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FindIt@Bham online help

Using Article Search on FindIt@Bham

One way of finding journal articles is to use either the Simple or the Advanced Search in FindIt@Bham, and selecting Article Search from the second drop-down menu:

This will search through a large number of the electronic full-text collections of academic journals to which we subscribe.  It is a powerful search which extends over all subject areas, so you can afford to be quite specific and detailed in your search terms.  You should use Boolean operators, or combinations of them to make your search as precise as possible:

  • AND eg Weber AND capitalism. This will search for all records which contain both these terms.
  • OR eg speech OR communication. This will search for records containing either of these terms. An OR search will find more hits than an AND search. It is useful if your terms are synonyms or if they refer to similar concepts.
  • PHRASE eg “group dynamics”. This will find only those records where these terms are found together, and will not find the words in any other contexts. In most databases, phrases can be indicated by quotation marks around them.
  • BRACKETS eg dyslexia AND (diagnosis OR assessment). Brackets can be used to combine any of the operators above. This will find records containing ‘dyslexia’ as well as either ‘diagnosis’ or ‘assessment’.
  • TRUNCATION eg sociolog*. This will find any records which have words beginning with this root: sociology, sociological, sociologist, etc. Truncation is indicated by an asterisk (*).

An example might be: “code switching” AND bilingual AND children.  [N.B. The operators AND and OR need to be typed in capitals]

Click on the search button   , and it should find a large number of hits, the most relevant being listed first:

Click on View Full Text to be taken to the online article.  If an article does not have this link, we may still have it in the printed form, so you need to do a search on the library catalogue for the title of the journal.

"Sticky facets" or filters

After you have done your search, if you still have too many results, there will be a Tweak my Results column appearing on the right which will allow you to narrow down your results by such criteria - or filters - as the type of article, date of publication, subject and the journal or collection in which it was published.  These filters can be applied and then maintained for the whole search session if required, using the 'remember all filters' option.

Active filters - peer-reviewed journals, public health


Using bibliographic databases

Another way of finding articles is to use one of the specialist bibliographic databases (sometimes known as indexing or abstracting databases).  Go to the Databases tab, select your subject from the Filter by … menu, or choose Bibliographic Databases from the Resource Type filter.

Database search on FindIt with A-Z under search bar and filters lower left

They work on the same principles as FindIt@Bham using combinations of keywords and Boolean operators.

Using specialist databases is preferable to using Article Search on FindIt or Google because:

  • They are restricted only to your subject, so there is less danger of irrelevant hits
  • They often have sophisticated search features such as limiters, controlled vocabulary, filters by subject and types of publication which are appropriate to that subject
  • They can save search histories, set up alerts, export results to Endnote, etc.

Library Services provide training in the use of specialist databases, as well as access to printed guides and webinars (see the Subject Support tab above for details).

Finding journals by title

If you wish to find a specific journal title and see which years and issues of it we have, the best way to do this is by going to the Advanced Search in FindIt@Bham, selecting Title from one of the search menus, entering the title of the journal, and limiting the search scope to Library Catalogue and the material type to either Journals or eJournals.

E.g. to find the Journal of Experimental Biology:

If we have it, there will be a View Online link:

This then displays one or more links to providers of this journal.  Check the dates covered by each link to ensure that it has the years and issues you want, and click on the title to access the full text.


If you wish to see which electronic journal titles we have in your subject, click on the Ejournals tab in FindIt@Bham.  This links to the BrowZine service which arranges our holdings of e-journals in broad subject categories and provides links to the full text of issues to which we have subscribed.  The titles can be arranged alphabetically or by impact factor.

For details, see our separate online guide to Browzine.

Panopto video below on browsing journals (includes sub-titles).

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