Skip to Main Content

Finding Articles: Assessing Full-Text Availability

Basic instruction on using library databases to find journal articles.

Access Options in Databases

Full Text Online Items

Items in the databases that are available in full text can generally be downloaded as PDFs, and can be read online in their entirety. The availability of full text is indicated in the result list by the PDF Full Text icon circled below.

If you are doing searching off campus or at hours the library is not open, you may only want to see Full Text Available items in your searching. You can use the limiter on the left side of the Result List to see only those digitally available items.









When limiting your results to Full Text, you may also see the green Full Text Finer icon shown below. This occurs when the library has a subscription to the journal indicated, but not through the database. Using the Full Text Finder link will take you to the library catalog record for the journal, which should contain a link to the journal online.


Print Journals

Articles indexed in the databases include journals that we have only in print, or older volumes of journals that have not yet been digitized. If an item in the result list says PTS owns this title and has a Check Holdings in the Barbour Library link as well as a green Full Text Finder link, it is only available in print in the library. Either link will take you to the library record for the journal title, which will provide additional information you may need, like what volumes or years we have in the library. Print journals can be found in the Periodicals room on the main floor, and are shelved in alphabetical order  by journal title.


Titles Not Owned by PTS

You may find relevant materials indexed in the databases that we don't own or subscribe to at PTS. Those items can be identified by a result record that states Notes: ILL for items not held by PTS and has not other access options like the item pictured below. If you are interested in such an item, it can be obtained through Interlibrary Loan. See 'What if You Can't Access an Article You Need?' below for further information. 


Using the Full-Text Finder with a Known Citation

Databases are excellent tools for browsing by subject, but if you already have a citation for an article that is of interest to you, it can be tedious finding it through various databases. In this scenario you will instead want to use the Find Journal Articles link on the library homepage. Type the journal title only in to the search box, and the catalog record will indicate whether the title is available in print or online, and for what volumes. If your search brings back no results, this is an indication that PTS does not own the title. See 'What if You Can't Access an Article You Need?' below for further information. 

What if You Can't Access an Article You Need?

Databases sometimes function as indexes, which means they may contain an abstract or citation to a relevant item, but not the item itself. If none of the access options listed above are available, the Barbour Library may not have print or digital access to the material. But never fear! Needed items can almost always be obtained through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). To request an item through ILL, you may either:

Research and Instruction Librarian

Profile Photo
Mark Russell
Barbour Library
616 N. Highland Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
(412) 924-1393