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Glossary of Terms

This glossary has definitions of terms that you might come across when doing library research. It also defines some of the web sites and services we have here at Colorado College.


A summary of an article. Some databases include abstracts of the article, and some journals print the abstract right at the beginning of the article. This allows you to read that short summary before you decide if it is worthwhile to read the entire article.

call number

Tutt Library uses the Library of Congress call number system. It's similar to a Dewey Decimal call number, but it uses letters as well as numbers. The letters aren't abbreviations; for example, books about science all have call numbers starting with "Q." Call numbers allow us to shelve books about similar subjects next to one another. Unlike most public libraries, we don't have a "fiction" or "biography" section; those books get call numbers like the rest.


A catalog tells you what books, magazines, maps, videos, etc. a library has in its collections. The name of the CC Library catalog is TIGER. You may also use other catalogs like Prospector, or WorldCat to find books in other libraries.


The circulation desk is where you go to check books out of the library. Tut circulation desk is on the first floor of the main building.


When you search databases or catalogs, the information you get back consists of citations. A citation is information about an article or a book, like an entry in a bibliography. This would include the title of the article, the journal or magazine it was published in, the date published, the volume and issue of the journal, and the page numbers. You usually need all this information to be able to find an article in the library. An example of an article citation is: "Intellectual community." By: Duncombe, Margaret. Liberal Education, Nov/Dec90, Vol. 76 Issue 5, p22, 4p.


While a database can be any searchable, organized set of data, when librarians talk about databases, we usually mean online indexes of journal articles, like EBSCO Academic Search Premier. Some databases (like Academic Search Premier) cover many different subjects, while some only cover one subject. Some databases contain full text, while others only have citations. Unlike a catalog that shows only what is available in the library, the CC Library may not own all the journals that you find indexed in a database. You can use Interlibrary Loan to get articles we don't own. See the Library's main databases web page.


EBSCO is the name of a company that makes databases of indexes to journal articles. One of our most popular databases is EBSCO Academic Search Complete, which allows you to search for articles on many different subjects. You can go to Academic Search Complete now.

full text

Some databases contain links to the actual article online, either as an HTML web page or as an Adobe PDF document. This is convenient, because then you don't have to go to the stacks to find the journal. Don't forget that we still have many articles in printed journals that may never be in full text databases.

government documents

The United States government puts out a huge amount of information each year on a wide variety of topics. We get government documents in paper, online, and on CD-ROMs. Our government documents collection is on the first floor of Tutt Library's south building. The Colorado College has been a part of the Federal Documents Library Program since 1880, and we maintain a historical collection dating back to 1774. See the Government Documents department web page for much more information.

interlibrary loan (ILL)

If you need something we don't have at the CC Library, we can borrow books or get photocopies of articles for you from another library using interlibrary loan (ILL). The service is free to students. Many databases allow you to request an article through ILL just by clicking on a link and entering your name and ID number. See the ILL web page, or visit the ILL office on the first floor of Tutt Library's main building.


Like magazines, journals come out on a regular basis: monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, etc. Journals differ from magazines in that they publish scholarly, academic articles. Some examples of journals are Science, The American Journal of Sociology, or The Philosophical Quarterly. Journals are listed in TIGER, and you can also use Gold Rush to locate online versions of journals to which the library subscribes. To search for articles in journals, you'll need to use a database.


PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It is a kind of computer document designed for printing, and for use across different kinds of computers. You need to have the program Adobe Acrobat on your computer to read these files (all computers in the CC library and computer labs should already have this software installed). Full text journal articles in PDF are nice because they look just like the original printed article when you print them out. See the Adobe company website for more information or to download Acrobat Reader.


Magazines, journals, and newspapers are all periodicals - they are all published "periodically" or "serially," meaning one after the other on a regular schedule.


Prospector is a catalog where you can look up books held in many different libraries across Colorado. When you search Prospector and find a book you want to borrow, you can just click on link for "REQUEST THIS ITEM." You enter your name and CC ID number, and the books are delivered to the Tutt Library circulation desk in just a few days. You'll receive an email to let you know when the book is ready. You can go to Prospector now.


The reference desk is on the first floor of the main building of Tutt Library, and is staffed most of the hours the library is open. Reference librarians are there to help you; if you need help getting started with a paper, or if you don't know where to look to find the information you need, ask the reference librarian. There is also a section of reference books on the first floor containing dictionaries, encyclopedias, and similar books on all different topics.


Your professors will sometimes put books on reserve in the library for your class. Reserve books are held behind the circulation desk and are available to check out and use in the library for two hours. See course reserve policies for more information.

special collections

Located on the second floor of the south building of Tutt Library, special collections holds rare books, manuscripts, photographs, and the College archives. See the Special Collections web page for much more information.


Rows of bookshelves.


TIGER is the CC Library catalog. Often, TIGER is the first place you should go to find things in the library. TIGER does not index journal articles; if you want to look for articles, you will need a database. If you don't find what you are looking for in TIGER, you may want to repeat your search in Prospector. You can go to TIGER now.

Tutt Link

Tutt Link is a special kind of catalog; you can search by the title of a journal to find out if we have online access to that journal. You can only search by the title of the journal itself. If you want to look for articles, use an article database. You can go to Tutt Link now.


WorldCat is a catalog that shows what libraries all over the world (though especially in the USA) have in their collections. If you can't find a book in TIGER or Prospector, you may want to try WorldCat. You can get a book on interlibrary loan (ILL) by clicking on a link in WorldCat and entering your name and ID. Be aware that it often takes a week or more to get a book on ILL.

This page is part of FYE Central, brief guides to Tutt Library and college research.