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Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Searching for articles: Introduction

Introduction to journal articles

Where to begin when you want to search as efficiently as possible for articles in scientific journals? What are the best search engines to consult? And how to get hold of the article, whether in digital format or on paper? Read all about it in this LibGuide. 

UBU-link: links to full text and more options

In your search for scholarly literature you may sometimes come across the UBU-link. This link provides information about the availability of the publication via the University Library.

The library does not have it. What to do now?

  1.  Check WorldCat to see if the article is available and can be requested from another Dutch library or foreign library.
  2. Ask the author to send you the article. On publishers' sites and in search engines such as Scopus you will often find the email addresses of authors.
  3.  Twitter to the rescue: tweet your request together with the URL and add the hashtag #icanhazpdf

Known item search: searching for a specific article

Do you already have some data of the article, such as the exact title or words from the title, the author(s) or the title of the journal? The following rules apply to such a so-called known item search:

  • If you know the complete title of the article Google Scholar is the quickest option: if you are sure of the exact title put it between"...". If you get no results try Google. Not all scholarly articles are recognised as such by Google and included in Scholar.
  • If you only know the name of the author, go to Scopus, Web of Science or WorldCat.

Electronic journals

Do you know the title and volume of the journal? In our list of electronic journals you will find the current and canceled subscriptions in alphabetical order. You can also search by subject, or by publisher (Advanced Search > Vendor).

Search by subject

 Are you looking for an article by subject? We recommend the following general search engines:

These databases contain information about electronic and print journals.Also here the UBU-link gives information about the availability of the publication via the library.

There are also specialised search engines for a particular discipline, for instance:

Would you like to know what search engines are relevant for your discipline? Have a look at the search engines by discipline.

Find out more


Does the UBU-link indicate that the journal is available on paper? Then check WorldCat, containing the collections of Utrecht University Library. Please note: you can only search on the title of the journal. At the top of the results list, click on Items to find out if the volume you need is in the library.