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Gerstein Science Information Centre

KPE162: Personal Health

This guide is intended primarily for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education


Use this page to find strategies for finding journal articles from a known citation. Sometimes 'finding the PDF' can be super easy! Other times, it can be a frustrating puzzle. Use the tips and processes below to help you find the article when things go sideways. 

Finding Articles With a Citation

This is probably the easiest way to find journal articles-- when someone has given you the citation information (e.g. the journal article title, author, journal name, volume, issue, and page number). Maybe you got the citation from your professor or the reference list of something you are reading.


Let's use this example of an APA citation:
Malcolm, D. (2018). Concussion in sport: Public, professional, and critical sociologies. Sociology of sport journal, 35(2) 141-148.

Understanding how to read a citation is essential to understanding how to find information! Use the diagram below to identify the parts of a citation:


APA citation with elements labeled - author, year, title, journal, volume, issue, page number



Step 1: Start on the Gerstein Library homepage, and paste the title of the article in the “Start Your Search” box. This option is also available on the UTL homepage.


Search box with heading "Start Your Search" at top, with article title pasted into the search box below


Step 2: Searching the title will yield a list of results in various formats, including Articles, Books, and multimedia. Focus on the journal articles section (top left) to locate the article you need.


Search results show two columns, articles on left and books on right


Step 3: Click on the article link. There are a few different ways you may be able to access the article.

  • Is there a link to PDF? If yes, follow to open it and print, save, or email. (Done!)
  • Is there a Get it! UTL. button next to the citation you want? If yes, clicking it will give the following two options--
    • If there is a PDF download link, select it. (Done!)
    • If the article is not available online, you will see an option to “Search the catalogue for this item in print.” This might be true, or you might be seeing an error. Watch the video below to double check our access in the catalogue. 

What to do when you get an error

It happens! Sometimes the Get-it UTL button, our link resolver, just doesn't work even though it should. It's good practice to always double check whether we have the article by searching the journal in the library catalogue. Watch the below video for step-by-step instructions on what to do when you get the dreaded error message: "we do not have online access to this item." (Note: sometimes we really just don't have access to the journal article online-- more on this below). 


Finding Articles in Print

If you cannot locate the full text of an article online, don’t despair! The Library has many print journals in our collection-- you might be able to scan or print a copy of the article you need. Searching the library catalogue will tell you if we have what you’re looking for in print.


Step 1: If you have the full citation of the article you need, locate the journal name (in the case of our initial example, this would be Sociology of Sports Medicine).

Step 2: Start on the Gerstein Library (or UTL) homepage. Find the search module on the right side of the page. Under the heading “Catalogue,” select “Journals.”

Gerstein homepage search menu from top to bottom--Start Your Search bar, Catalogue (Journal option highlighted), Research and Course Guides


Step 3: Type the name of the journal you’re looking for into the search bar that appears under “Search Catalogue.” Sometimes, the journal name in a citation is abbreviated. To find the full journal name, consult one of the following resources -- Science and Engineering Journal Abbreviations (UBC), NLM Catalog, All that JAS.

Step 4: Your search will return journals that are in the Library’s collection. Scroll through to find the title of the journal you need (it may not always be the top result).

Sociology of sport journal catalog record, showing holdings information


Step 5: Click on the link to the catalogue record to find more information about location and holdings. The catalogue record page will tell you which volumes/years of the journal are available, as well as which libraries have copies.

Holdings information sohws which library has material and what years, also indicates call number


Step 6: Verify that the Library has the volume/year that matches your article citation. Also take note of which library location has the material you need. If the material is on another U of T campus, you can request Intercampus Delivery. Other materials in our catalog belong to a Toronto hospital--for use by hospital staff. For more information visit the Library website.

Step 7: Take note of the journal’s catalogue information (title, call number, etc.)  and visit the library to make a scan or photocopy of the article. Note: most libraries organize journals by call number, but the majority of journals at Gerstein are organized alphabetically by title.

Still Can't Find What You're Looking For?

Here are some other library resources you can use if you are having trouble, or have other research questions.

  • Chat - ask questions via online chat with a librarian.
  • Email - information about research help, finding journal articles, citation software, and more!
    • Send your questions to erica.lenton[at]
  • LibGuides - reference LibGuides like this one to find information.