How do you know if a resource has been published?

The question of publishing has come up in many classes recently, largely because of internet-based resources.  In particular, students are finding “e-pub” journals more and more frequently: these are journal articles that have been released online before the print version of the journal has been released.

So how do you know if a resource has been published?  It depends on the resource (I’ll assume this question was about online resources, not print ones):

  1. Books: honestly, look for a publisher’s name.  Even e-books will have this information (yes, even on Google Books).  I’ve included links to Google Books and our Shared Library Catalogue so you can try to find the publisher’s information.
  2. Journal articles: If you can find the volume, issue and page numbers for a journal article, it’s been published.  E-pubs, or journal articles released ahead of the print version, usually don’t have this information.
  3. Websites: are not published.  Neither are the PDFs and other documents you find on websites.

See “How to cite E-pubs” for more information on using unpublished journal articles.