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Library Services FAQs

Common questions about the use of the library and its services.

FAQs about Availability of Electronic Journals

How do I find out what journals or articles are available electronically? Is there an alphabetical list of electronic journals? 

The quickest way is to use GalterSearch. You can search by title, keyword, author or subject. We do not have an alphabetical list of journals - creating one on the fly slows the performance of the library's website.

Note: Not all our electronically-available journals are indexed in PubMed.

How do I tell what years are available electronically?

After locating a journal in GalterSearch, click "Online Access" to display the years of coverage available electronically. If a title has any restrictions on its date coverage, such as the previous year's worth of issues being unavailable, then that will be mentioned.

Why aren't more years covered electronically?

Financial considerations usually determine which years are available electronically. Most journals are covered from the mid-90s onwards. Some content providers specialize in archival issues, such as JSTOR.

Why can't I get a PDF of a journal article that's available online?

Publishers offer their journals in HTML or PDF formats (and sometimes both). PDF (Portable Document Format) is usually preferable because it mirrors the print version, complete with images, typeface, and pagination. Adobe Acrobat Reader software is required to view it (available on the Adobe website at no cost). No additional software is needed to view HTML articles. Unfortunately, the library has no control over which format the publisher offers, but the majority of publishers now offer their journal articles in PDF format, and you will find that older content is only available in HTML.

Why aren't all the journals available online through MEDLINE?

The library offers access to MEDLINE via two separate interfaces, Ovid and PubMed. Ovid MEDLINE provides full-text links to many titles in the library's e-journals collection through Journals@Ovid and OpenLinks. 

Owing to licensing restrictions, not all publishers will provide links to their journals in MEDLINE. If you do not see a direct full text link in either version of MEDLINE, make sure to click on the . This will often retrieve access to full text that might not be listed on the previous screen and will provide a link to order articles via interlibrary loan from journals not licensed by NU libraries.

If the library doesn't have the journal I want, what are my options?

Place an interlibrary loan request. Turnaround time is usually 3 to 10 working days and the article will be made available for you to download in electronic format.

How do I request the library subscribe to a particular journal?

If you would like to suggest that the library acquire access to a particular title, then please fill out the Request an Item be Added to the Collection form.

FAQs about Access of Electronic Journals

How do I access e-journals while on campus?

There are a number of ways to access e-journals while on campus:

  • If you already have a citation, go to the Galter Library home page and go to GalterSearch. Search for the journal title and access it directly.
  • If you are searching MEDLINE using PubMed or Ovid, look for full-text links, where available. See the section below for further details on the full-text features in these databases.
  • If you know the name of the journal you need, search GalterSearch to see if it is available in full-text.

How do I access e-journals while off-campus?

To access journals when off-campus, you must be signed in to the library website. This easy procedure authenticates you as a Galter Library affiliate and allows us to provide electronically-licensed content to you at an off-campus location. Once you have registered and signed in, use the Galter Library website as normal.

I'm at NMH or Shirley Ryan Abilitylab and I can't access an e-journal. Why not?

Not all Galter e-journals are accessible from all locations on the Chicago Campus. Some publishers will only allow us to include one site in our license and that may not include NMH or Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.

If you are at NMH or Shirley Ryan Abilitylab and are unable to access an e-journal, sign in to the library website. You will need a NetID and password to create an account. This should authenticate you as a Galter Library affiliate and allow you access to our electronic resources.

If you still experience problems, call the Reference Desk at (312) 503-8126 or email us

I'm at Lurie Children's Hospital (or Lake Forest or other NM locations outside of the NM campus) and I can't access an e-journal. Why not?

Owing to licensing restrictions, not all of our electronic journals are available at other affiliated hospitals. Feinberg School of Medicine faculty and residents who work at Lurie Children's, Lake Forest Hospital, or other Northwestern Medicine locations have off-campus access privileges (i.e. remote access to online resources by signing in with their NetID). Staff and physicians without a Feinberg School of Medicine faculty appointment do not.

I'm unable to access a journal in Ovid. Why not?

The Galter Library provides access to a number of journals through its Ovid databases: MEDLINE and Journals@Ovid. Click here to search Journals@Ovid, and here to Browse the Journals@Ovid.

‚ÄčIf you are on campus, you should have no problem accessing these resources and the full-text journal articles that are included within them. If you are off-campus, you need to sign in to the library website. As only a certain number of users can access the Ovid resources at any one time, you may receive a message indicating that the number of licensed users is maxed out. If you see this message, just try again in a few minutes. If you experience any difficulties, please call the Reference Desk at (312) 503-8126 or email us.

Why can't I access the article I want in an e-journal?

There a number of possibilities:

  • The journal may not be accessible from your particular location. Sign in to the library website and try connecting to the journal again.
  • Our subscription or licensing agreement may not cover the dates of coverage that you need. Many journals only go back a certain number of years and some journals (very few) will not offer access to their content during the current 12 months. This information should be listed in the journal record in GalterSearch.
  • If  you have signed in and are still unable to access a journal, call the Reference Desk at (312) 503-8126 or email us. It is possible that there is a problem with our access or the publisher's site is down.

I can only access an older issue of a journal online. Why is this?

Some journals restrict access to their electronic content to archival issues, i.e. issues older than a year. The library would have to pay an additional fee to obtain access to the more recent issues. This information should be listed in the journal record in GalterSearch.

How can I link to journals through PubMed or Ovid?

The Galter Library provides access to many electronic articles directly from PubMed or Ovid MEDLINE.

  • Access PubMed from the Popular Resources section on the Galter Library website. This links to an NU-specific PubMed address that will display electronic journal links in PubMed when you search for journal literature. When you have performed your search in PubMed, display the results in the "Abstract" format to see your full-text options. Publisher icons may provide access if the library subscribes to the journal through that particular site. Click the icon to access the article online. If you can't access it, there could be a number of reasons:
    • we don't subscribe through that particular website. Click the purple Find it button to see where we subscribe.
    • we don't subscribe at all. Click the purple Find it button to request it through interlibrary loan
    • Not all of the library's electronic journals are linked in PubMed. If you don't see a direct link, click on the  icon to see if we have access to it through another source.
  • Access Ovid MEDLINE from the Popular Resources section on the Galter Library website. Perform your search as normal and survey your results. Any articles with full-text availability will have links to one of the following: Ovid Full Text, Full Text, or . Click the link to access the article online.