Finding Journal Articles
Example Questions That Can Be Answered Using This FAQ
There are many variations on this question. Our patrons ask us whether a particular article is available online, whether a particular journal is online, or sometimes whether we can send them complete articles on a particular subject.
Free, Full-Text Articles
The Internet is not (yet) a very good place to find free journal (or newspaper and magazine) articles in full text. Most journals are published by companies that are not interested in giving away their content for free, and/or the articles are simply too old to be available in any format other than print or microfilm. However, some journals and magazines have made some selected articles from their publications available in full text. One example of this is The Atlantic Monthly, which allows free online access to articles published from November 1995 to the present. See the “Online Journals, Newspapers, and Magazines” section below for how to find other online journals.
Here are some other places online where you are likely to find free, full-text articles.
Online Journals, Newspapers, and Magazines
If you're looking for articles from a specific journal, newspaper, or magazine, you can do one or more of the following things to find the journal online:
If you don't find anything useful, the journal almost certainly does not have an online presence. Also, remember that even in cases where a journal has an online presence, articles more than a few years old are unlikely to be available online or they may require a subscription.
Other Sources for Journal Articles
Still can't find what you need? Your local public or college library will be best able to help you with articles that require a subscription or articles that are only available in non-electronic formats. There, you can find full-text magazine and journal article databases, such as ProQuest, that you could access from home using your library card or a special login and password. You may also find citations for articles on particular topics by searching an index such as the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature. Ask one of the librarians to tell you what's available. If your library doesn't have the specific article(s) you need, ask about whether they offer an interlibrary loan service that could help you get copies of the articles from another library that does.
Not sure how to find your library? Go to our Library Locator page where we've listed resources to help you find the nearest physical library to you.
This FAQ updated by Kara Larson in 2012.