Los Angeles Valley College LibraryLos Angeles Valley College
5800 Fulton Ave.
Valley Glen, California, 91401-4096
Phone: 818-947-2425
Fax: 818-947-2751

What Are Periodicals?

When you don't have a citation to a specific article, but want to find articles on a subject, by a specific author or authors, or with a known article title, you need to use a periodical index such as InfoTrac or The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature.

Which periodical index do you use? Determine what kind of periodicals you want. Do you want:

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Knowing this and recognizing that there may be some overlap, the general criteria are as follows:


Examples of Scholarly journals:
American Economic Review
American Sociological Review
JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association
Journal of Marriage and the Family
Modern Language Journal
Yale Review

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Substantive News or General Interest

Examples of Substantive News or General Interest periodicals:
National Geographic
Scientific American
Vital Speeches of the Day

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Examples of Popular periodicals:
People Weekly
Readers Digest
Sports Illustrated

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Examples of Sensational periodicals:
National Examiner
Weekly World News

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How to Find Periodical Articles
If you're not sure which kind of periodical you want or which periodical index to use, ask a reference librarian.
If you want articles from scholarly or research journals, use the online Expanded Academic ASAP. If you want newspaper articles, use the online National Newspaper Index or the print Los Angeles Times and New York Times Index. If you want popular magazines, use the online General Reference Center Index. Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature is an index in a paper format and covers general interest and popular magazines from 1939 to the present. All of the print indices are found in the index section. The full text of some periodical articles is available on InfoTrac.

To summarize

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adopted from Michael Engle's Distinguishing Scholarly Journals from Other Periodicals http://www.library.cornell.edu/okuref/research/skill20.html
May 4, 2000