Finding and Using Articles

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What is a periodical?

A periodical or serial is a publication which is continuously released at regular intervals (weekly, monthly, yearly, etc). This is in contrast to monographs (books), which are published once as a standalone product.

Periodicals contain articles written by a variety of authors. Because they are continuously coming out, articles from journals can be more current than information in books.

Periodicals include journals, magazines, and newspapers.

  • Journals are more scholarly and academic. Some databases contain scholarly journal titles for various subjects, such as Art Full Text, Biography in Context, Consumer Health Complete, or Education Full Text.
  • Magazines contain more popular content. Many magazine articles are also available through the library databases.
  • Newspapers have news articles. Some databases have news articles, such Newspaper Source Plus.

Many of the library databases provide access to full-text articles. Depending on the database you are using, articles may be displayed in different formats:

  • Index: Includes only the article citation (i.e., author, title, date, etc.). Neither a summary, nor the full-text of the article are available.
  • Abstract: Includes the citation and a summary of the article's content. It does not include the full-text article.
  • Full-text: Includes the citation and full-text article. This may be in HTML, .pdf, or both formats. The full text you can read, copy, or print.

If you find an article that is not available full-text in the library databases, you can make an InterLibrary Loan request for it. Articles usually come quickly through interlibrary loan and you will receive an electronic copy of the article, which you can keep.

Article formats