Answered By: Darcy Gervasio
Last Updated: Jun 14, 2022     Views: 530

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. The Citation Lookup tool also works for books in the Library's physical collections.

See the video tutorial on finding articles from a citation at the bottom of this page!


How to Use Citation Lookup:

To find an article, the most crucial field is the journal title-- without this, Citation Lookup cannot work. 

You don't have to fill out every field, but try to fill out the most important ones: journal title, year of publication (4-digit year is sufficient), volume, issue, and article title. Adding a start page or the author's last name is helpful. ISSN and DOI can be helpful but are not necessary. (The more fields you fill out, the more likely is it that Citation Lookup will retrieve the PDF immediately, without making you click through additional journal issues/years or search within a journal.)


screenshot of citation lookup form with journal title and year highlighted. other fields are helpful but not strictly neceessary

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 one that covers the date your article was published. For recent articles (last 1-2 years), try to avoid databases with a "full text delay" or that say "most recent 1 year(s) not available."

screenshot of article record showing online availability and list of databases with dates of access 

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!)

journal page in Ebsco Education Source database. Option 1: click search within this publication and look up article title. Option 2: browse for your article by year, month, volume, and issue in the dates menu on the right


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 "journal title" box (the second box).
  • If you get zero results in Citation Lookup, try the Journals A-Z Search from the Library Discovery Search. This shows if we have online access to your journal and lists coverage dates.
  • If your journal is not available electronically, the Discovery Search may show you a print version instead. Write down the call number after "Available a Purchase College Bound Periodical (Stacks)" to locate the hard copy version of the journal on the shelf.   
  • If the Library does not have the article either 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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