Libraries pay for and provide resources that are electronically accessible but that cannot be found with a Web browser or "on the Internet." Knowing these terms will help as you look for articles in your subject
Abstract Short summary of an article's methods and findings, written to help researchers decide quickly if the article is relevant to their interest
Article Single piece of writing by one or more authors, shorter than a monograph (book), published in a periodical
Citation Publication data for a published item which allows a reader to identify the source; sometimes accompanied by an abstract
Database An electronic collection of publications that allows users to browse individual titles or to search many all at once. Subject databases are often very expensive and not avialable beyond campus, but they are the best way to see what has been done in a field. A database may be either an index or full-text, and might have both kinds of entries
Full-text Includes an electronic copy of the actual article. Depending on the database, the article may be available in HTML format, PDF format (displays the article as it originally appeared in the periodical with, layout and graphics), or both.
Index Lists of article citations which may provide an abstract of an article, but does not provide complete text. Use an index to identify material the library may not own but which you may find in another database or request through ILLiad
Journal A periodical produced for specialists in a particular field, often produced by a scholarly society or academic school; almost always peer reviewed
Limiter Any of several database functions that narrow a results list, often by using controlled terms, dates, or sources
Magazine Commercial periodical publication for interested non-specialists or casual professional reading; rarely peer reviewed, but often a good measure of what matters concern a profession, discipline, or interest group
Newsletter Special-interest periodical of notices and brief summaries of current information, often directed at members of an organization
Peer review An editorial process before an article or book becomes accessible (published), in which writing is judged to be good enough for publication by other people who work in the field; it typically represents a higher standard of ability, accuracy, and professionalism (and therefore reliability and quality) than journalistic or non-peer-reviewed work
Periodical The catch-all term for publications issued on a regular basis, including journals, magazines, newspapers, and newsletters, whether in print or in electronic form
Databases provide full-text access to articles in journals and magazines
Finding too much on your topic? Not finding anything on your topic? Are you using the best keywords and concepts to describe what you're looking for? Try a brainstorm for other terms.
Start or refine a search by thinking of different words and phrases that describe your topic. Write down what you think would be the title of "the perfect" book or article. Pick important words from what you have written and use those in the search box (skip articles like "the" and modifiers like "greatest").
If you're still having trouble getting started, try reading a few subject-encyclopedia articles. Look for important words used in the article and the different ways an idea is described. Also check out the Reference List or Works Cited section of the article more ideas or citations.
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Want to make your search even better and faster? Check out these short videos below (from Furman Scibrary). Guess what--they work in every subject.