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Life Hack: Library Research: Find Articles

Articles, Databases, and eJournals

How to Find Articles


Starting A Search


Step 1: Choose Your Database

If you already know which database you’d like to use, click “Databases” from the library homepage, and select it from the list.

If you’re not sure which database to use, click “Research Guides” from the library homepage, and select a guide for your subject. Each subject guide includes a list of recommended databases. Choose one! 

Step 2: Create your Search

Each database will be a little different, but most share some basic features. You will be able to type in your search into the search box, and the database will return results. Sometimes, though, this doesn’t work well or gives you frustrating results. 

To create a better search, choose “Advanced Search,” and type in multiple subject terms.

If you’re looking for peer-reviewed or scholarly articles, check those boxes in the options. You can also limit the dates that the articles are published, choose only articles that we have the full text of, select a preferred language, and more. When you are done, click “Search.”

You may need to conduct the search multiple times trying different subject terms and different limiters.

Pro Step: Use Subject Terms

Using keywords doesn’t always get you the results you were hoping for. Sometimes, this is because the database uses specific terms for each subject, and they may not be the same terms you’re using. To find just the right language, click the ‘Thesaurus,’ ‘Headings,’ or ‘Subject Terms’ link. These are all synonyms. Most databases keep this at the top of the page. 

The Thesaurus brings you to a search bar, and you can type in the terms you’d like to find. This brings you to a list of recommended terms to use, narrower terms, broader terms, and other related terms. Click the check box next to each one that you’d like to include in your search, and then click “Add” at the top of the list. Some databases will simply have a button that says “Search Database,” rather than “Add.”

Once you’ve done this, the search terms you selected will be added to your search. You can continue to look for more terms and add them to your search either using the “OR” or “AND” function. OR will give you more results, because it does not require that all subject terms be present in each result.

When you find an article that is particularly helpful, check out the list of subject terms it uses, and use these to search for more relevant articles.



Searching for an Article You Already Know

If you already know which article you’re trying to find, the best way to access it is to search for the journal that it was published in.

Step 1: Look for the eJournal

First, check to see if we have the journal in electronic form. Click ‘eJournals’ from the library homepage, and then type in the name of the journal in the search bar.

Step 2: Choose Which Database to Use

Fogler Library has access to each journal through a subscription with one or more databases. Once you’ve searched for your journal title, it will bring you to a page that lists the databases you can use to access it. Match the year of the issue you’re trying to find with the time offered with each database.

Step 3: Find the Article

Now that you’re in the database, you can search either for the volume/issue you need, or for the article title. Make sure when doing this that you’re searching within the title, and not the entire database which includes many other journals.


Step 4: If We Don’t Have the eJournal

If you’re looking for an article but your search for the eJournal was not successful, check our catalog to see if we have the journal in hard copy. To do this, click “Catalog” on the library homepage.

Then, type in the journal’s name, and select “University of Maine catalog” to limit the search to the Orono campus.

If your search is successful, the catalog record will inform you of which years we have in our holdings. You can then visit the library and view the journal. If you need a digital copy, you can also scan the journal article on our printers and send it to your email address.



Having trouble finding an article? Contact us!


Phone: (207) 581-1673

Chat: During Reference hours, click "Have a Question?" at the bottom of any library webpage

In-Person: Visit the Help Desk on the first floor of Fogler Library

You can also set up a reference appointment with your subject librarian. To find out who it is and how to contact them, visit our list of Subject Specialists.

5729 Fogler Library · University of Maine · Orono, ME 04469-5729 ; (207) 581-1673

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