About the Libraries:
Library Guide for International Students
The RUL Task Force
on International Student Guides
Welcome to the Rutgers University Libraries. The librarians and staff in the library system are here to help you.
Besides offering various services and resources to support academic course work and research, the Libraries serve an
international student body of approximately 3,500 people who come from more than 120 countries around the world.
As a foreign student studying in another culture and educational system, you may have some difficulties conducting
library research because our library system and its services are somewhat different from those in your own country. This
guide will introduce you to our library system. We hope that you will find the guide useful in your library research and
that you have an enjoyable experience using the Libraries.
American Library Systems
Most American academic libraries use an open stack’ system. This means that access to the books and periodicals is not
restricted. Librarians can assist you in choosing what to look for, but you will go to the shelves yourself to find what
you want. You need, therefore, to learn how to use the Library Catalog, the Libraries’ online information system and catalog, to find
call numbers and other location information. Because books on the same subject are usually shelved together, you may
also browse through the shelves for items you need. For journal articles, you also need to learn how to use subject
indexes and abstracts to find article citations and full-text articles.
In today's American libraries, electronic resources are a very important part of research. More and more indexes,
abstracts, and journal articles are available in electronic format and are accessible remotely. You need to learn how to
use the Internet, CD-ROMs, and other electronic tools.
If you have questions or need assistance in using the library, please do not hesitate to ask at the reference desk.
Reference librarians are available to help you identify information and can show you, step by step, how to find books
and other materials. If the librarian has a problem understanding you, please write your request on a piece of paper and
show it to him or her.
The United States is an information-oriented society, and the American education system encourages its students to study
independently. If you really want to succeed in an American University, it is important for you to become familiar with
American library systems.
As a foreign student, you may find some terms used in the Rutgers University Libraries unfamiliar. The following will
provide you with a list of some common terms and their definitions, which may help you as you conduct library research.
An abstract is a concise summary of a periodical article or book. It can also refer to an electronic database or a set of print publications which provide citations and summaries of articles or texts published in periodicals, books or other materials. They can usually be searched by subject, author and/or title.
A barcode is a 14-digit number assigned by the library circulation desks to borrowers when they register for library privileges. Each barcode is unique to the individual borrower. The barcode is either printed or affixed on the back of your university ID card or library card. The barcode is needed for all library borrowing transactions and services.
A bibliography is a list of reference materials such as books and articles used for research. It is often located at the end of an article or book. It can also refer to a collection of information sources on a specific topic, such as books and periodical articles, that are published as a book.
Short for weblog, a blog is a type of website where entries are made and displayed in reverse chronological order. Blogs often provide commentary or news on a particular subject and may contain text, images, and links to other webpages or blogs.
A method of combining search terms in database searching using Boolean operators: AND, OR and NOT.
A call number consists of a series of letters, numbers or symbols that identifies an individual book or material and shows the order in which the item is stored on a shelf or in a collection of materials. The call number label is usually located on the spine of a book. Most academic libraries in the USA use the Library of Congress classification system in order to determine the call number for each book.
In order to borrow a book from the library for a certain period of time, you must take the book to the circulation desk and have it charged out with your university ID or library card.
The circulation desk is the place to check out and return library materials.
A citation is a reference source which usually includes article title, author, publication name, date, volume and pages from journals or books.
A database is a file or collection of bibliographic citations or records of materials stored electronically in a manner that can be retrieved and manipulated.
The due date is the date which library materials on loan should be returned or renewed. If you do not return library materials by the designated due date, you are subject to fines or loss of borrowing privileges.
Electronic workstations are computer terminals which provide access to the Internet as well as to online and CD-ROM databases.
A document that describes holdings of an archive, library or museum.
An indication of the format and/or size of the document.
Using the "Book Delivery/Recall" button in the Library Catalog, you can place a hold on a book, which will initiate delivery of it to your selected pick up location.
The books, periodicals, microforms, pamphlets, audiovisuals or other resources the library owns.
The year of publication of a book as designated on the title page.
Imaging Services provides self-service copy cards, photocopiers, networked printing and microform printing throughout Rutgers University Libraries. For location of Imaging Services offices and vending machines please see http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/rul/lib_servs/imaging_services.shtml.
A periodical index is a list of bibliographic citations of articles in magazines or journals. It can be used to help find articles on specific topics. A book index is an alphabetical list of important entry points with pagination to the full contents of the book.
Information or Welcome Desk
The information or welcome desk is where library staff provide directions and answer your questions. If you have a research question, they will refer you to a reference librarian for further assistance. These desks are usually located near the library entrance or by the reference desk.
Library Catalog/Card catalog
The Library Catalog is an electronic database listing all the materials such as books and periodicals owned by the Rutgers University Libraries. Records in the database provide information about these items such as author, title, subject, call number, publication date, location, and availability.
The Library Catalog is available to anyone with Internet access.
The card catalog consists of catalog cards kept in cabinets with drawers. The catalog contains the records of the materials acquired before 1972. The catalog has two parts: one for subjects, the other for authors and titles. The cards are filed alphabetically.
Library instruction usually consists of a lecture, demonstration and hands-on practice. It is a service provided by librarians to teach students how to use the library’s resources efficiently.
This term refers to the length of time library materials may be borrowed.
Handwritten document or book.
Microform is a storage format with reduced images, as opposed to the electronic or print formats. There are two common kinds of microform: microfiche and microfilm. Microfiche: A 4x6 sheet of plastic film that stores information in a compact form and requires a microfiche reading device in order to be used. Microfilm: A roll of film either 16mm or 35mm that stores patents, periodicals or other documents and requires a reading machine in order to be used.
The prefix of your Rutgers-issued email address, such as the "JohnSmith" of JohnSmith@eden.rutgers. edu, is referred to by the university as your NetID. Students and faculty use their NetID to gain remote access to the libraries’ electronic resources, and to request articles and Interlibrary Loan materials.
Overdue means that the book checked out by you is late for return. It has not been returned or renewed by the due date.
Academic publications with reports on recent studies and/or scholarly essays that are printed on a regular basis, whether monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, annually, or biannually, are referred to as periodicals or journals.
A PIN, or Personal Identification Number, is the four digit number patrons use to place holds on or recall books, and to access their library account online using the MY ACCOUNT feature in the Library Catalog.
Recall is a service by which a patron can request a book that has already been checked out by another patron. When the book is returned to the library, it will be held for the requestor, who will be notified. If a book you have borrowed is recalled, you must return it to one of the Rutgers libraries within two weeks.
The reference collection consists of materials used frequently for general information. It includes encyclopedias, dictionaries, indexes, and other materials. These materials may not be checked out of the library.
The reference desk is where you receive in-depth assistance from librarians in your library research. The desk is usually located near the reference collections.
The use of online services from a remote computer. When working from home or other remote location you may need access to our electronic resources. A Rutgers NetID is required.
Renew is a service which allows you to extend the loan period for the book that you have checked out unless another user has recalled the book. You can renew your books by using the "MY ACCOUNT" feature in the Library Catalog.
Refers to articles requested via Interlibrary Loan and Article Delivery Services, or books requested using the "Item Special Request" button in the Library Catalog.
Materials set aside by professors for required reading, viewing, or listening by students as part of their coursework. All reserve articles are available electronically, but other materials such as books, videos and CDs can be borrowed by users with an in-library use only restriction.
The shelves that hold the circulating library books are referred to as the ‘stacks.’ A user will need a call number, the number listed both in the book’s record in the Library Catalog and on the spine of the book itself, to locate the volume in the stacks.
There are twenty-six libraries, centers, and reading rooms on the Rutgers campuses. Below is a list of the locations
along with the abbreviations used in the Library Catalog and in the law library catalogs. You need to become familiar with the
libraries in your major field of study. For their hours, phone numbers, and addresses, see
Hours & Directions and the list of
Libraries and Centers.
|Campus / Library Name
|RU-Online: The Rutgers Digital Library
|New Brunswick/Piscataway Area:
|Center of Alcohol Studies Library
|Chang Science Library
|East Asian Library
|Library of Science & Medicine
|Margery Somers Foster Center
|Mathematical Sciences Library
|SERC Reading Room
|School of Management &
Labor Relations Library
|Special Collections &
|Criminal Justice Library
|Institute of Jazz Studies
It is important to be aware of the following library conditions and procedures:
Loan Period: For graduate students, it is one semester; for undergraduates, it is four weeks. If no one else requests
the materials, you can continue to renew the loan. If someone else wants the material, you will receive a recall notice
and will have two weeks to return the materials or have to pay a fine.
Library Hours: These vary for different libraries. During the fall and spring semesters the Libraries are open longer.
During holidays, semester breaks, and summer sessions, hours are shortened. For detailed information, refer to library
handouts, call the reference desk, or see the Libraries'
Hours and Directions web page.
Checking Out Books: You will need to register with the Libraries to check out books. Fill out the online "Registering
with the Rutgers Libraries" Registering with the Rutgers Libraries
form available on the Libraries' website or visit or phone the circulation desk of any Rutgers library.
Eating & Smoking: There is no smoking allowed in the libraries. Food is not permitted in the libraries. Drink is
permitted only in spill-proof mugs in designated areas.
This is the starting place for students and faculty to use the Rutgers University Libraries. At the circulation desk of
all Rutgers libraries, users can register their library barcode and receive a PIN, receive introductory materials about
libraries policies, check out or return books, pay fines or fees, and learn about useful library services.
The first place you should stop for help with your research is the reference desk. You are invited and encouraged to ask
a librarian for help with your assignments, research, and information needs at any one of the reference desks in the
Libraries. This service is provided through one-on-one consultation, tutorials, and library instruction. You may also
write to "Ask A Librarian," the Libraries' online reference service, which is available from the Libraries’ website.
The Libraries' Website
You can search the Library Catalog, the Libraries' information system and online catalog, and other information resources through the
Libraries' website at http://www.libraries.rutgers.edu/. From this address you can access catalogs (including the Library Catalog),
indexes and databases, full-text electronic journals, subject research guides, and library services.
You can access the Libraries' website from campus computer labs, your home, or your office. To use some resources from
off campus you will need to follow the "Connect from Off-campus" instructions provided on the Libraries’ website and
login using your Rutgers NetID and password.
Use the Library Catalog to find books, periodicals (journals or magazines), and other materials. The Library Catalog contains records for items held
by the Rutgers University Libraries, including those held on reserve for specific courses and circulation records for
all borrowers. The Library Catalog provides information on which Rutgers library owns each title as well as call number, location,
journal holdings, and whether each copy of a title is currently checked out or is on the shelf.
For some libraries, items acquired prior to 1972 were not automatically included in the Library Catalog but are being progressively
added to the database. Many government documents published prior to 2002 are not included. If you cannot locate the
materials you need in the Library Catalog, ask a reference librarian for assistance.
Select the "My Account" feature (located in the black horizontal navigation bar) in the Library Catalog, and use your library barcode
and PIN (Personal Identification Number) to review your library record, including checkouts, Library Catalog requests, media
bookings, bills, E-ZBorrow requests, and interlibrary loan requests. You can also renew materials you have checked out
or change your PIN. You may request a barcode and PIN in person at any Rutgers library circulation desk or online
through the "Ask a Librarian" service, also located on the Libraries website.
Online Databases (Indexes and Abstracts)
There are many electronic indexes and
databases available on the Libraries' website. These databases can help you
locate bibliographic information about journal articles, dissertations, government publications, conference papers, and
technical reports on specific subjects. Some databases contain or link to full-text materials. Search the Library Catalog to locate materials that are cited in an index
when the full text is not provided.
Electronic Journals (E-Journals)
More and more journals are available in electronic format and can be accessed on the Internet. You can access the
full-text of many e-journals from the Library Catalog using a "TITLE
begins with" or a "PERIODICAL TITLE begins with" search.
You can also click on "Electronic Journal"
or Subject Research Guides"
on the Libraries' website.
The Internet is the largest system of connected computer networks in the world. This information superhighway connects
millions of campus, state, regional, national, and international networks. On the Internet, you can have access to
library catalogs, archives, specialized databases, electronic
journals, conferences, newsgroups, software, multimedia, electronic mail, and many other resources and tools. The World
Wide Web (WWW) is a hypertext-based navigation system that lets you browse through a variety of linked Internet
CD-ROMS (Compact-Disc Read Only Memory)
There are hundreds of CD-ROM titles located throughout the libraries. Some CD-ROM databases are available on stand-
alone or locally networked workstations. These CD-ROM databases include the same types of information as printed
periodicals and abstracts and online databases. In some cases they include the full-text of journal articles, books,
and government reports.
Library Orientations and Classes
Orientation is a brief introduction to the Libraries for new students. Library instruction classes are requested by
faculty members to assist students with their research
Rutgers Delivery Service (RDS), E-Z Borrow, and Interlibrary Loan Service (ILS)
You may request library materials from a Rutgers library at another campus through the Rutgers Delivery Service using
the Book Delivery/Recall, Book Special Request, and Article Delivery functions in the Library Catalog. Use "E-ZBorrow" to request delivery of a book
that is either not owned, is checked out, or that is otherwise not available in the Rutgers University Libraries. Use
the Interlibrary Loan option to request delivery of a book or article that is not available in the Rutgers Libraries,
or that is only at the Camden Law Library, Newark Law Library, or the Criminal Justice Library. Both E-ZBorrow and
are available through the
"Delivery and Interlibrary Loan" link on the Libraries' website.
The Reserves section of the Library Catalog lists books, articles,
and other course materials put aside at the request of instructors for students taking specified courses. Reserve
materials may be in paper or electronic format. Many reserve collections are located behind the circulation desk;
others are located in areas designated specially for reserve materials. These materials are for use only in the library
and for limited periods. Electronic reserve materials can be accessed from campus computer labs, your home, or your
office. To use electronic reserves from off campus you will need to follow the
"Connect from Off-Campus" instructions
provided on the Libraries’ website and login using your Rutgers NetID and password.
How to Find Books
To find books in the library, you may search the Library Catalog,
the online catalog, by author, title, subject, or keyword. For detailed information on searching the Library Catalog see the "Library Catalog Guide" available within the Library Catalog.
- If you already know the title of the book you are looking for, use the "TITLE begins with" search and type the
entire title or the first few words of the title. Articles such as "a" and "the" at the beginning of a title should be
- If you only know the author's name, use the "QUTHOR begins with" search and type all or part of the author's name.
When searching personal names, type the last name first. An author can be a person, corporation, association, or a
- When you want books about a particular subject, use one of the SUBJECT search options. If you have an exact subject
heading from the Library of Congress Subject Headings, use a "SUBJECT begins with" search. Otherwise use a "SUBJECT
keyword" search or ask for assistance at the reference desk.
- If you do not know the exact author's name, title, or subject heading, use the "WORDS anywhere" search or try an
"Advanced Search." Either option will allow you to combine search terms, for example, an author's last name and a
keyword in a title.
- After you display the full record for the book, write down the library where it is located, the complete call number,
the sub-location, and the status, then go to the shelves to get the book.
- If you want to borrow a book, take it to the circulation desk in the library.
- If the Library Catalog shows that all copies of the book you want are in other Rutgers libraries, you may request the book using the
Book Delivery/Recall function in the Library Catalog. If all copies of a book are checked out by other users, you may use the
E-ZBorrow service to request another copy of the book.
- If no Rutgers Library owns the book you want, you may request the book using the E-ZBorrow service. If the book is
not available through E-ZBorrow, you can fill out an interlibrary loan form. For either service, go to the Libraries’
homepage and click on the "Delivery and Interlibrary Loan" link.
How to Find Journal Articles
If you already know which journal you need, do a "PERIODICAL TITLE begins with" search in the Library Catalog. If you only have the
subject and need to find articles, use the following instructions.
- Ask a reference librarian to recommend the most appropriate index for your topic or select an index from the list of
Indexes and Databases available on the Libraries’ website. The Rutgers Libraries have a variety of indexes and
abstracts accessible in both electronic and paper format. The best way to search indexes and abstracts is by subject.
- When you find a useful article, write down the complete article citation, which includes the author's name, article
title, journal title, volume number, issue number (if there is any), date, and page numbers. If the index is
electronic, you can also email or download the citations. Some electronic indexes may also include full-text articles
or links to full-text.
- Not all periodicals listed in indexes and abstracts are owned by the Rutgers University Libraries. To find out if the
Libraries own a specific journal, search the Library Catalog by
entering the entire journal title or the first few words of the title in a "PERIODICAL TITLE begins with" search.
Articles (a, an, the, le, la) at the beginning of a title should be left off.
- If the libraries own the journal in electronic format, you will see an "Electronic Access" link in the Library Catalog or may be able to link directly to the full-text
from within an electronic index.
- If the library owns the journal in paper format, you can go directly to the shelves and get it. Journals in most
Rutgers libraries are arranged alphabetically by title. You cannot borrow journals, but you may make photocopies of
- If the Rutgers University Libraries do not own the journal you want, you can fill out an interlibrary loan form. Go
to the library homepage and click on the "Delivery and Interlibrary Loan" link.
Helpful Tips for Library Research
- Apply for your computer account as soon as you register at Rutgers. If you have questions, contact computing
services on your campus.
- Make sure you understand your assignment or project. If you do not, ask your instructor to explain it to you.
- Start your library research early because library materials you need may already be checked out by another user.
Allow extra time if you need materials that are not owned by the Rutgers University Libraries.
- Use the most appropriate indexes and reference materials in your research.
- Keep careful and complete notes for your reference citations including author, title, place of publication,
publisher, date of publication, volume, and page numbers. You will need this information for your bibliography.
- Remember that you can access various library resources on the Internet from your home, office, and campus computer
labs. To use some resources from off campus you will need to follow the "Connect from Off-Campus" instructions provided
on the Libraries' website and login using your Rutgers NetID and password.
- Feel free to ask a reference librarian for assistance, or use the "Ask a Librarian" service.
For the latest information on this and other library services, visit the Libraries' website
Prepared by The RUL Task Force on International
Student Guides: Updated and revised August 2007