Answered By Library Staff
Last Updated: Jul 05, 2023     Views: 27

The word "article" can mean a lot of different things, depending on the context. Articles can be anything from an encyclopedia entry (including Wikipedia entries or pro/con overviews of a topic like those found in our reference databases) to a scholarly, peer-reviewed work. 

Articles in assignment contexts typically mean a work published in a periodical. Periodicals are magazines, journals, and newspapers. Periodicals, which come out periodically, are also sometimes known as "serials." 

The range of periodicals can be from popular sources to scholarly/academic. It is important to know which article type your instructor allows for in certain assignments. Sometimes they will allow for more than one article type in an assignment. 

Articles can be online or in print or both. Sometimes, though, articles are only published online as publications move more and more online or produce online-only content to drive online subscriptions. Keep in mind that blog posts are not typically viewed as articles, even though some could say they come out "periodically" if someone posts on specific dates. Blogs are treated as their own, separate medium.  

Will our databases or catalog find ALL articles? 

No, because our catalog only knows about articles that have been indexed. Some newspapers and other online-only publications do not offer their content to databases. Therefore, discovering or accessing the content is difficult through the library. On the flip side, you may run into paywalls online outside of the library trying to access article content, but you might be able to access it via the catalog/databases at TCC (by copying and pasting the title, sometimes using quotation marks is our tip!). 

Bigger picture:

Most printed articles come out in an issue (think: an issue of a monthly magazine, daily newspaper, etc.). Still to this day, specific issues of a periodical are bound in volumes according to publisher structures (say, typically a volume a year, sometimes with supplemental volumes). Libraries used to pay to bind those volumes into books (some still do). The article title, issue number, and volume number are all still factors in creating a citation of or tracing a citation to an article, even if not many libraries have bound print volumes anymore.  

This is much like how television shows work: 

Article = scene in a TV show

Issue = episode title 

Volume # = Season #

Title of periodical like Entertainment Weekly magazine or Journal of Popular Culture = title of a TV show like Breaking Bad 

example of indexing

In this screenshot above, we see how the year, volume, and issue are factors in the path to get to specific articles published in a specific timeframe in this specific journal.