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How do I know my source is in print?

Verify your source has a print equivalent

Your assignment may require you to use a source that is in print or has a electronic version of the print. This can be difficult to determine with the overwhelming amounts of information available online.

Here are some tips and tricks for determining if your source fulfills the requirements.

Library Databases

Using library databases such as Academic Search Complete, Academic OneFile, or Access World News, will ensure that any source you find is published, meaning it has a print equivalent. Often you will find newspaper articles on the internet through credible sources such as the New York Times. Just because you find it on a newspaper's website does not mean that every article has a print version. To check, try the links below, or search for it using library resources. If you're not sure how, Ask a Librarian.

Publication Information

Printed sources will have certain types of publication information that electronic only sources may not. When evaluating your source, look for the following things to help determine if your source has a print version:

  1. Volume or issue number
  2. Page number
  3. Publication date
  4. Author information

 Finding this information can help you verify that the electronic source you're looking at also has a print version.

Helpful Resources

Ulrich's Web: Access information about newspapers, magazines, and journals published throughout the world, covering all subjects.

Steps for using Ulrich's Web:

  1. Enter your journal or newspaper title (not the article title) in the search box.
  2. Look to see if your source lists a publisher. This can be either a database or the name of the company.
  3. Verify that the status is "active." If yours does not have an active status, the newspaper or journal may no longer be publishing. This probably means that your source is older than two years, and may not fit your assignment requirements.
  4. Check the serial type. You'll want something that is a magazine, newspaper, or journal.

Note: Ulrich's will tell you if a source is in print, but not if your specific article is in print. To verify this, search library databases for the specific article. You can start with the databases mentioned above.

UIUC Newspaper Database: Electronic access to printed newspapers from the United States, ranging from local to national.

  1. Enter your journal or newspaper title (not the article title) in the search box.
  2. You can specify the year to make sure you are finding recent issues.
  3. You will see the name of the journal, available formats, place of publication, and available dates.
  4. Click on the format link next to date range that best fits your needs. "Online" means UIUC students have on- and off-campus access.
  5. Choose a database. Make sure to check the date range.
  6. Once in the database, you can search for your specific article.

Note: Some newspapers and magazines delay online access for anywhere between one day and several weeks. If you're looking for something very recent, you may need to find the print copies which are available at the Undergraduate Library and other libraries on campus. If you have questions, Ask a Librarian.