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Answered By: Library Help
Last Updated: Aug 27, 2020     Views: 45

We try not use weird words and 'jargon', but sometimes these words may show up during your time at the University. The University has a page for many Academic words available, and we've collected a few more here with a brief explanation. If you don't see the word you're confused by you can send us an email at Sometimes searching for the word online will bring a few quick answers, but if you're still not sure then do ask us.

Hold / Holds

If a library book has a 'hold' on it, it means that someone else has requested the book. It is a bit like a queue for the book, once the book is returned we will hold it aside for the person who asked for it for up to a week. There may be a queue of holds on a book, this means that eventually each person who has requested the book can have a bit of time with it.


A journal is an academic magazine covering a particular subject. They are really useful as they will cover a topic in depth, collecting articles written by people who are studying or working in a particular area of study.

Library Resource

A library resource can be anything from the library collection, whether it's a book or a DVD or a music CD or a map or a journal, or even a box or pack containing multiple different items! We try to say 'resource' instead of book when we're talking about items from the library, as the library collection is much more than 'just' books!


The shelfmark is the set of numbers followed by three letters that appears on the side of a library resource. These numbers are all about the topic that the resource covers, and are used to help sort the books and resources into order on the library shelves. This means if you are looking for a book you can find out the shelfmark number from NELSON, and then go through the books on the shelves in order until you get to the right number, and then you'll find the book.

Also, because the books are sorted by shelfmark number (which represents the topic), it means that books that are on the shelves around the same number will cover very similar topics!

This is really handy if you're looking for a book or browsing the shelves, but it does look confusing to start with. We never expect people to be experts when looking for library resources, and we look for them very often, so if you can't find the book you're looking for then just ask us and we'll be happy to lend you a hand.