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Serials Frequently Asked Questions

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Where are the magazines and journals?
What is the difference between a periodical, a journal, a scholarly journal, and a magazine?
Can the student workers in Serials help me with my research?
How do I find a journal article?
How do I connect to the databases from home?
If I know the title of a journal, how do I find it?
Where are the journals in my field?

Where are the magazines and journals?
When you walk into the Serials Department, you are surrounded by magazines and journals. You may not recognize this fact, however, if you are not aware of the processes we use to store issues of magazines and journals on our shelves. All those items that look like books with various colors of biding are actually what are called “bound magazines” and “bound journals.” Once we get a year’s worth of issues together, we send them off to have them bound this way, so that we can keep them longer. Of course, the unbound versions of journals and magazines will also be found on the shelves, and some will be found in the Browsing Section, which is to your right as you walk in. To get the location or call number of any journal, simply search our catalog, using the search called Periodical Title.

What is the difference between a periodical, a journal, a scholarly journal, and a magazine?
Simply put, all the serial items in this department are periodicals, meaning that they are published serially, or periodically, usually on a predictable timetable. A magazine is one of those glossy things you see on newstands everywhere. They are characterized by lots of high color, very brief articles, and stories that usually do not list an author at their end or beginning. Also, if you open any Time or Newsweek for example, you will not see submission guidelines for articles. That is because these magazines have a writing staff. Now, if you pick up a journal, you will notice a few things: (1) They are typically not glossy or colorful. They exist for information, not entertainment. (2) They clearly list an editorial staff, and they have clear guidelines for submissions. These guidelines typically will state that three copies or more of an article be submitted. This is why they are often called peer reviewed. (3) The articles tend to be technical, or scholarly. Hence, they are often called scholarly journals. (4) The articles will list an author at the beginning or end, and will give that person’s degree and sometimes even university or professional affiliation. (5) Journals are usually published by universities or professional organizations.

Can the student workers in Serials help me with my research?
Serials, more than any other department in the library, relies on Student Workers for day-to-day upkeep. However, these Student Workers know a lot more than simply how to shelve a journal issue. They know how to find periodicals using our Online Catalog, and they are fairly well-versed in the use of our databases. You should always feel free to ask a Student Worker for help. If he or she cannot answer your question, that worker will find a Staff Member who can.

How do I maximize my printing, since I am allowed only so much?
One of our librarians has graciously produced two handouts to help you do just this. The first will tell you how to maximize your accounts in general, and theĀ second will help you print those aggravating Power Point slides, with up to six slides per page. If these do not do the trick, ask one of our staffers for advice. We like to save our money too, so we’ll have plenty of suggestions. If all else fails, remember you can always e-mail something to yourself, or save items to a disk or better yet, your virtual network drive.

How do I find a journal article?
To find a specific article, you should NOT use our Online Catalog. It searches only at the journal title level, not at the article level. To search at the article level, you should go to the library’s main page and click on Electronic Research Databases (the second bulleted item). Once you get to the list of our databases, choose the one that is best suited for your search. For example, if you need an article on stress for a Nursing class, you would use CINAHL, the nursing database, while if you needed an article on stress for Psychology class, you would choose PsycInfo. If you need a general article or a current event article, use Academic Search Premier. If you do not know which database to use, consult a library staffer. Searching in the wrong database is like looking for a nonexistent black cat in the dark.

If I know the title of a journal, how do I find it?
There are a few ways to find a journal or magazine once you know its name. You can search our Online Catalog, using the Periodical Title search. Or better yet, you can go to the library’s main page, and on the left hand side, click on Journal Holdings / A-Z. Once you get to the A-Z database, type the name of your journal in the search box on the right. Running your search will give you all instances of any journal, both in print and online, and the hits are linkable.

Where are the journals in my field?
There are a few ways to get journal titles for any given field (Education, Nursing, Mass Communications, etc.). First, you can go to the library main page and click on Power Search. Once you get to the Power Search page, under the subject search type in the word periodicals. Then, in the word or phrase search box, type in your discipline: education, nursing, or mass communications for example. This search would give you all online and print journals in any field. You can also use the Location limiter, selecting the location called serials stacks, to get a list of all the journals we have in print, in the Serials Department. You can also go to the library’s main page, and on the left hand side, click on Journal Holdings / A-Z. Once you get to the A-Z database, look for the tab that says Subjects. Your discipline may be one of the subject areas categorized by the A-Z database. Hey, it’s worth a shot!

Updated Feb. 4, 2009

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