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Visitors and Alumni : Journal Materials

free tools to begin research

Search tools to find journal articles.

The following tools will allow keyword/author/subject searching of thousands of published journal articles.

In some cases you may find freely available pre-prints or hybrid Open Access articles on the web.

Interdisciplinary Tool:

  • Google Scholar
    Google Scholar allows you to broadly search for scholarly literature. Results include articles, theses, books, abstracts, and court documents. On the  Advanced Scholar Search page it's possible to limit your search by journal, date, or subject.
  • One additional free search tool to consider is Summon (from Princeton). You will see information about journal articles, books, and other materials...but you will not have links to the full text materials.

Full List of free searching tools:

  • Agricola
    The National Agricultural Library, as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, produces the AGRICultural OnLine Access database. This database contains records for books and articles on agriculture and its allied disciplines. This quick search guide describes how to search this collection.
  • Anthropological Index Online (AIO)
    The Anthropological Index Online is the anthropological index to current periodicals held in the Anthropology Library at the Centre for Anthropology, The British Museum. The AIO is published by the Royal Anthropological Institute in cooperation with the Centre for Anthropology, The British Museum.
  • BioMed Central Journals
    BioMed Central publishes over 230 peer-reviewed open access journals which are available to the public for free. BioMed specializes in subjects related to science, technology and medicine. Areas of interest to social science researchers include public health, substance abuse, and health care policy.
  • DEEP: Database of Early English Playbooks DEEP: Database of Early English Playbooks allows scholars and students to investigate the publishing, printing, and marketing of English Renaissance drama in ways not possible using any other print or electronic resource. An easy-to-use and highly customizable search engine of every playbook produced in England, Scotland, and Ireland from the beginning of printing through 1660, DEEP provides a wealth of information about the original playbooks, their title-pages, paratextual matter, advertising features, bibliographic details, and theatrical backgrounds.
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
    DOAJ is a free, full-text quality controlled directory which provides access to a variety of journals covering all disciplines. Journals are available in languages other than English. To view journals in a specific field, Browse the database.
  • English Short-Title Catalogue (ESTC) The English Short-Title Catalogue (ESTC) is a bibliographic database which, when complete, will contain a record for every letterpress item printed in England or any of its dependencies, in any language, from 1473-1800, or in English anywhere else in the world during that period. In order to increase access to these items, each record includes a list of all libraries known to hold copies of the item, as well as references to microfilm and other facsimile versions.
  • ERIC Maintained by the U.S. Department of Education, the Educational Resources Information Center provides free access to more than 1.2 million citations of journal articles and other education-related materials. When available, links to full text are included. For more information, see this overview of ERIC.
  • Google Scholar
    Google Scholar allows you to broadly search for scholarly literature. Results include articles, theses, books, abstracts, and court documents. On the  Advanced Scholar Search page it's possible to limit your search by journal, date, or subject.
  • HighWire Press Free
    HighWire Press is the  largest archive of free full-text science, from Stanford University. The database includes over 2 million free full-text articles and 6.5 million total articles. There are 20 sites with free trial periods, and 55 completely free sites.
  • Illinois Digital Archives
    The Illinois Digital Archives (IDA) was created in 2000, as a repository for the digital collections of the Illinois State Library as well as other libraries and cultural institutions in the State of Illinois. (from the Illinois Digital Archives site)
  • Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection
    The Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection (IDNC) contains digital facsimiles of historic Illinois newspapers. You can  browse the newspapers by date or  search by keyword across articles, advertisements and photo captions. You can print, download, or e-mail individual articles. And it's free!   More about the IDNC.
  • JSTOR 
    JSTOR is a digital archive of more than 1,500 academic journals and other scholarly content.  JSTOR Register & Read is a program offering free, read-online access to individuals who register for a MyJSTOR account. Register & Read includes approximately 75 journals.
  • LISTA 
    The Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts database indexes more than 600 periodicals, plus books, research reports and proceedings. Subject coverage includes librarianship, classification, cataloging, bibliometrics, online information retrieval, information management, and more. Coverage in the database extends back as far as the mid-1960s.
  • Making of America
    Making of America is a digital library of primary sources about "American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction." Subject areas include education, psychology, American history, and sociology.
  • MedlinePlus 
    Produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, MedlinePlus includes 730 over health topics pages, information from over 1,350 organizations, and over 18,000 links to authoritative health information. Please see  about MedlinePlus for assistance using this resource.
  • National Criminal Justice Reference Center (NCJRS) 
    Contains more than 3,500 full-text publications and over 210,000 summaries of publications from the  NCJRS Abstracts Database. "Established in 1972, the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) is a federally funded resource offering justice and drug-related information to support research, policy, and program development worldwide."
    PILOTS contains over 45,000 article citations about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental-health conditions caused by traumatic events. Produced by the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and sponsored by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs.
    A comprehensive digital library of public policy research containing over 30,000 documents.
    Bibliographic database about population, family planning and related health issues. Includes links to free, fulltext documents and it's possible to limit a search to peer-reviewed journal articles. POPLINE is maintained by the K4Health Project at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health/Center for Communication Programs and is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
  • Public Library of Science (PLoS)
    The Public Library of Science is a nonprofit publisher and advocacy group. Everything they publish is freely accessible to the public. Research ranges from biology to medicine to tropical diseases. 
  • PubMed
    Also produced by NLM and NIH, PubMed contains over 14 million citations dating back to the mid-1960s in the the fields of medicine, nursing, dentistry, veterinary medicine, the health care system, and the preclinical sciences. Please see PubMed Help for an overview of how to search this database.
    A search engine for "science" websites. Allows researchers to search for not only journal content but also scientists' homepages, courseware, pre-print server material, patents and institutional repository and website information.
    Gateway to selected, authoritative science resources from US government agencies and departments. Search or browse selected science websites, or use the 'index' to view resources on selected topics. Use Advanced search to find specific technical reports. (from
  • Social Science Research Network (SSRN)
    The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) is a database of social science research and is composed of various specialized research networks. The SSRN eLibrary consists of two parts: an Abstract Database containing abstracts on over 384,300 scholarly working papers and forthcoming papers and an Electronic Paper Collection currently containing over 315,000 downloadable full text documents in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.

Open Access Discovery Tools

Open Access Discovery Tools

Open Access linking options from our catalogs/indexes.

There are several browser extensions or plug-ins you can install that will search compiled collections of open access articles, as well as search the internet for an open access version of a desired article.

  • Open Access Button (OA Button): From the OA Button’s website, you can enter an article’s URL, DOI (a unique identifier), title, or other information to check for free and legal open access versions. Even better, the OA Button also offers Chrome and Firefox extensions. Once installed, these extensions will automatically search for an open access copy. When an open access copy is not found, the OA Button can contact the author directly.
  • Unpaywall: You can either directly search Unpaywall’s database of millions of open access articles by entering the DOI for an article, or (more easily) install the Chrome/Firefox browser extension, which will point you to any open access versions of paywalled articles you come across online.
  • Google Scholar has a button plug-in that locates open access materials. The button can be loaded from the Settings option on the top left of the Google Scholar page -- select the three bars, and then go to Settings. (The button also links to our resolver if you set the Library Links in Settings.)
  • CrossRef DOI search engine will locate references from DOIs
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