The Publication process: primary, secondary, and tertiary sources
Primary sources are original works by an author. Examples in biology include firsthand reports of research such as lab reports as well as many journal articles. Most new research in biology is published in the form of journal articles.
Secondary sources can be used to find references to primary sources. Books that are not the original work of the researcher are considered secondary sources.
Tertiary sources include guides to the literature and textbooks.
For academic research, it is often important to use peer-reviewed (or refereed) journals rather than popular magazines. Peer-review is the process by which a journal article is evaluated by experts in the field. An example of a peer-reviewed journal is Journal of Applied Ecology. An example of a popular magazine is Time.
Milne Library Research Guides
Where to Find Articles
The databases below are located on the Milne Library home page under the Databases tab.
Where to Find the Full-Text of an Article
If there is no full text with the citation for an article in a database, click on or Find It!. If a full text of the article is available in another database, there will be a link connecting you to that database, where you can locate the article in the appropriate volume, or search for the article by title or author.
- You can also determine whether a periodical is available electronically by entering the periodical title in the search box under Journals tab on the library home page and clicking on Search. If the title is available in electronic form, check the coverage, and click on the database link(s) and search for the item(s) needed. If the title is available in the library, click on "SUNY-Oneonta Print Holdings" and then on "Is it here?" to see the complete holdings.
- Locating the article in print or microfilm, if not available in electronic form:
- If under "Links to Full Text," there is a link to the title, click on "Journal," and then on "Is it here?" Check "Summary holdings" to see if Milne Library has the particular issue needed and in what form the article can be found. Periodicals are located on compact shelving or in microfilm drawers on floor P.
- Requesting an article on Interlibrary Loan:
- If you find an article from a periodical that is not available at Milne Library in any form after you have linked to "Check Library Catalog", you can request the article through the link Request via Interlibrary Loan on the record for the article needed (see computer screen that comes up after you click on Find It!). You need to be registered to submit ILL requests. See a librarian for help. You can also request articles through the InterLibrary Loan login link on the library web site under the "Services" tab.