Finding journal articles might seem confusing - but it doesn't have to be!
There are a few ways to find journal articles:
- Searching for a known item - someone tells you about a journal article and you want to find a PDF and read that exact article.
- Browsing a journal by title - maybe you want to see what's in the newer issues of Music Educators Journal.
- Searching keywords, author names, subjects, etc. to explore the different articles that are out there on a topic.
There are different ways to go about all of these tasks, each of which is covered in detail below. And remember: Reach out to Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help at any time!
Searching for a known journal article
This is actually the easiest of the ways to search for journal article content: Just enter as much information as you know about the article (usually the author and title will be enough) into the search box on the Libraries homepage (lib.umn.edu) and use the built-in limiters to narrow your search results to what you're looking for. If you want to enter more detailed information to ensure you get fewer search results to sift through, click the down arrow next to the search box and choose "Advanced Search":
Browsing the contents of a specific journal
Say you want to see what's in the most recent issues of a specific journal - the first step is to go to the Libraries homepage at lib.umn.edu and enter your journal's title in the search box. TIP: If the journal's title is more than one word long, search for it in quotation marks - e.g. "Music Educators Journal" - since this will tell the catalog that you want to search this exact phrase.
Once you see your search results, use the built-in limiters to narrow things down in case you don't see the title you need right away. This is the link to the Libraries catalog record for Music Educators Journal - this is what you'll see when you click on the relevant item in your list of search results.
Sometimes, there can actually a pretty hefty number of ways we have access to a specific journal, but they don't all include the same years of coverage (e.g. JSTOR doesn't include the most recent 4 years of issues). When you go into the catalog record, read the descriptions of the coverage in each resource to make sure you'll be seeing the issues you really want. In the Music Educators Journal example, the best option is the link labeled "SAGE Premier 2009" - once you log in, this will lead to a landing page with access to issues from 1914 through June 2020 (it's a library mystery why the catalog says that clicking that link should only show from 1999 through the present, since it actually provides much more access than that). Once you're in the SAGE interface, you can browse, download PDFs of articles, search keywords within the entire journal, and filter by date:
Search keywords, author names, subjects, etc. to explore the types of articles that are out there on a topic
The Libraries subscribes to a number of resources that will allow you to search keywords across multiple journal titles at the same time - think of these like Google Chrome or Firefox: these browsers let you find other content, but they're not the publishers of that content. Some of the most useful journal databases for music-related research are:
- RILM Abstracts of Music Literature with Full Text
- Music Periodicals Database
- Music Index
- International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance
- JSTOR (remember, the most recent issues of many journals won't be included in this database; but all the articles are available for immediate PDF download!)
- Project Muse
TIP: Several of these resources (RILM, Music Index, and International Bibliography of Theatre and Dance are all made available by the same vendor, EBSCO. Because of this, you can actually search all three of these resource at ONE TIME! Once you're logged into any of these resources, click "Choose Databases" at the top of the screen and select the checkboxes for the other resources you'd like to include in your search. This will save you time!!!
Remember: these journal databases all have different levels of coverage, and some records in them have full-text PDFs available to download while others may require you to place an interlibrary loan request to have the item sent to you digitally. If you need help, contact Jessica at email@example.com.
The list above represents some music-specific suggestions, but the Libraries subscribes to many other journal article resources that search a wider range of disciplines and subjects. See the list below for additional resources and visit the Music Related Databases Guide for even more.