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*Africana Studies: Secondary Sources: Articles

3 Ways to Get to Articles Databases

There are three ways that you can get to the library's databases,
from off-campus (as well as from on-campus):

  1. Use the Databases by Subject dropdown to find databases for a particular subject area
  2. Use the Databases by Name links if you know the name of the database you're looking for (i.e., Worldwide Political Science Abstracts is under "W" for "Worldwide")
  3. Use this research guide (or any of our other research guides!)

If you are off campus, when you click the name of a database, you will be asked for your Campus ID and password. After that, you'll have full access to the database*. But in order to get that access, the database has to identify you as GSU faculty/student/staff.

*There are a very few databases that you can't access this way (looking at you, Ancestry Library Edition) and are only usable in the actual library building). These are clearly marked in the database listings as ON CAMPUS USE ONLY.

Looking for Empirical Articles?

Looking for articles based on empirical research? Check out this research guide to get started.

What Does "Peer-Reviewed" Mean?

"Peer reviewed" means that an article has been reviewed by other scholars in the field -- the author's "peers" -- before being approved for publication. It is meant to ensure the integrity of the scholarship. 

Not everything that is published in a journal is peer-reviewed. Book reviews and editorials are typically not peer-reviewed. Magazine articles and newspaper articles also are not peer-reviewed. (There may be cases where these kinds of publications are still relevant to your research! Ask your professor if you are unsure).

Most article databases have an Advanced Search option that will let you limit your search to peer-reviewed articles. 

Using Find It @GSU

Many databases give you only a citation telling you where to find the article, not the article itself.

There's often a shortcut to the full article text in another database -- this button:

Click the Find It @GSU button to open a window with links to the article you need.

If the article is not available, you will see an option to request the article from another library using the Interlibrary Loan service (it's free!). Follow the prompts to place an ILL request for the article. ***We are still able to request articles via Interlibrary because articles are sent to us electronically.***

Lost? Stuck? Too many options? Ask a Librarian for help!

Searching the GSU Library for Periodical Titles (Journals, Magazines, Newspapers)

To see if the GSU Library provides access to a particular periodical (newspaper, magazine, or journal), follow these steps:

  • From the library's homepage, select "Journals" from the "Discover" dropdown menu
  • Type in the periodical title (see below)

screenshot of Discover dropdown menu with "Journals" selected

This search will give you more information about our holdings of this journal/magazine/newspaper.

This search does NOT take you directly to individual articles in that periodical, but if a "Full Text Online" result appears, you can click there to search in the journal.

Using "Advanced Search" in Databases

Most databases have an Advanced Search option, which will let you search using multiple terms at once. For example:

An asterisk (*) is a truncation symbol that will bring up results using all the letters leading up to (or following) the * -- so, Islam* will bring up both "Islam" and "Islamic" etc.

The search string in the third box got cut off in the image: it should be lgbt or gay or homosexual or lesbian or bisexual or transgender or queer -- the "ors" mean that you're asking for articles that use any of the terms linked by the "ors"

* * * * * 

A database's Advanced Search option will also let you limit your search in a number of ways, including:

  • Limit by year of publication (helpful if you need the most current scholarship/literature)
  • Limit to scholarly/peer-reviewed articles (this is often just a box you can check)
  • Limit by language (if you read a particular language or languages, you can select those; you can also limit your search to just items in English)

For example, here are some options that often appear in Advanced Search:

Different subject databases may have other options as well, but most of our databases have these as Advanced Search options.

* * * * *

One box that you SHOULD NOT CHECK is the "Full Text" box. Sounds backwards, I know, but here's why:

Many databases will give you only the citation for a particular article and not the full text.

But! We have lots of databases, and the article that you need may be in a different database.

If you find an article that you want, and it looks like we don't have full text, click the blue "Find It @ GSU" button. That button will point you to the article if it's held in another database, or will help you set up an Interlibrary Loan for the article. (Yes, you can place requests for articles via Interlibrary Loan during the coronavirus crisis -- article requests are handled electronically).

If you check the "Full Text" box in a database, you're actually saying that you only want articles which that particular database has available in "full text." You're shutting off that "Find It @ GSU" option.

Search Tip for African-American Studies

To limit your searches to topics focusing specifically on African-Americans, African-American culture, etc., use a database's Advanced Search option. Use the search boxes for keywords/search terms based on your topic. In one of the boxes, include a search (called a "search string") like this (in red box):



  • The asterisk (*) is a "wild card." It means you're searching for that term and any other terms with that term as a stem. So, "black*" will turn up both "black" and "blacks," and "negr" will turn up "negro" or "negroes" or négritude)
  • Depending on their time period and the topics covered, an article, a book, or a database may use "black" and "African-American" interchangeably. Or not: in the library's online book catalog, "Black" refers to people of African origin but not necessarily identifying as Americans.
  • If you are working on a historical topic, older articles may use the term "negro" or "negroes." The Journal of African American History changed its name from Journal of Negro History in 2002. Also, if you are searching in historical newspaper databases like the New York Times or the Atlanta Daily World, for example, you'll need to use the words that would have been used at the time, both for searching headlines and for searching full-text.

The OR between terms means that you are searching for results including EITHER of the terms in that list. (If you used AND instead of OR in that search string, you would only turn up results that used ALL THREE of those terms, which will be a much smaller results list).

What Is Browzine?

BrowZine logo

BrowZine is a service provided by the University Library that lets you browse, monitor, and read scholarly journals in your subject areas. It works by consolidating academic journal articles from GSU Library subscriptions with Open Access collections and organizes them into an easily browsable newsstand format.

The web version is listed in our A-Z database list under "B." You can also download the free app for your mobile devices.<

With BrowZine, you can:

  • Sync your settings across devices>
  • Browse by title or subject to find journals of interest
  • Read the tables of contents of journal issues

If you set up a free personal account, you can also:

  • Download articles, share on social media, or export to Zotero, Endnote, etc.
  • Customize your personal bookshelf with journals you want to track
  • Receive notifications when new articles are published

View an introductory video here: Staying Current with BrowZine For more information about how to download BrowZine, see our BrowZine Research Guide

Subject Article Databases

These databases focus on specific disciplines. To search more broadly, try the databases in the "General Articles Databases" box.

You can also use the dropdown "Find by Subject" box in the Articles / Databases tab to identify relevant databases by subject.

Hover over a database's title to learn more about that database.