Skip to Main Content

Drama & Performance: Library Glossary

A guide for students studying Drama & Performance at the University of South Wales. Mae'r canllaw hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg.

Library Glossary


A summary of an article or document.

Advanced search

A search option found on FINDit and various journals and databases. It allows you to make more precise searches by combining keywords to produce more relevant search results.

APA referencing

APA referencing is the referencing style of the American Psychological Association (APA). It is the required referencing style for students studying psychology.


A concise piece of writing on a particular topic that is usually part of a larger publication, such as a journal, magazine or newspaper.


The writer of the book, article or other piece of information.

Automatic renewals

The renewal of the loan period of items you have borrowed from the library for a further loan period by the library system. Items are not automatically renewed if they have been requested by another user. You will be sent an email asking you to return them on the day they are next due back. Automatic renewal does not apply to laptops that you might have borrowed.



A list of resources (books, journal articles etc.) that have been used to create a particular piece of work including readings that are not mentioned in the text.


The USW online learning environment


A comprehensive written work on a subject.

Book review

A critical examination and evaluation of a specific book.



"AND", "OR" and "NOT" are Boolean operators. They are used to combine keywords when making a search on a database.

British Library Requests

A tab on the FINDit menu bar which you use to request the supply of items not available in USW libraries. Also known as an Inter-Library Loan.



The library has an online chat service. Our 24/7 chat provides help with library services and resources.


A reference to a specific piece of work (e.g. a book or journal article) used by another author within the text of their own writing (e.g. essay or dissertation). A citation acknowledges the use of an original source and enables readers to trace this original source.



A specialist form of searching in databases and search engines where you can search for a specific book, article or author and identify where the item or author have been referenced in other pieces of research. It can show the development of an area of research, help identify key pieces of research and help with finding additional research in a search area. If a text has been cited/referenced many times, it could indicate its importance in the field.



A published collection of papers and presentations from a conference.



A database is an electronic collection of information stored in a computer program that enables you to find information from the database in different ways.  Databases available from the library can contain journal articles, newspaper articles, specialist information or a combination of different information resources.

Dewey decimal classification system

 The books on the shelves in the USW library are organised by the Dewey Decimal Classification System. This gives each book a number, which represents the subject area of the book. The books are organised in number order on the shelves and as each number represents a subject area, books on the same subject are group together. Each book has its number put on the spine of the book and then three letters, which are usually the first three letters of the author’s last name or the first three letters of the title. This number and the three letters are called the shelfmark. To find a book on the shelf, look for the number followed by the letters. 


A large research project based on a topic which is usually chosen by the student.


eBook/ eJournal

An electronic version of a book or journal.


The person who puts together a selection of documents e.g chapters or articles, that are written by other authors.


A version of a published text. Some texts will be altered, amended and updated regularly at different times and then re-published. Each of these republications creates a different edition of the text.

Edited book

Edited books contain a collection of articles on a subject written by different authors.


Eduroam is the wi-fi system at USW. It is an international Wi-Fi network used around the world in academic and research institutions. This allows you to visit other universities and access an internet connection using your USW log in details.


A period of time where access to a piece of information is not available. Publishers often put embargos on recent journal articles in library databases.


A bibliographic management package. It is tool used to help store and organise your bibliographic references. Endnote is the university’s standard bibliographic software package for staff and researchers


Faculty Librarian

An information professional to support you with finding relevant information for your research, and using the library, including library systems, such as FINDit and specialist resources such as subject specific databases. Find out who your Faculty Librarian is here:


FINDit is the university of South Wales library search engine. You can search FINDit for books, eBooks, journal articles and much more. You can also access journals and databases, request books, manage your library account and make a British Library Request.


When a library item isn’t returned on time, a fee is charged and will appear on your library account. This fee is called a fine. Find out more here.


Filters enable you to specify what criteria you want your information to meet. They are found on FINDit and other databases and are used to help limit the number of search results you get and make your results list more relevant.


Full-text means that all of the publication is fully available to access and read.



An alphabetical list of words and terminology in a subject area with explanations of what each word and term mean.



A reference work of instruction or guidance on a subject or an academic book on a specific subject, usually consisting of a collection of articles by different authors in the field.

Harvard referencing

Harvard Referencing is a referencing style. It is the main referencing style used at USW


Library holdings are the items that the library contains, both print and online, in its collections.


A hold is a request for an item in the library.


The hold-shelf is where requested books are kept while they are waiting to be collected. It is also known as the ‘request collection point’. If you have had an email to say your requested book is ready to collect, the hold-shelf is where you will collect it from.



An alphabetical listing of names, places, and topics along with the numbers of the pages on which they are mentioned or discussed, usually located at the back of a book.


ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number and it is a unique identifier of a book.

Information Literacy

Information literacy is the ability to think critically and make balanced judgements about any information we find and use.

Inter-Library loan

See British-Library request


Journal article

Short, specific pieces of research that are good for keeping up-to-date with the latest research on a topic or developments within a profession.



A significant word or phrase which you can use to search databases and online catalogues for information on your assignment topic or research.


Law reports

Collection of judicial decisions (judgments) on a court case.  The case might be reported in different law reports.

Library guides

These are created by your librarian to help users to effectively use library resources and facilities. Guides include: Getting Started, subject support guides, reading lists, research, library services etc.

Literature review

A literature review is usually part of the process of writing a final year project, dissertation or long essay.  It can also be set and assessed as a standalone assignment.  A literature review provides an overview and an analytical analysis of what is known about a particular topic.


MHRA Referencing

MHRA referencing is the referencing style of the Modern Humanities Research Association. It is the required referencing style for students studying history.

Mixed methods

An approach to research that uses both qualitative and quantitative research methods.


A publication containing articles and illustrations, often on a particular subject which is published on a regular basis, eg. Weekly, monthly etc.


A detailed, research-based study of a subject published as a book.



Newspapers contain news reports, articles, and adverts and are usually printed daily or weekly. They contain the latest news from a particular country and across the world.


Open access

Open access is a movement that removes financial, technical, and legal barriers to provide free, online access to academic information such as research publications and data.

OSCOLA referencing

OSCOLA referencing is the referencing style of the Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities. It is the required referencing style for students studying law.


Peer reviewed journals

Peer-reviewed journals contain articles written by experts that are reviewed by several other experts in the field to ensure the article's quality.


A permanent static hyperlink to a particular web page.


Plagiarism happens when you use another person’s words, ideas, opinions, data or diagrams without acknowledging where they come from. Plagiarism is a type of academic misconduct. References are required to avoid plagiarism.

Primary resource

Original materials created at the time of an event or as part of a study, piece of research or a piece of work.


Quantitative research

The process of collecting and analysing numerical data.

Qualitative research

The process of collecting and analysing non-numerical data.



A recall asks for items to be returned to the library. Recall emails are sent out if you have an item that has been requested by someone else. You will need to return this item by its due date. If the item isn’t returned by that date, a fine will be charged.

Reading list

A list of recommended resources for your course or module. There is a link on each Blackboard module to the online reading list for the module.


Full details of a piece of information used within an assignment or other piece of work.

Reference list

A list of all sources referenced within the text of an assignment or publication.


A request is the reservation of an item in the library by an individual for their use. On FINDit you can place a request for any loanable item, from any USW campus, or if the item is on loan to another borrower.


SCONUL access scheme

A scheme which allows many university library users to study spaces or books and journals at other libraries which belong to the scheme.


S: Stop
I: Investigate the source
F: Find better coverage
T: Trace information back to the source

This is a quick and simple approach that can be applied to all sorts of sources that will help you judge the quality of the information.


Also known as a classmark.

Items are organised by number on the library shelves. Each book has its number put on the spine of the book followed by three letters, which are usually the first three letters of the author’s last name or the first three letters of the title. This number and the three letters are called the shelfmark.

Here is an example: 808.027 PEA


A standard is an agreed and documented way of doing something. Standards contain technical specifications or other precise criteria designed to be used consistently.

Special collection

We have several special collections that range from theatre programmes to photographs. These collections cover art, Welsh literature, photography, storytelling, education and performance, amongst other areas.

Secondary source

Secondary sources are created from primary sources or other secondary sources and analyse and interpret primary resources or other secondary information resources.

Examples include textbooks, review articles, works of criticism and interpretation.

Subject heading

A term that an author uses to describe their research, like a tag or a label. Each book or article will usually have several subject headings. Some databases allow you to do a subject heading search making it possible to see all the documents associated with the term.

Systematic review

A literature review that uses systematic search methods to locate, appraise and synthesize the best available evidence relating to a specific research question to provide informative and evidence-based answers.



A book that contains comprehensive information about a subject aimed at students of that subject.

A large piece of research, typically at doctoral level.

Trade publication

A journal written by practitioners or journalists with subject expertise, aimed at

people within a trade or profession.


Virtual browse

A search option that appears on print records within FINDit in the item record. It recommends other books that have the same location in the library.



A set of pages on the internet containing information and data on a subject created by an individual or organisation