Lake Superior State University
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Kenneth J. Shouldice Library Help Me!

Finding an Online Article

There are two issues here,
  • Finding an article that is online when you're off campus and don't have access to the paper collection and the "Search for full text" links won't work, or
  • Finding an article that is full text while you're on campus, but you don't want to mess around with paper copies of journals.
Find online articles from off-campus
To access articles from off-campus, login to your My.LSSU account. Click on the My Library tab. The databases should be listed on the left side of the page, by category. They should all work from off-campus, if you go through the My Library tab. You may have to explore a little, to pick a database that has the type of information you seek (academic, general, research, subject specific, etc.), and has (some) material full-text. There are too many databases to provide recommendations and specifics here, but if you send a note to a reference librarian, including information about the type of project you're doing and the type of information you seek, we will try to suggest a database or two that will best meet your needs. Picking a database that covers your topic while still providing a useful amount of full text material is the most important issue in this endeavor. A great topic-database that has no full-text will not be useful to you, nor will a full text database that only does a so-so job of meeting your information needs. So you need to explore a little. There are a few databases that offer all full text materials, Wilson Select Plus, Psych Articles, InfoTrac Custom 120 Full Text Newspapers, and most of Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe. There may be others, and there may be some things in those databases that aren't full text, but most of the information will be. In choosing a database other than the ones I've mentioned, look for a database that covers the topic area you seek, and one in which a simple search or two yields half or more of the articles on the first results page to be full text.

Once you've picked a database, you may wish to hunt around on the search page to see if there is a limiter that will provide only articles that are full text as results. Most databases have that option somewhere on the search screen. Once you've clicked on that, your searches should yield only full text articles as results.

Finding online articles while on campus
You may search for online articles in two ways while on campus. First, the way to absolutely guarantee that you will get full text articles is to search as described above. But since you're on campus, and the Search for full text links should work, you might want to take advantage of the power this gives you. It takes more steps, and you'll have to check each article to see if it's available full text, but you'll have access to all the materials we have in full text.

First, pick an appropriate database. As stated before, you may have to explore a little to pick a database that has the type of information you seek (academic, general, research, subject specific, etc.), and has (some) material full-text. There are too many databases to provide recommendations and specifics here, but if you send a note to a reference librarian about the type of information you need, and the type of project you are trying to complete, we will try to suggest a database or two that will best meet your needs. Picking a database that covers your topic while still providing a useful amount of full text material, or material that is available in one of our other databases, is the most important issue in this endeavor. A great topic-database that has no full-text of its own, and little or no full text available from other databases, will not be useful to you, nor will a full text database that only does a so-so job of meeting your information needs. So you need to explore a little. There are a few databases that offer all full text materials, Wilson Select Plus, Psych Articles, InfoTrac Custom 120 Full Text Newspapers, and most of Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe. There may be others, and there may be some things in those databases that aren't full text, but most of the information will be. In choosing a database other than the ones I've mentioned, look for a database that covers the topic area you seek, and one in which a simple search or two yields a few of the articles on the first results page to be full text.

So, choose a database and fill in the search boxes with the search terms that you believe will give you good results. Sift through the results to identify articles that you think will meet your needs. When you find a likely looking article, click on the title of the article. In most of our databases, that will take you to a page that provides citation information and an abstract. Look over the abstract, to determine if the article will be useful to you. Also, search around this page for a list of subject headings. If you can find a subject heading that exactly covers your topic, you'll want to click on it, and go to the listing or articles that have that subject heading. While looking at the page with the abstract, look for a full text link. If the database offers full text, a link from this page is the easiest way to see it. If it gives you a choice between a PDF and HTML, choose the PDF. It should look like a photocopy of the original article. If there is no direct link to full text from this page, search for a Search for full text link. This link will open a new window, and alert you to full text options. If the item is available full text in only one other database, it should open at this point. If it is available in more than one database, it should list the databases that offer the article full text. You should be able to click a link to one of those databases (check to make sure the year you seek is available full text in the database you choose) and grab the full text. If there is no full text, but the journal is available in our paper collection, a Voyager screen should open... sometimes this indicates not that we own it, but that NMU owns the item, so you have to carefully check this. Finally, if it's not available in full text or paper, you will have the option of interlibrary loaning the item. It takes a few clicks to search for full text, but can produce great results, and you get to take advantage of all of our full text journals!
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