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Research Guides

HIS102: Empires, Encounters, and Exchanges: From the Silk Road to the Present


JSTOR logo

For your library skills assignment you can use JSTOR. JSTOR is a database of online journals. You will need your UTORID and password if you are off campus.

You may see JSTOR also on Google. It is better to use it through the library so that you can access more articles.

Finding journal articles

Use a journal article database to find journal articles. Journ article databases generally index journals in a given field, to tell you what has been written in each issue. Many include some, or all, of the articles full text online.

JSTOR is one journal article database. To find more:

1. Select "Subjects A to Z" on the library home page.

2. Choose a discipline, such as


History-by Topic

How to Search JSTOR

The first three minutes are helpful.

Keyword search examples

JSTOR search screen with the words ottoman empire.

For example, if your search topic is something to do with the Ottoman Empire of Turkey, you could enter the words ottoman empire and click on search.

You will get hundreds of results. You will need to choose an article that is useful to you.

To narrow down your results, you can do the following:

1. Scroll down to where it says Narrow by discipline and/or publication title: and choose History and any other categories that you think would be relevant. 


 JSTOR limit options of type of material (article or book review), dates, language

You can limit your results to article, date range or language.

You can also focus your search in the search box in a variety of ways. For example:

1. Putting quotes on "ottoman empire" will find those two words together as a phrase.

2. You can add another keyword, ottoman empire and trade

3. You can look for your keywords in the article title.

Recognising journal articles

In order to be able to find and select good research materials, you need to be able to distinguish between the different types that you encounter in the research process. JSTOR provides a checkbox where you can choose the type of material you want.

JSTOR image of checkboxes allowing you to choose a journal article, or review.

Here are some tips that will help you recognize journal articles and book reviews in JSTOR.

Journal Articles

Here is an example citation for a journal article in JSTOR.

Jewish Charitable Bequests and the Hekdesh Trust in Thirteenth-Century Spain
Judah D. Galinsky
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Winter, 2005), pp. 423-440.

How is this different from a book citation?

There are two titles. The detailed title of the article, as well as the more general title of the journal. The journal title is in italics.

There is a volume number, and an issue number.

In addition to the year, a month or season may be included.

A page number range shows where the article appears in the journal.

Book reviews

Here's a citation for a book review in JSTOR.

JSTOR is very clear about labelling this item as a review! Another tip is that both the author of the book being reviewed, Ana Echevarria, and the name of the person writing the review are indicated, the reviewer described as follows: "Review by: Jessica A. Coope."

The format looks like this in the actual review text. Notice how the two authors are distinguished.

Reviewed work(s): Kathryn A. Miller. Guardians of Islam: Religious Authority and Muslim Communities of Late Medieval Spain. New York: Columbia University Press. 2008. Pp. xiv, 276. $45.00.

Jessica A. Coope

University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Another tell-tale sign of book reviews is that they are short!

Get the journal

To access an article from a citation in a database:

  • If you see a [fulltext] link, select it.
  • If you see a Get!it button or SFX button, select it. This will link to the article online, if we have it. If we don't have it online, it will search the library catalogue for you to tell you if we have it in print.

To find an item from a bibliography:

  • Method 1: Go to the library home page and enter your article title in the search box. It may help to put quotes on the title. This should find your article if it is online. 
  • Method 2: Look up the name of the journal that the article is published in, in the library catalogue, to find out if we have it in print or online. Write down the name of the library, and the journal's call number in that library. Make sure we have the volume that you want.