A secretaire bookcase usually has drawers and cupboards to the base, the drawer opens to reveal a fitted interior of small drawers, pigeon holes and a writing surface, topped by a bookcase usually with glazed doors. The correct or the most common correct term for the secretary desk , is the secretary and bookcase. Unfortunately there is no unanimity on this term, even among specialists. In Europe the same piece of furniture has been called bureau and bookcase and then desk and bookcase. Also, the general public usually call this kind of desk a secretary, or secretaire.
One could say that all desks which have the capacity to cover the working surface are secretaires, while all others are simply desks. To add to the confusion certain forms of the secretaire are called escritoire, usually when the bookcase section is glazed as opposed to panelled. On most antique secretaires and also on most reproductions the user has to pull out two small wooden planks called sliders in order to support the desktop, before actually turning the desktop from its closed, angled, position to its normal horizontal working position.
A secretaire desk is generally not used by an office secretary, since this kind of antique desk of now quite rare and not used in the modern office