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ASC202 Research Skills Guide: Use Journal Databases

What is a Journal Database?

A journal database is an organised collection of information records that can be accessed electronically. An information record is a description of a resource. An information record from a journal database might contain the following parts:

  • Reference details (such as author, date of publication, title, etc)
  • Details describing the publication (such as a summary, contents, abstract, or subject area)
  • Information about its veracity (such as whether it has been peer reviewed, or its citation count)
  • A link to the full text (i.e.: to a copy of the document the record is about)

Here is an example of an article record in the Wiley Online Database:

Full Text

Sometimes you will read that a database is "full text", or that an article can be found in "full text".  "Full text" means that the entire document is available online. When a database carries an article in full text there will be a hyperlink to view it as a .pdf or .html document. Not all journal databases contain full text.

If an article is not available in full text you may be able to locate it in another database. Clicking on the  button will allow you to check if the article is available elsewhere.



How do journal databases work?

Before journals could be accessed electronically they were printed in individual issues and could be viewed within the reference section of the library. However, these days many, if not most, journals are available online.

Some online journals are open access, which means anyone can go to their website and access them for free. However, most online journals require you to pay to access their articles, which can be very expensive. To help you, the Library pays to access thousands of journals on your behalf.

The table below might help explain some of the terminology you will have heard about online journals:


An author writes an article and submits it to a journal. Also referred to as a journal article.
Journal Journals review and publish selected articles. This is where the peer review process may occur, which you will learn more about later
Database A database is a collection of journal article records - these records contain information such as the article title, journal title, publication details, and the article abstract. They may also include a copy of the article itself.
Vendor Vendors provide access to databases. Some databases are accessible through more than one vendor.
Library The Library pays a subscription to vendors to access their databases.
You You log on via the Library's website to access the information you need for your assignments.

All images in table above by Jack Cai via Findicons CC

Searching in a database

Why Should You Use Journal Databases?

Journal databases:

  • Are the best source of academic or scholarly information for your assessments
  • help you locate peer reviewed articles
  • Are subject specific, so that you get more relevant results
  • Have many options for refining results

You can find the Library's databases on the Journal Databases page.

Databases are grouped into subject areas. The Animal & Vet Sciences collection will be particularly useful for your study.

Animal Science databases

Explore the databases below using some of the key terms you identified in the activity on the Plan page.

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