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Incomplete article citation

When you have an incomplete citation, such as just an article title, and therefore do not have sufficient information to find the full text, here are some strategies to use to find a more complete citation.

Return to the citing source

Return to the source that provided the citation to see if it provides a more complete citation. Perhaps you noted a reference in the text, while the complete citation is listed in a bibliography at the end.

Search Summon

Because Summon indexes content from so many sources, you can search an article title or partial title and will likely get a result.

Search a discipline-specific database

Try searching the information you have, like the author or article title, in a subject specific databases . In addition to the complete citation, you may also find a link to the full text.

Search a general interest database

Sometimes date or search interface limitations of discipline-specific databases will not allow finding a more complete citation. Try using a general interest database like Academic Search Complete from EBSCOhost or and search on what information you have.

Search a print index

If your article was published before the coverage dates for subject-specific and general interest databases, you may need to search a print index. Print indexes often list articles by author and subject, so there may be more than one way to search for your citation.

Ask a librarian

Do not hesitate to ask a librarian for assistance in finding a more complete citation.


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