Academic Library Terminology

Library catalog: The library catalog is the online search tool to locate the records for materials held at Cornell University Library. You can search the catalog by selecting "catalog" in the drop down menu next to the search box on the main library webpage. It does not contain links to individual journal or newspaper articles. 

Database: At the library, we use databases to help us organize and search articles from many academic journals at the same time. They are often specific to certain disciplines, and therefore can help us limit our search so that we don't have to sift through as much irrelevant information.

Stacks: In academic libraries, "the stacks" are the rows of shelves where we keep the books. 

Call number: The unique identifier for books that are found in the library catalog and on the spine of books or other materials. 

Library of Congress Classification System:  This is the organizational system of academic libraries; call numbers begin with letters and are arranged by subject. 

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