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Frequently Asked Questions

I. Research Using Academic Journals
What is an academic journal?
Print Indexes and online databases
How to find academic journal articles that are not full-text online
Why can't I find journal articles in the online catalog?
How to cite journal articles

II. Internet Search engines such as Yahoo! or Google
Finding information on the Internet (as opposed to the library databases)
How to evaluate web information for authenticity
How to cite Internet resources

III. Other libraries
Researching at other Cincinnati area libraries
Requesting books and articles be sent to Thomas More College via Interlibrary Loan

IV. Remote Access
Using library databases from home


I. Research using academic journals

1. What is an academic journal?

An academic journal (also known as a scholarly, peer-reviewed or refereed periodical) contains content that has been reviewed and accepted by scholars in its particular field.

A regular magazine, such as Time or Newsweek, can contain accurate information. However, magazines articles are not reviewed by experts and usually do not include citations, so accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

Another type of periodical is called a trade-journal. Trade journals are created by members of professional groups and are rarely academic in content.

If you are unsure whether a periodical is peer-reviewed or not, ask a librarian or consult Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory ( Ref. Z6941 .U5 2003). If the journal summary in Ulrich's states that the journal is "refereed", then it is an academic journal.

2. Print indexes and online databases

Journal articles can be found most efficiently in two places: print indexes and online databases.

Print indexes, (in both the Periodicals and Reference sections of the library) are subject-specific and include ALL books and journal articles published on a topic in a given year. There is no full-text of articles in a print index, and each year must be searched separately.

Online databases can be subject-specific, or include many disciplines. Most online databases include some full-text of articles. However, unlike print indexes, online databases rarely cover articles published before 1990.

When searching, keep in mind that general searching databases (such as EBSCO's Academic Search Premier or ProQuest) only include select journals and magazines. For this reason, general searching databases are best for beginning research. Be sure to consult a subject-specific index or database for advanced research.

For the most thorough search, consult our research guides to see which print indexes and databases are relevant to your topic. A TMC librarian can assist you if you have any questions, or wish to conduct your research at another SWON library.

3. How do I find journal articles that are not full-text online?

First, check to see if the TMC Library has the article by searching for the journal title -- not the article title -- in the online catalog.

If we do not own a journal, you may order it via Interlibrary Loan online or at the circulation desk. Alternatively, you can search the library catalogs of other area SWON institutions (such as NKU or UC) individually or all at once using the FirstSearch WorldCat database. As a TMC student, you have borrowing privileges at all the SWON member libraries.

4. Why can't I find journal articles in the online catalog?

THE ONLINE CATALOG DOES NOT INCLUDE TITLES OF ARTICLES. Only the titles of journals that the TMC Library owns are in the online catalog. To find journal articles, use bibliographies, online databases or indexes appropriate to your subject.

If you cannot find all the journal articles you need using the library's online databases, and/or need assistance using subject-specific print indexes, please consult our research guides or a librarian.

5. How do I cite journals?

The following style manuals will give you detailed instructions for citing a variety of resources, including journals, books and Internet resources. Please consult with your instructor to determine which citation format is best for your discipline.

  • MLA handbook for writers of research papers (Ref. LB2369 .G53 1995)
  • Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (Ref. BF76.7 .P83 2001)
  • The Chicago manual of style : for authors, editors, and copywriters (Ref. Z253.U69 1982)

II. Internet Search engines such as Yahoo! or Google

1. Finding information on the Internet (as opposed to the library databases)

The library databases belong to what is called "the hidden web". This means that the information in the library databases cannot be detected by an Internet search engine. The TMC Library subscribes to these databases, and they require passwords to access away from the TMC campus. Ask for a list of passwords at the library's Circulation Desk.

Unlike free Internet resources, ALL of the information in the library databases comes from reputable publishers whose reputations depend on the quality of the information they provide. Most of the articles found in the library databases are even peer-reviewed and are therefore the most reliable sources of information available.

When searching the free Internet for information, you will only occasionally find peer-reviewed articles. In fact, the author of a web document is usually unknown. You will rarely have a way of knowing if information posted in the web is the truth or even if the page will still be online the next day!

2. How to evaluate web information for authenticity

A small percentage of the information found online can be reliable and authoritative. For example, the US government is the world's largest publisher of statistics and can provide a wealth of information on any topic. Also, the Kentucky Virtual Library, Cincinnati Public Library and Internet Public Library are nonprofit organizations that provide links to valuable Internet resources.

To evaluate the authenticity of information found using a search engine, closely examine the site. Is it published by a well-known entity or author whose reputation would be damaged by providing false information? Is there a bibliography included with the work? A sign of good scholarship is a list of works cited. This shows that an author is building on previous scholarship and using documented facts to support his or her thesis.

If you are unsure of the veracity of a web resource, please consult with your professor or a librarian.

3. How to cite Internet resources

The following style manuals will give you detailed instructions for citing a variety of resources, including journals, books and Internet resources. Please consult with your instructor to determine which citation format is best for your discipline.
  • MLA handbook for writers of research papers (Ref. LB 2369 .G53 1995)
  • Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (Ref. BF 76.7 .P83 2001)
  • The Chicago manual of style : for authors, editors, and copywriters (Ref. Z 253.U69 1982)

The Internet Public Library provides this online FARQ.

III. Other libraries

1. Researching at other Cincinnati area libraries

Thomas More College is a member of the SouthWest Ohio and Neighboring Libraries (SWON). This means that you may check out books at any of the member libraries using your TMC ID card.

Books and journal titles held at neighboring institutions can be found by searching their catalogs individually, or search them all at once using FirstSearch's WorldCat database.

2. Requesting books and articles be sent to Thomas More College via Interlibrary Loan

Materials from other libraries can be sent directly to the TMC Library. This can be done using the orange and green Interlibrary loan forms at the Circulation Desk, or by filling out our online ILL form. Interlibrary loan services are limited to TMC students, faculty and staff.

IV. Remote access

1. Using the library databases from home

Lists of IDs and passwords for remote access to the Library's databases are available at the Library Circulation Desk.