Tutorial: Navigating from a Citation to a Document

You have a citation to an article, either in a journal or a book. How do you find that article in the Library's resources?

Reading Citations

Use the tabs within this box to navigate through the pages.

Can you read a citation?

  • Can you tell a book citation from an article citation?
  • Can you determine the title of a work from the citation, in order to find it?
  • Do you know where to look for it?

On this page are some helpful hints and practice citations.

The following chart displays three citations, each for a different type of source: book, book chapter, and article. Look at the features that identify the type of source. (Note that the citations on this page use the APA style, but the information is similar for each style.)

Type Example Identifying Features
Citations by Type of Source
Book Unger, R. K., & Crawford, M. (1992). Women and gender: A feminist psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  • a single title
  • a single section for author(s)
  • publisher information
  • no page numbers
Section/Chapter/Article IN a Book Crawford, M. (2001). Gender and language. In R. K. Unger (Ed.), Handbook of the psychology of women and gender (pp. 3–16). NY: John Wiley & Sons.
  • 2 titles - only 1 in italics
  • the words "In", "Ed."
  • 2 separate author sections
  • page numbers
  • publisher information
Journal Article Shields, S. (2008). Intersectionality of social identities: a gender perspective. Sex Roles, 59, 301–311.
  • 2 titles - only 1 in italics
  • volume and (sometimes) issue numbers
  • page numbers
  • no publisher information


What's in italics (or underlined)?

  • It should be the title of the main work - the book or journal.

What's the title?

  • If there's a single title, it must be a book.
  • If there are two titles, one in italics and one not italicized, it's a smaller part of a larger work - an article from a journal or a chapter from a book.
  • An article citation ALWAYS provides the title of the journal it's from.

Do you see the words "In" and/or "Ed."?

  • If yes, it's likely a section or chapter from an edited book.
  • Each section can have a different author, but the editor(s) pulled the works together to make a book. In this case, you'll see two author sections - one for the author of the section/chapter and one for the editor of the book.
  • The two authors are the same only when s/he is the editor of the entire book and the author of a section.  The author is still listed twice, in this case.

Is there a volume/issue number?

  • Journals have volumes and a volume number is included in the citation.
  • Sometimes issue numbers are also included.

Are there page numbers?

  • Page numbers mean it's part of a whole work: an article from a journal or a section of a book.

Is there information about the publisher?

  • Book citations include the publisher's name and location.
  • Journals don't include publisher information.

Look at the following bibliography and determine which citations refer to books and which refer to journals.  Click on your answer.

Baxter, J. (2002). A juggling act: A feminist post-structural analysis of girls’ and boys’ talk in the secondary classroom. Gender and Education, 14, 5-19.
Journal or Book?

Bettis, P. J., & Adams, N. G. (2003). The power of the preps and a cheerleading equity policy. Sociology of Education, 76, 128-142.
Journal or Book?

Brown, L. M. (2003). Girlfighting: Betrayal and rejection among girls. New York: New York University Press.
Journal or Book?

Duits, L., & van Zoonen, L. (2006). Disciplining girls’ bodies in the European multicultural society. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 13, 103-117.
Journal or Book?

Pomerantz, S. (2006). “Did you see what she was wearing?” The power and politics of schoolgirl style. In Y. Jiwani, C. Mitchell, & C. Steenbergen (Eds.), Girlhood: Redefining the limits (pp. 173-190). Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Black Rose Books.
Journal or Book?

Pomerantz, S. (2007). Cleavage in a tank top: Bodily prohibition and the discourses of school dress codes. Alberta Journal of Educational Research, 53, 373-386.
Journal or Book?

Shalit, W. (2007). Girls gone mild: Young women reclaim self-respect and find it's not bad to be good. Random House.
Journal or Book?

Mitchell, L. (1999). Combining focus groups and interviews: Telling how it is; telling how it feels. In R. S. Barbour & J. Kitzinger (Eds.), Developing focus group research: Politics, theory and practice (pp. 36-46). London: Sage.
Journal or Book?

Next Step

Once you have a citation you know what you're looking for, and that makes it easier to find. You know which database to search and which title to look for.

The following chart outlines where and how you look for different types of sources at the Trent Library.

To find a: Search in: Search for the:
Where To Search

Library Catalogue Title of the Book

Book Chapter/Article/Section
Library Catalogue Title of the Book
Journal Article
Journals A-Z
Title of the Journal


A library catalogue (or RACER) tells you which books and journals are in a library.

  • Search for a book by its title.
    • Get the call number for it and find in in the stacks (if it's print), or follow the link (if it's an e-book).
  • Search for a journal article by the journal title.
    • The catalogue lists the volumes owned by the library.
      • Your citation provides the volume, issue, and page numbers for your article.
      • Find any print volumes in the stacks by call number, or follow the link to online journals.
    • If you don't find the journal in the catalogue you might still find it in Journals A-Z because it's a more comprehensive list.

Journals A-Z identifies which online journals are available from the library.  Find a link on the homepage. 95% of our journals are online.

  • Search for a journal article by the journal title.
    • Once you find the journal, navigate to the volume, issue, and page number provided by the citation.
  • Don't look for books (even e-books) here; this is just for journals.


Click on the tabs for "Navigating to a Book" and "Navigating to a Journal" (above) for the next step.

Useful Links

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