When searching in a database or discovery layer, you’ll notice that clicking on the title of one of your search results doesn’t usually take you straight to the full article. Instead, you’ll usually see a page with information about the resource; this page is called the record. In this module, you’ll find out how to access the full text of a resource, what format to view it in, and how to get access to a resource that is not available through your library.
When you first click on the title of a result in your search, you won’t see the actual text of the article. Instead, you’ll see a page called the record, which will have information about the author, the journal title, the abstract, and more. From the record, you can do the following:
Explore the tabs for information about the following aspects of accessing the full text of articles:
Once you have opened a record, you will need to click on a link to open the full text. Records in different search interfaces will have links in different places. Watch the video and read the information below to find out where to find the full text link in various search interfaces.
To access full text in CINAHL, click the full text link, which is typically in the upper left corner of the record (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: A record in CINAHL
PubMed only contains records, so to access the full text, you will need to go from PubMed to a page containing the article. To access the full text through PubMed, follow these steps:
Figure 2: A record in PubMed
You don’t have to open the record in Google Scholar to see the full text link; you can access them from the search results. Google Scholar provides full text links for the following:
Figure 3: Search results in Google Scholar
To set up library links in Google Scholar:
Figure 4: Changing the settings in Google Scholar
Note: If you have trouble with this process, you can also copy and paste the title of an article you find in Google Scholar into your library’s discovery layer or databases to see if your library provides access to that article.
The full text of an article may be available in different formats: HTML, PDF, or both. The content of the article is exactly the same between the PDF and HTML versions. Here is some information about each format.
How do I choose?
Figure 5: HTML full text at the bottom of a record
Regardless of which search interface you’re using, you may find a record for an article that interests you, but you can’t access the full text. If this happens, contact your library and ask whether they can help you get a copy of the full text.
Accessing a resource from another library is known as an interlibrary loan (ILL); your library may not use that name, but most college libraries offer an ILL service. The library staff can request a copy of the full text from another library, which they can then provide to you. The article may arrive in just a couple of days, but it could take a week or more, so be sure to start your searching long before your assignment is due. Typically, the library would send you the article as a PDF.
TIP: Be sure to use your student email account (and not a personal email account) when contacting your library, so they know right away that you’re a student..