Don't Forget The Library!
By Judith Maginnis Kuster
Recently I received the following: "I am a graduate student studying stuttering and wondering . . . where can I go to access the information (in text) provided in your Bibliography on Neurogenic Stuttering ?"
The short (and perhaps least time consuming) answer is "Check your university library." The long answer is "There are strategies to retrieve abstracts of many research articles and even some full-text articles on the Internet although you won't find electronic versions of everything that you'll find in the library and in many cases you will have to pay for the full-text article." Here are a few strategies to try.
Free and Fee-based Databases
If you have access to an organization (e.g., a university library) that subscribes to a database such as those below you may be able to access full-text articles..
- The Educational Resources Information Center's AskERIC calls itself the world's largest source of education information and contains more than one million abstracts of documents and journal articles on education research and practice.
- PubMed , an Internet interface for MEDLINE, the National Library of Medicine's bibliographic database, has over 11 million references and abstracts dating back to the mid-1960's and links to full-text articles if the publisher has a Web site that offers full text of its journals
- Combined Health Information Database (CHID) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has health promotion and education materials and contains literature not often referenced in other databases including brochures, newsletters from patient advocacy organizations, booklets produced by federal health agencies, as well as abstracts to some peer-reviewed articles.
Professional journals online
- Ingenta - provides free access to article summaries of over 25,000 publications. Full-text articles can be ordered for a fee or, if your university subscribes to the service, are available free.
- Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) - includes slp and audiology literature, indexes articles from 1200 journals and provides full text from 17 journals online.
- OVID - has more than 300 full text journals
- OCLC FirstSearch - provides access to more than 70 databases with many full-text journal articles if your library subscribes to the service.
- Northern Light Special Collection - is an online library with over 7000 full-text journals, books, magazines, and reference works. Articles dating from January 1995, can be ordered, typically for under $4
Many professional journals are available on password protected sites to members. For example, ASHA Journals are available online.as a member benefit. AJA is available beginning with the November 1991 issue. AJSLP, JSLHR, and LSHSS are available beginning with 1999.
Some publishers provide non-subscribers abstracts of recent articles or tables of contents of journals. For example Karger provides access to Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica, Phonetica, Audiology and Neuro-Otology, and Elsevier provides access to Journal of Communication Disorders, Journal of Fluency Disorders, Journal of Phonetics and Journal of Pragmatics, etc.
Several professional organizations place their full-text journals freely online 6-12 months after publication. Checking through Free Medical Journals Online and the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences you'll find publications such as: British Medical Journal, Stroke, Science, American Journal of Mental Retardation and many others.
- Scirus.com is a specialized search engine that concentrates on scientific content and claims to find more peer-reviewed articles than other search engines. Scirus recognizes PDF and Postscript formats (most search engines just find html documents) in which scientific papers are often put online.
- Sometimes authors include the full text of their articles on personal Web sites, in which case an automated search engine may uncover an article you are looking for. Since Google.com recognizes PDF and Postscript formats, it is a good search engine to check. For example, typing the keywords Kuster +ASHA +Leader +column will uncover a website with the full text all of all my Internet columns since 1994.
Judith Kuster is in the department of speech, hearing, and rehabilitation services at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All of Kusters Internet columns are on the ASHA Web site in HTML format with active links although URLs change and there is no guarantee that links from previous articles are still functional.
Kuster, JM, Don't Forget The Library!, ASHA Leader, February 4, 2003, p. 18.