Finding Articles

If you are looking for articles using a topic:
FYI: If you already have a citation and want to find the article--click here.


Click for the electronic databases the library subscribes to.

Articles, Indexes, Databases link

STEP ONE: Magazine, newspaper and journal articles can be searched for by topic using periodical databases listed under Articles, Indexes, and Databases on the Library's homepage. The USA Libraries subscribe to more than 150 different periodical databases (sometimes called indexes). Ask at the Reference Desk to find out which one is most appropriate for your topic. There may be several databases that would be excellent. The Reference Librarian can tell you which one would be best to start with and how to proceed with your research. You may also call the Reference Desk at 251-460-7025 or even send an email or chat at

Frequently Used Indexes List

Be sure and scroll down on this page to see more than 150 databases listed alphabetically below these.

STEP TWO: Try Ebsco's Academic Search Premier and Gale/InfoTrac's Academic OneFile. These are "general" academic databases that cover periodical articles in many different fields as well as current events and controversies. The extra benefit of these indexes is that they contain many full-text articles. LexisNexis is great for fulltext newspaper articles. They are all available remotely to registered students, faculty and staff with your last name and first two letters of your first name(no space) and your JAG number as password.

links to html and pdf versions of an article
EBSCO's indication of fulltext availability.
infotrac icons for html and pdf
Gale/InfoTrac's icons indicating fulltext in html and Acrobat pdf.

Different databases indicate if the fulltext of articles is available in different ways . You may also find "Linked FullText" which, when clicked, will transport you out of one database and into another in which the fulltext is available. Pay careful attention to the screen; look for icons or words that tell you how to get to the actual article. Sometimes it will take several clicks to find the article--and sometimes it just doesn't work. That's when you need to call the Ref. Desk for help.

Check for fulltext link at bottom of Ebsco abstract



graphic of fulltext link


If the article you want is NOT available fulltext or linked fulltext in the database you are searching, then click on "Check for Fulltext." This will find if that particular journal is in another subscribed database. Carefully check the coverage dates. Click on the word "Article."

Sometimes it will also indicate that the Library has a print subscription to the journal. Click on this link to find out where we keep that volume of the journal so you can make a photocopy of the article. (Print journals do not check out.)

catalog record for periodical in the library

photo of microfilm cabinets

An optional way to find out if we subscribe to a journal is to consult SOUTHcat, USA Libraries' Catalog using a journal title search. Type in full title of the journal without "the" "a" or "an" at the beginning. (Note: You need the full title, not just the abbreviation. Ask at the reference desk if you can't decipher the full title.) This should tell you if we have the journal in the library and offer a link if the 1. journal is online.

When items are retrieved, check record thoroughly until you find the volume and issue number you need. Note its location.

2. Current print issues are on the Second floor, South side, in alphabetical order.

3. Older print issues are put in book bindings and are organized by Library of Congress call numbers on the Third floor, South side. Remember to write down the call # if the year/volume you want is there.

4. For some years we may only have microfilm kept on the Second Floor, South side, in the beige cabinets filed alphabetically. There is a Help Desk adjacent to this area with a staff person to help you use the microfilm

cournal journal shelves bound journals

STEP SIX:The last step is to actually find the article. The University Library print journals are on the 2nd and 3rd floors. See above. If you cannot find a journal, you need ask the Reference staff for help.

Copy machines are located on the First and Second Floor, North sides. You will need a TRACcard, purchased at the Circulation Desk, to make copies of the article you need.

interlibrary loan link

STEP SEVEN: If USA does not own the journal you absolutely need . . . you may want to fill out an Interlibrary Loan request. The first time you need an ILL, you should register. After that you can login and put in an electronic request form. Journal articles and books located in libraries in the State of Alabama will be retrieved for you with no charge to you--five at a time for undergraduates. Allow at least 10 days for ILL. Often you will be able to find additional articles in other indexes without resorting to InterLibrary Loan. Ask at the Reference Desk for other suggestions. NOTE: Though we do not charge you for items, the Library still must pay for ILL system use, shipping and handling charges so to conserve funds, be sure you really need the item.

If you are starting with a complete citation:

our journal list link on homepage

journal title box

our journal list of databases containing the journal requested


Perhaps you got the citation for an article from a bibliography of another good article. If you want to find out if the article is available in one of our online journals or if we own a print copy, you can check Our Journal List linked on the homepage.

Type in the journal title to see which library-subscribed database contains the full-text of the journal for the year you need. Click on the database name, then locate the year, volume and issue you want. Then scroll to the page number to locate the article itself.

If the screen only indicates "USA Libraries Print Holdings," click on this. See STEP FIVE above to determine where the volume is in the Library.

If the journal does not show up on Our Journal list, you may have to initiate and InterLibrary Loan. See STEP SEVEN above.

Research Instruction
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To make comments or suggestions, or to get more information, call 251-460-6045 or e-mail Jan Sauer.