Database Searching Guide: Best Portals for Searching for Articles

Getting Started Looking for Articles


For a Specific Article Title:  Do a Quick Search in CLIO.  If Columbia has online full text, there is a very good chance that it will show up in the box on the right-hand side of the screen, a resource called Articles.  (You can also search Articles directly by selecting it from the pull down menu next to the Quick Search button.)

If the article doesn’t appear, don’t give up.  If you know the journal the article appeared in, select Catalog from the list on the left hand side of the screen or from the pull-down menu next to the Quick Search box. (If you don’t know the journal, try searching for the article title in Google to see if you can find a reference somewhere.)  In the Catalog, select the Journal Title option on the right hand side of the search box.  This will frequently bring up a listing for an ejournal version of the title and you can just follow the links to find your article.  If only a print version is available, you can use scanners in one of the digital centers or many other locations around campus to create your own electronic version.

For Articles on a Topic: Eventually, you will become acquainted with the most important information resources in your field.  Even then, and certainly as you are beginning, you will find it handy to be able to take advantage of some of the multi-database gateways that let you search several resources at once.  Articles is probably not the best starting place for this process, as it gives you less control over the searching process and does not allow you to automatically download full-text content to citation managers like Zotero.  We would recommend that you try some of the following gateways first, particularly the first three, using the full suite of tools described in “Six Tools for Database Searching,” before circling back to Articles to see if you have missed anything. 

  1. EbscoHost Research Databases – a full suite of database search tools, and some special strengths in history, literature, and religion
  2. Proquest Direct – another full suite of database search tools, a broad interdisciplinary range including
  3. Google Scholar – covers some of our databases not included in Ebsco and Proquest as well as a great deal of “gray literature.” For best results select it as if it were a Columbia database.  Has helpful citation analysis information
  4. Lexis Nexis Academic  -- a gateway to searching a few thousand newspapers and wire services, as well as a collection of law reviews and a very rich collection of court cases and law codes.\
  5. Factiva – another large collection of newspapers, with a slightly greater business orientation but also much fuller coverage of non-English newspaper information
  6. Scopus – strong science and social science coverage.  Citation analysis information.
  7. Web of Science - a good survey of journals in the sciences, social sciences and humanities (with strength of coverage in that order) and robust citation analysis tools.
  8. OVID – a suite of key tools for medicine, biology, psychology and some special databases as well (e.g. Transport)