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Research Guides

FAQ: How do I find an article by citation?

Short, simple how-to and demos of frequently asked questions about using the Libraries and information resources

Understand a Citation

In order to find an article using a citation, you must understand the parts of a given citation.  These include the article's full title, journal, author name, and more. How these parts are arranged varies between citation styles. 

Citation key for APA and MLA citation styles.

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Find a Cited Article

There are several ways go about finding an article via the UW Libraries website. However, the process is easiest when you have the article's citation handy.

1. Start by locating the UW Libraries Search tool on the Libraries' home page. Type the article's full title in quotes in the tool's blank field and hit Enter.

screenshot of libraries home page basic search bar

Tip: if searching on the article title doesn't pull the right result, try searching for the full journal title instead. Alternatively, you can try searching using only part of the article title. Sometimes less is more!


2. Once you locate the correct article in the search results, you have two options.

Option 1: Click the article title. This will allow you choose whether to access the article online, directly OR request a scan of the article.

screenshot of view & availability options

Option 2: Click on Check for online access. This will take you directly to the article or provide a list of databases which provide electronic access to the article.

screenshot of check for online access; a red arrow points to the link to do so

Tip: If the article is not available, a "Request this Item" option may appear instead.


3. If applicable, click one of the databases listed to be redirected to the article within that resource. Look for full-text indicators like Adobe PDF icon  or screenshot of open lock icon on an orange background to download or locate the article full text.

screenshot of database list the open access icon is circled in red

Tip: Look for an open lock icon, shown above, for open access articles.


Quick Learning Series: Finding a Journal Article From a Citation (1:57)