Tutorial: Finding Articles

Linking to Online Journals

By this point in your research,  you've discovered which journals have the articles you need for your research. 

You probably did this by searching an index, or you found a bibliography or reading list.  In any case, you have citations for specific articles within journals.

Next, you need to access those journals.  This page explains how to do that. 

Depending on the article's availability (and where you got your citation), your options are:

  • Link to the Full Text directly from an index, if a link is shown.
  • Link to Get It! Trent from the index you're using, to find full text in other Library databases.
  • Use E-Journals A-Z to locate the journal.

The gold tabs at the top of this box explain each of these options.

When articles are available online, you may also have a choice of file type.

If you're working from off-campus, you'll need to login to our proxy server in order to access our restricted online journal databases. 


Direct Links from an Index

One way to get to journals is directly from your index citation. Many indexes go beyond providing a basic citation and an abstract - they connect you to the article when they can.

  • Some indexes link to full text of the article within the same index.
    • Academic Search Elite & CBCA are examples of aggregator databases that include some full text articles.
  • Some indexes link to the full text of the article in another database.
    • Example: the Web of Science doesn't contain any full text articles, but it does link to articles available on the Springer, Wiley, PLoS, and Elsevier e-journal sites.
    • For this to work, the index needs to know which databases our Library subscribes to.  Usually these links are effective, but sometimes they just don't communicate well with the other databases.
  • Some indexes are actually a group of e-journals with a search engine, so that everything they find has a direct link.
    • In these indexes, you can view a table of contents for a specific issue of a journal, or you can search the whole group by keyword.
    • Examples are the Elsevier journals, Wiley journals, Springer journals, JSTOR, and MUSE sites.

If you see a link to the full article somewhere in the citation; click on it to access the article.  That's probably the quickest, easiest way. 

Here's what the links to full text look like in EBSCO databases:

screen capture of the links to full text in EBSCO

Here's what the links to full text look like in Web of Science:

screen capture of the link to full text in Web of Science

Links to Get It! Trent in an Index

If there is no direct link to an online article within the citation, use Get It! Trent  to find our online journals.  Almost all our indexes have this icon link in each citation.  Use it to connect with our full text providers to get the article you need.


Get It! Trent

The Trent Library subscribes to over 30,000 online journals. Access to these journals can sometimes be confusing, because of who owns the information.

  • Our Library purchases the right to access the journals from a variety of data providers (aka publishers, vendors) for a period of time.
  • The providers load the journals on their sites and provide searching and display software (the interface) to access them.
  • The rights to a particular journal can change over time, so we may get some volumes from one provider and others from another.
  • Sometimes we have access to the same journal from more than one site because multiple providers own the rights.
  • Our agreements with providers require us to restrict access to current Trent students, faculty, and staff only.

It's not easy to know where to access a specific issue of a particular journal. That's why we maintain a database service for e-resources - called "Get it! Trent".


Get it! Trent is a bridge between indexes and our Library holdings.

  • When you find a citation in an index, look for a Get it! Trent icon
  • Get It! Trent searches all our online journals for the article you need.
  • This is our most dependable link to online articles for which we have purchased access rights.

Get it! Trent presents a menu of choices for accessing the article.

  • It knows where we have access and provides a direct link as close to the article as possible.
  • Click on a link to get the article.
  • If we don't have the article online, it prompts you to check the Library Catalogue for a print version (on our shelves).
  • See the image of the menu (below).

The Get It! Trent menu shows:

  • article information at the top of the screen
  • "Is there a copy at Trent?", followed by links to providers' sites where it's available
  • other options, such as search the Library Catalogue for print or other database searches

screen capture of the link to Get It! from an index

No Links from an Index?

What if the index you're using doesn't provide any links?  Or if you're not using an index but you have a citation?

  • Journals A-Z uses Get it! Trent to search for any online journal available through the Trent Library.
    • Find a link to Journals A-Z in the search box on the Library homepage.

Here's a screen capture of the search screen for Journals A-Z.

  • Enter the beginning words of the journal title in the "title" box.
  • The default search is "Starts with", but you can change it to "Contains" if you're not sure of the first words of the journal's title.
  • Click "Search" or hit <Enter> to perform the search.
  • Alternatively, click a letter for a list of titles starting with that letter.

screenshot of ejournals a-z search

You'll see a list of journal titles that match your search.  Click on the title you want.

If the journal is available online, you're presented with a selection of providers/sites.  It may be available from only one site, or several.

Here are the results for Classical Quarterly.

  • Journal information is provided at the top: title, unique identifier (ISSN), whether it's peer reviewed.
  • Below, there are links to the journal from five sites.  Each provider name is a link to the journal.
  • Below each link is a summary of the dates available. 
    • Cambridge University Press offers 2001 to the present (no end date), but the JSTOR site offers 1907- 6 years ago (a moving wall).
  • Choose a location and click on the link to access the journal.

Screenshot of the list of journal links.


Once you connect to the journal site:

  • Follow the links to the year, volume, issue, page provided in your citation.
  • The look of the journal can be very different from one provider to another, because they use a different interface.


When an article is available online, you sometimes have a choice between file types: .pdf or .html. Each type has features that you should understand, so that you can choose which you want, based on your needs.


A .pdf file means that the article is available in a format that the Adobe Acrobat program can read.


  • it's a duplicate of the original article as it appears in the printed journal, almost like a photograph of the page
  • it's formatted like the print version, visually appealing
  • page numbers are easy to cite, identical to the printed journal
  • charts/graphics are properly embedded in the document


  • files can be very large and take time to download/print
  • needs the Adobe Acrobat Reader program to open it (or something like Acrobat)
  • not as easy to cut/paste from these documents - they could have "locks" on them or not distinguish letters from images
  • accessibility issues for screen readers if they're not properly converted to .pdf from their original format

If you want to email this file to yourself, save it as a .pdf file, and then send it as an attachment.

If you don't have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, you can download it for free.


An .html file means the article is in a format a web browser can read - basically, it's a webpage. The page you're reading right now is in .html format.

It's unlikely that this was the original format of a scholarly article, so it has probably been reformatted into .html. If it comes from an online-only journal, however, this might be the original format.


  • quick to load
  • any browser/computer can read and display it
  • it could have hyperlinks in it, which help you navigate through it or jump to other papers related to it


  • not formatted exactly the way it appeared in the original print publication
  • not visually appealing - sometimes confusing due to formatting
  • it could have errors from reproducing it (especially if it was re-typed)
  • charts/graphics may be arranged differently (or they may be omitted)
  • citing the article, especially page numbers, could be difficult

Accessing Online Library Resources from Off-Campus

Online resources are rarely free; the Trent Library pays hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for the right to access them.

  • The providers implement systems to ensure that only those who pay can access the information provided.
  • This is usually done by checking the IP address (a unique number) of the computer being used against a list of valid customers, a process called authentication.
  • When Trent subscribes to an online product, we give them a list of IPs for our institution. Anybody using a Trent computer by logging into the network is recognized and given access.
  • However, when you try to access the resources from outside the Trent network (off-campus), the provider will not recognize your computer and will not allow you access. For these cases, the Trent Library uses a proxy server, a server set up to authenticate Trent users.

All the links to external resources on our website route you through our proxy server.

  • If you're on a Trent computer, it just passes you through.
  • But if you're coming from outside the network, the proxy server requires you to authenticate yourself with your myTrent network username and password.
  • Once you're confirmed as a Trent user, it passes you along to the provider with a valid Trent IP address that is recognized.
  • Your proxy server session lasts for the duration of your browser session. If you close the browser, or if the session times out from lack of use, you need to login to the proxy server again. 
  • Bookmarks to your favourite sites or articles won't work with the proxy server. You always need to start at the library website to login. 
  • If you are asked by a provider's site to enter a username and password, you have not been proxied correctly. Go back to the Library website and start from there.


The only login screen is Trent's, which looks like this:

screen shot of off-campus login page

Use your myTrent username and password from this point. 

  • You should notice that every address you access after that contains "trentu.ca" in it somewhere.  If that disappears, you've lost your proxy and you need to start again. 
  • Contact libraryhelp@trentu.ca if you have problems.

Further Reading

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