n your studies at Buffalo State you will be making use of academic literature to expand your understanding and support your research. This makes you a part of the research process. As such, you should be familiar with some terms. Once again we will be using the ODLIS dictionary for definitions.
Article - A self-contained nonfiction prose composition on a fairly narrow topic or subject, written by one or more authors and published under a separate title in a collection or periodical containing other works of the same form. The length of a periodical article is often a clue to the type of publication--magazine articles are generally less than five pages long; scholarly journal articles, longer than five pages. Also, journal articles often include a brief abstract of the content (click here to see an example). Periodical articles are indexed, usually by author and subject, in periodical indexes and abstracting services, known as bibliographic databases when available electronically.
In this class we will be primarily working with articles published in academic or scholarly journals. This differs from articles created for magazines or newspapers though you may find those publications just as useful for your research. Articles in journals are written by academics for academics. The purpose of such an article in a scholarly journal is to record and present findings from research or possibly new interpretations or reviews of literature.
We have used the term journal and it too needs some explanation.
Journal - A periodical devoted to disseminating original research and commentary on current developments in a specific discipline, subdiscipline, or field of study (example: Journal of Clinical Epidemiology), usually published in quarterly, bimonthly, or monthly issues sold by subscription (click here to see an example). Journal articles are usually written by the person (or persons) who conducted the research. Longer than most magazine articles, they almost always include a bibliography or list of works cited at the end. In journals in the sciences and social sciences, an abstract usually precedes the text of the article, summarizing its content. Most scholarly journals are peer-reviewed. Scholars often use a current contents service to keep abreast of the journal literature in their fields of interest and specialization.
Academic articles get published in journals with aggregate articles on similar topics. What is important from the definition above is:
In the past libraries purchased print copies of these journals. Finding articles was accomplished with a system of title, author, and subject indexes. Finding relevant articles was time consumimg. Today,most journals have moved to an online format. The Butler library provides access to many thousands of different journals across every academic domain.
The main access to these journals is through journal aggregators like Ebsco who package groups of related journals as databases. Academic Search Complete is an example of such a database. Academic Search Complete is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades database but most have a theme. LexisNexis provide legal resources, American Chemistry Society journals focuses on emerging topics in chemistry and so on. Some databases don't contain articles at all. Early American imprints is a collections of publications and pamphlets from 1640 to 1820. Kanopy contains streaming video. Let's look at the ODLIS definition of databases:
Database - A large, regularly updated file of digitized information (bibliographic records, abstracts, full-text documents, directory entries, images, statistics, etc.) related to a specific subject or field, consisting of records of uniform format organized for ease and speed of search and retrieval and managed with the aid of database management system (DBMS) software.
Most databases used in libraries are catalogs, periodical indexes, abstracting services, and full-text reference resources leased annually under licensing agreements that limit access to registered borrowers and library staff.
Here are some important points from the above definition: