It’s a safe bet that most of our patrons have at least a passing acquaintance with today’s featured database, JSTOR. Patrons encounter JSTOR content in a variety of ways:
- Articles from JSTOR are included in results found when patrons use our new search tool SCOUT.
- Articles that are in JSTOR collections are indexed by Google, so performing a search in Google Scholar and clicking on an article title will often lead a searcher right back to the USMA Library’s JSTOR interface.
- Savvy patrons find and use the links to JSTOR provided in our lists of databases or in the Research Guides that USMA Librarians prepare for specific discipline areas.
Why is JSTOR so popular, and why do we librarians advise our patrons to use it so often? Two big reasons: All articles are available in full text, and all are from scholarly (per reviewed) journals. The third big reason? You are almost guaranteed to find something on any topic taught in classes here at West Point.. Another great aspect of JSTOR is the fact that the entire run of the journals they carry is included (up to the last 3 or 5 years – more on this in a moment). So, if a journal which is part of our subscription began publishing in 1898…our patrons have access to every issue back to the beginning. Note that since JSTOR includes the entire run of the journals it carries, there is generally a 3-5 year “moving wall” that covers the most recently published issues; this period gives the original journal publisher time to recoup their investment with subscription and single-copy sales before the issues become part of the JSTOR archive. So – the only reason not to go to JSTOR is if you’re looking for the very latest issues of a particular journal.
- Who should use this collection: Pretty much everyone!
What those users will find: Scholarly articles and reviews about pretty much everything! Well…let’s just say: a LOT. The USMA Library’s JSTOR subscription includes collections that cover:
- Religious studies
- Area studies
- Political science
- International relations
- Public administration
- Literature, law…you get the picture.
Tips for searching JSTOR:
- Follow the link to the JSTOR under the “General” heading of the USMA Library’s “Databases by Topic” page.
- There’s a quick search box right on the front page, but to be a power searcher, click on “Advanced Search” to get to an expanded page of search options – where you can use “AND,” “OR,” and “NOT” to narrow or broaden your results, and proximity operators to make sure your results bring back items that include your keywords within 5, 10 or 25 words of each other.
- You can also narrow by item type; since many journals include book reviews, if you are looking only for articles, you can indicate that. However, there are times when a book review will point you to a book that the USMA Library owns, and that you might not have found otherwise – so take advantage of serendipity when you can!
- In the Advanced Search form, you can also narrow by discipline, if you like. However – beware of limiting by date. Scholarly articles can be published anytime on anything, so limiting by date won’t restrict results to the time of your event or topic, but to the time an article was published.
- We advise not using the date range limiter unless you’re trying to find a very specific article.
As always, ask a Librarian for help if you have any questions about any of our research products!
Contents contributed by Laura Mosher, Reference & Liaison Librarian