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Finding the full text of an article depends on what information you currently have:

Working with a complete citation 

A complete citation, including the journal title or ISSN, the volume/issue/number, page numbers and publication date, is needed to find the full text of the article. Use the Citation Linker and enter all of your citation information. You will hopefully get a link to the article online, or at least a link to the journal that contains the article (drill down using the articles volume, issue and page number to get to the specific article). When the article is not available online (because we do not subscribe to the journal online or your article is outside the range of dates in our subscription), look for the link to search Addison to see if we have a print copy. Finally, if neither online nor print access is available, use the link to request the article from interlibrary loan.

Working with an incomplete 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 a discipline-specific database
Try searching the information you have, like the author or article title, in a . 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 Web of Science or Academic Search Complete 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.

Working with an abbreviated journal title 

Many resources will not allow searching by abbreviated journal title. Common abbreviated titles, such as JAMA for the Journal of the American Medical Association, have been added to Addison; most abbreviated titles required by citation style guides, such as J. Amer. Chem. Soc., are not searchable in Addison or databases. You will need to find the full title to look up these citations.

All That JAS is a source for looking up journal title abbreviations. Major sources listed there include the Gale Group Databases Title List, the ISI Master Journal List, and many discipline-specific journal title lists.

Books that list journal titles are available at the reference desks. Sources include Periodical title abbreviations, Acronyms, initialisms & abbreviations dictionary, and Chemical Abstracts Service source index. You can uses these books yourself or ask a librarian to lookup a short list of abbreviations for you.

Searching for articles on a topic 

Millions of articles are published in newspapers, magazines and journals every year. The Virginia Tech Libraries purchase access to databases to help find articles on your research topics. Some articles will be available online, while others only available in print. You may need to use Interlibrary Loan to obtain some articles.

You will need to choose from among over 600 databases the Virginia Tech Libraries provides to search for articles on your research topic. Here are a few strategies for choosing a database.

Find a database by title
When you know the name of the database to use (because it was demonstrated in a class or suggested by your instructor), simply search for that title to get the link to the database. Remember to use Off Campus Sign In if you are not using the campus network to assure you can access the database.
Search for database titles

This search box finds library databases by their titles. It does not search for articles within databases. Keyword searches won't work here.

Find a database using a general topic term
You can use the Find a database by title search box and enter general terms that describe your topic, such as history or sustainability to find databases that include that term in their title.
Browse databases by subject  
The list databases selected by a subject librarian that will be useful for research within that subject. Databases are ranked for each subject and list topics and range of dates covered.
Use a general interest database  

General interest databases cover a wide range of topics from many kinds of sources. They are a great starting point for many research assignments since you are likely to get at least a few search results on your topic. Major general interest databases are listed below; many more are available on the general interest databases listing.

Browse databases by broad subject categories
Databases are also listed in . These can be useful to browse when your research topic crosses many disciplines.
Browse databases by type/format
Databases are also listed by the they index. Examples included databases for conference proceedings, multimedia, newspaper articles, reviews, or statistics.
Browse databases alphabetically
If you know the beginning letter of the database you need, or you want to browse all databases, use the alphabet below. Note that these lists are long and unwieldy; the methods of accessing databases listed above a far easier.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | #

Search article indexes in print
Print indexes cover older material or material not indexed in electronic databases. They are essential if you are doing comprehensive research on a topic.

Searching for articles within a specific journal 

Sometimes you want to search for an article within a particular journal, magazine or newspaper; perhaps because your instructor requires you use that journal or you remember seeing the article earlier and now want to find that full text. (Note that if these example are not the case, you should not limit yourself to a single journal; the databases listed above can find articles on a topic from among many journals.)

To limit searches to a specific journal, first you need to find what sources index that journal. Use Ulrich's Periodical Directory and search on the journal title or ISSN. (You will also find a link to Ulrich's in the External Links box on the Addison record screen for the journal in question.) Switch to the Abtracting/Indexing & Article Access tab and look for the Abstracting & Indexing Sources(active, electronic) section. Compare the databases listed there (along with the coverage dates) with the databases listed above. Most databases allow for limiting searches to a single journal.

Searching for articles by a specific author 

When you need to look for articles by a specific author, for instance all articles published by your graduate advisor, you will need to take advantage of the author searches within both subject-specific databases and general interest databases. Also see cited reference searching.


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