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Library Learning Objects

Reusable learning objects created for the novice scholar.

The Citation Hunt

Getting an article or book from a citation

So you have a reference, also called a citation, and you need to get your hands on the actual article.

Knowing what information is included in a citation will help you track it down. This citation below looks like an article in a journal. In a journal article citation, you can generally identify these elements: one or more authors, the title of the article, the title of the journal itself, volume and issue number, page numbers and date of publication.  

A citation for a journal article with the following parts highlighted: author, title of article, year of publication, volume number, page numbers, and journal title

One really quick way to find citations is to use SuperSearch on the Library website. Copy the title of the article and paste it in SuperSearch search box. 

Screenshot of the SuperSearch search box with the following article title entered into it: The ripple effect: emotional contagion and its influence on group behavior.

Here it is!

Screenshot of results from SuperSearch showing links to the article titled: The ripple effect.

Clicking on HTML Full Text or PDF Full Text will take you to the full text of the article. Sometimes you will see other options, such as "Full Text Online". Clicking this will take you to a page with options to access the full text of the article. 

What about a citation for a book or a book chapter?

This citation looks a little different. The Ed. in parentheses is an abbreviation for editor and gives us a clue that this is an edited book. Citations for books include a book title, sometimes a chapter title, as well as publisher information. 

Citation of book chapter: Batson, C. D. (2012). The empathy-altruism hypothesis: Issues and implications. In J. Decety (Ed.), Empathy: From bench to bedside (pp. 41–54). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

We can try searching for the chapter title in SuperSearch, but the best way to find books is to search for the title of the book, even if you just need to look at one chapter. 

SuperSearch search of book title: Empathy: From bench to bedside.

There are a few results, but it looks like this first one is the book that I want. If you aren’t sure if you are seeing the right book, click on Books and Media @ Brock to see just books and ebooks, not other materials like book reviews. This one is a print book—jot down the floor and call number to find it in the Library.


Using the A to Z List of Journals

Sometimes you can't find the article you are looking for in SuperSearch. Don't give up, watch this video on how to use the A to Z List of Journals to find it.