From Cite To Hand:
How to actually lay your hands on an ARTICLE
Use this research guide to learn how to actually get an article when all you have is a citation (a bibliographic reference to an article).
1. From the citation identify the journal/magazine title. Many citations abbreviate the journal title (like ZAW in the example below). If you are unable to interpret it, try this Web site: Abbreviations.com. If you are using a hardcopy index, look in the “list of journals indexed” provided by the indexing tool used (it’s usually up front somewhere) or in the case of softcopy index select the “Source” or “Publications” option for a list of journal titles. “The Encyclopedia of Acronyms, Initialisms and Abbreviations” can help and for theological journals the SBL Handbook will prove very useful. Then too, you can always ask Miss T. or John Stone.
2. The "Find Journals" link on the library Web site and the "Check for Full-Text" link found in online article indexes are especially useful when attempting to determine whether or not the library has a particular journal either in hard or softcopy formats. Use "Find Journals" to discover if the library subscribes to the journal indicated in your citation.
a. If your needed title is in an online index, check the dates of coverage to be sure the index includes the date of your article, then click on the hyperlink and search the index for the article.
b. If the article is not available full-text within the selected index, use the "Check for Full-Text" option. “Check for Full-Text” allows you to link from an online abstract or citation directly to the full-text article. Or if the article is not full-text online but available in a hardcopy journal within the library, "Check for Full-Text" will display the record in the online catalog. In the event the TMC library does not have the article in question, "Check for Full-Text" also provides a link to our Interlibrary Loan service (ILL).
c. If the needed article is in hardcopy, look on the shelves in the periodical collection; if in remote storage, tell the circulation desk clerk who will retrieve it for you.
i. Periodicals are arranged alphabetically by title and within the title chronologically left to right, oldest to most current respectively.
ii. You should ignore the articles “A”, “An”, or “The”, if and only if, they are the first word in the title. All other words in the title apply. For example, The Master’s Seminary Journal is found under “M” but Journal of the ACM will most often come after Journal of Technology.
3. If you don’t find the title or the date needed is not covered, you have two options: use Interlibrary Loan or use WorldCat.
a. Use ILL if you can afford to wait about 3-5 days. ILL for articles may not take this long but you are wise to give yourself this much time. Be absolutely certain TMC does not have what you need before availing yourself of this service. Ask Miss T. for assistance. Don't forget "Check for Full-text" provides a link to Interlibrary Loan.
i. From the Library’s Web site select the menu option Library Services and from here select “Interlibrary Loan” and then “Periodicals”. Fill in the periodical form, read the copyright statement and submit. The form requires an indication of your patron group; choose one of these: student, cps, mabc, faculty, staff or alumnus/alumna. You must also provide as complete bibliographic information as possible.
ii. If the citation was found in any of the FirstSearch databases, select the detailed record for the needed article, click on the ILL icon or use the “Borrow this item from another library” link. The form requires an indication of your patron group; choose one of these: student, cps, mabc, faculty, staff or alumnus/alumna. The FirstSearch system will provide all necessary bibliographic data.
b. Use WorldCat, if you’re running out of time. WorldCat can tell you of nearby libraries that own the needed title.
i. From the Library’s Web page select Find Articles and in the free text search box type "worldcat", then select the link to WorldCat (FirstSearch) .
ii. When searching for the journal title in WorldCat, be sure to select the “Title” or “Title phrase” field. You can further limit your search results by selecting “Serial Publications”.
iii. When you have found the record for your needed resource, use the “Libraries Worldwide” function to identify libraries in close proximity that own it.
iv. It is wise to call the library before going there to be sure the specific issue needed is currently available.
v. Most libraries do not permit check out of their periodicals so be prepared to bring money for the photocopier. It's also possible the copier serves as a scanner. You may be able to simply scan the article and email it to yourself. At the TMC library, there is no charge for scanning. HINT: be sure to scan the cover page and the table of contents so that you will have all necessary information for documentation.
Additional Research Guides:
Basic Steps in Library Research – six simple steps explaining the research process
From Cite to Hand - Books – how to actually obtain books and other materials whether or not the library owns them
From Cite to Hand - Articles – how to actually obtain magazine and journal articles whether or not the library owns them
Finding Articles in Two, sometime Three, OK maybe Four Easy Steps
Identifying Scholarly Books – clues for distinguishing scholarly books and journals
Identifying Scholarly Periodicals- clues for distinguishing between magazines, journals and peer reviewed journals
Evaluating Resources – easy way to help evaluate the usefulness of research resource both paper and electronic
Research Worksheet – designed to make research simpler by working step by step through the research process
Copyright for Higher Education– help in understanding the copyright law as it pertains to faculty and students
© Janet Tillman/The Master’s College, 2004- 201010, permission is granted for non-profit educational use; any reproduction or modification should include this statement
Last updated June, 2010
For example: A. J. Williams. “The Relationship of Genesis 3:20 to the Serpent,” ZAW 89 (1977) 357-74.