Research Guides

Beyond Wikipedia: Background & Reference Sources

Articles & Indexes - GC Databases

The GC Library subscribes to hundreds of databases, including many that index and/or provide full text of articles in a wide range of subject areas.

Browse the full list of databases here.

Consult the Research Guide in your subject area to find recommended databases in your field.

Follow the "Find it @ CUNY" links to access the full text of articles where indicated, and submit Interlibrary Loan requests for articles when the full text is not available.

Finding Specific Journal Articles

If you are looking for a specific journal article and have the citation, the best way to find the article is to start with a Journal Title Search. 

  • Go to the library's home page,, click on the Journals tab, then enter the title or ISSN to search for a specific journal.  
  • Browse through the results to determine which of the library's databases holds the issue you need (coverage can overlap) or whether the issue is part of the library's printed collection.
  • Click on the database with the right coverage and search for the article by author and/or title using the citation information you have. 
  • If the issue you need is in the library's printed collection, search for the journal in the stacks.  Printed journals are arranged in alphabetical order on the shelves in the center of the library, towards 35th Street from the Reference Desk.

Printed Indexes

Printed indexes to newspapers and magazines can help you zero in on sources that may not have been digitized.  You can find printed indexes in CUNY's OneSearch, WorldCat Discovery, or other library catalogs.  Following are a few sample searches:


American Newspapers--Indexes
British Newspapers--Indexes
New York Times--Indexes
[Any publication]--Indexes

Research Metrics

Scholarly metrics are a way to measure quantitatively the impact of an article, author, or journal. Consult our comprehensive Research Metrics guide for information and links to article- and journal-level tools.

Literature Review Articles

Literature review articles -- not to be confused with book reviews -- are a specific type of document that "provide a state-of-the-art assessment of knowledge in [a] particular field" (Mann, 161).  Review articles are similar to encyclopedia articles, except they are usually geared for specialists rather than general readers and contain more extensive bibliographies. 

Look for review articles when you are beginning a research project to get an overview of the scholarship in your field.

Source:  The Oxford Guide to Library Research.

Writing Literature Reviews

If you are writing your own literature review, the UNC Writing Center has an informative and concise handout for constructing literature reviews in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. 

For more in-depth assistance, log into Sage Research Methods to find tools and resources to help you research and write a literature review.  And while you're there, watch the video tutorial "Using Sage Research Methods to do a Literature Review" for step-by-step instructions.

Citation Searches

A citation search will turn up publications that cite a source in a footnote.  In The Oxford Guide to Library Research Thomas Mann calls citation searching "the mirror image of footnote chasing" because it takes you "forward in time, to subsequent sources published after your source" (Mann, 141).

The link below to Citation Indexes will take you to the Web of Science database.  Choose "Cited Reference Search" instead of "Basic Search" to find the articles that cite a person's work.