To locate a "known" item without a clear link to electronic full-text (something you know exists because you have the citation in hand (which you hope is accurate, but that's another issue)):
1) Determine what type of item it is. This involves knowing how to read a citation.
- Bookish (a complete book, a book chapter, an entry from a reference work, like an encyclopedia article)
- Periodical Article ( scholarly journal, popular magazine or newspaper)
- Government Document
- Web site
- other (image, video, music...)
1.5) Special consideration for Chemistry: deconstruct any journal title abbreviations (see the page for Additional Resources in Chemistry)
2) Select the search tool which locates that type of item. Use the following:
- For books - use WorldCat
- for Articles - use our Journal Search service (it covers all periodicals)
- For Government Documents - use FDsys unless it is a patent, in which case use Google Scholar
- For Web sites, use Google
- For other needs, select a suitable tool based on the library Databases page.
3) If you don't find something through standard channels, it is worth three quick Google searches (plain Google, Google Scholar, and Google Books) to see if there is a way to locate it (or more information about it) on the free web. This can be a long shot, but can pay off.
4) If you still haven't located it, and it is a published item (periodicals and newer books), then visit the publisher's web site. Some publishers provide some free content on their own sites as a teaser to subscribe or purchase. Such content may not be searchable by Google and so may only be visible if you visit their site.
5) If you haven't located it yet, then submit an Interlibrary Loan.