Information for International Students


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 4,900 people who come from more than 120 countries around the world.

As an international student studying in another culture and educational system, you may have some difficulties conducting 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. To do that you will need to learn how to use the 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 will need to learn how to search subject indexes 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.

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 difficulty understanding your question, please write the question on a piece of paper and show it to him or her.

Campus Libraries

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 and in the law library catalogs. It is good to become familiar with the libraries and librarians in your major field of study. For their hours, phone numbers, and addresses, see Hours, the list of Libraries and Centers and the list of Subject Specialist Librarians.


Campus / Library Name Abbreviation
RU-Online: The Rutgers Digital Library RU-ONLINE

New Brunswick/Piscataway Area

Campus / Library Name Abbreviation
Alexander Library ALEXANDER
Art Library ART
Carr Library CARR
Chang Science Library CHANG
Douglass Library DOUGLASS
East Asian Library ALEXANDER EAL
Library of Science & Medicine LSM
Margery Somers Foster Center DOUGLASS
Mathematical Sciences and Physics Library MATH
Media Center MEDIA
Robert Wood Johnson RWJ
School of Management &
      Labor Relations Library
Special Collections &
     University Archives

Newark Area

Campus / Library Name Abbreviation
Criminal Justice Library CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Dana Library DANA
Institute of Jazz Studies JAZZ
Law Library NEWARK LAW
Smith Library SMITH

Camden Area

Campus / Library Name Abbreviation
Law Library CAMDEN LAW
Robeson Library CAMDEN

Library Terminology

As an international 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.

Every library user is assigned a 14 digit number (barcode) for their library account. Barcodes are assigned by the staff at library circulation desks to borrowers when they register for library privileges. Each barcode is unique to the individual borrower and can be found on the back of a university ID card or library card. Your card and barcode are needed for all library borrowing transactions. Every book in the library also has a unique barcode.

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.

Boolean Searching
A method of combining search terms in database searching using Boolean operators: AND, OR and NOT.

Call Number
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.

Check Out
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.

Circulation Desk
The circulation desk is the place to check out and return library materials, establish your library account and ask questions about your library account and library services.

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, data, full-text materials, or records of materials stored electronically in a manner that can be retrieved and manipulated.

Due Date
The due date is the date by 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.

A designation in the given to library materials that are large in size and therefore shelved separately.

Using the "Book Delivery/Recall" button in the , you can initiate delivery of a book to your selected pick up location. It will be kept at the circulation desk for you to pick-up for 14 days.

The library collections. These include books, periodicals, microforms, pamphlets, audiovisuals and other resources.

Imprint date
The year of publication of a book as designated on the title page.

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 words, phrases and subjects contained within a book along with a list of the associated pages that discuss those terms.

Library Instruction
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.

Loan Period
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.

All faculty, staff, students and guests are assigned a Rutgers unique identifier known as a NetID, comprised of initials and a unique number (e.g. jqs23). In order to access many of the electronic services available to you at Rutgers, you need to activate your Rutgers NetID. Students and faculty/staff use their NetIDs to gain remote access to the libraries' electronic resources, view electronic reserves, and to request books, articles and Interlibrary Loan materials. Please visit for more information and to activate your Rutgers NetID.

The book checked out by you 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.

The is an electronic database listing all the materials such as books and periodicals owned by the Rutgers University Libraries as well as most of the library's electronic holdings (journal articles). Records in the database provide information about these items such as author, title, subject, call number, publication date, location, and availability.

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.

Reference Collection
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.

Reference Desk
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.

Remote Access
Restricted library electronic resources can be used by students, faculty, and staff from an off campus computer. When working from an off-campus location you will need to log in with your Rutgers NetID for access to our electronic resources.

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 "" feature in the .

Refers to materials delivered between Rutgers libraries or through Interlibrary Loan and Article Delivery Services, or non-circulating books requested using the "Item Special Request" button in the .

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 QuickSearch and on the spine of the book itself, to locate the volume in the stacks.

Library Policies

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 six 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, please see the Libraries' Hours web page or call a reference or circulation desk.

Checking Out Books: Please visit the circulation desk to check out books. You will need to present your Rutgers student ID or library card to check out books.

Circulation Services

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, receive introductory materials about libraries policies, check out or return books, pay fines or fees, and learn about useful library services.

Reference 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' email reference service, or chat with a librarian via our on-line chat function, which are available from the Libraries' website.

The Libraries' Website

You can search the , the Libraries' information system and online catalog, and other information resources through the Libraries' website at From this address you can access catalogs (including QuickSearch), 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.

QuickSearch (Library Catalog)

Use the to find books, periodicals (journals or magazines), and other materials. QuickSearch contains records for items held by the Rutgers University Libraries, including those held on reserve for specific courses and circulation records for all borrowers. QuickSearch record provides information on which Rutgers library holds 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 QuickSearch (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 , ask a reference librarian for assistance.

My Library Account

Log in to your QuickSearch account and use your Rutgers NetID and password to review your library account, including checkouts, requests, media bookings, bills, E-ZBorrow & UBorrow requests, and interlibrary loan requests. You can also renew materials you have checked out.

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 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 search for journals by title or ISSN through QuickSearch

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-ZBorrow, UBorrow and Interlibrary Loan Service (ILS)


Rutgers Delivery Service

You may request library materials from any Rutgers library to be held for you to pick up through the Rutgers Delivery Service using the Book Delivery and Special Request functions from the book record in the .

E-ZBorrow / UBorrow / Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan Services allow you to obtain materials not owned by the Rutgers University Libraries or that are already checked out to other library users. There are three main types of interlibrary loans at Rutgers: E-ZBorrow, UBorrow, and Interlibrary Loan. Learn more about ILL services.


You may request electronic copies of articles from journals owned in print format by the Rutgers University Libraries and also from journals not owned by the Rutgers University Libraries. Request articles via Interlibrary Loan.

How to Find Books

To find books in QuickSearch, you may search the , by author, title, subject, keyword, or ISBN. For tips on searching visit QuickSearch Help.

  • If you already know the title of the book you are looking for, use the "Browse" search and type the entire title or the first few words of the title. Be sure that the search is set to "Browse alphabetically by Title." Articles such as "a" and "the" at the beginning of a title should be left off.
  • If you only know the author's name, use the "Browse" search and type all or part of the author's name. Be sure that the search is set to "Browse alphabetically by Author." When searching personal names, type the last name (surname) first. An author can be a person, government agency, corporation, association, or the sponsor of a conference.
  • 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 the "Browse" search, making sure that the search is set to "Browse alphabetically by Subject.". Otherwise use a "Basic" search and select "Subject" from the drop-down menu, or ask for assistance at the reference desk.
  • If you do not know the exact author's name, title, or subject heading, use a "Basic" 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. If the book is IN-LIBRARY, then you may go to that library and visit the stacks to get the book, or you may choose Book Delivery to have it held for you at a circulation desk. If all copies of a book are checked out by other users, you may use the E-ZBorrow or UBorrow services to request another copy of the book.
  • If the Rutgers University Libraries do not own the book you want, you may request the book using the E-ZBorrow or UBorrow services. If the book is not available through E-ZBorrow or UBorrow, you can fill out an interlibrary loan request. For any of these services, go to the Libraries’ homepage and click on the "Services and Tools" and then "Borrow / Access / Request" link.

How to Find Journal Articles

If you already know which journal you need, go to the QuickSearch journal search. 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. You may also use the Articles tab in the search area on the Libraries' homepage as a place to begin your search.
  • 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, go to the Journals tab in the search area on the Libraries’ homepage and search by entering the entire journal title or the first few words of the title. 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 "Online Access" link in the record or you 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 or scans of articles. You can also request electronic copies of articles using Interlibrary loan and Article Delivery.

Helpful Tips for Library Research

  1. Apply for your computer account as soon as you register at Rutgers. If you have questions, contact computing services on your campus.
  2. Make sure you understand your assignment or project. If you do not, ask your instructor to explain it to you.
  3. 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.
  4. Use appropriate indexes and reference materials in your research.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 at

Prepared by The RUL Task Force on International Student Guides: Updated and revised August 2007, July 2014

Information for International Students