JSTOR is one of the information services provided by ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organisation that has significantly increased both the access to and the digital preservation of scholarly resources in Higher Education institutions. The database contains:
- academic journal articles
- scholarly e-books and e-book chapters
- research reports
- literary journal articles
- scanned primary sources
The academic articles are from top-rated and peer-reviewed journals – JSTOR providing full access to the back issues of most of the journals. The other articles are from respected literary journals, which have niche readerships in scholarly communities. The e-books and e-book chapters are published by leading academic publishers – from university presses to public policy organisations. They are also DRM-free. (This means that you do not need to log on or to use special software to gain access to them.) In addition, they may be used by unlimited numbers of subscribers simultaneously. The research reports deal with topics pertaining to issues within the contemporary public sphere; they are published by trusted research institutes (e.g. the Stockholm Environment Institute). There are the following four collections of primary sources:
- Global Plants
- 19th Century British Pamphlets
- Struggles for Freedom: South Africa
- World Heritage Sites: Africa
You can find more information about the primary source collections after the following link: https://about.jstor.org/whats-in-jstor/primary-sources/. The items have been scanned at high resolution and the images have been curated on JSTOR, supporting research and teaching in the humanities, social sciences and sciences.
JSTOR is the featured resource on the SGS LRC website. To gain access to it quickly, please click on the image icon below the “featured resource” heading on the right-hand side of any page.
If you need to search for journal articles quickly, enter a search term in the JSTOR article search box, which is located just above the link.
Alternatively, you can gain access to JSTOR from the Databases page of the SGS LRC website. In order to do this, click either on the phrase “JSTOR” or on the image-icon immediately below it.
Then follow the instructions given on the JSTOR page.
You then see the JSTOR homepage. To undertake a basic search, enter a search term (i.e. a word or a phrase) into the search box in the middle of the window, and press the ‘enter’ key or click the search icon at the right-hand side of the box.
You see a list of search results. If you simply want to download a source file, click on the “Download PDF” icon adjacent to the mini-record of the source. Otherwise, click on the titles to view full records of the sources. Each one of the full records provides bibliographic information and a platform for viewing various aspects of a source – click on the different tabs in the lower half of the window to view individual pages, a ‘grid’ of thumbnail images showing all of the pages, and – in a full record of any journal article or e-book – the reference list included at the end of the source.
On the Search Results page, you can refine your search results by checking boxes on the left-hand side of the window and then clicking the “Update Results” icon. For example, you can filter the results by content type, searching for journals, pamphlets or e-books only.
In the search results list, the names of authors and topics are hyper-links – click on an author name to find additional sources by the author, and click on a topic name to find further sources on a specific topic.
If you want to search at a higher level of specificity, you need to undertake an advanced search. To start doing that, bring the mouse icon to the word, “SEARCH” at the top of the window and click on “Advanced Search” in the drop-down menu. You see the Advanced Search screen. Near the top of the window, there are search boxes and drop-down menus which allow you to develop frameworks for your searches.
Enter a search term in the first box. Then click on the button on the right-hand side of the box to open a drop-down menu. From the menu, select a source area, telling JSTOR to link your first search term to a specific area of sources (e.g. abstracts). If you now estimate that your search will be sufficiently specific, click on the Search icon to proceed.
Alternatively, you can add further search terms. Click on the button on the left-hand side of the lower box to open a different drop-down menu. The words on this menu allow you to control the relationships between your search terms. If you select “OR”, for instance, the search engine will retrieve items which it associates either with your first search term or with your second term. In most cases, the search results list will then include mini-records of items linked both to your first and to your second search term. Repeat the previous step in the lower search box and drop-down menu. If you wish to increase the complexity of the framework, click on the “Add Field +” icon and repeat the process.
The section below the search boxes gives you the opportunity to confine your search to items of specific types (e.g. research reports) – check the boxes on the left-hand side of the screen to do so.
In the same section you can delimit the range of the publication dates of the items that will be retrieved. You can also specify the language. If you want to find one publication (i.e. a journal, an e-book or a research report) specifically, enter its title and/or its ISBN in the appropriate boxes at the bottom of the section.
The lowest section is a list of the subject disciplines by which you can narrow searches for journal articles. Check the box adjacent to each one of the disciplines by which you want to narrow searches. If you want to search in a number of specific journals, click on the rightward-pointing arrow icon on the left-hand side of the discipline name.
You then see an embedded list of the journals associated with the subject discipline.
Check the box adjacent to each one of the journals by which you want to narrow searches.
JSTOR offers Text Analyzer, a tool which facilitates searches based on documents that you upload. To use Text Analyzer, bring the mouse icon to the word, “SEARCH” at the top of the window, and select “Text Analyzer” from the drop-down menu. Then follow the instructions and/or links on the Text Analyzer page. To read a thorough explanation of the tool and to be guided in its use, visit the About page: http://www.jstor.org/analyze/about
You may prefer to browse in JSTOR. There are three modes of browsing: you can browse resources within individual subjects, within lists of titles (which include those of journals, rather than articles), and within publishers. Bring the mouse icon to the word “BROWSE” at the top of the window and select an option from the drop-down menu. To browse by subject, select one from the area lists displayed on the Browse by Subject page. You see a list of the journals on the subject chosen. Click on the tabs near the top of the window, to view lists of sources of different kinds (e.g. a list of pamphlets).
To browse by title, use the tabs and select a letter from the alphabet – opening a list of sources, the titles of which start with the letter chosen. To browse by publisher, select a publisher from the list on the Browse by Publisher page.
A MyJSTOR account might be of benefit to you in a variety of ways. It provides an online space in which you can create and save lists of resources. In relation to those lists, it offers a generic framework that you can use to develop pieces of academic writing. Additionally, every two weeks it offers you an opportunity to gain free access to three articles for which there is normally a charge.
To start setting up a MyJSTOR account, click on the button labelled “MyJSTOR” at the top of the window; then click on the instruction, “register for a MyJSTOR account”.
Enter information in the boxes, select details from the drop-down menus, and check the boxes, as appropriate. Now click the “Register” icon at the bottom of the window.
If you want to create and save a resource list, select “My Lists” from the menu at the left-hand side of the window. Enter a name in the box near the bottom of the window and click on the button labelled “Create”.
In order to quickly search for items that you might add to your list, enter a search term in the box and press the ‘enter’ key, or click the search icon.
Alternatively, you can undertake an advanced search – below the search box, click on the phrase “Advanced Search”.
In any mini-record listed on the Search Results page, click the button labelled “Add To My Lists”. You see a pop-up window titled “Add to My Lists”. Check the box adjacent to the name of the list you are making and click on the Add to List icon.
If you want to add a source from the internet beyond JSTOR, return to the My Lists page and click on the name of the list you have started to make; then click on the instruction “+ Add External Reference”. In the pop-up window, enter the web address and ‘name’ of the source as guided, and click the button labelled “+ Add Reference”.
Now it has been added to your list.
You can use the “Outline” framework to develop a piece of academic writing in relation both to the sources in your list and to external sources. In your list page, click on the button labelled, “Build Outline”. A ‘tour’ explains the tool – if it does not start automatically, click on the instruction “show tour” near the top right-hand corner of the window. In the Thesis Statement box, you can enter a concise summary of a piece you are working on. You can then name a section of the piece and make relevant notes in the lower boxes. To cite an item from your list, click on the instruction, “+ Add Citation From List”; in the pop-up window, check the box adjacent to the name of the appropriate item and click on the Add To Section icon.
You see the citation below the Section Notes box. You can present citations in any one of three referencing styles – MLA, APA or Chicago. To change the style of your citations, click on the button labelled with the name of a style (e.g. MLA); then select a style from the drop-down menu.
If you want to remove a citation, click on the word, “remove” at the right-hand side of any one citation.
You can also cite a source from another online database or the wider internet – click on the instruction, “+ Add External Reference” and repeat the short process described above.
Add further sections, building the outline of your piece – click on the large box labelled “+ Add Section”. This may help you to construct a complex discussion. Finally, you can download your outline as a Word document; to do so, click on the Download icon near the top of the window.
I discovered your guide a few days ago. It really helped me to get a much better grip on JSTOR.
Thank you very much for putting this together!