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Shepard Library Orientation: Research Terms

A guide to using Shepard Library and its resources, aimed at first year and transfer students.


Here are some words and phrases you may come across when you use the library. If you need any help understanding them, please ask us!

    • Call Number: Like most libraries, we assign books a call number that tells us the order in which they should be shelved. We use the Library of Congress call number system, which arranges books by subject.

    • Citation: A citation is the information needed to find a book, journal article, or other library resource. Generally, a citation includes the resource's title, author, date of publication, and information about the publisher. If the source is part of a larger source (like a journal article or encyclopedia article), the citation will also include the title of the larger source (the journal, the encyclopedia) and the volume, issue, and page numbers on which you can find the specific article. There are different styles for listing citations (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.).

    • Database: A database is a searchable collection of information. Some databases have information from reference books, some contain journal articles, some contain other types of information. Some databases include complete articles, while others only provide citations.

    • Full Text: If a database contains full text, that mean it includes at least some complete articles.

    • InterLibrary Loan/ILLiad: InterLibrary Loan is a service that allows NCCU patrons to borrow materials from other libraries through Shepard Library. ILLiad is the computer system that we use to receive InterLibrary Loan requests. If you need help placing a request through ILLiad, please ask.

    • NC Live: NC Live is a statewide collaboration of libraries to provide a collection of databases that is free for all North Carolinians to use. Many of the databases that Shepard Library provides are part of NC Live, but many more are purchased just for North Carolina Central University.

    • Peer Reviewed: At some point in your college career, you will almost certainly need to obtain a peer reviewed journal article. Peer reviewed means that the article was published in a scholarly journal that has experts in the field (peers of the article authors) review each article to decide if it is fit for publication. The peer review process is an important component of scholarly communication.

  • Reserve: Professors can place required course reading on reserve so that students are guaranteed to have access to these materials. Reserve items are found at the desk just outside of the Mega Computer Lab on the 1st floor of Shepard Library. They can be checked out for 2 hours to use in the library only.

If you encounter other research terms that you think should be here, please contact Danielle Colbert-Lewis or Hafsa Murad.