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Finding, Obtaining, and Citing Journal Articles

Finding Relevant Articles Using Databases

Databases are the most efficient way to identify articles (and sometimes other resource types as well) on a topic or by a particular author. The most important part of finding relevant articles is selecting the right database to search. (As an extreme example, searching an English literature database won't be useful if you are looking for articles on treating congestive heart failure.) Here are some of the databases that are used most often on the University of Toledo Health Science Campus:

MEDLINE covers medicine, nursing, veterinary medicine, dentistry, bioethics, preclinical research, and more. There are two main interfaces that are used to access MEDLINE, both of which contain links to locally available full-text articles (to see links to full-text articles in PubMed, use the PubMed@UT  link from the Mulford web page):

CINAHL is the main database for nursing and allied health literature, including articles, books, book chapters, dissertations, research instruments, and more; it contains links to locally available full-text articles [connect on campus -- connect off campus -- instructional materials]

Biological Abstracts covers life sciences, including preclinical research as well as clinical medicine; it contains links to locally available full-text articles [connect -- instructional materials]

Science Citation Index and Social Science Citation Index (also known as Web of Science or Web of Knowledge) are primarily used to identify articles which have cited a particular publication; they can also be searched directly. They contain links to locally available full-text articles [connect -- instructional materials]

For a list of additional databases, see the listing of databases by subject. For help in selecting the best database to find articles on a topic, contact Mulford Reference Assistance or review the assessing your information need help sheet [PDF].

Database Search Tips

  • DO think about your topic in advance. What is your topic? What terms are synonyms for your topic? What terms are broader that your topic? narrower? The assessing your information need help sheet will help you structure your search.
  • DO review any available instructional materials (help sheets, tutorials, etc.) from the Mulford instructional pages, if needed.
  • DO search for each component of the topic separately, then combine the resulting search sets to build a complex search. In databases like MEDLINE and CINAHL, searching for each component separately allows sophisticated and powerful searching.
  • DO begin with a subject search with appropriate subject headings. If the database has a thesaurus or a suggest subject terms option, use it.
  • DO use a word search (also called keyword or textword search) as needed. This is not as powerful of a search as a subject heading search, but it can help find articles from which to structure future searches.
  • DO use the Find It! or OLinks buttons to see if the article is available at the University of Toledo. If you need help, contact a reference librarian.
  • DON'T assume a database has no articles on your topic until you have double-checked with a reference librarian.
  • DON'T enter your credit card number to purchase a journal article. Even if Mulford doesn't have an article, we can get it for you from another library for free.

Does the Library have the article I need?

There are a couple of ways to determine if the Library has the article that you need:

If you are still in the database, look for the Find It (or OLinks) button. Clicking on that icon will call up OLinks, which will provide you with either a direct link to the full text of the article or a link to the University of Toledo catalog (look for the link that reads either "View detailed holdings..." or "Search by title...")

If you just have the citation for the article that you need, do a title search in the library catalog for the journal title (not the article title). If you are presented with a list of titles, click on the Limit/Sort button then limit by Journal/Serial as the Material Type. Click on the journal title to see the details about what we have. If we have the journal online, there will one or more links on the page (make sure that you check the dates of available issues online; not all sites have the same time coverage). If there are no links, scroll down the page to see if we have the issue in print.

If we don't have the article online or in print, we can get a copy for you from a library that has it. Complete an article request form.

If you are having a hard time determining if we have a particular article, contact Mulford Reference Assistance. We can check the status of the journal for you.

Journal Locations @ the Mulford Health Science Library

Once you've used a database to identify articles on your topic (or you found some good articles in the reference list of another article), your next step is to determine if we have the journal at Mulford. If you are still in the database, you can use the Find It! or OLinks buttons to see if the article is available. If not, search the online catalog for the journal title (not the article title) to see if we have the journal in print or online. Information about online journals is given below. If you need an article that we have in print, it may be located in one of three areas:

Current journals: On the fifth floor of the library building, near the cell phone zone. Arranged alphabetically by journal title.

Journals published in the last five years: On the fifth floor of the library building, on the tall book shelves on the south side and northeast corner of the floor. Arranged alphabetically by journal title.

Journals older than last five years: Older journals are stored off-site. Ask at the service desk for assistance.

If the volume or issue that you need is missing from the shelves, the first step is to double-check the online catalog to make sure that the Mulford Library has the issue in question: do we have it? is it current, bound, online? Ask a library staff member to check for you, if you need help. If the catalog indicates that the issue should be on the shelf, check the photocopy room and study spaces. If you still can't find the issue, ask for further assistance.

Online Journals

Online journals are those journals with articles available electronically on the Web. The best way to determine if the Mulford Library has a journal electronically is to search for the journal title in the online catalog, which will provide one or more links to the journal. You can also search or browse the list of online journals available at Mulford and the other University Libraries.

Articles on Reserve

If your professor has put articles on Reserve, you will need to bring your University ID card to the service desk on the fourth floor. Give the staff member the name of your professor, and he or she will get the packet of articles and check them out to you.  Articles may also be posted electronically. For more information about course reserves, ask at the service desk.

Getting a Copy of an Article Not Available at Mulford

If the Mulford Library does not have the article you need online or in print, you'll need to fill out the article request form. For more information about this service, contact our Interlibrary Services Department (419.383.3973).

Citing Articles

When preparing a research paper or manuscript, you will need to cite articles. The format of this citation depends upon the style required by the professor or publisher. Here are some web sites that give example of citing articles for styles that are most commonly used on campus. If you need information that is more detailed that what you find online, contact Mulford Reference Assistance. A reference librarian can also help you verify citations and find information needed to complete incomplete references.

American Medical Association (AMA)

American Psychological Association (APA) - 6th edition

Council of Science Editors (formerly the Council of Biology Editors)

National Library of Medicine

Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (Vancouver)

Print style manuals are available in the Library. EndNote (a program that integrates with Word and can be used to cite and format references in papers and manuscripts) is available for use on campus and for home use for UT faculty, residents, staff, and students. For more information on EndNote, see the EndNote Library Guide.

Last Updated: 3/26/15