Magazines, Journals, Newspapers: From Index to ArticleContents: Using Databases and Print Periodical Indexes and Abstracts | Finding Your Articles | What If the Journal Isn't There?
Periodical is one of the many terms used to refer to popular magazines, scholarly journals, and newspapers. In other words, it is something published periodically or on a continuing basis. Another term for this type of publication is serial. Periodical titles in DELCAT, the Library's online catalog, are identified by the term SERIAL, to distinguish them from books with the same title, and may be available in print or as electronic journals or both. Electronic journals in DELCAT will include a clickable URL (Web address) that will link directly to the journal.
Using Databases and Print Periodical Indexes and Abstracts
A periodical index provides a list of articles that have been published on a given subject during a particular time period and may be in computer searchable or print form. There are many indexes, some general and some very specialized, covering virtually every subject; each has its own focus and indexes different journals. Print indexes must be searched year by year; electronic indexes (databases) usually cover a range of years. Abstracts, which summarize the main points of articles, are included in many of these indexes. Two full text databases, Academic OneFile and Business Source Premier, contain the text of entire articles from more than 1000 magazines and journals; these full-text articles can be read and printed out from your computer. Begin your search for magazine, journal, and newspaper articles in the Reference Room. Reference librarians will help you to select databases appropriate for your topic.
If you have a reference to an article which is not available full-text in a database, how do you find out whether the Library has it and where it would be located? There is a simple process to follow and that process will be the same whether you found the reference in a database or in a print index.
First, check DELCAT to find out whether the Library subscribes to the periodical in which your article was published. To do that, you can do a Basic Search of the full catalog or choose to search a separate Journals/Serials subset of DELCAT. You can search for an exact journal title (Journal of American History) or for keywords in the title (biological chemistry). Then click on the appropriate link to find out what the Library owns for that item (called holdings). Note the call number and location for the volume and year that contains your article.
In this library, current issues (those most recently received) and back issues (older issues) are in different places. Look for current issues in the Periodical Room on the first floor, where they are shelved alphabetically by title. Look for back issues in the stacks, where they are shelved by call number, or in the Microforms Area on the Lower Level, or in one of the branch libraries.
If you cannot find the journal title in DELCAT, the Library may not subscribe to it. The Library does not have all the periodicals included in all the databases and indexes. But you can ask a staff member at the Information Desk or the Reference Desk to verify this.
What If the Journal Isn't There?
Sometimes you may not find the issue you need, even when you know the Library has it. Here are some possible reasons: