Answered By: Darcy Gervasio
Last Updated: Jun 26, 2018     Views: 261

If you have a citation for an article and need the full text, use the Citation Lookup tool (under Guides & Tools on the Library homepage).

This tool searches through all the Library's databases to see if we have the full text of your article, using its citation information. It is a manual version of the Find It @ Purchase button that appears in library databases.

**Citation Lookup works for articles only, not for books. To see if the Library has a particular book, search in our Main Catalog (Books & Media search tab) for the book's title, author, etc.


How to Use Citation Lookup:

The most crucial field is the journal title-- without this, the Citation Lookup tool cannot work. 

You don't have to fill out every field, but try to fill out the most important ones: journal title, publication date (4-digit year is sufficient), volume, issue, and article title. Adding a start page or the author's last name is helpful but not required. ISSN and DOI can be helpful but are not necessary and may limit your results too much.

Screenshot of the Citation Lookup form showing which fields are crucial and recommended. These include: Journal Title, Volume, Issue, Publication Date, Article Title, Author's Last Name

After filling and submitting the form, you should see a results page listing databases that have your article. 

If more than one database is listed, select the one that covers the date your article was published. For recent articles, try to avoid databases with a "Full Text Delay." 

screenshot of Citation Lookup results showing two database options for the journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies. One option has a full test delay of 18 months. The other has full text up to the present.

Depending on how much information you entered into Citation Lookup, clicking the link may take you directly to the article, or it may take you to a page for the entire journal. If that happens...

  • From the journal's page within a database, use options to "search within the publication" to look up your article by its title and/or author
  • Or you can browse through a list of issues by date until you find your article. (This is where having the year, volume, issue, and page number from your citation comes in handy!)

screenshot of journal page for Ethnic And Racial Studies in Ebsco. Highlights show to use the search within this publication link or to browse by years, months, volume, and issue under All Issues to get to the article you need


Troubleshooting Tips:

Avoid the following common pitfalls of using Citation Lookup! See our FAQ on finding specific journals for additional tips.

  • Do not enter too much information into Citation Lookup. If you get zero results, delete everything except the most crucial fields: journal title and year of publication and try again.
  • Make sure you have not confused the journal title with the article title. Enter the name of the journal, magazine, or newspaper in the first box (not the title of the article, which belongs further down the form!)
  • If you get zero results in Citation Lookup, try the eJournals search from the library homepage. This shows if we have online access to your journal and what the coverage dates are.
  • If your journal does not appear in the Citation Lookup or the eJournals search, the Library likely does not have access to it electronically.
    • You can search for it in the local catalog to see if we have it in print.
    • If we do not have the article in print or electronically, you can request the item through interlibrary loan.

As always, if you have trouble finding the full text of an article, please ask a librarian for help.

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