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Database help: Getting full-text


Getting full-text - Within a database; Using Primo Search; Using Google Scholar; and what to do if the full article is not available

Getting full-text

Most library databases comprise journals and articles, which is why CSU Library calls them Journal Databases.

These databases vary in how much full-text material they contain:

  • Some databases have no full-text content; these are usually called indexes
  • Others are entirely full-text: these are great because you know that all of your results will be full-text!
  • Many have a combination: some records which are "citation-only" (no full-text); and some records that have full-text. In some of these databases, it's not easy to tell what is full-text and what is not. Sometimes you can click on a link to the full-text, only to find that payment is required to get the full article. (See also What if an article is not available in full-text? at right.)

Usually, if an article has full-text available, there will be a link somewhere close to the record. The database platforms and other databases and journal collections vary in how they display this link. Full-text can be available as a PDF, in HTML, or both:

Links to get full text are usually in the search results of a journal database, just below the record information like title author etc.



In many databases, if the record does not have the full-text attached, you can click on the Find it at CSU link to search for the full article in other databases to which CSU subscribes:

Links to Find it at CSU are usually just below the record information like title author etc. near the Full Text PDF link if there is one


A panel will open, indicating if the article is held or not, and if it is, you will get a link to the database(s) where it's available:

The Find it at CSU link will send you into Primo Search, to the View Online panel, with links to full text versions of your article


You can follow the prompts to go to the article record in the new database, with a link to the full-text.

Links to full text versions of the article will often be just near the title, or under the record information


Primo Search is the Library’s main search tool, and it searches across most of the online journal databases to which the Library subscribes. You can use Primo Search to find the articles, and then follow the prompts to access the full articles in databases.

When you get article results in Primo Search, it should be that the full-text is available online. You need to:

  1. click on the View Online link. This opens a panel which lists the databases where the full article is held:

Screenshot of a Sage database link in Primo

  1. click on the name of the database. You should be taken to that database, as the record for the article, with a link to the full article.

Screenshot of an abstract of a Sage article, showing the link to a Full text version of the article


Please note:  If you come across an article record in Primo Search where the link to full-text does not work, please contact the Library, to report this and get help in locating the full article.


Finding full-text from Google Scholar

In the same way that you can use Primo Search to find journal articles, you can also use Google Scholar. Again, you can use Google Scholar to find the articles, and then follow the links to access the full articles in databases.

BUT ... you should EITHER:

If you do this, your Google Scholar results list will show which articles are held by CSU Library, and there will be a Find it at CSU link to the article in the database where it is held:

Screenshot of a CSU link in Google Scholar search results

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What if an article is not available in full-text?

As mentioned at left, many databases contain a combination of citation-only records, and records with full-text attached. Very often, a database will have some citation-only records, and some full-text items, from the same journal. This is because CSU’s online subscription might be for only a certain date-range of the journal.

The citation-only items often appear to be available, but when you try to get the full item, you are asked to pay for it. The item is referred to as being “behind a paywall”.

If you come across an item in a database that does not seem to be available in full-text, you can:

  • Try any Find it – CSU links to see if it’s held in full-text in another resource
  • Do a general internet search for the item in case it’s available free online
  • Do a Primo Search search for the journal in case it’s held in print format
  • Request a copy of the item via the InterLibrary loans (and copies) service.

If in any doubt, please contact the Library for assistance in tracking down the full-text of the item you require.