Finding full copies of sources has become one of the biggest hurdles in conducting research, especially if you are looking for articles. With the internet, it's easy to find if a source exists, but often you can only access sources through a library. The systems involved are complicated and don't always communicate well with each other. Plus you often end up on publishers' websites, where they want you to pay for an article.
There are multiple ways to get to article and book citations, plus another hundred ways to access the hard copies, not to mention a million things that can trip researchers up along the way. Use the information on this page to track down full copies of materials. BUT please ask for help if you hit a roadblock - this is one of the most common issues in research today and the reference librarians are experts in helping you overcome these obstacles.
In many cases, before you can track down full copies of materials, you need to know what kind of source you have. Use this checklist if you are working off a bibliography or some other list of sources. Here are some of the most common citations, including identifying indicators (note that citations will look different in various citation styles):
For examples of how citations look in various citation styles, visit our Cite Your Sources guide. Once you've decoded your citation, use the boxes below to track down hard copies.
There are many ways to find books, also depending on where you're starting.
If you have a book citation, like from a bibliography:
Example: Questions to ask as you track down the sources below:
Here are some of the main ways to access journal articles, depending on your starting point.
If you have a journal citation, like from a bibliography:
If you are searching for articles through a database or want to browse articles in print: