HC Libraries Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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How do I find the full text of an article?

4999 views   |   Last updated on Jan 09, 2018    articles


In many Holy Cross databases, the full text of articles you would like to read is easily available. Just look for a link or icon that says PDF or Full Text. Other times, however, a database might contain only the citation for a specific article, and you, the researcher, will have to take the next step to locate a copy of the article.  When this is the case, you will see the icon instead of a PDF or HTML link.  

This button will try to locate a copy of the article for you. Most of the time, this will work. However, sometimes the button cannot find the article. Continue reading below to see the next steps you should take: 

Step 1: Check E-Journals

Visit the Electronic Journals List (also linked on the Libraries homepage, under the chat box). The E-Journals List is like a cheatsheet for the databases. It will tell you which journals we have online access to, for which dates, and in which databases. Very often, an article which is not available in the original database you searched, will be available in one or more other databases we own. 

Even if you have already tried the Check for Full Text button, it is always worth checking the E-Journals portal. A single typo in the database's citation can prevent the button from finding the article. 

Step 2: Check the Catalog

It can be easy to forget that most of the journal articles we access at Holy Cross were originally published in a printed journal, in a format similar to a magazine. The format in which we receive a particular journal (online vs. in print copy) varies based on several different factors. It sometimes happens, particularly with older articles, that an article will not be in our online collection, but may be available somewhere in the library building.  The Catalog contains information on everything we have in print in the libraries. 

Step 3: Interlibrary Loan

InterLibrary Loan or ILL is a service that allows you to request books and articles owned by other libraries all over the US -- and in some cases, around the world! Once you've placed a request, another library will send a scan of the article to Holy Cross, and it will be delivered directly to your e-mail. Note that an article requested through ILL usually arrives within 1 week, although it can ocacsionally take longer. Make sure to plan ahead! Please follow Steps 1 and 2 before placing a request for Interlibrary Loan.  Requests for articles that the libraries already own will be denied -- which will slow down your research process! 

If you are not sure whether we already own an article, please Ask A Librarian -- we can usually find out very quickly! 

For a specific walkthrough of Steps 1, 2 and 3, visit our LibGuide on Finding articles at Holy Cross.