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Psychology MA Seminar (Psyc6881)

EBSCO, ProQuest, JSTOR - oh my!

What's with "EBSCO", "ProQuest," "JSTOR"?

These are database providers who put content on a platform. A comparison would be to say that EBSCO is like DirectTV -- they are a provider through whom you get content but they do not produce the content themselves.

To take that analogy a step further:

EBSCO = Comcast (Cable provider)

ERIC = Fox  (Network)

Journal of Pediatrics & Child Health, Vol. 6 =American Idol, 6th season (tv show)

"Emerging self-exploration of 2-month old infants" (found in Vol. 6 No. 3) = the 3rd episode in the 6th season of the show.

We manage several database subscriptions through EBSCO including PsychInfo and PsychArticles. Typically the screen just tells you that you are in EBSCO and doesn't tell you which database. This is unfortunate because if you need to retrace your steps later, you might not know how you got there. For this reason I recommend keeping a research journal and making sure you note where you searched and which term(s) you used there.

ProQuest is similar to EBSCO except that it also packages its fulltext journals to get you to use them more often. More usage leads to higher impact factors and then ProQuest can claim its journals are more important and therefore worth more money. While you may be tempted to use the package databases, they are really only a fraction of the online journals that we subscribe to. Instead of limiting yourself to those packages, I recommend starting in a discipline-specific database and relying on Find It @ UWG to get the article now or Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad) to get it in a few days.

JSTOR is a bit different. It stands for Journal STORage and is a digital repository for many journals we used to get (and sometimes still do) in print. JSTOR approached journal publishers about being part of JSTOR and the publishers had to balance the interest of being in the online package with still getting their subscription revenue. To solve this, they created a "moving wall." This means that more recent material is not in JSTOR to encourage libraries to retain their subscriptions in order to get the most recent content. How much will you miss? For physical sciences and medicine typically the first year is not in JSTOR but most articles more than a year old are in there. In the social sciences that expands to 3 years worth of publications before JSTOR includes them. For the humanities this often grows to a 5 year gap.

JSTOR is great for getting the historical information. As a grad student you cannot afford to rely on it. You would hate to be well into your dissertation to then discover that your research project had been published 2 years ago by someone else.