Skip to main content

The IUPUI University Library building will be closed until further notice. Library services will continue virtually.

Find up-to-date information on new and ongoing virtual library services.

Africana Studies

Resources for doing research in Africana Studies

Searching Article Databases

Searching Article Databases


University Library subscribes to hundreds of article indexing databases which are available to you on campus or from home once you have logged in with your user ID and password. These databases are important because they allow you to search for articles by keyword, topic, title, author, etc. Remember, a library catalog such as IUCAT will allow you to search for journal titles, but will not allow you to search for specific articles within the journal.

Alternatively, you can search several databases simultaneously by using OneSearch (from the Library home page).

Search Tips

To find out which databases are most likely to have the kinds of articles that will be helpful to you, check the "Database Descriptions", "Title List", or other "information" or "about" options available in a particular database.

Before you start entering any search terms, spend a few minutes trying to think of as many relevant terms and combinations of terms as you can. This will help you to avoid getting stuck in a rut with the first terms that come to mind.

If you need help in coming up with terms, you may want to try the databases' "Thesaurus" or "Subject Headings" features.

Check out the "Help" or "Search Tips" to learn some of the search features specific to that database. Most databases provide similar features, but the methods may vary.

Try a database's Advanced Search feature, which usually gives you the ability to search multiple fields (author, title, keyword, subject, etc) with one search and may offer additional ways to expand or limit your search.

If your first search strategy does not work, try another approach. Remember, too, that you can ask for Reference Help.

Finding Articles



When you find a reference for an article by using a database:

In the record for the article, if there is an icon for the PDF of the article (PDF Full Text - or something similar), click on it and the PDF of the article will open. You can then read, print, email, or save it. (If you want to print, be sure to use the Adobe printer icon or you will only get blank pages.)

If there is a choice between PDF and HTML, use the PDF because it will look like a photocopy of the article. If you need to quote something from the article, you will be able to see the correct page numbers of the quote (which you will need when citing your sources). In most cases, the HTML version will not indicate page breaks and will sometimes not include graphics.

If full text is not an option in the database you are searching, there should be an "SFX" linking icon shown.

Clicking on this icon will lead you to a menu of Access options. 

If the article is not available electronically or in print through University Library, or if you are a Distance Education student and the article is only available in print, you can place an Interlibrary Loan request for the article.

When you find a reference for an article from some source other than a database:

To find out if University Library has access to an article that you have found in a bibliography or some other source, you can:

Enter the citation (reference) information into Citation LinkerThis should bring you to the Access menu. 


Check the Electronic Journal List to see if the journal and issue are available electronically. If not, search IUCAT by Periodical Title for the journal and check to see if University Library has access to the journal and issue you need. 

As always, if you have questions, please ask for Help.

Suggested Databases

Full-text Databases (Journals, Magazines. Book Reviews, and some Newspapers)