My prof suggested I search for articles in a specific journal: what does that mean?

Note: this post is jargon-heavy and aimed at students who have a little bit of research experience. Make sure to check out our other posts on journals and finding articles if you’re not sure what some of the terminology means. HC.

When you get to know a topic or a discipline, the same journal titles will keep popping up. You may notice this if you do a few research assignments on the same topic, or once you reach fourth year and have studied the same discipline for awhile. For experts in the field, like your professors, they’ll know which journal titles are likely to cover different topics within your discipline. This is often why they’ll suggest to you “look in Leadership Quarterly” or “check the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology,” because they know the kinds of titles each journal will publish.

So: knowing how to access articles just from a specific journal title can be an important skill. Luckily the steps aren’t all that different from searching a database, you just need to know where to start. Off campus users: make sure to log in before you start!

  1. Start at the catalogue. There are lots of other ways to start, but this way will always connect you.
  2. Search by Journal Title. So, type in “leadership quarterly” or whatever journal you’re searching. Make sure to click the “Journal Title” radio button on the catalogue before hitting Search.
  3. CaptureLook for the “Click here for online access links.” There may be more than one, depending whether we pay for an online subscription for this journal from multiple places. Choose the link you think is most suitable for your needs. A warning, though: the date ranges next to the links aren’t always accurate!Capture 2
  4. Search for articles! Make sure the option “Limit Search to this Journal” or “Only this Journal” is checked.Capture 3Alternatively, you can browse by date or issue to see what’s been published recently. The best part: you don’t have to go searching for full-text articles!

What is a DOI?

DOI is an acronym for “digital object identifier”, meaning a “digital identifier of an object” rather than an “identifier of a digital object”.

The DOI system is designed to work over the Internet. A DOI name is permanently assigned to an object (e.g. a journal article) to provide a persistent link to current information about that item, including where the object (or information about it) can be found on the Internet. While information about an object can change over time, its DOI name will not change.

For more information about DOI’s, visit the DOI website:

We’re sometimes asked: are DOI’s permanent or can they be changed? (e.g. when a journal is made available in pre-publication and then gets published in a journal).  The IDF does not have any specific rules on this (we could only find reference that “Individual Registering Agencies (RAs) adopt appropriate rules for their community and application”). In general, if substantial changes are made to a document or it is necessary to identify both the original and the changed material, a new DOI is assigned.  It’s safe to assume, then, that *most* of the time DOI’s will stay the same throughout the life of a document

Does Western subscribe to this journal?

The best way to find your answer is to head straight to the Shared Library Catalogue.  Change the search option to “Journal Title” and type in the exact name of the journal (including all the “ands” and “the’s”, etc).   This may even be necessary if you’ve found a journal article using Summon.

If your journal appears in the results list, or if the library record opens, then you know Western or the affiliates subscribes to  the journal currently, or has subscribed to the journal in the past.

If the journal doesn’t appear in the list, you’re sure you’ve typed it in correctly, and you get a screen like the one below, we do not have a subscription.

You’re not stuck at this point, though.  See the blog post on interlibrary loan, or ask a library staff member for more help!

What happens if the library stops subscribing to a journal?

Sometimes this happens: budget cuts affect us all.  But fear not!

To know if Western or the affiliates subscribe to a journal, make sure to check the Shared Library Catalogue.  The issues and volumes that a library owns will appear in the record.

If a library doesn’t subscribe to a journal anymore, the record will look like the one below (click on the image to expand):

You’ll notice that the record has “//” in the “LIB HAS” line.  This means that Brescia no longer subscribes to this journal.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Scroll down to the bottom of the library record to see if the journal has changed names. This happens more often than you’d think.  In our above example, the journal did change names to Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, which Brescia subscribes to. I put a box around the information you want to look for in the picture below.
  2. Check to see if another institution can provide you with full-text access through Interlibrary Loan.  You do this by using RACER, a big library catalogue that searches all the participating institutions’ own library catalogues.  You’ll have to set up a RACER account the first time you use this system, and be prepared that it will take a while for the item to arrive at Brescia. (To learn more about Interlibrary loan, visit Western Libraries’ ILL page!)
  3. If the library record has a link to online access, go ahead and click to see if you can find the full-text anyway.  If one of the online links sayS “Directory of Open Access Journals,” this option will likely be successful.

If these options don’t work, or if you have trouble with requesting an item through Interlibrary Loan (most people need help with this system the first time they use it), make sure to ask for help from a library staff person!

What is Get it @ Western? How does it work?

This question is included in the tutorials feature of Western Libraries, so I’ll start with their response:

“Get it @ Western is like a ‘bridge’ between many of our online databases and Western Libraries’ online full text collections. It should tell you when the Library has access to the online “Full Text” version of an item, and it should take you from an online database to the online full text version of an item, when available.”

Alright, so perhaps not the entire answer to your question. And Get it @ Western doesn’t always work.

So my response to this question is that Get it @ Western was developed as one solution to the problem of searching for journal articles: they’re annoyingly hard to find, especially when you’re first trying it out.

You will see the Get it @ Western button either when you’ve click on an article title in Summon, or when you’re searching for articles in a subject-specific database.  You won’t find Get it @ Western buttons in every single database you use, but when it’s there you can usually find full-text articles quickly.  I’ve included a screenshot of the database called Web of Knowledge below so you can see an example:

To retrieve your article, click the Get it @ Western button (in the above example, you would do this for the first three results; the fourth, fifth and sixth results already have the “Full text” there, as you can see by the second button).

A new window will open.  If “Full Text” appears in that new window, click the “Go” button beside it.  Sometimes it will list the year, volume, and page numbers of the article you’re looking for, and sometimes it will say something like “This article is available from Scholars Portal.”  Either way, click the “Go” button wherever it says Full Text.   What this is doing is linking you from your original database where you conducted your search to the database where we pay for full-text access.  For more explanation on this issue, see my blog post on databases.

A third window will open after you click “Go”, where either the full-text of your article will show up, or where a PDF or full text link will appear.

Unfortunately, like many technologies, Get it @ Western isn’t perfect: it simply isn’t able to find the full-text of every single journal you want (I won’t get into explaining why that it is here).  How you know it hasn’t worked is if the pop-up Get it @ Western window does not say “Full Text” anywhere, and instead directs you to search the UWO Shared Catalogue.

That said, go ahead and try Get it @ Western out because it does work most of the time (I would estimate 80% of the time or more).  But make sure to realize that it’s just one option, and it isn’t perfect. [For more assistance with this, see the blog post on how I find full-text articles]

What is “citation linker” on Western Libraries’ website?

You may have stumbled across citation linker while poking around.

Citation Linker is intended to be a quick way to find a full-text journal article without having to go into a database.   So, if you’ve written down a citation, if your professor has given you reading to do, or if you’ve found a citation somewhere else, this is a quick way to find the full journal article you’re looking for.

Pros: it often works and it’s fast.  Hooray!

Cons: Sometimes it doesn’t work and that’s frustrating.  Boo.  Like all technology, this feature is not fool-proof.  (Some of this relates to the limitations of the E-Journals feature, which you can read about in another blog post.)

To use Citation Linker, head to the Beryl Ivey Library homepage and find the link under the search box (in the middle of the screen).  Fill in the form that appears on the next screen (i.e. article title, journal title, volume, issue, page numbers).  You’ll noticed that the author’s name isn’t essential, but the other information is.

A new window will open: if Citation Linker has worked, one of two screens will appear.

1) A Get it @ Western screen will open, with the words “Full Text” near the top of the screen (see example below).  To get your article, just click the “Go” button underneath “Full Text” (in my example, it’s to the right of the year, volume, issue and page information).

2) The other window that might open looks like the image below.  In this case, you’ll need to select the journal you’re looking for by clicking on its title.  Once you do that, the window example from above will show up.

It’s up to you whether you use this service: I personally don’t find that it always works for me, but then I’m old and stuck in my ways.  If you would like an alternative to citation linker, though, you can try typing in your article title into Summon or using Summon’s Advanced Search feature.

How do you find print journal articles?

Note: Our new search engine Summon does not search our print journal collection.  While this might seem convenient, it does mean that you are missing out on a considerable amount of useful content.  Make sure to supplement your Summon research with a traditional database (where applicalbe) to make sure you have well-rounded results.

Sometimes you’ll come across a journal article that is only available in print, and not online.  (Try following the steps in the full-text journal articles blog post to see if your research is available online or in print).  This happens when something was published before the internet was invented (really).

The catalogue record for print journals will look like one of the following examples:

1. This journal (College and Research Libraries News) is only available in print at Western.  How you know is that there is no “click here for online access” link included at the top of the page:

2. Let’s say we’re looking for an article from the Journal of Nutrition Education and it was published in 1995.  You’ll notice from the catalogue record that this journal is available online through ProQuest, Scholars Portal, and EbscoHost, but not before 1997.

Underneath the database links, the record lists the library locations that carry this journal in print.  The first example also did this.  In our Journal of Nutrition Education example, you’ll see that Brescia (BRES), Education (EDU), the ARCC or Archives (ARCC), and Taylor (TAY) carry this journal in print, although not always for the same length of time. Note: if you see a library that you’re not familiar with – i.e. “ARCC” – click on the name of the library for more information.

If our made-up journal article was published in 1995, which library do we need to visit to find it in print?  Look at the dates underneath each library to find this information: it looks like Brescia is the only library that subscribed to this journal in 1995.

Your next step is to write down the call number of the journal above the name of the library you need to visit (in this case QP141.A1J86n). Make sure to also write down the volume, issue, and page number that your article is found in.  The author’s name and the title aren’t a bad idea, either.

When you have this information, head off to the library (although, with the Journal of Nutrition Education, you might already be in Brescia) – you will need to photocopy your article (sorry!!!).  Each library has a periodicals section where you can find print journals, which will be organized by call number.

Usually, entire volumes (i.e. every issue that comes in for a year) will be bound together so they look like a big book.  While I don’t have a picture of Brescia’s periodicals section, Google images produced a good example of what bound journals look like:

This is why it is important to have the volume, issue, and page number of your article: within each of these “book” looking things will include multiple issues of a journal, where sometimes page numbers start over again.  For example: imagine we put a whole bunch of issues of Macleans magazine together in a bound volume like you see above – it would be important to know which year, month and page number you’re looking for so you don’t have to flip through every “book.”

Periodicals cannot be signed out of the library, so it’s up to you what you do next.  You can definitely photocopy your article, or you can read in the library for as long as you like.

Good luck on your print journal adventures!