Skip to Main Content

How to Use the Library's Databases

An Archival Database

JSTOR is a database that archives full-text articles from a variety of different disciplines.

Because it is an archive, it does not contain the most recent articles from these journals. There can be a gap of 1-5 years between JSTOR’s holdings and the current issues.

JSTOR Advanced Search

Once you enter JSTOR, you should find a page that looks something like the screenshot below. This is the basic search page. To get the full benefit of its search features, click on the advanced search link.


Image of JSTOR's main search box, highlighting the advance search option


The advanced search gives you more features to refine your search and combine search terms. One of the most important search features is JSTOR’s ability to limit the results by discipline. This means that it will only search those journals dealing with that particular area (like anthropology or history).

 Advanced Search Screen in EBSCO


JSTOR results page allows you to click on the title links to view the articles, or you can modify your search using the highlighted links at the top, or add a term to search within the results listed. 

 Image of JSTOR Results page highlighting the search within results and modify search options

Advanced Search Strategies

You can use these search tools in JSTOR to help you search more efficiently. They will also work in most of our other online databases.

Boolean Operators allow you to combine search terms 

  • AND produces results that contain both terms (e.g. birds AND bees)   
  • OR generates results that contain either of the terms (e.g. dogs OR canines)
  • NOT excludes one of the terms (cats NOT musical)

You can string Boolean phrases together using parenthesis [(cats NOT musical) AND (dogs OR canines)]

Quotation marks force a database to for only that specific phrase. For example, a search for “natural selection” will generate results with that specific phrase, however a search for natural selection will generate results that contain natural AND selection somewhere in the entry, not necessary side by side.


Wildcards allow you to look for multiple versions of a word. ? replaces a single letter (wom?n), while  * replaces multiple letters. Astro* gives you results which can include the terms, astronomer, astronomy, astrology, astronaut, etc.