Online Databases FAQ

Online Databases FAQ

Can I use indexes and databases to find a particular topic, or author, in a particular journal?

Although indexes and databases differ somewhat in their individual features, most are searchable via author and subject.  Many online databases are self indexed and can be searched for author and topic directly.

Which index or database should I use for my topic?

The librarians have identified the most useful databases for most subject areas and have grouped them together on the LibGuides.  Just go to the LibGuide for your subject, click on the tab for Journal Articles and look for the list of recommended databases.

Some databases are very subject specific, while others can cover a broad range.  You should try to make yourself familiar with more than one.

We also have a full list of databases, so you can go straight to the database you want if you know its name.

I have found an article I want to read, what do I do now?


Many of our journal articles are available online.  If you click on the “Find It @ JCU” button, or the link to the PDF in the article record, you should be able to find the full text if we have a subscription.

If that doesn’t work, try searching our catalogue for the name of the journal (not the article), and see if we have a copy of that volume in print.

Can I limit my search to journals held in the library?

No, but you can limit the search to “full text”, so that you only find articles which will give you access to the whole article online.  However, if you do this, you may miss out on articles that we have on our shelves.

I can't find this journal in the Library’s catalogue.  How can I get the article?

Any article can be obtained through the interlibrary loan service. InfoHelp can advise you about the necessary procedures. They may also be able to suggest alternatives.

I've never used online databases before. I don't know much about computers. Can you show me how to use.....?

Very little computer knowledge is needed to use the online databases. Comprehensive training sessions are held from the beginning of each semester and some Database guides are available. Ask InfoHelp staff if further assistance is required.

I need a password for....

Some databases require passwords to access them.  Passwords may be obtained by contacting InfoHelp. As access is normally restricted by the publisher to JCU students and staff passwords can only be given out individually and if possible, in person. Passwords may also be obtained via email, particularly for off campus students. If you are not using a JCU email account, you will be asked to provide some personal details for identification purposes.

Can I access these databases from my home computer?

Access to JCU online subscriptions is available to JCU students and staff from off-campus.  You should be prompted to sign in to our systems using your JCU username and password.

If you have difficulty with signing in, you may be able to resolve the problem with the advice on the Remote Access page.

More information and instructions can be found from the above "Remote Access" pages or contact InfoHelp.

Will I find journal articles if I search on the web?

You won’t find them well with a general search in a Search Engine, but if you go to a specialised resource like Google Scholar, you will find journal articles on the Internet.  You can also set up Google Scholar so that it shows the “Find It @ JCU” button, so you can link to our subscriptions.

JCU also has subscriptions to individual electronic journals.  To find a particular journal article you will usually need to know exactly what you are looking for (title, volume, issue etc.).

There are many electronic journals on the Web to which JCU does not subscribe. Most will not provide for free what they can sell to you. Hence, you need to be a subscriber to access most electronic journals.  However, it is always worth trying.