Friday, 17 April 2015

JSTOR is amazing

Academic Liaison Librarian, Ned Potter, explains how JSTOR can help you improve your research, essays and grades.

JSTOR is a massive collection of online journals and books, which you can access via the E-resources guide. It is full of literally millions of high quality academic articles (which Google can’t find!) for you to read there and then, and use in your research and cite in essays and reports. JSTOR is amazing. Not only can this resource save you time, but it can help make your grades better. You can access it from anywhere in the world that you have an internet connection, including on your mobile, and as you can see, it covers many academic disciplines:

How to find what you need on JSTOR

As well as appearing on the E-resources guide, you may also see links to JSTOR on your Department’s Subject Guide. Accessing the resource in either of these ways ensures it knows you are from York, and so gives you the access you are entitled to. (The library has paid for access to JSTOR on your behalf, so don’t go direct to or it may try and charge you for access to something you’re eligible to use for free.)

When you search JSTOR it will default to only display ‘Content I can access’. You may wish to occasionally press the ‘All content’ button below the search box to see what else is on there, but as long as you’re in the ‘Content I can access’ mode you should be able to read in full text the articles and books you find. You can read on screen, or save the PDF to view later, or print things out.

When you run a search on JSTOR it searches throughout the full text. So when you type in something like ‘20th century film’ it isn’t just searching the titles and descriptions of the articles and chapters, it’s searching within them as well. This allows you to find really specific sections to cite and reference in your work – but it also means you’ll bring back a LOT of results for most searches you do. In order to reduce the number to a more manageable amount, use the Advanced Search. (In fact, as a rule of thumb, it’s always worth using the Advanced Search with the databases the library subscribes to.)

This allows you to layer your search terms, meaning you spend less time searching and more time finding because you tell JSTOR your very specific requirements. You can also limit your search to just articles, or just publications from the time period of your choosing. For the most efficient search, keep the box to ‘Include only content I can access’ ticked, but untick the ‘Include links to external content’ box – this will guarantee you have access to the full text of everything you find.


Finally, even though you have access to JSTOR as a result of your being at the University of York, you can also set up your own (free) account within the database. This is known as MyJSTOR and can be found on the navigation bar which stays at the top of the screen as you search and browse. MyJSTOR will allow you to save your searches, email and export your references, and even receive email alerts when a new article is added which matches your criteria.  It’s well worth using, and more info on how to sign up can be found online.

Any questions about how this resource works, let us know in the comments or get in touch with your Academic Liaison Librarian.

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