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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

ESL Graduate Student Guide

A guide to the University Library for English as a Second Language graduate students.

Step 1: Finding a Database

You have a research topic and now you need a relevant database to search. How do you find one?

Things to keep in mind when searching a database:
  • As an Illinois student or faculty member you can access these resources from computers on-campus or from off-campus by logging in with your NetID and password.
  • If one database isn't giving you the results you want, try a different database. 

Step 2: Searching for Full Text Online

  • Pay attention to the title of the database you are using. If the words "bibliography," "abstract," or "index" are included in the title, that database is unlikely to contain full-text articles.  For example: The MLA International Bibliography database.
  • The words "full text" are occasionally included in the title of a database, which indicates that the database does include full-text articles. For example: The Education Full Text database.
  • When the full-text of an article is available in a database, it will be available in either PDF or HTML format (and sometimes both).
  • If you see a blue button that says "Discover full text" in the record for an article in a database, it means that the full-text of that article is not available in that database. You can click the "Discover" button to see if a full-text version of the article is available on a different database that the library subscribes to.   Discover Full Text Button

Step 3: Finding Articles in Print

Not every article is available in online. If you verify that an article you need is not available in full text online, your next step is to search whether the library owns it in print. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Keep your citation (name of journal, volume, and issue) handy so you can search the online library catalog for the location of the print journal. You can enter the name of the journal directly into the search box.
  • Look to see which departmental library holds the issue or volume that you need. Write down the location and call number. 
  • Visit the departmental library where the journal is located. There you can also make a scan of the article so you can view it later.

Step 4: Interlibrary Loan Articles

If your article is not available in full text online or in print, you can request the article through Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery. Click on the link that says Login to my ILLiad account, and enter your NetID and password. Choose "Request a photocopy" and fill out the entire form, including the source of the citation.

This process typically takes around 3 business days. Interlibrary Loan usually sends the article as a .pdf file to your email address.

Finding Articles in Other Languages

How do you find articles in a language other than English?

If you are on the search page of an online database, look for an option to "limit your results." Depending on the database, you may have to click the Advanced Search link to see this option. There will often be an option to limit your results to a specific language.

Depending on the database, the option may be to "filter," "refine," or "narrow" your results (different databases will use different terms for this) to a specific language.