Introduction to Biomedical Engineering (BIM-001):
How To Find A Journal Article old page

This web page was created to help students in the Introduction to Biomedical Engineering class (BIM001) locate a journal article for a specific assignment. For complete information on library resources and services see the web pages for the Main Library or the Physical Sciences & Engineering Library.

What Is A Journal Article?

A journal article:

  • states the results of original research
  • is written by scholars, scientists, or other experts
  • is written for an audience of scholars, scientists, or other experts
  • is peer-reviewed (or refereed)
  • is published in a scholarly journal

What Is A Journal?

A journal:

  • is an on-going publication
  • may be issued: weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc.
  • may also be called a periodical or a serial
  • scholarly journals are one of the primary methods used by scholars, scientists and other experts to exchange new information

Are Magazines and Journals the same?

Both magazines and journals are periodicals, but...

  • "Magazine" usually refers to popular titles written for the general public.
    Examples of magazines include: Time, Newsweek, National Geographic, and Sports Illustrated.
  • "Journal" usually refers to peer-reviewed scholarly journals, written by experts for experts.
    Examples of journals include: Science, Nature, Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, and IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control.
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STEP 1: How Do I Search For Journal Articles?

To find journal articles on Biomedical Engineering topics, you need to find a database that indexes journal articles in Biomedical Engineering. You **cannot** search for journal articles in the Harvest or Melvyl catalogs!!! (But you can use Harvest or Melvyl to find books or journals.)

The UCD library has almost 300 databases available. To make this assignment a bit easier, I have listed the 3 main article databases for Biomedical Engineering below, along with a description of each, and a Quick Search Guide. Use the description to decide which database is best for your topic. The Quick Search Guides are very helpful, I strongly suggest you print the one for your database, and refer to it during your search.

Step 1-A: Select The Best Database For Your Topic:

BIOSIS Previews
BIOSIS is the primary article index for the life sciences and biology (including bioengineering and biotechnology). Coverage: 1969 - present. Note: for topics relating to medicine, use PubMed.
Compendex
Compendex is the primary article index for all aspects of engineering. Coverage: 1884 - present.
PubMed
PubMed is the primary article index for medicine and clinical research. Coverage: 1960 - present.
Quick Guide To Searching PubMed

Step 1-B: Conduct Your Search:

We will spend most of the class learning how to search, an outline is given below as a reminder.

  • Start with a Keyword search.
  • Limit your search as necessary. You can limit by:
    • adding additional keywords to your original search term, connected with "AND"
    • year
    • type of publication
    • language
  • For additional help conducting a search, refer to the Quick Guides listed above, or ask for more help at the Physical Sciences & Engineering Library Reference Desk (or the Shields or Health Science Library Reference Desks).

Parts Of A Citation

After you conduct your search, you will see a list of citations to articles. It is important to know what information these citations are giving you. Below is a citation to a non-existent article (citations from BIOSIS, Compendex, and PubMed will look similar to this):

Craig, C.    2003.    Why I Want A Dog For Christmas.    The Journal of Excellent Christmas Presents  3(10): 12-15.

Below, I use this made-up citation, to show what information each part of the citation is giving you:

Author: C. Craig
Year Published: 2003
Title of Article: Why I Want A Dog For Christmas
Title of Journal: The Journal of Excellent Christmas Presents
Volume: 3
Issue: 10
Pages: 12-15
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STEP 2: How Do I Get A Copy Of The Article(s) I Want?

In STEP 1 you chose a database and conducted a search to locate an article you want. Now you need to get a copy of the article. There are 2 ways to do this, either: 1) use the UC-eLinks button (which appears in all 3 article databases we are using); or 2) use the Harvest or MELVYL Catalog to look up the name of the journal. (Harvest is the catalog for UC Davis, the MELVYL Catalog lists materials from all UC campuses, including Davis.) See the instructions below.

Use UC-eLinks To Locate The Article (This is the easiest way!) UC-eLinks

The UC-eLinks button appears in all of the article databases we are using for this assignment (BIOSIS, Compendex, PubMed). After you have conducted a search you will see a list of citations. Use the article abstracts to decide which article(s) you want to get.

Once you have decided which article(s) you want, click on the UC-eLinks button adjacent to the citation. A new window will open with UC-eLinks information:

“Fulltext available…”
IF the article is available electronically, you will see this link. Click on it to get to the electronic copy of the article (look for the PDF version). NOTE: If the article is not available electronically, the "Fulltext Available..." link will not appear in the UC-eLinks window.
“See if your campus has this. Select the full record on MELVYL.”
If the journal is not available electronically, click on this link (or the Harvest link below) to see if it is available in print. Because MELVYL lists records for all the UC's, you will need to determine if UC Davis owns the journal. If the journal is at UC Davis, write down: the call number, the library where the journal is kept, and the complete citation to the article. Then you can go to that library, locate the journal using the call number, and xerox the article.
“Check for Location and Circulation Status in UC Davis Harvest Library Catalog.”
If the journal is not available electronically, click on this link (or the MELVYL link above) to see if it is available in print. If the journal is at UC Davis, write down: the call number, the library where the journal is kept, and the complete citation to the article. Then you can go to that library, locate the journal using the call number, and xerox the article.

For additional help with UC-eLinks, see Getting Started with UC-eLinks or ask at any reference desk.

OR Use the HARVEST or MELVYL catalogs to locate the JOURNAL

If you have a complete citation, you can use the Harvest or MELVYL catalogs to find the article. Recall, Harvest is the catalog for UC Davis, MELVYL includes all the UC’s. The basic steps for doing this are given below, ask at a Reference Desk if you need additional help.

Harvest Catalog (UC Davis only) Harvest Search Guide

Type the complete title of the journal (not the title of the article!!!) in the Keyword Search Box. Then select “JOURNAL/PERIODICAL TITLE WORDS” as your type of search, and click SUBMIT.

Ask at any reference desk if you need help finding a journal in Harvest or Melvyl.

Melvyl (http://ucdavis.worldcat.org) (All UC Campuses) MELVYL Basic Guide

From the basic search screen, select “JOURNAL TITLE” as your type of search, and type the title of the journal (not the title of the article!!!) in the adjacent Search Box, and click SEARCH.

Ask at any reference desk if you need help finding a journal in Harvest or Melvyl.

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Off-Campus Access To Article Databases, Electronic Journals, & Other Library Resources

If you want to use article databases (such as BIOSIS, Compendex and PubMed), or electronic journals, or other resources licensed by the library from off campus, there are 2 options:

Option 1: Use the proxy server if you have a private internet service provider at home. See the instructions on How To Use The Proxy Server.

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Need More Help?

The quickest way to get help is to go to one of the library Reference Desks. The librarians working there will be happy to show you how to search a database, or find a journal, or answer any other questions you have. Reference desks are located at the Physical Sciences & Engineering Library (main floor); Shields Library (third floor ref desk would be your best choice for this assignment); or the Health Sciences Library (main floor).

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions regarding this page, please contact me at cjcraig@ucdavis.edu Cory Craig - Biomedical Engineering Librarian, Physical Sciences & Engineering Library, University of California, Davis.