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Information Literacy Course International Relations: I want to find an article

Journal articles?

You will come across articles from scholarly journals fairly early on in your study. Research results and new insights are often first published in scholarly journals making them an important part in scholarly communication.

There are scholarly journals in all academic disciplines. In the exact and biomedical sciences in particular, journals play a far bigger role than books. These days, scholarly journals are usually published in electronic form, as e-journals. 

Although the University Library is currently still subscribing to hundreds of printed journals, it also offers access to over 30.000 (!) e-journals. Printed volumes are not for loan, but can be consulted in the library. E-journals are accessible online for students and scholars of the University of Groningen. 

There are various ways of finding articles published in these e-journals. SmartCat gives access to all articles, but direct access through so-called full-text databases and indirect access through so-called bibliographic databases is also possible. It is not very easy to distinguish between the two so both are usually referred to as electronic databases.

These databases can be found on the Library portal. Electronic databases are generally geared to a specific discipline and offer therefore several advantages over SmartCat which is an interdisciplinary search engine.

Finding journal articles in SmartCat

SmartCat is the catalogue of the University of Groningen Library. In this catalogue you can find records of all books, e-books, journals, e-journals, manuscripts, atlases, dvds etc. held by the University Library, including information on lacation and availability of printed material and links to the electronic material which are available online.

SmartCat is more than a conventional catalogue. It is a socalled 'discovery tool'. This means, for example, that it also gives access to the full-text of all articles published in e-journals to which the library subscribes. And you can search not only the collection of the University Library of Groningen, but also those of other libraries in the Netherlands and abroad.

SmartCat: Searching for Journal Articles

Finding journal articles in SmartCat

If you are looking for a specific article (a so-called 'known item') you can use SmartCat to find it.

You can search for it using the article title and/or the author‘s name. If you are looking for articles on a particular subject, go to ‘Advanced Search’ and type in keyword or subject. Then go to the filter options in the left-hand menu to select articles only.

More information on searching for articles in SmartCat you can find in the SmartCat libguide.


To find out which database is the best one to use for your subject, you can consult a subject-specific LibGuide.  There you will find the most important (bibliographic) databases for your field of study.