American University of Paris Library | Finding and Evaluating an Article

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Finding and Evaluating an Article

What Are Periodical Indexes?

To find periodical articles on a given subject, it is best to use an index. Indexes list the articles which appear in various journals in specific subject areas. Some indexes list articles that appear in books as well as periodicals; some include an abstract of the article or even the full text. See the library's Home Page (go to "Find an Article") for a list of indexes available through the University Library.

Using Periodical Indexes

Look up a topic by keyword in the index which covers the subject area.

For each article listed under your topic, copy or print out the full citation to the article, which includes:

If you have trouble understanding the different parts of a citation in a printed index, turn to the beginning of the index for explanations.

Additional information on using periodical indexes is available from a Reference Librarian as well as further suggestions if you do not find what you are looking for.

Where Are the Periodicals You Need?

They are available in the University Library:

  1. Go to "Find a Journal" to see if the journal you need is available in print at the library or online through a full text database. If the title is listed in a full text database, click on the link and you should find the title you need or be able to search for your article in that database. More than two thirds of the library's periodicals are in electronic format rather than paper.
  2. If the title is listed as "In the Periodicals Room" do a journal title search in the online catalog.For assistance with catalog searching, refer to the guides located by the terminals or online.If you have trouble, ask for help at the Service Desk.
  3. If you find the title in the catalog, be sure to note which volumes and issues the library owns and in what format they are.

If the Library has the volume and issue you need, follow the steps under "Periodical Locations" (below) in the University Library to find it. They are not listed in the library's online catalog or in a full text database. If the volume and issue you need are not in the catalog or "Find a Journal" page, search:

Periodical Locations In The University Library

You will find the latest paper (hard copy) issues of the Library's periodicals in the Periodicals Section.

They are shelved alphabetically by title in open stacks, which means that you can retrieve them without assistance from the library staff.

Electronic editions of many periodicals are available through various online services such as Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe and Wilson OmniFile Fulltext. These titles may not always be listed in the catalog. Check the "Find a Journal" page to see what titles are available electronically or ask to see a Reference Librarian if you do not find what you need.

You will find the latest issue of major European and American daily newspapers on a rack in the Reading Room. Previous issues, when available, may be obtained by using the paging form or by searching a web site (see "Free Books and Journals") on the library's Home Page.

Checking Out Periodicals

Periodicals do not circulate and must be used within the Library only.

Xeroxing Or Printing Articles

Self-service photocopying machines for paper copies are available next to the Service Desk. You can scan articles for free and email or save them. You may purchase copy cards from the distributor on the wall near the Service Desk. These cards function in all University Library photocopy machines and printers.

Copyright Warning: You may use photocopies of articles for research or private study only. It is against international copyright laws to reproduce an entire work.


Students may wonder: how do I know if my sources are reliable and appropriate for the work I am doing in my course? One technique that can help is to ask some questions about the information you are using. For example:

You can try using Proquest Research Companion which has an Evaluating Information section. You can read how to evaluate sources and you can 'plug in' a journal title and see what it says.

Go to Evaluate Information, click on Source Evaluation Aid. Next click on Periodical and put in the ISSN (international standard serial number) or title of a journal. Click the magnifying glass and see the results. It will list the author, publisher, etc. and list an audience as well as the subject of the journal. this should help you get started with identifying how useful the title is.