Work Full-Time While Attending Graduate School Part-Time. Journal of Education for Business85(6), 359-368.

Controlled Vocabulary - A controlled vocabulary is a list of terms used by a database or catalog to categorize articles and books by topic. Sometimes called subject headings, sometimes called descriptors, these terms will differ for each database.

Copyright - Legal privilege granted to an author, composer, etc. for exclusive rights of publication and distribution of a work. Some uses of copyrighted material require paying a copyright fee.

Content edited from Foley Library. (2020, July 1). FYI - Glossary of Library Terms. LibGuides: Nursing - Library Orientation.

Librarians have been known to throw around a lot of technical terms and phrases, forgetting that not everyone knows what we are talking about. Here is a list of some of these terms in plain English.

Database - A large collection of data or information that has been organized for rapid retrieval. SBU subscribes to over 180 online databases that support the programs of study offered by Southwest Baptist University. Some databases provide citation information only, while others offer the full-text of articles online.

Descriptor - A word or phrase in a database’s Controlled Vocabulary. Descriptors are assigned to each article in a database based on the content of that article. Experienced searchers know that using descriptors or subject headings is an effective way to search for articles on a topic.

Dissertation – A document written in completion of requirements for a PhD; also called doctoral dissertation. A dissertation is the culmination of years of researching, writing, revising and stress.

Document Delivery – This is a service that delivers electronic copies (PDFs) of journal articles and other documents. When you find articles on the internet you will often have a publisher or document delivery service offer to sell you the article. Instead of purchasing access to the article, Gonzaga students should use Interlibrary Loan.

DOI Number – DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier. Online academic articles have been assigned an individual DOI number. Just like an ISBN number on books or an ISSN number for journals, the DOI number is unique to that article.

Edition – A version of a published text, or all the instances of a published text issued at a given time. An example would be the 2nd edition (2001).

Entry – Any record, or a field in a record, that has been included, or entered, into a database. An entry word is the headword in a dictionary, encyclopedia, or glossary.

Field - A section of a bibliographic record containing specific information such as the author, title, abstract or descriptors for an item. It is possible to specify which field you want the database to search in for a particular keyword.

Full-Text Database - A database that provides the entire text of an article, usually in PDF or HTML format. Full-text articles can be printed, saved or emailed.

Hold - You can request or place a "hold" on an item that is checked out to another patron or on the shelf. If you are a local student you can pick the book up at the Circulation Desk, for distant students the library will check out and mailed the item to them. See Request.

ILL – Acronym for interlibrary loan.

Index – An index is a book or database that lists citations to journal articles or books. Abstracts and full-text are usually not included.

Information Literacy – Critical thinking skills that enlighten the process of finding, evaluating and using information, including information found on the Internet.

Interlibrary Loan - A service that allows SBU's students, faculty and staff to request books and articles that are not in the SBU Library collection. We are able to borrow books and get copies of articles from other libraries. This service is free for current students, faculty and staff. Go to for more information.

Content edited from Foley Library. (2020, July 1). FYI - Glossary of Library Terms. LibGuides: Nursing - Library Orientation.

Librarians have been known to throw around a lot of technical terms and phrases, forgetting that not everyone knows what we are talking about. Here is a list of some of these terms in plain English.

Journal - A periodical containing scholarly articles written by researchers in a particular field. Journal articles often include an abstract and a list of references (bibliography).

Keyword Search – A search of a database using some keyword, a significant word from the title, abstract or descriptor of a record as a point of reference to the article's overall content.

LibApps - A set of behind-the-scenes tools that librarians use to (among other things) create "LibGuides" like this one.

Librarian - A professional educated and trained to assist you in finding and using information. The librarians at the SBU Libraries are members of the SBU University faculty.

Literature Review – A systematic and thorough search of all material, print or electronic, published on a given topic. This can include books, journals, newspapers, catalogs, encyclopedias, dictionaries, atlases, bibliographies, handbooks, manuals, indexes, yearbooks, gazetteers, directories, chronologies, almanacs and guides.

Magazine - A periodical such as Time, Newsweek, Forbes, etc. that is published primarily for the general public. Magazine articles are not considered appropriate for most scholarly research.

Microform – A microform is a way to store and preserve articles and other documents. The documents are photographed and reduced to fit on a film or card. Special equipment is needed to view, scan or print articles and other documents stored in one of these formats. There are two microform formats at the Hutchins Library:

Microfiche – Microfiche is similar to microfilm, but the images are on individual sheets of transparent plastic 105 x 148mm (approx. 4”x6”). Each sheet holds up to 98 page images.

Microfilm - Microfilm is a long strip of transparent plastic wound on a reel. One roll of microfilm can hold as many as 800 images of newspaper pages.

Monograph – A boring-sounding library term for a book on a single topic.

Off-Campus Access – See: Remote Access.

Online Catalog or Electronic Catalog – A record of the holdings of an institution (e.g. library or museum) or group of institutions (a consortium), often searchable, that can be found on the Internet.

Open Source- In production and development a philosophy or methodology promoting free redistribution and access to an end product's design and implementation details.

Peer-Reviewed Journal – Also called a “Refereed Journal”, this is a journal where articles must be reviewed by two or more other professionals in the field and prior to being accepted for publication. Most graduate literature reviews require peer-reviewed articles. 

Periodical – A generic term for publications such as journals, magazines or newspapers that are published at regular intervals.

Plagiarism – Plagiarism consists of intentionally or knowingly representing the words or ideas of another as one's own in any academic exercise, written or oral. Compositions, term papers, lab reports, or computer programs acquired in part or in whole from published or internet sources, commercial sources or from other students and submitted as one's own work is plagiarism. For example, it is plagiarism to copy material from a web site and then present that material, or a summary of that information, as one’s own reflection without acknowledgment.”  (Source: Gonzaga University’s Academic Honesty Policy, p.2; )

Primary Source – The originator of a primary record. A primary record is a resource created by the individual(s) that initially experienced or used it. They create the records for their own purposes, records that often remain unpublished. Sometimes they witness an event, sometimes they are involved in an event, and sometimes the record is directly created by the event.

Content edited from Foley Library. (2020, July 1). FYI - Glossary of Library Terms. LibGuides: Nursing - Library Orientation.

Librarians have been known to throw around a lot of technical terms and phrases, forgetting that not everyone knows what we are talking about. Here is a list of some of these terms in plain English.

Recall - A special request for a book that is already checked out to someone else. That person will be notified to return the book within 7 days. Contact the Circulation Desk if you have questions about recalls.

Record – A collection of related data field or an individual entry in a database. Each field, although related, is of a different type to all the other fields in the record.

Refereed Journal – see Peer Reviewed Journal.

Reference/Information Desk – The Reference Desk is “Help Central” at the library. It is typically staffed by a trained student employee backed up by an on-call librarian. These teams help students with their research, answer questions about library services, respond to chat questions, and direct people to other offices and rooms in the building. 

Remote Access - From off-campus, you have to log in to use our databases. Your database login is the same as your SBU e-mail and Blackboard login. If you don’t know what that is, contact or 417-328-1602 and ask the IT guys for help. You can also use the library number: 1-417-328-1620 and ask to be transferred to IT.

Renewal – An extension on a book’s loan period. The renewal period is equivalent to the original check out period. Most items can be renewed twice as long as the item has not been requested by another user. You can request renewals online through the library website. A book borrowed through interlibrary loan may be renewed once, but the due dates and renewals are totally at the discretion of the library that own the book.

Request – When you place request for a item from SearchEverything, it holds that item for you, whether it is on the shelf or checked out to another person. You will be notified when your item is ready to be picked up at the branch location you selected. 

Reserves -- Professors often put items (books, DVDs) on reserve at the Circulation Desk. These are usually assigned readings or films that need to be made available to all students in a class. Reserve items have shorter loan periods and some must be used only in the library.

Scholarly Journal – see Peer-Reviewed Journal.

SearchEverything - The search function on SBU Library's home page, SearchEverything provides a quick way to search for books, articles, DVDs and more all at once. It is the place to search for books in the library collections and a good starting place if you aren't sure what database(s) to use to find academic articles. In addition to the quick search box, there are advanced search and browse search options and many ways to refine your search results. Sign in to your library account while using SearchEverything to take advantage of all the features and online access options. 

Subject Directory – A hierarchical grouping of related subject headings. The tree structure shows relationships between subject headings. They can be found either inside a database or separate from a data base.

Subject Heading - See Descriptor.

Thesaurus - A list of subject headings or descriptors for a particular database. You can browse a database’s thesaurus to find controlled vocabulary terms to use in your searching.

Truncation – A search technique that expands a root word by using a specified symbol. In most databases, an asterisk * is used for truncation. For example: enter the keyword leader* to search for the words: leader, leaders, leadership.

URL - Uniform Resource Locator. The Internet address for a website.


Content edited from Foley Library. (2020, July 1). FYI - Glossary of Library Terms. LibGuides: Nursing - Library Orientation.