Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hey, Where's the Rest of the Article?

So you're doing research in one of our online databases, you find an article title that sounds dead-on for your topic, but when you click through for the details, you can't find a way to bring up the full text. There may be a link on the page, but all it does is reload the same information, or it takes you to a different website where they want you to log in or shell out money to see the whole thing.

Sound familiar? What you have found is a citation, which tells you about something that exists and where to find out without providing the document itself. It may include an abstract, which is a brief summary of the contents, and subject terms, which describe the subject and link to other articles on the same subject. For most of our databases it will be for a journal or magazine article, which means that the citation includes the author, article title, publication title, date and/or volume and issue number and page number so that you can go track it down by other means.

Why isn't the full text available for every article? It varies, but the short explanation is that the database provider doesn't have the rights to provide the full text of every article in the database. Some databases are explicitly citation only, some provide full text of everything, but many have a combination.

How you deal with this depends on how many search results you found that are relevant to your research and how much time you have. But don't pay an external website for content that Berklee can probably provide for you.
  • If you found lots of good results in a single database, try running your search again but limit results to full-text only. Most databases with a mixture of citations and full text offer this option on either the basic or advanced search page. That will quickly knock out anything that requires more work to track down.
  • If you found a promising citation, see if Berklee has it elsewhere electronically. From our Journals & Magazine list, search for the name of the journal listed in the citation. If we have access, you'll see a list of databases through which it is available. Look for one with full-text access for the date that you need. (Some may not have older or very recent coverage.)
  • If we don't have it electronically, we may have it in print. Check the journal title in our Local Periodicals Holdings. You may need to allow time for staff to retrieve a volume from our Annex, especially if it is older.
  • If you're still hitting a dead end, it's worth a shot to check Google Scholar. You may find a link to free access to the article.
  • If none of those options panned out, and especially if the only you link you found requires payment for the article, request it through Interlibrary Loan. We have an online request form where you can request books, scores and articles that we don't own, and you can easily copy and paste the information from your citation. We sometimes turn around article requests in a few days, but it may take up to two weeks, and we usually email the PDF directly to you.
If this all sounds like too much trouble, speak to some of our older staff members so we can regale you with tales of the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature and the olden days of having to do all your research with print resources only.

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