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Browse and search FAQs

  • An abstract is a brief summary of a book or article. Many databases will have journal article abstracts to help you decide if the article is useful to your research project.
  • An annotation is a critical comment or explanation. An annotated bibliography is one which provides critical or descriptive notes about the works it lists.
  • Editions are copies of a book, newspaper, etc., printed at one time from the same plates. A second or revised edition is one with changes or additions to the text of the earlier work.
  • An imprint is the name of the publisher, the place of publication and the date, usually printed on the title page of a book.
  • An index is a list of topics, names, etc., treated in a book or group of books, with references to where they occur.

    When a database contains articles from a certain journal, one may say that the journal is 'indexed' in the database.

  • Interlibrary Loans are requests for materials not available in your home library. If SFU does not own a book or journal that you need, our Interlibrary Loan department can get it for you from another library.

    For more information about Interlibrary Loans see Request items from other libraries.

  • What is an ISBN?


    The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 10 or 13 digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published internationally.  On newer titles, they are often the barcode on the cover. Newer ISBNs start with '978'.

    For more detailed information, see

    Applying for an ISBN (materials published by SFU):

    The SFU Library supplies ISBNs for materials published by SFU. Contact us at for more information and/or to get an ISBN.

  • An ISSN is an identification number for serial publications including journals, magazines, and newspapers.

    Here is the definition from the National Library of Canada: The International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is an internationally recognized identification number for serial publications. An ISSN is an eight-digit standard number that, once assigned, becomes a permanent attribute of the individual serial for as long as it is issued under a given title. Each time the title of a serial is changed, a new ISSN must be assigned. ISSN must never be reused for new or changed serial titles.

    ISSN are assigned by national and regional centres of the international ISSN Network. This system of international coordination ensures that each ISSN is unique to one serial publication.

  • What is a SFU computing ID?

    This is the user name and password used to access SFU campus systems such as email.

    Your user name is the first part of your email address, without the "@sfu".
    Your password is the password you have chosen.

    For example:

    SFU Computing ID and email address:
    User name:  jsung
    Password:  [your chosen password]

    How do I get a computing ID?

    You are eligible for a computing ID if you are a faculty member, staff, or registered student (including distance).

    Alumni can visit About Alumni Email Forwarding to (re)activate their SFU Computing ID.

    External borrowers, non-credit students, IB students, and visiting scholars are not eligible.

    See Computing IDs at SFU for more information.

    What library services does the SFU Computing ID help me get?

    The SFU Computing ID is used to


    Students, faculty, and staff are reminded that sharing their login information is not permitted.


  • A person who does something with a copyright protected work that only the copyright owner is entitled to do, and does so without the permission of the copyright owner, infringes copyright and can be held liable. Either civil or criminal penalties can be imposed for copyright infringement. Criminal penalties can include fines and/or imprisonment and depend on the seriousness of the infringement. While criminal penalties are usually reserved for those engaged in piracy for profit, civil penalties, including an order to pay damages or an injunction to cease infringing, can be imposed for other types of infringement. Monetary damages could be awarded to the copyright owner for loss of income occasioned by the infringement or for other losses. Statutory damages for all infringements for all works involved are limited to $5,000 if the infringements are for a non-commercial purpose. However, statutory damages increase to a maximum of $20,000 for all infringements of each work involved when the infringements are for a commercial purpose. 

    Generally, the person who actually infringes the rights of the copyright owner will be held liable for the infringement. In the absence of the fair dealing exception or a license, anyone who copies a copyright protected work (e.g. scans a book, photocopies an article) without permission will be held liable for that infringement, whether that person be a student, staff member or faculty member. Staff may copy materials at the request of others (e.g., a faculty member or a student). In that case, both the person who actually infringes copyright (the staff member) and the person who requested the staff member to so infringe (the faculty member or the student) can be held liable for the infringement. In addition, you may place liability on the University if as an employee you copy works in an infringing manner in the course of your employment. Before you engage in any copying or use of copyright protected materials, please consider the parties whom you might be impacting. Please follow all University policies to ensure proper use of equipment for copying works. 

    In addition to potential liability, staff at the University Libraries, Archives, Bookstore, Centre for Educational Excellence, Creative Services and Document Solutions have a professional responsibility to respect copyright law and may refuse to copy or print something if it is thought to be an infringement of copyright law.