What's in this article:
- How to Search JSTOR Video
- Advanced Search Overview
- Boolean Operators on JSTOR
- Images in Search Results
To get started, watch the video we have created to explain the basics of searching on JSTOR. Read the sections beneath the tutorial video to improve your search skills and learn even more about searching on JSTOR.
Using the Advanced Search (rather than the basic search) allows researchers to narrow their results using criteria according to discipline, journal, author, date, etc. (Not ready for advanced searching? Check out our Basic Search Support page). The advanced search also allows researchers to search by multiple criteria at once.
This is especially helpful if you know exactly what you’re looking for and don’t want to have to narrow results after you search.
Advanced Search tips:
- Make sure you put text in at least one search field. You can then add up to 7 search fields to your query. But the customization doesn’t stop with search fields…
- From the Advanced Search page, scroll down past the “Search” button to see more ways to narrow your search by journal, discipline, and result type. When you're done filtering results, make sure to scroll back up and click "Search" again.
Advanced Search tools can vary widely across academic databases, in this article you will find how to use JSTOR's.
Quick tip: Want to search within a specific journal? In the "Narrow By" section of the Advanced Search, there is a field called "Journal or Book Title". Enter the name of the journal you want to search within there!
If you have too many results to sift through, results aren’t quite what you’re looking for, or you don’t get enough results, we have the tools to help.
Boolean operators are used to connect your search terms, and can be used to either narrow or broaden your search results. Boolean Operators are as follows: AND, OR, and NOT. You can type them manually, use them with the Boolean dropdown boxes on the advanced search, or use a combination.
Using “AND” will narrow your search results by telling the search engine to return results that have BOTH/ALL search terms present. Here’s how it works.
Searching JSTOR for the single word “unicorns” produces a very large set of results (over 4,000!).
But suppose a scholar is specifically researching the claim that unicorns appear to maidens. In that case, refining this set of results by adding the term “maiden” will decrease the number of results they have to sift through to find that perfect article.
All 141 results will include both the term “unicorns” and the term “maidens.”
Using the “OR” Boolean operator will expand your search results by telling the search engine to return results that have EITHER/ANY of the search terms present. It’s particularly useful in the case of synonyms.
Using the OR operator links keywords together and expands the search results:
Using the “NOT” Boolean operator will narrow your search results by telling the search engine to exclude results that have that search term present.
This set of results is smaller than the one previous, and no longer includes any content with the word “myth.”
Boolean operators can be mixed and matched in any number of ways in an attempt to drill down and find that paper you didn’t even know you needed. Boolean logic also works nicely with the other tools in your research arsenal, like exact phrase and fielded searching. The research possibilities are endless.
When your search query includes multiple Boolean operators, it is important to group them appropriately. In the example above, (maiden OR virgin) is grouped together by parentheses, making it a sub-query. By grouping the terms this way, you are telling the search engine what terms must be present and what terms are optional. This eliminates any confusion and ensures that the term “unicorns” must exist and that either term “maidens” or “virgins” may exist.
Quick tip: Looking for more ways to customize your search? You might want to look at Truncation, Wildcards, and Proximity next.
If you're a member of an institution that subscribes to both JSTOR and Artstor (a database of digital images for education and research), you might see a few images appear at the top of your search.
The images are pulled from Artstor and previewed on JSTOR. You can click into each image or "View more images" to explore more images related to your search terms.
How are these images related to my search?
The keywords used in your search match some of the metadata about the image. So, for example, if the word "aquarium" is found somewhere in the description of the image, it could appear in the search results for your JSTOR search for "aquarium."
What is Artstor?
Artstor is digital library of images and digital media that can be used for education and research. If you want to learn more about your institution's access to Artstor, take a look at how to get started on the "Getting Started" support page.
Where do these images come from?
Images on Artstor are contributed by partnering institutions like universities, museums, and private collections. Because of this, the quality and size of images can vary. You can view the image source and copyright information by clicking directly on each image.
Once you click on an individual image, you'll see the option to "Explore the image in Artstor" to see more image details.
Find out more about the image details on the Image Detail Support page (hint: it will help you to discover source and image information).
I don't see any images...
If you're not seeing images, it may be because 1) your institution does not subscribe to Artstor 2) there were no images relevant to your search or 3) complex JSTOR search queries may not return results from Artstor.
If you're not sure if your library subscribes to Artstor, check this list of subscribing institutions or contact your librarian.
What do you think?
We're a learning organization, so your feedback on new features extremely valuable to us. We'll be improving and making changes to this feature based on what you think.
Use the thumbs up or thumbs down buttons next to "Are these images relevant?" to tell us how we did. Have more thoughts? Email us at email@example.com.