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Tips for Finding the Full Text of an Article or Book

Tips for finding an article or book you want but can't find the full text or just have a citation to it.

On This Page

On This PageThe options below are listed in the order in which it would usually be quickest for you to get your article. If you have trouble trying any of the techniques below, COM Library staff can help. Just contact us by using any of the options in the Librarian box on this page or come in so we can help you face 2 face.

    Search EBSCOhost or ProQuest (articles) Google Scholar (articles) Get it From Another Library (articles) Get it From Another Library (books) Request it Through ILL (articles or books)

Tips for Finding the Full Text of an Article or Book

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When you find an article you want but can't find the full text or just have a citation to it, there are several steps you can try to get the full text. Generally there are 3 scenarios in which found an article but not the full text:

  • Your instructor gave you a list of articles.
  • You found an article in a database, but the article was not available online.
  • You found an article mentioned in another article.

1. Search EBSCO or ProQuest

The first thing try is to search our top databases, EBSCOhost and ProQuest for your article. They have more full text articles than all our other databases. Skip to step two if you had already found the article in EBSCOhost or ProQuest, but not the full text.

Go to the database, then type in the article title and search. If available, the article will appear on your result list. Keep in mid that not everything is full text in these databases so you could find a match on your list but not get the full text. If the full text is not available, go to step two.

3. Get it From Another Library (Articles)

There may be a library nearby that has your article or journal available full text online or in print. Most libraries in Texas have a cooperative agreement to help out each others patrons. What that means for you is that you can use the resources in another library. To check out books and possibly use databases, you  may need a TexShare card. To photocopy articles from print magazines you many not need the TexShare card. Get one by going to the Circulation desk in COM Library. Check to see which libraries participate and what they specially allow.

Since you would physically have to go to the other library to get the article, you want to make sure that the other library has what you need first.

Check the Other Library's Catalog

  1. The best way to be certain is to go to Find Items from Other Libraries, access the web site of the ones that you think may be likely to have it and to which you are willing to travel. The closest library to College of the Mainland that has significantly more journals is UH Clear Lake.
  2. Search their online catalog. You will need to search for the journal title (using quotes around the title), rather than the article title, and then make sure that the dates you need are covered.

Search in WorldCat
As an alternative, you could try using the advanced search in WorldCat.

1. Use the title filed to type in your journal title, using quotes around the title.
2. Change the Library from College of the Mainland to Libraries Worldwide
3. For format, select Journal, magazine and hit search.

Search for Journals

4. You may see multiple matches on your results list. Generally the first one listed will list the most libraries, so select that one.  If you see one with the orange e, that will list libraries that that have it online.

Results

5. After selecting a match, scroll down until you see Worldwide libraries own this item and click on it. It will expand to show libraries that own the item, sorted by the closest libraries first. In this example you can see the UH Clear is the closest. You should take one more step and click on the library name. That will open of the other libraries catalog and list the dates that they have for the journal.

Libraries

2. Try Google Scholar

If none of our database have the article/journal available full text, try Google Scholar. Sometimes you can find the full text for free online. Google Scholar searches across many scholarly disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, and universities with non scholarly results filtered out. Some full text articles on the result will be articles for which there will be a fee, but this will be clearly stated. Before you think about paying, we have some more free options for you.

When searching for a specific article in Google Scholar you will need to search by the article title using quotes around the title to reduce irrelevant results. For more, see our Google Scholar Guide.

4. Get it From Another Library (Books)

If you can 't find the book you want in COM Library, you still may be able to to get it with TexSahre card or through ILL. Most libraries in Texas have a cooperative agreement to help out each others patrons. What that means for you is that you can use the resources in another library. To check out books and possibly use databases, you  may need a TexShare card. To photocopy articles from print magazines you many not need the TexShare card. Get one by going to the Circulation desk in COM Library. Check to see which libraries participate and what they specially allow.

Here is how to find out if another library has the book you want, step by step:

1. Say you are looking for the book "The storm : what went wrong and why during hurricane Katrina : the inside story from one Louisiana scientist." When you searched WorldCat you got this message:

No Match

2. To find out if another library has it, use the Limit to: pull down menu to select Libraries Worldwide and hit Search.

3. If you find a match, click on the title and scroll down until you see Find it in libraries globally. WorldCat will find the libraries closest to you that have the the book. You can change the zip code to get closer results. The book is in several libraries nearby and that gives you a couple of options:

  • Use (or get) a library card from the closest public library that has it. All residents of Galveston county can get a library card from any public library in Galveston County, you just have to have proof of residence. Usually two forms of ID with your address, one with your picture will work. Check out local academic or public libraries.
  • Get a TexShare card at the Circulation desk in COM Library so you can check the book out from a nearby college.
  • Ask COM Library to get the book for you on Interlibraryloan (ILL). This option can take the longest as the book has to come through the mail.

Tip: If you do go to another library it's a good idea to call ahead to make sure the book is available and not checked out.

Find in libraries

5. Request it Through ILL (articles or books)

COM Library offers Interlibrary Loan (ILL) to the students, faculty and staff of College of the Mainland.

ILL basically involves COM Library requesting materials from other libraries. Keep in mind that ILLs can take 2-6 weeks. It can take longer depending on availability and other factors, and there is no guarantee that you will get the item requested. Requesting ILLs during summer sessions is generally not practical. There is no cost to the patron.

If the only way to obtain an item is for a fee, COM Library will contact you to inform you of the cost, and ask how you wish to proceed.