The Art of Finding Articles

STEP 1: Select an Article Database

To find articles for your topic, you will use one of the many databases available online here at the University Library's web site. A database allows you to enter a search word(s) for your topic and then displays information about articles that are available in journals, magazines, and newspapers. The database will either: a) give you the basic information you need to find the article (this is called a citation Pop-Up Window) or b) provide you with a citation and an abstract Pop-Up Window (a brief summary of the article) or c) provide you with the full text Pop-Up Window (the entire article) online.

How to access and select a database:

1) Go to the Library's homepage:

2) Click on: Articles in journals, newspapers, magazines

3) Select a subject from the choices in the menu box on the right side of the page (for example: Art), then select one of the "primary" databases (for example: Art Index). You will then see the database description page. Click the Go to this database button to open the database and begin your search.

STEP 2: Search your article database

When searching article databases you can type one or more keywords such as: picasso
or, use AND to combine search words (for example: picasso AND sculpture).

TipBe sure to ask at the Reference Desk if you need help choosing a database or selecting the right search words for your topic. Also, don't forget to look for the Help link when you are in a database, where you'll find search tips and examples.

STEP 3: Copy/Print/Email the Article Citation

Often, you can find a full text article online, which you can print, save to disk, or email to yourself. However, if a specific article you need is not available online, you must keep (print/save/email to yourself) a copy of the complete citation Pop-Up Window in order to find the print copy of that article in the library.

TipWhen you have completed a search in a database and you see SFX Logo or an SFX link you can click on it to see if the full text is available online.

STEP 4: Locate the journal & see if the library has the issue you need

If the full text article is not available online, you will need to find out if the periodical (i.e. journal, magazine, newspaper) is owned by the Library and where it is located. To do this, you must do a journal search in the Library Catalog.

1. Go to and click on: Journals, newspapers, magazines @ CSULA

2. Type the name of the journal, magazine, or newspaper (for example: Art News) in the search box.

3. If the library owns the periodical, you will see the call number displayed. Click on the call number to get more detailed information about what issues the "library has". If you see the name of a database instead of a call number, some issues of the periodical are available electronically and you may be able to find the full text online. Here is a Search ExamplePop-Up Window

TipAsk at the Reference Desk for help searching for your article online.

4. If the journal, magazine, or newspaper you need is in the library, go to the Periodicals Collection (Library North A) to get your article.

TipBe sure to have the call number with you! If you're not sure if your magazine, journal, or newspaper is on the shelves (paper) or on microfilm/fiche, be sure to ask for help at the Periodicals Desk. Once you have the journal you need, you can use a photocopy machine (or a microfilm/fiche printer) to make a copy of your article.

STEP 5: What if the library does not have the journal article you need?

If your article is not available online or in our Periodicals Collection, you can request the article from another library by using our Interlibrary Loan service ~ it's Free!

1. Go to and using the yellow menu on the left, click on Library Services and then Interlibrary Loan.

TipAlways ask the Reference or Periodicals Desk to make sure we don't have the periodical you need before you submit an Interlibrary Loan request.