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Lyman Beecher Brooks Library Virtual Assistance (ENG 102.45A): Search for Full Text Articles in a Database

This guide will show you how to search for various library resources to support your assignment..  Click on one of the tabs below to get more information 

How to Get Full Text from a Database


If you've found an article you want in a database, look for PDF, HTML, 'Linked Full Text' in the search results list. This means that Lyman Beecher Brooks Library has the article online, and clicking the link should take you to the article.   You may also limit your search in the database to only Full Text.


 If you do not see one of these links (pdf, html, linked to full text), in the  results screen of the full citation, we DO NOT have access to the journal BUT You can still request the article through interlibrary loan, through the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) link.

PDF vs HTML: Which is better?


A pdf is generally better because:

  • It is an exact reprint of how it appeared in the journal in print, making it easier to read
  • It contains all original photos, charts/graphs mathematical formulas etc.
  • It is easier to extract the citation information from the header and/or footer
  • It is stable - you can open it on a PC or a Mac


HTML full text

  • Is a web rendered version of the article, therefore it can be tougher to read as it generally appears as one continuous column
  • Will not likely contain any type of visuals, e.g. photos, tables, charts etc.
  • Has a unique feature within some databases where you can choose to also listen to the article 
  • can also be useful as a research tool, because it is much more likely to embedded hyperlinks within the content


How to Find a Full Text Article in Google Scholar

1. Use Google Scholar to find a full text/pdf copy of a journal article.

Keep in mind that if we do not have the journal/article that you need online, just submit an interlibrary loan request to get a free PDF copy emailed to you free of charge.

For example, if you have the following citation and want a full text/PDF copy of the article, you can use Google Scholar to get a full text/pdf copy of the article.

Note, if you are Off-Campus, you will need to make sure you configure Google Scholar. You will find the configuration instructions below.

1. Copy the title of the journal article in the citation above.
2. Go to
Google Scholar and paste the title of the article into the search box.
3. If NSU Library subscribes to this journal, you will see links to the right of the citation that displays in Google Scholar. Click on the link(s) to get the full text/PDF copy. If a link does not appear, NSU does NOT have a subscription to the journal.  However, you can submit an
interlibrary loan request and obtain a free copy of the article.

To set your Google Scholar preferences:
1) Go to Google Scholar and click on the Menu icon (3 bars that are usually in the upper left of the screen).
2) Click on Settings.
3) Click on Library Links.
4) If you do not see NSU listed as your library, search for NSU in the search box.
5. Select the Norfolk State University listing.
6. Click Save preferences.
Now search results will have the Find@NSU link that will connect you to full text (online or in print) or an interlibrary loan form when we do not have any access.

You will need to configure the Google Scholar settings in each browser you use to search Google Scholar.

2. Use the Virtual Library of Virginia, Journal Finder to find a full text/pdf copy of a journal article.