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 (sometimes) 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?

Now that you know what you're searching for, use the link on the Library homepage to search Omni.


  • Search for a book by its title.

Book Chapters

  • Search for the title of the book for best results. When you get to the book, look for the chapter in the table of contents.
  • You can try to search for the chapter title, but you may not find it. Only ebooks are (sometimes) searchable by chapter; print books are rarely searchable at the chapter level.

Journal Articles

  • Search for the title of the article first. If we have access to it, you're likely to find it this way.
  • If you don't find the article, try a "Journal Search" to find the journal.  When you find the journal, either search within it, or navigate to the year, volume and issue provided in the citation.