Finding Journal Articles
The library subscribes to many online databases that provide both indexing/ abstracting of journals and access to full-text journal articles.
Off-Campus Access: To gain access to many of these databases from home, it is necessary to click on and follow the Off-Campus Access instructions after determining which database you wish to search.
Journals/Databases A-Z: To access an alphabetical list of GSU databases, click on Journals/Databases A-Z . To find full-text journal articles, select a database that has a yellow book icon next to it. This symbol indicates that the database includes indexing/abstracting of all titles in the database as well as some online full-text articles (from only a few to all).
Full-Text Journals List: If you have citations to journal articles and want to see whether or not the articles are available full-text in one or more of our databases, click on the GSU Full-Text Journals List, an alphabetical listing of all GSU full-text journals. Each entry includes the name of the journal, which database(s) provides access to it, the start date of full-text coverage, and for journals no longer available in full-text, the end date. To access a database, exit the List, go back to Journals/Databases A-Z, the alphabetical list of databases, and select the database you want to search.
Journals/Databases by Subject: In addition to the alphabetical list of databases, Journals/Databases by Subject , a listing of databases by broad subject area, e.g. education or social sciences, provides access to relevant subject-oriented databases, as well as to comprehensive and other databases that include coverage of the subject area.
Searching for Journal Articles
User’s Guides: Virtually every database listed in Journals/Databases A-Z includes a User's Guide describing the database(s) and searching techniques for creating a search and retrieving information using the features of the database interface. In addition, each database usually includes general help information from the initial screen(s), as well as help specific to the current search screen.
Kinds of Searches: Most databases default to a basic search. In addition, most databases offer the option of doing an advanced/guided search in which the search screen provides several ways to combine search terms and limit a search. A few also offer natural language searching in which you describe the topic you are searching in sentence or paragraph form.
Search Terms/Vocabulary/Keywords: Controlled vocabulary, i.e., subject headings/descriptors assigned from a standard list/thesaurus of subject terms, is used in many databases to refine a search. All databases using controlled vocabulary display the assigned subject headings/descriptors in each record. Uncontrolled vocabulary, in which keywords are assigned to each record by a computer program based on significant words used in the title, author, summary, etc., is also used in most databases and serves to broaden a search. Many databases provide searching by both types of vocabulary.
Phrase Searching: Phrase searching enables you to retrieve specific information by commanding the computer to search for two or more words in the exact order in which they are entered. Check help to determine how the database you are in treats phrase searching.
Field Searching: Some databases allow limiting a search to keywords in a specific field, e.g. title or author, or multiple designated fields, e.g. author and title.
Connectors/Operators: Boolean operators are commonly used in databases to narrow or broaden a search. The most common Boolean operators are "AND," "OR," and "NOT." "AND" retrieves all records that contain all the search terms you have entered, "OR" retrieves all records that contain any of your search terms, and "NOT" eliminates all records containing the search term or phrase following the NOT. Proximity operators, words or symbols placed between search terms to specify the order and closeness of search terms, e.g. w/5, adj5, near5, etc., are used in some databases to refine searches. Check help to find which proximity operators are used in the database.
Truncation: Truncation, entering a "root" form of a word followed by a truncation symbol, is used in most databases and enables you to broaden a search by retrieving a word plus all its endings, e.g. bank* retrieves bank, banks, banking, etc. Check help to ensure you use the correct truncation symbol for the database you are searching.
Limiting Searches: Often databases enable you to refine a search further through limiting. The most common limits are to specify a date or range of dates; a publication type, e.g. journal or newspaper; an article type; e.g. book review; and/or a language.
Display Results/Results List/Show Records
Normally a default results list will display brief records, e.g. author, title, journal name, date, volume and number, and pages, of the articles that match your search criteria. Many results lists indicate whether or not any of the articles in the list are available full-text online, and/or is held by the library as a print subscription. You can choose display options, such as full record or title only record, instead of brief records. In many databases the displayed records will default to reverse chronological order, so that the most recent records display first, but you can usually select to sort records by author, title, earliest to latest, etc.
Marking, Emailing, Printing, and Downloading Results
Results lists generally include an option to mark records you would like to retain by clicking on the box next to the record. After all your desired citations are marked, you can often select various display options, such as those listed in the previous paragraph, for emailing, downloading, or printing your list of citations to journal articles.
Virtually all databases allow you to print your results, and many also allow you to email citations and/or full-text articles. To email your results, click on the email box or icon, select options, enter an email address, and click on "send."
To print your results, click on the print box or icon to format the marked records for printing, click on the print icon on your Internet browser or select print from the file menu, and click on OK.