Citations: Using the Information to Track Down Sources

Using Citations as Leads to Sources

Academic works include lists of cited sources, which can offer leads to materials that we can use in our research. Being mindful of how sources are used in the works we're reading helps us figure out which sources might be useful. Then, we can locate those sources, read and evaluate them, and decide if we want to use them.

The first step in locating a cited source involves figuring out what type of source it is (e.g., article, movie, book, etc.).

We can analyze an entry using what we know about documentation styles. The information included in a citation, how the pieces are arranged, and the punctuation tell us the source types.

Knowing the source type helps us figure out the best way to look for an item in the library's collections. For example, we would use

  • the SFX CitationFinder tool to track down periodical articles,
  • the library catalog to locate books and parts of books, and
  • the Dissertations & Theses database to look for these academic publications.

The following pages offer instructions for analyzing citations and for using library resources to locate common source types: periodical articles, books and parts of books, and dissertations/theses.

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Figuring out Citation Source Types

There are reasons behind all the rules we follow when citing sources. When written according to the rules, citations let us figure out exactly what sources were used. Knowing the rules helps us locate those sources, as well as evaluate works based on the source types the writers used.

Citation rules almost always require that the author(s) and publication date are included. The rules also dictate that we include other information that helps readers figure out what the cited item is.

Therefore, each citation will include specific information that helps us figure out what it is. Below are examples of what to look for in citations for four source types: periodical articles, books, essays or chapters in books, and dissertations.

Put your cursor over the purple segments in each citation to get information about how they help us determine source types.

Tracking Down Periodical Articles

The SFX CitationFinder tool will help you find out if a periodical article is in the library's databases or collections. It acts like SFX links in database results. When activated, it searches for full text versions of articles in the library's databases. Then, it shows a results screen so you can

The following steps explain how to use the SFX CitationFinder.


Using SFX CitationFinder to Locate Articles

The following steps explain how to use the SFX CitationFinder.

  • We'll use this periodical article citation for our sample search:
    Stanley-Stevens, L. & Kaiser, K. C. (2011). Decisions of first time expectant mothers in Central Texas compared to women in Great Britain and Spain: Testing Hakim's preference theory. Journal of Comparative Family Studies 42(1), 113-130.
  • You can use the window to the right to perform the steps as you read them.
    • If your NTNET login does not work in the window, open this library homepage window, resize it, and use it to follow along.

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The SFX CitationFinder tool is located on the library's homepage (http://www.tarleton.edu/library).

  • Click the Online periodicals by title (SFX) link under the Databases heading.
    • Use your NTNET login if you're off campus. (Get NTNET information.)
  • Click the CitationFinder tab at the top of the SFX interface.
  • Using the example article citation above, we only need to fill in these search boxes:
    • periodical title = journal of comparative family studies
      • omit punctuation marks and articles (a, an, the)
    • year = 2011
      • choose year from the drop-down menu
    • article title = decisions of first time expectant mothers
      • just use the first 4-5 words of the title
    • first author's last name = stanley-stevens
      • omit initials and first name
    • Your SFX interface should look like this:
      SFX_search.jpg
  • Click "GO" and the SFX CitationFinder will search for the full text of the article.

Perform an SFX citation search in this window while reading the steps!

If your NTNET login will not work in this window,
open this library homepage window, resize it, and use it to follow along.

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Interpreting SFX Search Results

SFX search results will

The images below show what each of these results looks like. Tips for what to do with the results are listed to the side of the images.

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SFX_results_database.jpg

SFX Database Link: Get Full Text Articles

If an article is full text in the library's databases, a link to the database will appear under the "Full Text Online" heading. More than one database may be listed if the periodical is full text in several databases.

The links will state the database's name and the years of full text coverage. In the example image, the database is Academic Search Complete and the Journal of Comparative Family Studies is available full text since 1985.

  • Before clicking a database link in SFX results, check the "Available from" year to make sure the year you want is available.
    • SFX is just software. It shows results from searching across multiple databases with different characteristics and may list false leads.
  • Note the database's name in case you want to use this database directly from the library's database page when
    • you are tracking another article from the same periodical,
    • you want to search for other articles about related topics, or
    • the SFX link does not work. Remember, SFX is just software and sometimes glitches.
  • Click the "Full Text Online" database link to open the database.
    • If prompted, use your NTNET login when off campus. (Get NTNET information.)

When clicked, the database link should open in a window that shows

  • the full text article's record so you can read and/or save the article or
  • a search interface so you can search for the article.
    • The journal title should already be embedded in the search.
    • Use the article title as your search term for more precise retrieval.

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SFX Catalog Link: Search for Periodicals

If the periodical is not full text in the library's databases, the SFX CitationFinder results will show a "We do not have online access to this" message. However, you may still be able to get the article because the library purchases periodicals in electronic and print formats.

So, the next step is to find out if the library owns the periodical you need.

  • Click the "See if we have a print copy in the Tarleton Libraries Catalog" link.

When clicked, the link will initiate a catalog search. Then, a window will open and show

  • the library catalog record for the periodical you're looking for or
  • a "no match" results list with links to "best match" items.

If the library owns the periodical, the catalog record will show what years are owned, which library has the periodical, and if the library purchases it in electronic format (see below).

catalog_periodical.jpg

  • Print periodicals can be retrieved from the library that holds them. Then, the article can be read and/or photocopied at that library.
  • Online periodicals can be accessed by clicking links in their catalog records.
    • If prompted, use your NTNET login to open the periodical.
    • Use the article title as your search term for more precise retrieval.

SFX_results_catalog.jpg

If the library does not own the periodical or does not have the year you need, you can submit an interlibrary loan (ILLiad) request. Library staff will look for a library that has the periodical, request a copy of the article, and make it available to you. Learn more about Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad).

NOTE: If you take classes on campuses other than the Stephenville campus or fully online and an item you need is not available electronically through the library's databases and catalog, register for the library's off-campus and distance learning services.

Then, you can submit interlibrary loan requests for print materials from the main library's collections. The materials will be delivered by courier to your campus or, if you qualify, to your home. Read more about the library's "Off-Campus & Distance Learning Services."

 

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SFX Interlibrary Loan Link: Request Articles

If the article you need is not full text in the library's databases and the periodical is not in Tarleton libraries' collections, submit an interlibrary loan request. This request lets library staff know that you need them to locate and obtain an item for your use.

  • On the SFX results page, click the "Request this item through ILLiad - our Interlibrary Loan service" link.
    • Use your NTNET login to open the interlibrary loan request form. (Get NTNET information.)
  • The SFX tool will add most of the needed information to the request form.
  • Complete all the required fields, which are marked with a red asterisk and include
    • periodical title
    • year
    • inclusive (start and stop) page numbers
      • Always check that the page numbers are filled in. Interlibrary loan staff can't get an article if they don't know its page numbers.
    • year
    • article title
    • Not wanted after date
      • Lets library staff know when to stop looking for an item.
    • Supplying additional information like volume and issue numbers or publication month helps library staff get the correct article.
  • When the form is completed, click the "Submit Request" button.
    • The library's interlibrary loan staff will look for a library that owns the periodical, ask for a copy of the article, and contact you through your go.tarleton.edu email to let you know your request's status.

NOTE: You may also be able to use the library's TexShare program to locate the periodical you need in a library in your area. Learn about TexShare.

SFX_results_illoan.jpg

Return to Library's FAQ & Research Tips page

Tracking Down Books & Book Parts

To find out if the library has a book you want, search the library catalog. If a book is available, the book's catalog record will show the book's call number, which Tarleton library has the book, the collection where it's shelved, and quite a bit more. You will then be able to

The following steps explain how to search for books in the catalog


Using the Catalog to Locate Books

The following steps explain how to search for books in the catalog

  • For our example search, we'll use these citations:
    Boyd. E. B. (2006). Ya yas, grits, and sweet potato queens: Contemporary southern belles and the prescriptions that guide them. In S. Ferris & M. Young (Eds)., Chick lit: The new woman's fiction (pp. 159-172). New York, NY: Routledge.
    Zelman, D. L. (1983). Alazan-Apache courts: A New Deal response to Mexican American housing conditions in San Antonio. Austin: Texas State Historical Association.
  • To locate these sources, we need to locate the books.
    • Parts of books like the Boyd essay are not easily located by title; locating the book yields the essay.
    • The Zelman book citation is more straightforward; we know which title to look for.
    • Locating either source uses the same steps. The instructions below tell how to track the Boyd citation.
  • You can use the window to the right to perform the steps as you read them.
  • If the inset window does not work, open this library homepage window, resize it, and use it to follow the steps.

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The library catalog link is located on the library's homepage (http://www.tarleton.edu/library)

  • Click the Books, periodicals, videos, audio books, CD, DVD, etc. link under the Library Catalog heading.
    • Or, click the Library Catalog link in the navigation bar on the homepage's leftside.
    • NOTE: If the catalog page opens in a tab instead of a window, Right Click the link & choose "Open in New Window"
  • Since we know the book's title, we can use the Quick Search interface.
  • In the search box, type the book's title = chick lit the new womans fiction
    • Capitals are not needed and omit punctuation marks. Search tools read most punctuation marks as search commands.
  • Choose title from the search field drop-down box.
  • Click Search.

    Example search:

    catalog_book.jpg
    • NOTE: This book has editors, not an author. Do not use editors' names in searches. The catalog does not have an editor search field.

If the library has a book, its catalog record will appear. If more than one book has the same title, a list of results will appear. Clicking a title link will open an item's Brief View catalog record.

Only one book matched our example title search, so the Brief View catalog record appeared.

Perform a catalog search in this window while reading the steps!

If the catalog link opens in a new window, resize it to follow along.

If the inserted window below does not work,
open this library homepage window, resize it, and use it to follow along.

 


Interpreting Catalog Search Results

Only one book matched our example title search, so the Brief View catalog record appeared.

  • The Brief View catalog record shows
    • the book's call number (PS374.W6 C48 2006)
      • If an ebook is available, the catalog record will have a link to open it. NTNET logins open library e-books.
    • which library has the book (Dick Smith Library - Stephenville),
    • the collection (General Stacks) where the book is shelved, and
    • the book's checkout availability.
      • If the library has a book, but it is not available for checkout, the Location field will state "Checked out," "In-house use only," "On reserve," etc.

If the library does not have a book, you can request it through the library's interlibrary loan (ILLiad) services. Learn more about this service on the Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad) page.

Example Brief View catalog record:

record_book.jpg

NOTE: If you take classes on campuses other than the Stephenville campus or fully online and the book you need is not available electronically through the library's catalog, register for the library's off-campus and distance learning services. Then, submit an interlibrary loan request for the book. It will be delivered by courier to your campus or, if you qualify, to your home.

Learn more about the library's "Off-Campus & Distance Learning Services."

Return to Library's FAQ & Research Tips page