Finding Journal Articles on a Topic
If you need articles on a topic, your best bet is to do a keyword search in an article database. Academic Search Premier and Proquest Research Library are two article databases that are great places to start your research, as they have articles in a wide variety of subjects. Also, both allow you to limit your search to articles from peer-reviewed journals. More information on peer-reviewed journals.
You may also search subject-specific article databases for information on your topic. The library has research guides that list article databases in particular subject areas. For instance, if you are writing a paper on Othello, you could look at the English literature research guide, which lists the MLA International Bibliography as the top article database.
Once you have found an article that looks relevant, look for the button, and click it to see how the library has access to that article. It will let you know if we have it in print or microform in the library, or if it is available in full text. In databases where the service is not available, copy or print the complete citation, i.e., the full (unabbreviated) title of the journal, the volume number, the page numbers and the date, then use the SDSU Citation Linker to find the article.
If we don't have the article immediately available, you can request it through interlibrary loan, and you'll get a PDF within 2-10 days.
Finding a Specific Journal
The easiest way to find out if the library has a specific journal is to search Find a specific journal, magazine or newspaper subscription. It provides linked access to electronic magazines, journals, and newspapers, either as stand-alone electronic titles, or as part of article databases.
The list also points to the library's online catalog via the "SDSU Holdings" link for titles in print, microform, or other non-print formats. Take note of the journal's call number(s), format(s), location(s), and years available, to see if we have the issue you need.
Finding Peer-Reviewed Articles
Finding a Specific Article
To get an article for which you have a citation (in other words, you know the author, article title, journal title, year, volume, and page numbers), go to Find a specific article from the citation and fill in the form to search our collections for that article. It will let you know if we have it in full text or in print in the library.
If you only have partial information about an article, try searching Google Scholar to obtain more complete details. You can also ask for help from the Reference Desk.
What to do when the Library doesn't own the Journal
If the library does not own the journal that has the article you want, you may want to:
- Request the article through interlibrary loan. PDFs of articles can usually be obtained from other libraries, and they can be delivered within 2-10 days. This is a free service and you do not need to know which library owns the item that you need.
- Check the holdings of other libraries. If you need something immediately, it may be faster to drive to another library than to use interlibrary loan.
Finding Print Copies of Journals in the Library
Current Issues of Journals
Current issues of journals are located in the Current Periodicals & Microforms Center on the first floor of Love Library and are shelved by call number.
Periodicals issued by U.S., California, and United Nations government agencies are located on the third floor of Love Library
If you cannot find a current issue, ask at the desks in Current Periodicals or Reference.
Back Issues of Journals
Many back issues of journals (generally those over one year old) are bound in hard cover and shelved in a different area from the current issues.
- All bound periodicals (except for government publications--see below) from 1986 forward are located on the first floor of Love Library in the bound periodicals area. All bound periodicals prior to (except for government publications--see below)1986 are located on the fifth floor of Love Library.
- Periodicals issued by U.S., California and United Nations government agencies are located in the Government Publications & Maps Division on the third floor of Love Library
- Some back issues are in microform and are located either in the Microforms Center on the first floor of Love Library or in Government Publications on the third floor of Love Library. The location of microforms is determined by the location of the current issues. If the current issues are on the first or third, then so, too, will be the microform.
Check the library's online catalog for location and call number for a specific journal in microform.
To Locate a Missing Journal Volume
If a volume is not on the shelf or in the reshelving area after several attempts to find it, complete a search request form at the Circulation Desk, on the first floor of the Library Addition in the Dome. You will be notified when the volume is found.