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[and locating magazine, journal & 
newspaper titles at ISU]

Using the Online Catalog {LUIS} to Locate the Actual Article Excerpt from Printed Index (Reader's Guide)
Scholarly Journal vs. Magazine Article Is It Available in Full-Text?


Magazine  indexes are reference sources which help you locate magazine articles on various subjects. There are two types of indexes: general and subject-specialized. The classic example of a general index (print) is Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature (covers 1900 to the present, located in the Reference Index Alcove) -- it helps you locate articles in general interest magazines, like Time and Newsweek, on a wide variety of subjects. Biological and Agricultural Index is an example of a subject-specialized index -- it helps you locate articles dealing specifically with biological and/or agricultural topics which have appeared in specialized magazines and journals. Even though many indexes are now published in computerized format, it is still necessary to use printed indexes in many fields, or for older materials (usually from the mid-1980s back).

Online, ProQuest's PA Research II Periodicals and Ebscohost's Academic Search Premier and MasterFILE Premier provides similar coverage. Sometimes it is easy to tell, from the title of the index, what subject areas are covered; e.g. Art Index, Education Index, Library Literature, and Book Review Digest. Sometimes the title doesn't help at all; e.g. ABI/Inform covers business, Academic Universe isn't one database, it's several, and covered general topics, as well as legal and medical topics. It's easy to identify what indexes cover what topics if you use the Library's Database--Subject links.  For newspaper article choices, use our Newspaper Databases & Internet sites research guide.  For printed indexes, or just to find out what index/es you should use, it's easiest just to ask at the Reference Desk or use the online help.

Regardless of the index, and regardless of whether or not it is a print or online index, you need to be able to recognize the standard parts of a citation to a magazine/journal. We'll use an excerpt from the Reader's Guide to discuss the printed index. If you want information on online indexes, refer to the handout on ProQuest (also available online).

Using the Reader's Guide: Look up your subject alphabetically. Subject headings appear in bold print, flush to the left margin.

Pay attention to any See also references which may be listed under your subject. See also references narrow your topic to more specific areas; they identify other subject headings that you might want to look up for additional information.

Note subheadings (bold print, centered in the printed column). Subheadings also help you narrow your search.

Each indented cluster of information is a citation to an article on your topic. A citation is like an "address" -- it provides you with the information you need to locate an article: article title, author, magazine title, magazine volume number, article page numbers, and magazine date. All of this information is very important!


Example from Printed Index

(Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature)





Department stores
See also
    Nordstrom, Inc.
    R.H. Macy & Co., Inc.
Customer Relations
The store is where the action is [customer service at Nordstrom stores and Macy's] T. J. Peters. il U S News World Rep 100:58 My 12 '88

*This citation is for an article titled, "The store is where the action is..." written by T.J. Peters. It appeared in the May 12, 1988 issue of U.S. News & World Report, volume 100, page 58. This article is illustrated (il).




Interpreting a Citation: Citations have various symbols and abbreviations. You must decode these by using two different tables of abbreviations provided in the beginning pages of each issue or volume of the index you are using: Abbreviations of Periodicals Indexed and Abbreviations. Since publishers often devise their own abbreviation systems, DO NOT SECOND GUESS CITATION ABBREVIATIONS...because if you guess incorrectly, you will be looking for something that does not exist!

ABSTRACTS: Sometimes the index entry will include, following the basic citation, an Abstract. An abstract is simply a summary of the main points of the article. This is more common in a specialized subject index. The purpose is to allow the researcher an idea of the article's content before taking the time to go to the actual article. Abstracts often contain important and useful information but using the information in the abstract (perhaps 50-100 words) is in no way the same as reading and summarizing the actual article. Do not cite the Abstract as if it were the complete article! In online databases, you often have a choice of printing just the citation, or the citation plus the abstract, the entire entry (many different fields of information, some important and some not). Also, if you are using a database that is both index and full-text, you will have that additional printing and emailing option.



If you have a citation for an article, first check the E-Journal listing to see if we have access to the full-text. If you don't find the periodical title listed, go to the Online Catalog to search. [For more info, refer to the Find That Article guide]



After decoding the citation in an index, you should have the complete, unabbreviated title of the magazine or journal in which the article appeared. Most indexes today will list the complete journal title, but sometimes, especially if your citation comes from a printed bibliography, the magazine/journal title will be abbreviated. The Reference Desk has sources to help you decipher the abbreviation, and there are some online resources, too.  



You should also have the title of the article, the volume number of the magazine, the date of the magazine, and the page number(s) of the article. Go to the Library Home Page   and click on Library Catalogs --> Library Catalog {LUIS}  (or go there directly). Select Author/Title/Subject Search. To see if we subscribe to the magazine you need to do a Journal Title search. When typing in the title of your magazine, leave off any initial article (e.g., for The Journal of Musicology, your LUIS search should be: journal of musicology).

If there is more than one record under your Journal Title, you will get a screen listing all matching titles. If only one title matches your search, you will be taken directly to the entry for that title.

Clicking on the Journal Title that you think matches your search will take you to a Brief View screen. [The Long View contains a lot of information, some very important, and some not important at all.] Look for the exact volume and date you need (you may find it under multiple listings). You can email records to yourself for later dissection, or print them. Use the icons in the Save Options box at the bottom of the screen to print and/or email.

Location=ISU Periodicals (Main Library, Lower Level) is a default phrase. Look specifically for the information combination: CALL NUMBER and HOLDINGS INFO. If your volume/year is listed under HOLDINGS INFO, it will be under the CALL NUMBER on the appropriate floor of the library. If your volume/year is listed under CURRENT ISSUES, it will be located, alphabetically by title, in Current Periodicals on the library's Lower Level.

Location=ISU Microforms Periodicals is also a default phrase. Look under HOLDINGS INFO for your specific volume/year. If you find it, go to Teaching Materials, Microforms & Media (2nd floor) and find your journal alphabetically.

Location=ISU Electronic Resources; Call Number: Proquest or PQD or EBSCOHOST orů. on the Internet means that the article should be available online and full-text, beginning with the date shown at On-Line Full Text coverage begins [date]. If it is a link to an online article, simply click on the Link to Electronic Subscription; and you will be linked to the source will open to a list of the individual issues under your magazine/journal title. Click on the volume/issue. [If, for some reason, you connect to a source that is not actually full-text, let us know so that we can correct this problem asap!]



If you are searching for more than one Journal Title, you will have to re-select Journal Title on the search screen (if you don't, it will default to AUTHOR!). Magazine articles not locally available may be requested through the Interlibrary Loan office (1st floor) by ISU students, faculty and staff. For more information in interpreting the information you find, refer to the "Find That Article" guide.



What's the Difference, and Who Cares?


Well, the answer to the question is, your professors do! So it's important to be able to tell the difference, especially if you are required to have a certain number of each kind of article. Actually, in print index days it was a lot easier, because the Reader's Guide was the magazine article index, and everything else was usually considered to be a journal article index, so you didn't have to second-guess. However, many online databases contain a mix; and they don't have a standardized format.

A number of other libraries have developed web pages designed to help explain the differences. We have gathered some of the best information and links from these sites for you to examine.

You can take our Tutorial on evaluating and identifying different types of articles.



Articles in Journals and Magazines
Scholarly Journal Articles
Popular Magazine Articles

are signed by the author(s)

may or may not be signed

are written by experts or
specialists in the field
may be written by a non-expert
include the author's credentials, such as his/her position and affiliated institution
may or may not include author's position and affiliated institution
may begin with an abstract
do not begin with an abstract
include references and/or notes citing the author's research
do not include references or notes
may report new research or review past research
usually not reporting cutting-edge research
contain specialized language
are written for the general public; contain little or no specialized language
can be lengthy
mostly are short
may be refereed, meaning that the articles
are reviewed by experts in the field
articles reviewed only by the editor

Entire Issues of Journals and Magazines
Scholarly Journals
Popular Magazines
often have plain covers, or very little design
have colorful, slick covers
may be published by an association, institution or scholarly press
are published for profit
are distributed to a specific audience
are widely marketed and distributed
may have continuous pagination
usually restarts pagination with each issue
may include book reviews pertaining to the field as a regular feature
usually do not include formal book reviews as a regular feature
may include advertisements for publications or services in the related field
include general advertisements
may publish an annual index in addition to being indexed by indexing services
may be indexed by indexing services

If you need help using indexes or the Online Catalog, ask for assistance at the Information Desk or email us.

[Source of charts: Accessed September 23, 2003]


Online Guides
Library Instruction

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