How do I find articles?
Articles are found in newspapers, magazines, and journals. You see newspapers every day and know that they have current news, editorials, and analysis. You are also familiar with magazines like Time and Maclean's that have articles of popular interest. Journals have a much narrower focus and are intended for a scholarly or professional audience. If you need to use journal articles for your assignment be sure to check the help page to learn how to identify information from this type of source.
Articles are briefer and contain more recent information than what you'll find in books. However, the type of publication will determine the depth to which an article examines a topic. For instance, a newspaper article can be a valuable source of information, but it probably has less detail than an article on the same topic in a magazine. Also, while a magazine article could be useful for your assignment, it would not provide the same level of analysis as a journal article. This does not mean that journals are better than newspapers, but that they have different purposes and that each type of source should be used where it best suits your needs.
Where then, are newspapers, magazines, and journals found in the Library? At one time they were available only in printed form and older copies of these publications were stored in microform and viewed with special reader/printers. While this is still done today and the Library has these resources in the Magazine Room on the 3rd Floor of the Central Library, most of the articles that you will need are found in online electronic databases and accessed through the Catalogue & Databases page of this Web site.
Before you use these resources, you should know that there are different types of databases based upon the type of information that they provide. Some, like Electric Library Canada are called full-text databases because they have the complete text for every article that they list. Others, like EBSCOHost's MasterFILE are considered indexes with full-text content because they provide only bibliographic references to some of the articles that they list.
This means that if the text of the article is not provided by the database, you will need to find a print version of the newspaper, magazine, or journal in a library if you want to use it for your assignment. Some entries in these databases have an abstract or a brief description of the article to help determine if it is useful for your research.
There are several steps that you can take to find articles where full-text is not provided:
Find out if full-text coverage for the newspaper, magazine, or journal is provided in another database (most electronic products provide lists of titles and their coverage)
if the Library has a hard copy in either print or microform
Use a search engine like Google to see if the publication has a Web site and if it has an archive of previously published articles
Check the catalogues of other larger libraries, like the Toronto Public Library, York University, or the University of Toronto to see if they subscribe to the title you need
Go through an infomediary service like Ingenta and get a copy of an article for a fee (costs vary depending on the publisher of the article)
When you are completing your assignments, you may find that your teacher expects you to use articles from newspapers, magazines, and journals. This is often done to demonstrate that you have performed a wide reading on a subject and have built on the information that you found in reference sources and books. This may be more work than you have done previously, but will give you the research skills that you will need at the college or university level, and beyond.