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Locating articles through the Warwick WebCat

JSTOR and the other article databases (both full-text and abstract-/citation-only) are fantastic resources for finding relevant material for your readings and your research. Sometimes, however, articles don't appear in these repositories and it is necessary to go to the journals themselves to find the material.

There are two ways of doing this. First, the old-fashioned way: just take the citation information and go to the appropriate journal shelves in the library and find your article.

Secondly, you can use the WebCat to access either the journal's site or the site of its publisher. In most cases, for most of the material you'll be using for this course, you'll be able to access these items by this method. All you need is your university IT log-in and password and (usually) Adobe Acrobat Reader or another .pdf file reader (like Apple's Preview). In the few cases that Warwick doesn't subscribe to a particular journal, there are other ways you can get at the information. They can take some time, however, so you might want to find alternate material if the article is to be used for an essay.

To get at non-JSTOR articles, then, follow these steps. I'll use an example from Week 4 of the syllabus, Maxine Berg's `In Pursuit of Luxury: Global History and Britsh Consumer Goods in the Eighteenth Century’, Past and Present 182 (Feb. 2004 ): 85-142.

Step 1: Locate the journal in the WebCat

From the main search screen, select the `Title' tab. Enter the journal's name (in this case, Past and Present), and then select `Journals' from the `Select Collection' drop-down menu.

NB -- Journals often have very similar names, so make sure that you're searching from the correct title!

Article Locator 1

Step 2: Choose the `Electronic Resource' catalogue record.

This will be indicated (as in the second record below) with a <e>.

Article locator 2

Step 3: Choose the appropriate on-line repository.

Many of these journals appear in several systems. Pick the one that covers your date range. If you're using an on-campus computer, accessing these sites should be seamless. If you're off-campus, however, you'll need to log-in as per the on-screen instructions.

For the Berg example, choose the Oxford Journals link (because it gives you access right through to 2004).

Article locator 3

Step 4: Find the right article.

Each site is different, so it's difficult to give precise instructions. Basically, you need to find the journals for the year your article was published, then work through the indices until you see the right one.

Why do they do it this way? Well, most journals require on-line repositories to use what is called a `moving wall'. What this means is that issues published within a certain amount of time (usually five years) are not available, except through the subscription-only publisher site. That's just a way these academic publishers make their money. Fortunately, Warwick subscribes to a whole range of journals, so the chances you'll find something that you can't get access to are fairly remote.