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

Valerie A Lynn, Bonnie Imler


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.

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