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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Finding Journal Articles for Theatre Research

This guide is an introduction (or a refresher) to searching for, accessing, and evaluating articles for theatre research.

Getting Full Text

There are multiple ways to access the full text of an article. If the first link or strategy you try doesn't work, don't give up right away! Read through this page to learn how to get full text and what to try if you run into problems.

Full Text Links

Many of the databases the Library subscribes to include direct links to the full text of many of the articles they index. If the full text does not open up when you click on an article, look for one of these full text icons at the bottom of a citation or along the side of an item record.

Full text icons might say HTML or PDF full text


Discover Full Text

If you don't see one of those full text icons, check for an option that says "Discover Full Text" or "Check for Full Text Availability". Clicking one of these links will prompt a search for the full text in other databases that UIUC subscribes to and in the Library's print holdings. Please note that these discover full text links are not always 100% accurate - if they don't turn up a result, try the troubleshooting tips below.

Discover full text link iconfull text link options in a ProQuest database may include Discover FullText or Check for FullText Availability


If you don't see a full text icon or a discover full text link in the database you're searching in, you still have options!

Easy SearchAn article result in Easy Search may list a variety of full text links; this example includes links for HTML Full Text, Get Fulltext, JSTOR Link, Other Fulltext Links, and PDF Link.

Put the article title into the Easy Search box on the University Library's homepage. If you see a result, you may notice multiple access points for full text, as shown in the result on the right. Click through the links to discover what online or print access is available. Make sure you try all the links if the first one doesn't work. 


Print Holdings

If searching through Easy Search or the Library Catalog Journal Search shows that we only have a print copy, check which library holds it and consult the print volume. If you need to access it digitally, you can place a DocExpress Request to have the article scanned for you. DocExpress is free for students, faculty, and staff and most materials can be delivered to you within 2 days.


Interlibrary LoanCatalog pop-up prompting an interlibrary loan request when full text access is unavailable

Sometimes following a discover full text or get full text link will bring up a window telling you that full text access is unavailable. Following the prompt to sign in to your library account when you see this screen will bring up an option to request a PDF of the article from another library Button to place an interlibrary loan request when full text access is unavailable.that has it via Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Photocopied articles take an average of 3 days to arrive after your request is processed, but often they can arrive faster. For more information on placing an ILL request, check out the Library's page on ILL borrowing.


Ask a Librarian

If Easy Search doesn't turn up any results for you or if you need help placing an ILL request, reach out to a librarian! Even if you're off campus, you can chat with a librarian online through Ask a Librarian to get help.

Saving Your Article

Once you've found the full text for a useful article, make sure to either download and save it, email it to yourself, or copy a stable link. Database links from the address bar are not permanent - if you try to use them to get back to your article later, you'll get an error message saying that your session has timed out. You'll want to copy the persistent link (also called a "permalink", "stable URL", or "durable link") to make sure you can get back to the article later. Check out the Library's tips for creating persistent links to learn more!