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Information Retrieval: Locating the materials


The search results in a database are references, which

  • describe the content
  • help to locate the material

Most databases include only the reference information while some also include the full-text (the document itself, usually in a HTML or PDF format). A search usually covers the reference information, which is why you can use the information of relevant search results/references in other searches.

A reference includes the bibliographic data of the source:

  • author and publication information
  • ISBN (books) or ISSN (journals) number
  • plate number (sheet music), catalogue number (records)
  • keywords, classification number, abstract


A screenshot of an article page, including aforementioned data

Locating articles

If the article is not available as a full-text, you need to locate the journal or edited volume in which it appears from the library or other databases.

A flowchart to illustrate where to search electronic and printed materials, respectively.

Full-text or reference?

Some databases include just the reference information (= citation database) whereas some are full-text databases with the articles etc. in HTML or PDF format. You need to find out the availability of references in citation databases: is it available in your library, elsewhere in Finland, online, or internationally. Databases can also include an SFX link (SFX link icon), with which you can quickly check the availability elsewhere.

A full-text link tells you whether the article is available. If there's e.g. a PDF Full Text icon/link below the reference, the full text opens by clickink the icon/link.

A screenshot of an article reference with full text links.


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