Tutorial: How to Find Articles in Periodicals

Finding periodical and newspaper articles is always a two-step process:

  1. Use an index (See definition below) to find a bibliographic citation (title and author of article, name of periodical, date, etc.) for an article in a particular journal or newspaper. The BPCC Library subscribes to a number of print indexes (example, Readers;' Guide) and electronic indexes (example, SilverPlatter) that cover a variety of subject areas. Print indexes are located in the Library's reference collection on index tables. Students may access computerized indexes (i.e. online databases) via the Library's website, www.bpcc.edu/library.

  2. If the article is not available full-text (the entire or full text of the article) in the database searched or if you use a print index, 1) do a TITLE SEARCH in the Library's magazine List (located at the Circulation desk) or the online catalog to see whether the library owns the journal, 2) fill out a PERIODICAL REQUEST FORM. 3) Submit form to Circulation Desk. Personnel at the Circulation Desk will retrieve a copy of the journal or a microfiche for you and inform you on printing options available.

Note: It is important to emphasize how NOT to find articles in periodicals.

  • YOU CANNOT SEARCH FOR PERIODICAL ARTICLES IN THE LIBRARY CATALOG! The Online Catalog may indicate whether the Library subscribes to a particular journal, but articles within those journals are NOT referenced in the catalog. However, Online Catalog does suggest many journal titles containing URLs linking to databases which offer possibilities for searching.

  • Browsing hard copies of journals is not an efficient way to find articles on a particular subject. This is, however, a useful technique when choosing a term paper topic.


An index lists citations (title and author of article, name of periodical, date, etc.) to articles in magazines, periodicals and journals. The BPCC Library subscribes to a variety of indexes available in two formats: online and print.


A database provides online access to citations, abstracts and full-text articles in magazines, journals, and newspapers. The BPCC Library subscribes to a variety of databases covering many subject areas.

Before initiating a search in an index, devise a search strategy.

  • List the key concepts of your topic.
  • Choose alternative words to describe the same idea (for example, human resources or personnel).
  • Select a print index or online database in which to search.

Which Index/Database should I use?

Check the Database Descriptions binder at the Circulation Desk for an alphabetical list of the databases and print indexes available at BPCC. Check the instructions or help screens for a particular database before initiating a search. They will help you use the database more effectively and efficiently.

Reference Librarians are also available to instruct you with all of your informational needs. Feel free to set up an appointment by stopping by the Reference Desk or call 318-678-6331, ext. 357.

Databases accessible through the BPCC library are commercial products purchased from vendors. Citations mentioned in database searches may not be available in the BPCC Library collection. Sometimes articles have to be ordered through interlibrary loan, i.e. from another library.

Periodical Collections:

Locating the Full-Text Article

Online Databases:
Access citations, abstracts and full-text articles from thousands of magazines, journals, and newspapers is available from a variety of online databases. Access is available on or off campus through the Library's webpage www.bpcc.edu/library. From the Library's webpage, click Indexes and Databases. If you are off campus, click the following: "If you are off campus, click here" Select a database. You will be asked for a logon ID (your 9-digit student ID) and PIN.

The Library purchases microfiche for many of its periodicals. Microfiche look like a plastic index card with a miniaturized picture of journal pages. Microfilm is available for back issues of THE TIMES. Inquire at the Circulation Desk for help in locating the issues you require and assistance in using the microform readers and printers.

See Also: Periodicals and Journals and Distinguishing Between Periodicals