How to Locate Periodical Articles

Periodicals (including journals, magazines and newspapers) subscribed to by the University at Albany are listed in Minerva, the University Libraries' online catalog. To find articles published in the periodicals, you will need to use periodical indexes. Indexes are available in both printed and computerized format.

  • Print periodical indexes are listed in Minerva and are shelved with other reference books.
  • The computerized indexes/databases are listed alphabetically or by subject via Databases on the University Libraries' Web site. Many of the online databases include the full text of articles.

This guide will focus on these databases.

How to Choose an Appropriate Database

Databases differ in the subject areas they cover. When looking for articles, you should use a database that covers the subject area you are interested in. Sometimes the name of the database indicates what subject areas it covers, for example, Business & Industry, and PsycINFO. If you are not sure which database is appropriate for your research, ask a reference librarian at the Reference Desk, or search by subject in the Databases link on the University Libraries' Web site. If you are not doing in-depth research on a topic, EBSCO Academic Search Complete is a good database that covers a wide cvarietty of acaemic subjects.

How to Search a Database

Different databases have different search interfaces. Once you have selected a database for your topic, check out its online help features to see what techniques you should use to search the database or follow the instructions on the screen.

How to Interpret the Search Result

In a database, information about an article is usually referred to as a record. When you perform a search, your search result is a list of records. A record consists of fields such as author, title, etc. The following is a sample record from the EBSCO Academic Search Complete database:


  • To determine which articles are the most relevant to your search, examine the article's subject and abstract fields.
  • Databases vary in the codes used to identify the fields of a record. For example, some use JN instead of Source or SO for periodical title, and DE or Descriptor rather than Subject for the subject field. Check their online help features for more information.

How to Locate the Article

Once you have found a record for an article that you want there are a number of ways to retrieve the fulltext of the article.

  1. Depending on the databases you are using, sometimes you can retrieve the entire text of an article within the database. Look for "HTML Full Text" or "PDF Full Text" within the record.
  2. finditbutton Many times, an article is duplicated among different databases so what is not available in one database may be accessible in another. Use the "Find It" button to see if you can locate the article electronically in a different database. By linking onto this resource, you will retrieve a list of other databases that provide the full text of the article (if available).
  3. If the article is not available online, many times the record will still list the library holdings information (see the image above). Holding information will include location, call number of the periodical, and volumes and dates that the University Libraries own.
    • Library and location codes
    • ULIB-------University Library
    • SCIENCE-----Science library (new library building)
    • DEWEY------Dewey library (downtown campus)
    • Per----------Periodicals
    • ONLINE----------Available electronically
    • MIC Per----Microform Periodicals

    Example: The holding information for Newsweek magazine as provided in the sample EBSCO record.


    Based on the holding information, the article Is It Software? Or Spyware?, published in volume 137 of the Newsweek magazine, can be located in the periodicals room of the University Library either in the printed copy of the magazine or on microfilm.

  4. For the databases that do not include the holdings information in the record, search for the periodical in Minerva, by its title. locate articles in the Libraries, you will need to have the elements listed below:

    • call number of the periodical
    • periodical title
    • publication date
    • volume and/or issue number
    • page numbers

  5. For the articles that the University Libraries don't own, you can try to obtain them through Interlibrary Loan.

« Back