FIG #6: Dollars & Dolomites: Using the Library

Article Databases

Google Scholar

Search Google Scholar for scholarly articles and books. You can see what item are in Western Libraries by setting Scholar Preference Library Links to Western Washington University.

Library Catalog

What can you find in the catalog? books, journals, CD, DVDs, etc.

What can't you find in the catalog? Journal or magazine articles. If you are looking for an article, try looking in one of the article databaes, like Ebsco's Academic Search Complete.

Books can be checked out for twenty-one days, DVDs for seven. More information on lending policies can be found here.

You can see your library record (what you have checked out and when it is due) online. You can renew material online, too.

Summit Catalog

Summit is a catalog that searches other academic libraries in Washington and Oregon. If Western doesn't have a book you need, you can request an item from Summit and have it delivered to the circulation desk in Haggard Hall.

Use the same search tips you used for the catalog. You can duplicate a search in Summit directly from Western's Catalog by clicking on the "Repeat search in Summit link at the top of the page.


Western Libraries subscribes to databses that are available to you as a student at Western.

What can I find in the databases? Articles and reports.

  • Online articles and reports, AKA "Full-text": Online versions of hundreds of thousands of articles from scholarly journals, popular magazines, newspapers, trade publications, and more.
  • Proprietory information: Reports and articles that you would have to pay for if you found them online

What if the articles isn't full text?

  • If you see the "Find It" button, the article is not full-text in the database.
  • The find it button will tell you if the article is in another database or if we have a hardcopy of it in the library.

How do I find the databases?

  • Western Libraries Databases Page. An alphabetical list of all of our databases.
  • Subject pages. A list or resources organized by subject.
  • Course Page. A page designed by a librarian for your class--like the one you are looking at right now.
  • Google Scholar. Use the Scholar Settings to search for Western Washington University. Select every box listed for WWU. Now when you search in Google Scholar you will see what journals and articles you can access through Western Libraries. 

Can I access them from off campus?

  • Yes. You will be asked to login with your Universal login.
  • Anywhere on campus, either in the labs or using the wireless, you can access databases without logging in. 

What if you need help? What if you forget everything you just told me?

  • Contact me.

Type of Articles & Journals

You will often be asked to search for academic or scholarly articles and journals. What does that mean? How are they different from other articles and journals?

Academic Journals and Articles

  • An academic article is created by academics for academics.
  • The research and information is considered to be trustworthy and well-researched.
  • Academic journals often have the word "journal" in the title, like Journal of Business Communication.
  • Academic articles are long. A short academic or scholarly article is five pages long; most are 15 to 20 pages long.
  • Academic journals rarely feature color picutres; most will feature charts and graphs, but not pictures.
  • Authors often have an affiliation with a university or research institute.


General-interest Magazines

  • General-interest magazines include titles like Time, Newsweek, Forbes, and Rolling Stone.
  • Articles are often shorter and written for a general audience.
  • Articles feature color images and the magaiznes are slick and glossy.
  • Don't dismiss an article in a general-interest magazine, but be aware of who it is written for and where it is coming from.