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!
While the JSTOR interface is significantly different than MLA, the strategies for constructing a search are basically the same as those 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:
JSTOR is a multidisciplinary database, so there is a greater range of subject coverage. This is an effective way to see how scholars in different subject areas approach your research topic. For example, is there scholarship on the Beat Generation in art, history, or sociology? You can find out in JSTOR.
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.
One unique aspect of JSTOR is that it separates academic content from primary source material on the results page. For example, this search on the Beat Generation yields 3,731 results, which are divided in the sidebar between secondary and primary sources:
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 42 images, which reside in the ArtStor image database. JSTOR provides a preview of the images at the top of the results page. To view the full collection, click the images tab in the sidebar and you'll be directed to a new results page:
From there, click on any image to get the high resolution photo with complete metadata that you can download or save in your image library:
Be sure to check the terms and copyright information to see what you're allowed to do with the image once you download it. For more information about this, see the ARTstor User Guide or see their Terms and Conditions.
You have the option to create a personal JSTOR account that will provide access to their "workspace." JSTOR Workspace is a tool for researchers, librarians, and teachers. Once your account is created, you can do the following:
To get started, click the Log in or Register tabs at the top of the homepage:
For more information on setting up your JSTOR account and using Workspace, please check out the Introduction to Workspace page on our JSTOR support site.