This week, in my Lib 127 course, I have a lesson on how to use the e-journal tool – that’s the A-Z list of all the journal titles we have online. I thought I’d share the info here, too.
This is an extremely useful tool if you are looking for a specific journal title (like if you already have a specific citation of if you’re helping a student who needs an article from a specific journal) or if you want to electronically replicate the experience of browsing a print run of a journal (although I realize it’s possible that I’m the only person who likes to do this). And, our 360 Link product adds some additional functionality called the Citation Linker to this tool that’s worth knowing about.
Tip: If you have a hard time seeing the details in the images in these blog posts, click on the image for a larger view.
As you probably know, you can access the e-journal tool from two different places on our current web page:
Choose the COCC Barber Library electronic journal collection link (the other link goes to OSU’s e-journals, which you must be an OSU student to access).
If you are looking for a specific JOURNAL title, type that title in the search box next to “Title begins with.” Note that only the journal title will work here. Do not try to type an article title in here (I see students do this a lot).
Click the search button, and you will see a list of results. For example, if I search for the journal Online, I will see a list of journal titles that start with the word “Online.” I’m just looking for plain Online, so I can ignore the rest:
Let’s take a closer look at these search results. Sometimes common journal titles will have the place of publication to help disambiguate the title. That’s why Weston, Conn. is in parenthesis next to the journal title above. The number in parenthesis next to that is the journal’s ISSN (International Standard Serial Number).
Below the title, you will see date ranges, like “from 01/01/1988 to present” above. Some titles have several date ranges, like Online; others have only one date range. The date range represents FULL TEXT access. It’s not always through the present, of course.
Next to the date range, you see the databases that the journal is indexed in. You have to click on one of these database links to actually access the content. Which database you choose to access the journal is dependent upon dates available and personal preference. For example, Online is available from 1988 to the present in the Academic One File (Gale) database. If I needed an article from 1990, I would click on this database. But, if I needed an article from later, say 2010, I would probably go down to the next date range listing (“from 1994 to the present”) and click on Academic Search Premier, because I, personally, prefer the Ebsco interface to Gale’s.
Once you click on a database name, you are taken to that database’s interface, where you can search within the journal content or choose a year, volume, and issue to browse.
For example, let’s say I had clicked on the Academic One File link in the example above. Here’s what the next part of the process looks like:
A couple of things to notice here: you have to click on a drop down menu to access a list of the available years. After you choose a year, it shows you a list of volumes and issues available for that year for you to choose from.
Also, notice above the drop down menu and volume/issue selection box where it says “Index Coverage” and has a date range of Jan. 1, 1977 – Current. This means that this database has citations – but not full text – for the years 1977-1987, with the full text coverage picking up in 1988 (so citation-only coverage is before the overlap in years between the index coverage and the full-text coverage).
You can’t see it in the screen shot above, but there is a “search within this publication” box to the left of the date picker. If you wanted to search just within this particular title for a topic, that’s what you would use to do that.
The Academic Search Premier/Ebsco interface is similar (definitely click on this one for the larger view):
Instead of a drop down menu for the date picker, you get a list of dates with expandable/collapsible “+” signs. Click on the + sign, and you’ll see the list of volume/issue choices.
The “search within this publication” option is right above the list of dates.
Like the Gale database, Ebsco often has some records that are citation only. Instead of “index coverage,” they refer to it as “bibliographic records” (students won’t know what either term means, most likely). In this case, it’s only one year, 1993, before full-text coverage picks up.
One thing I like about the Ebsco display is that it tells you in the title information whether or not the title in question is peer-reviewed. This can be helpful.
OK, so this is all well and good if you just want to browse or search a particular title. But, isn’t there a faster way to get to a specific article if you already have an exact citation? Indeed there is.
Take a look at the title search image again:
See below the search box how it says, “If you already have a citation and want full text, try Citation Linker.” That’s your ticket to the quicker search for a specific article. Click on the link there, and you will see a search form:
Put in your citation information (the more complete, the better!) and click the “Look Up” button. If the article is available electronically, you will be directed to the full text. If the article isn’t available electronically (say, for example, it’s outside of the date range of full-text coverage), you will be directed to the link resolver screen telling you that the article isn’t immediately available and giving you the opportunity to place an Interlibrary Loan.
A couple of troubleshooting tips for the e-journal tool:
It is very, very picky in terms of searching. If you spell a journal title wrong or enter the wrong information in the citation linker function, you will get no results – it doesn’t do any correcting for you.
If you have spelled everything correctly and you’re getting no results, that means we have no online access to the journal in question.
Otis supplies the following excellent technique for eliminating the spelling/ambiguity problem: “Google the ISSN identifier of the publication in question and search for the journal via that numerical identifier as opposed to the ‘journal title’ because then one knows for certain which journal they are accessing by virtue of many journals having similar ‘title’ keywords.”
Also, all of the full-text date range information is supplied by Serials Solutions’ “Knowledge Base,” not manually controlled by us. Occasionally, full-text availability changes before the Knowledge Base is updated and you will find either less or more full-text than you expected, based on what the e-journal tool told you. And, it really can go either way; it’s always nice if you find more full-text, but it’s not nice when you find less. If you run into a problem, let me know, and I’ll let Serials Solutions know.
As usual, let me know if you have questions.