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ENL 3451 - Topics in British Literature (Hopkins)


JSTOR (short for “Journal Storage”) is a leading digital collection of academic journals, books, reports, images, and primary sources. JSTOR has a much broader focus than MLA in that it covers all of the humanities, history, and the social sciences. For this reason, it’s a good way to expand the scope of your search to see what’s available on your topic in other disciplines. JSTOR content is 100% full text, although there is a five-year embargo on the most recent issues of journals, meaning you’ll have to request those for Inter Library Loan. JSTOR also contains a significant number of images and primary sources as well as Open Source material and community collections, making it far more than just an academic journal database. Let’s take a closer look!

Constructing a Search

While the JSTOR interface is significantly different than MLA, the strategies for constructing a search are basically the same that we discussed above. Use the advanced search features and Boolean operators to strategically combine keywords. One feature that will be different is the subject limiter in the sidebar:

Since JSTOR is so multidisciplinary, you’ll want to be selective with your subject coverage. This is an easy way to combine subjects that interest you while weeding out the rest. Beyond that, the interface and records are simple, uniform, and user-friendly. Here's a typical example:

Note that you get a preview of the title page with a link to download the full text, journal and publisher info, a stable URL, and a citation template.

Primary Sources & Images

One unique aspect of JSTOR is that it separates academic content from primary sources on the results page:

Primary sources can range from images to documents, serials, letters, journals, diaries, books, pamphlets and other ephemera. Click any one of those options to review the material in that category. For example, there are 612 images, most of which reside in the ArtStor image database. Images found in JSTOR and ArtStor are the highest quality available online and are free to use for non-commercial purposes as part of the ArtStor copyright agreement. For more about ArtStor, see this handy user guide.  

When browsing primary sources in JSTOR, be sure to use the same filters in the sidebar that we discussed above. For example, an image search on Vikings brings up many results for NASA's Viking program. You can weed those out by clicking on any subject that has to do with the space program in the sidebar and excluding them from your results.