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Following a Citation Trail

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Following a Citation Trail

Being able to interpret a citation is an important research skill. It enables you to track down resources from a reference list found in a course list, in an annotated bibliography, or listed at the back of a book or journal article. This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to read a citation to locate a specific item in the TRU Library.

There are three steps in following a citation trail to locate an item.

1. Read the citation to determine if it is a book or an article.
2. Choose the essential citation information you need to locate the item.
3. Use the Discovery Tool to search using the essential citation information.

Shortcut: Article Searching

Many journal articles have something called a DOI, or a digital object identifier.  You can locate the article by entering the article DOI into our Discover tool search box.

DOI lookup services:

Reading a Citation

Reading a Citation

A citation tells you enough basic information to go and find the item. It does not matter which citation style was used (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.). Different citation styles put the information in different order. So, it is important to read the citation carefully to figure out what your item is.
‚Äč** Key Information

Journal Article

Eskildsen, R. "Of Civilization and Savages: the Mimetic Imperialism of Japan's 1874 Expedition to Taiwan." American Historical Review 107, no. 2 (2002): 388-418.
Look for:
  Article Title: Of Civilization and Savages...
Journal Title: American Historical Review
Volume/Issue: volume 107; issue 2 **
  • NOTE: Where and how volume and issue information is formatted depends on citation style
Pages: 388-418

Book

MacMillan, M. Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World. New York: Random House, 2002.
Look for:
  Title: Paris 1919
Place of Publication: New York **
Publisher: Random House **

Book Chapter

Diamond, J. "Historic Extinctions: A Rosetta Stone for Understanding Prehistoric Extinctions." In Quaternary Extinctions: A Prehistoric Revolution. Ed., Paul S. Martin and Richard G. Klein. Tucson, AZ: University of Tuscan Press, 1984. 824-862.
Look for:
  Chapter Title: Historic Extinctions ...
Book Title: Quarternary Extinctions
  • NOTE: Look for the word "In"  before the book title **
  • Use the title that is in italics
Book Editor: Martin and Klein
  • NOTE: Look for the word "Ed."  before the book 's editor **
Place of Publication: Tucson
Publisher: University of Tuscan Press
Chapter Pages: 824-862

Newspaper Article

Dyer, Gwynne. "Why is Japan rich, China so poor? Historic Chinese struggle to preserve nation's unity may be the key." The Gazette. Oct. 2, 1987, Final Edition, B3.
Look for:
  Article Title: Why is Japan rich
Publication Title: The Gazette
Full Publication Date: October 2, 1987 **

Choosing Essential Citation Info.

Essential Citation Information

Choose the parts of the citation that you will enter into the Discovery tool to locate the item. Including more than one piece of citation information in your search will often help you find it right away.

Journal Article

Eskildsen, R. "Of Civilization and Savages: The Mimetic Imperialism of Japan's 1874 Expedition to Taiwan." American Historical Review 107, no. 2 (2002): 388-418.
What information do I need to find it? Article title and maybe also author's last name, journal title, or date 
What tool do I use to find it? TRU Library's Discover
How do I find it?
  1. On TRU Library's homepage, click on "Advanced Search" under Discover's main search box
  2. First search box: Type in the first part of the article title (i.e., "Of Civilization and Savages") and select Title from the adjacent dropdown box
    • TIP: use quotation marks to search these terms as a phrase
  3. Second search box: Put the author's last name (Eskildsen) and then select Author from the adjacent dropdown box
  4. Click on Search button

(See Discovery Tool for more information)

Book

MacMillan, M. Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World. New York: Random House, 2002.
What information do I need to find it? Book title and maybe also author's last name
What tool do I use to find it? TRU Library's Discover
How do I find it?
  1. On TRU Library's homepage, click on "Advanced Search" under Discover's main search box
  2. First search box: Type in the first part of the book title (i.e., "Paris 1919") and select Title from the adjacent dropdown box
    • TIP: use quotation marks to search these terms as a phrase
  3. Second search box: Put the author's last name (MacMillan) and then select Author from the adjacent dropdown box
  4. Click on Search button

(See Discovery Tool for more information)

Book Chapter

Diamond, J. "Historic Extinctions: A Rosetta Stone for Understanding Prehistoric Extinctions." In Quaternary Extinctions: A Prehistoric Revolution. Ed., Paul S. Martin and Richard G. Klein. Tucson, AZ: University of Tuscan Press, 1984. 824-862.
What information do I need to find it? Book title (NOT chapter title) and maybe editor's name (NOT chapter author)
What tool do I use to find it? TRU Library's Discover
How do I find it?
  1. On TRU Library's homepage, click on "Advanced Search" under Discover's main search box
  2. First search box: Type in the first part of the book title (i.e., "Quaternary Extinctions") and select Title from the adjacent dropdown box
    • TIP: use quotation marks to search these terms as a phrase
    • TIP: Do NOT search for the chapter title (i.e., "Historic Extinctions")
  3. Second search box: Put the editor's last name (Martin) and then select Author from the adjacent dropdown box
    • TIP: Do NOT search for the chapter's author (i.e., Diamond)
  4. Click on Search button

(See Discovery Tool for more information)

Newspaper Article

Dyer, Gwynne. "Why is Japan rich, China so poor? Historic Chinese struggle to preserve nation's unity may be the key." The Gazette. Oct. 2, 1987, Final Edition, B3.
What information do I need to find it? Article title and Newspaper title
What tool do I use to find it? TRU Library's Discover
How do I find it?
  1. On TRU Library's homepage, click on "Advanced Search" under Discover's main search box
  2. First search box: Type in the first part of the article title (i.e., "Why is Japan rich") and select Title from the adjacent dropdown box
    • TIP: use quotation marks to search these terms as a phrase
    • TIP: Do NOT search for the chapter title (i.e., "Historic Extinctions")
  3. Second search box: Put the newspaper's title (i.e., "The Gazette") and then select Journal Title/Source from the adjacent dropdown box
  4. Click on Search button

(See Discovery Tool for more information)

Discovery Tool

Searching Discover for a Specific Item

Once you have read the citation and picked out the essential citation information you need to find the item, you're ready to search for the item. Use the Library's Discovery Tool, the main search box on the Library's home page, to search for books and articles.

  1. Open the TRU Library home page and click on the Advanced Search below the Discover search box.
  2. Enter two pieces of citation information, one in each search box.
    • Example:

      Silva, C. (2008). Miraculous plagues: Epidemiology on New England's colonial landscape. Early American Literature43(2), 249-270.

      • Search box #1: enter the title of the article (i.e., "Miraculous plagues: Epidemiology on New England's colonial landscape") (choosing Title from the drop down menu)
      • Search box #2: enter the author's last name (i.e., Silva) (choosing Author from the drop down menu).
    • NOTE: If you are looking for a chapter in an eBook, use the title and editor of the book, NOT the chapter title/author
  3. Click on the Search Button
  4. Locate the item you want in the search results
    • Articles
      1. If available, click on the HTML, PDF Full Text, or specific database link to access the article's full text
      2. If there is no full text link visible, click on "Where can I get this?" The next page will show the locations of the article, which you click on to access the full article.
    • Books
      1. If available as eBook, click on the "Online Access" or "PDF Full Text" links
      2. If available in print, write down the full call number and location so you can find the book
        • NOTE: For print items, Open Learning students can request the book or book chapter using our online request forms.
  5. If the item is not available, you may see the "Request this item through interlibrary loan" link. Clicking this link will take you to the interlibrary loan online form, through which you can request the library to obtain the item from another institution.

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