Librarian Fascination and Student Confusion with “RE” words: Research, Reference, Resources, and Reserves


  • Valerie A Lynn Pennsylvania State University
  • Bonnie Imler Pennsylvania State University



Student confusion regarding the use of library jargon on websites, during instruction sessions, and in conversation is nothing new; however, four commonly used terms have recently lost context both inside and outside of the library setting. Coincidently, all four words begin with “RE”: research, reference, resources, and reserves. By asking our students what they believe these “RE” words mean, we were able to get a clearer indication of their perceptions and specific information needs. We believe that finding a common linguistic foundation with limited library jargon reduces barriers and promotes student comprehension and satisfaction.

Author Biographies

Valerie A Lynn, Pennsylvania State University

Hazleton Campus, Mary M. and Bertil E. Lofstrom Library, Head Librarian

Bonnie Imler, Pennsylvania State University

Altoona Campus, Robert E. Eiche Library and DuBois Campus Library, Head Librarian


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