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Biology: Finding Articles

Obtaining a Known Journal Article

If you have enough information (as is found in a bibliographic citation) to identify an article, follow these steps to obtain the full text.

  1. Often, the article can be found by entering the title in Quick Find, in Simple Search mode.
  2. In Quick Find, click on e-Journal Titles and enter the title of the journal or the ISBN. If the title of the journal appears, follow the Online access link and then use the article's bibliographic information (year, volume, issue) to find it.
  3. Look up the journal by title of the journal in Quick Find, in Advanced Search mode. When you do the search, set the Material Type to Journals. If the title of the journal appears, follow the Online access link to access the journal; or, for an older issue, you might see a call number for the print journal. This is the most reliable method of finding an article.
  4. If the library doesn't have the journal, or doesn't have the issue that you need, you can order the article through Interlibrary Loan.

Finding Articles on a Topic

You can search for articles on a topic by searching bibliographic databases.

Bibliographic databases fall into two categories:

  • Publisher databases are databases produced by publishers as a way to deliver their content. They have the advantage that newly-published content appears immediately. They have the disadvantage that they contain only content from a particular publisher.
  • Non-publisher databases contain content from many different publishers. They have the inverse advantage and disadvantage: They have content from many publishers, but there may be a time lag (usually slight) from when articles are published to when they appear in the database.

Best Bets for Biology

Non-publisher databases:

This major comprehensive science database, contains different sections that can be searched individually or all together. The sections are:
     Web of Science Core Collection
     BIOSOS Citation Index
     BIOSIS Previews
     KCI-Korean Journal Database
     Russian Science Citation Index
     SciELO Citation Index 
(Open-access articles published in Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and South Africa)


Medline (Available in three interfaces)—A huge biomedical database containing mostly journal articles.


Publisher databases:

Also Useful

Non-publisher databases:

Publisher databases: