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Access Individual Journals & Specific Articles


Describes the process used to locate and search for individual journals, either to browse by topic or to access specific articles.

Why would you need to know this?

There are many situations where you might need to know how to locate an item by its title or other citation info:

  • You find an interesting citation within the full-text of an article and want to read it
  • You are using a search engine like Google Scholar and want to see if the library has access to articles you find
  • A colleague mentions an article that sounds interesting

How to find a specific journal

First, be sure that you have all of the citation information needed:

  • If you're just looking for a journal, you will generally only need a title for that
  • If you're looking for an article, it gets more complicated, since you'll need to know the article's title, the journal it's published in, the author, the volume, the number, etc.
    • If you have a citation for the article, you have all that you need. If not, try using Google to search for the article title, very often among the top results you'll find everything else you need.

Today, we'll be using this citation for our example:

Ye, Han-Jia, et al. “Fast Generalization Rates for Distance Metric Learning: Improved Theoretical Analysis for Smooth Strongly Convex Distance Metric Learning.” Machine Learning, vol. 108, no. 2, 2018, pp. 267–95,

Starting on the library homepage, select the Journals tab above the search box. This allows you to search for a specific journal.

In the search box, type the title of the journal you're interested in using. Be sure that everything is correctly spelled, or else you will obtain zero search results.

After running a search for the title of the journal you will be brought to a set of results. You may see other journals with similar titles, so be sure to select the correct journal.

If you do not see your journal, or the journal where your article was published, and you've verified the correct spelling, it means we do not have full-text access to the journal. Those who would like to browse a journal we do not currently have access to should contact a Librarian at

If you see the journal you are looking for, click on the title.

After clicking on the title of the journal a box will appear with key information about the journal. Look first at the Full text availability area.

In here you will see one or more databases with date ranges below them. These are the databases that have full-text availability for the journal. The date range describes the timeframe available in full-text.

If you are interested in browsing a journal, select the database that has the largest date range, or has access to the timeframe you're interested in.

If none of our databases have the date range needed, articles can be requested via the InterLibrary Loan process.

Once you've selected a database to use to access the journal, your experience will depend on who publishes that database. Some journals are accessed through a vendor such as ProQuest or EBSCO, while others will have you access them directly through their own website. In general, though, the process is the same.

The screenshots from this point onward are for a journal found in EBSCO. Please keep in mind that the general process for using a journal in a database is the same no matter who publishes it.

If you would like to browse the journal, click the Search within this publication option. This will bring you to a set of search boxes with one of them pre-filled. The pre-filled box instructs the database to only search within that journal, allowing you to use the other search boxes to search through the journal using keywords. (If you're not sure how to use keywords, see our tutorial here.)

If you are looking for a specific article, there is usually an area of the website that organizes the journal by year or by volume and issue. Use the information in your citation to navigate to the issue in which the desired article is published. Those who are searching for a specific article should continue to the next step.

How to find a specific article

Generally, finding a specific article will be as simple as pasting the article's title into the search box on our Library homepage and searching.

If, for some reason, your article doesn't come up in that search, follow the steps below.

Using the steps above, navigate to the journal that houses the article you're looking for.

Once a specific volume and issue have been selected, the specific articles published within that issue will be listed. Look around for the title of the article. Depending on how many articles are published within an issue and how many display per page of results, the desired article may not be found on the first page.

A full-text PDF of the article may be obtainable from the results page, as is the case in the screenshot below. If you do not see an option to download the full-text, click on the title of the article to be brought to a page with more details about the article.

Success! Again, the information and layout of this page will differ depending on the journal and the way in which it's accessed. The option to download the full-text may be on the left- or right-hand side, or along the top. It may say 'Full Text PDF' or 'Download PDF'.

Also note that many databases provide a suite of tools that may be useful. For example, EBSCO provides the ability to e-mail the full-text to someone or yourself, generate a citation for the article in any number of styles, export it to a citation manager such as Zotero, or obtain a permalink for the article that can be shared to students or colleagues.

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