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UNLV Libraries -> Architecture Studies Library -> Finding Resources -> Module 5: Overview -> Searching: periodical (journal, magazine) articles on a topic

What is a periodical?

Indexes for finding articles 

Why periodical articles? 

Steps in Searching

Popular versus Scholarly?

Interlibrary Loan

How do you find articles?

Detailed Step-by-Step

Module 5: Searching: periodical articles on a topic

The module "Searching: books and periodical titles" provided general materials on searching. This module seeks to present materials specialized to architecture and allied disciplines, while still addressing those basic truths like, "What is a periodical?" In addition to learning which indexes will help you find articles in the field of architecture, you will be given a step-by-step outline of how to use architecture online indexes.

What is a periodical? A periodical is published more than once a year. You may know it by the name "magazine" or "journal." Periodicals which get a lot of use in the Architecture Studies Library include Abitare, Architectural Digest, Architectural Record, Architectural Review, Architecture, Architecture Australia, Blueprint, Custom Home, Domus, GA Document, GA Houses, GA Japan, House & Garden, Interior Design, Interiors, Landscape Architecture, World Architecture, and World of Interiors.

Why periodical articles? You may need/want to find periodical articles for several reasons:

  • the topic is too new or too narrow to have a book written about it;
  • a designer or building may be covered in a magazine but not a book;
  • a book may actually have too much information, whereas an article is short and can cover the highlights;
  • high-quality graphics may be required, and some periodicals are well-known for the quality of their graphics (e.g. the GA titles listed above).

Popular versus Scholarly: There are several differences between these two types of periodical. The differences are listed at . Here is one rule of thumb you can use that usually works: if it does not have a bibliography it is NOT scholarly. "Scholarly" is usually research-oriented, and research usually builds on the work of others, which is acknowledged in a bibliography. If you want to find research, look for scholarly periodicals (referred to as journals). If you want to find graphics, look for popular periodicals (referred to as magazines).

How do you find articles? If you are just interested in reading an article on current happenings in the profession you can go to the library's current periodical section and browse through the titles. However, if you want to find articles on a topic, the most efficient approach is to use an index. Indexes list articles by topic. Choosing which index to use is your first decision.

Indexes for finding articles



Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals
  • Very comprehensive
  • Architecture/landscape/interiors specific
  • Indexing for over 700 American and international journals
  • Many journals indexed by the Avery Index are not in the Architecture Studies Library
  • Not full-text

RIBA Online Catalog

  • Very comprehensive
  • Architecture/landscape/interiors specific
  • Indexes over 300 periodicals
  • Both books and articles are included
  • Many journals indexed by the RIBA Index are not in the Architecture Studies Library
  • Not full-text
Art Full Text Index
  • What was once "Art Index" is now encompassed by "Art Full Text"
  • Art/architecture specific
  • Journals are likely to be in the Architecture Studies Library
  • Some articles full-text
  • Indexing for over 80 architectural journals
  • Only the most widely-distributed architecture journals are covered

Art Index Retrospective (1929-1984)

  • Art/architecture specific
  • Wide span of years covered
  • Journals are likely to be in the Architecture Studies Library
  • Only the most widely-distributed architecture journals are covered
  • Not full-text
Academic Search Premier Index
  • Full-text
  • Will find materials published outside the architecture mainstream
  • Only a few of the major architecture journals are covered
  • Most of the articles you find will be from popular magazines, such as Time Magazine


  • Full-text articles from 80 scholarly journals
  • Includes several architecture journals:
    • Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 1945-[varies] and Journal of the American Society of Architectural Historians 1941-1944
    • Assemblage
    • Burlington Magazine
  • Limited to only a few architectural titles

Periodicals owned by the UNLV Libraries in print and/or electronic form (full text, online)
    Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals [ Avery]
    • The most comprehensive index for architecture studies (including interiors, landscape, planning) is the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals. This index has articles going back to the 1830s, and is updated daily online. Only UNLV faculty, students and staff can use our license to access the Avery index from off campus [for instructions on how to do that see]. One disadvantage of being so comprehensive is that the library will not own many of the periodicals listed. However, you can request articles through Interlibrary Loan.

    Art Full Text
    • Art Full Text covers art publications, including periodicals, yearbooks, and museum bulletins. Indexing coverage begins 1984; abstracting coverage begins with January 1994. The abstracts range from 50 to 300 words and describe the content and scope of the source articles. Full text coverage begins in 1997. Art Full Text Indexes 85 architectural journals [landscape, interior, and architecture]
    Indexes in allied disciplines
    • There are many indexes in allied disciplines which are not strictly “architecture” but which have articles that may be pertinent to your topic. Here are two examples: Compendex covers engineering topics; the index called "ERIC" or ERIC INDEX covers the field of educational periodicals, which could be useful if you are designing a school.
    Full-text indexes
    • There are some indexes, called full-text indexes, which include not just the bibliographic citation but the article itself. There are no full-text indexes devoted to architecture studies. However, some architecture periodicals are included in such full-text indexes as Art Full Text and Academic Search Elite . Off-campus access to this and other full-text indexes is limited to UNLV faculty, students and staff.

    Steps in Searching
    • If you use the Avery Index or Art Full Text, or any other bibliographic index, your search for periodical articles has several steps:
      1. Link to the index you've chosen using the criteria above.
      2. Search using your keywords
      3. Collect the citations that are relevant into one file [most online indexes let you mark or select the citations you want] and then print, e-mail, or save the ones selected.
      4. Click on the Get Text button for all options of retrieving the article. A new screen will appear with the following options:
        • UNLV Online Journal Subscriptions: Here you will see if UNLV has online access to this article. If there is no online access, click on the Request a PDF of this item. You will be prompted to log into the Illiad system or create a new user account. Once you have logged in, the article request form will automatically populate with the information needed. Review the form for accuracy and completion, and submit the request
        • UNLV print and online journals: Click on the "Go" button to search the UNLV Catalog for the Journal. If UNLV does have the journal, note the call number, volume number, and location for retrieval.

If the UNLV Libraries do not have the journal or magazine you need, request the article through Document Delivery (Interlibrary Loan):

Questions? Ask the Architecture Studies Librarian online or any of the staff in the Architecture Studies Library. The general phone number for the library is 702-895-1959.

If you have comments about the usefulness of this module and/or how it can be improved, please contact Caroline Smith, Architecture Studies Librarian, at

Return to Detailed Step-by-Step

Tuesday, 16-Sep-2014 09:46:47 PDT