Library Terminology

Call Number

For print books, a notation usually consisting of both letters and numbers that indicates the book's location in the library. See the box at the bottom of the page for more information.


Searchable record of all the resources the library owns.


Everything needed to let someone find where information was acquired.
In general, citations  include the following information:

  • Author and/or editor names
  • Title of article or chapter
  • Title of journal or book
  • Volume and issue numbers (journal articles)
  • Pages
  • Year of publication
  • Place of publication and publisher (books and book chapters)

Collaboration Rooms

Rooms for groups of 2 or more that may be reserved for up to 4 hours at a time.


A service that lets you borrow items our library doesn't own from other libraries. Students get 20 items free each year.

IT Desk or Walk-Up IT Service Desk

The Tufts Technology Services desk on the 5th floor of the Medical Education Building where you can get IT assistance.


See Research Guide.

Library Service Desk

The desk on the 4th floor of the Medical Education Building where you go to check out items (including Reserves and equipment and/or to get questions answered.

Research Guide or LibGuide

A collection of resources surrounding a particular topic that expert(s) in that field identify as being useful. May also contain tips and tricks for success, as well as definitions and key information on the topic. Think of it as being like a map to a new city with key places and routes highlighted with notes by an expert.

Reserves or Course Reserves

Reserve Library resources, usually books, that may only be checked out for a limited time for use within the library. Most items can be checked out for 4 hours at a time, but some may be checked out at the end of the day for use overnight outside of the library. Reserves are often books that are required for courses or for studying for board or licensure exams and so are quire popular. Putting a time limit on them allows everyone to get a chance to use them.

Study Rooms

First come, first served rooms for group study. Individuals are welcome to use study rooms but may be asked to vacate the room if a larger group would like to use it.

Deciphering the Call Number

In the catalog, a call number will look like this: WU230.P297 2006
On a book, it will be broken up into lines like this:
WU 230
How to find a book by its call number:

First line: Look for the WU alphabetically, followed by the number.

Second line: Look for the P alphabetically, but think of the number as a decimal without the decimal point: 297 comes before 3, which comes before 487.

Third line: Publication year. In order by year.