Lesson S-9

Finding Full Text
Scholarly Literature Online

Search tools for finding scholarly and professional literature have rapidly migrated to the Web.  The literature itself, however, is making the transition more slowly.  Consequently, the almost instant gratification of Web searches is often accompanied by painfully slow retrieval of the actual publications.  If you are lucky, they are buried in your library and not mis-shelved or stolen.  Others were never acquired by your library, and that leaves you with slow inter-library loans. 

Within a few years, this frustration will largely be a thing of the past, although there will be a charge to one's library or to the individual user for accessing some of the material.  Meanwhile some scholarly and professional literature is on the Web, and more will be appearing weekly.  The most available on the Web are reports commissioned by government agencies, those conducted by scholarly and professional associations, and those published with accompanying advertisement.  Least available are the last year or two of issues of the major journals in a field. 

Note of caution:  Not all published journals provide high quality scholarly and professional literature.  Some are little more than platforms for the rhetoric of small interest groups.  That has always been true of some print journals, and it is even more common among the burgeoning number of "electronic journals" that are published only on the Web.  See Lessons A-1 to A-7 for guidance on how to judge the quality of individual articles or reports. 

Trail Guide

The following are sources of online full text scholarly and professional literature in the fields of education, human development, human resource development, and the general social sciences.  Note that some of these publications can be accessed directly by anyone, some require free registration, and some require a paid subscription. 

ABI/Inform (aka ProQuest) is a powerful search tool that provides the full text for more than half of the publications that it indexes.  It mostly includes business and management publications, but it does include several education publications, and some coverage of related fields such as sociology. Often you are given a choice of full text without graphics, for rapid downloading, and a full page image.  See Lesson S-5 for more information on this resource.
American Psychological Association has about 35 of its various journals available in full text online.  Most are available back through 1990.  Access is limited to members, and apparently there are fees if you do not subscribe to the hard copy version of the journal. 

Associations Unlimited provides links to the Web sites of 2,600 major scholarly, professional, trade, and other associations.  Many of the associations offer some of their publications on the Web in full text. 

Eldis provides extensive links to hundreds of Web sites with information on and for developing countries.  Many of these sites have some of their publications on the Web in full text. 

Electronic Journal Access is a search tool for identifying journals that are available in full text on the Web.  Click on "Electronic journals, by LC Subject Headings," then click on the alpha character that corresponds to the broad subject area of interest, scroll down to that subject heading, scan the journals listed under it, and click on any you wish to view. 

Electric Library allows one to search and read more than 1,000 publications online.  Most are of popular interest but several journals in the field of human resource development and management are available.  There is little coverage of education journals.  There is a 30-day free trial period.  Afterwards, the fee for individuals is $9.95 per month or $59.95 per year. 

ERIC Digests are brief reviews of the literature.  More than 1,000 have been prepared and about 100 new ones are completed each year.  They provide a good, concise introduction to the scholarly and professional literature. 

Gelman Library Electronic Journals provides links to many journals that are available in full text on the Web.  Some can be accessed by anyone and some are subscription services that can be accessed from GW campus computers by going to the Gelman Library home page, clicking on "Aladin" onthe top toolbar, and selecting "Electronic Journals".  In addition, from the Aladin homepage click "Social Sciences" and find full test material from various databases.  Lastly, if from the Gelman homepage you click on "Databases" and  select "Electronic Journals", you will find several hints and links to other sites that have full texts.

Internet Public Library: Reference Center provides links to thousands of periodicals and more than 10,000 books that are available on the Web.  Most are free, but some require subscriptions.  Most are of popular interest but there appear to be about 100 journals in education, human development, and human resource development.  Some classic books in education are available.  Hint: The links to broad subject areas that are shown at the top of the page are to resources; you have to scroll down considerably to get to the links to "Online Serials" and "Online Texts".

JSTOR provides the full text of back issues of journals in a broad range of fields.  The back issues often go back 10 or 20 years, but the last 1-3 years of issues are generally not available. There are relatively few education and human resource journals currently, but good coverage in several of the related social sciences, and the number of journals is expanding rapidly.  See Gelman Library Electronic Journals for instructions on how to access. 

National Academy Press publishes the many reports of the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council.  Some of these reports directly address education and human development.  About 1,500 reports from the Press are available free on the Web, including their latest releases.  Warning: each page of a report loads separately;  the print display is small and blurry; there is a zoom feature that enlarges the print, but the enlarged text remains blurry; and next to the zoom button is a button to purchase the hard copy report.  Access the Website at www.nap.edu.

Northern Light is a Web search engine that also provides access to the full text of selected publications.  Most are broadly related to business and management, and a few deal directly with education.  After examining the abstract, you can view and download the full text for a fee that usually is $1.00 - $4.00. 

Online Books Page provides links to more than 10,000 books that are available in full text on the Web.  Includes some classics and major recent publications in education and human development.  The coverage is similar, but not identical to the Internet Public Library collection described above.

Pathway Services is the U.S. Government Printing Office's Web site for searching and linking to federal government publications and information products that are available in full text on the Web.  This includes many reports prepared by federal agencies and their contractors.  Currently you can search only by federal agency. 

PolicyFile indexes and abstracts policy-related publications produced by a broad range of research organizations, university centers, think tanks, and others.  It provides links to the full text when it is publicly available on the Web.  [This is a proprietary database that GWU students can access through the Gelman home page: Click on "Article and Other Databases," then on "Alphabetical List," and finally on "PolicyFile"]. 

Project MUSE is a collection of journals, mostly in the humanities, published by Johns Hopkins University that are made available in full text on the Web by subscription.  GWU subscribes.  GWU students should see Gelman Library Electronic Journals above for access instructions. 

ProQuest (see ABI/Inform above) 

U.S. Department of Education's Web page provides extensive links to full text publications on the Web.   There are links to the Department's major statistical compendiums, Digest of Education Statistics and Condition of Education; to the publications of the "National Research & Development Centers" and "Regional Educational Laboratories"; and to "Other Sites" with links to "State Agencies and Resources" and "Educational Associations and Organizations" which often have their publications available in full text on the Web. 

First Aid

As mentioned in the first lesson, and noted again at the beginning of this lesson, a considerable portion of the scholarly and professional literature is not yet available on the Web.  Rather than waiting a week or more for interlibrary loans of journal articles not available in your library, you might want to order copies from the following vendors, who will fax or e-mail them to you for a fee.  Neither vendor has rights to all major journals, so if one vendor doesn't have what you need, try another. 

Carl Uncover Document Delivery Service

ISI Document Solutions

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Last Update: October 6, 2000 Link to the George Washington UniversitySend feedbackLink to Education Policy Page