Skip to Main Content

WFC 50: Natural History of California Wild Vertebrates

How to Access the Full Text of an Article

Any literature searching for a specific organism (wild vertebrate for this class) requires searching not only by the common name (if there is one) but also by the scientific name.

For example, the best search for this important California raptor is:

”california condor*” OR “gymnogyps californian*”

A quick way to find a scientific name when literature searching is to limit your common name search to Title words and then scan the titles of the results.  Scientific practice for article titles is to list the common name first and then list the scientific name in parentheses.   BIOSIS Previews and Zoological Record both have excellent taxonomic indexing so you can also look at the individual article record and scan down to the taxonomic table which will show the genus species in the last (far right) column.

"Get it at UC" Button

Get it at UC button icon Most databases provide a description of articles and other resources to help you find what you need by searching through the indexed literature within their website. Included as part of the item record is the “Get it at UC”  button. Clicking this button will direct you to a copy of the full text of the article. 

Interlibrary Loan Request

If we do not own a journal or book, you can submit an interlibrary loan (ILL) request to have the book or article (e)mailed to you for free from another UC library. Learn more about how to request books or articles.

Find Articles via Subject Databases

How to Choose a Database

In deciding which database(s) to use, it is helpful to note:

  • Who: Who is authoring these publications? Are these scholarly, popular, or industry sources?
  • What: What can I find in the database? (e.g. articles, conference proceedings, data)
  • When: When does coverage begin? How well is historical literature covered? Does it include articles published in the last year?
  • Where: What is the geographical scope of the coverage? Does that match your research interest?

NOTE:  Your database comparison table distributed in the class (and also to be available from your Canvas class site) helps with locating the above criteria for four of the key databases for finding animal-related literature:   BIOSIS Previews, Zoological Record, ASFA & Fish, Fisheries and Aquatic Biodiversity.

Recommended Subject Databases:

Below are listed very broad databases which include wildlife physiology, ecology or behavior literature (BIOSIS Previews & PsycINFO), to specialized databases concerning wildlife (Zoological Record and Wildlife & Ecology Studies Worldwide).

Identify Peer-Reviewed Articles

A peer-reviewed source is an article that has been reviewed by several other experts in the field before being published  in order to ensure its quality. This 2 minute video describes the peer review process

How do I Know if an Article is Peer-Reviewed?

magnifying glassLook for limits/filters

Many databases allow you to specify that you want to search only in “peer-reviewed” or “refereed” sources.

Visit the journal’s webpage

Search online for your journal’s title. Sections like “about this journal” or “editorial policies” generally mention whether the journal is peer-reviewed/refereed.

Check a directory 

Use the Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory to find key information about a journal, including whether it has a peer-review process.