BIO150Y Optimal Information Foraging  

Using an Index to Find a Journal Article

What an index is and why use one...

What is an index?

periodical index
  • contains citations to articles (and some fulltext articles)

  • access to contents of hundreds or thousands of journals, both scholarly and popular

  • search for articles using words that describe your topic

  • search for articles by author(s)

  • search for articles in a specific journal

Most indexes require a paid subscription. The U of T Library subscribes to many and makes them available to U of T students, staff and faculty. However, the U of T Library may not subscribe to every journal indexed, although most likely the major ones.

Indexes have different names such as databases, periodical indexes or journal indexes.

What is a citation?


A citation is the information needed to find the article: author, title of article, title of journal, volume and page numbers, publication year.

Finding articles is a two step process:

  1. Find citations to articles using an index
  2. Locate the journal within the U of T Library

Why should I use an index?

  • They provide citations to articles on your topic
  • You can find information much more precisely than a Web search engine (e.g. Google)
  • Available on the Web so you can access them from home 24/7
  • Information has gone through an editorial review process so is high quality
  • Usually specialize in a particular subject such as biology

Biology indexes selected specially for you

My Biology Library

Why should you use a journal index?

What are the common characteristics of a journal index?

Find out how to use an index... Next

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