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In most cases, when you find an article in a library database, you will access it one of the following ways:
Most search results only display a description of the article. To view the full article, you usually need to open or download a PDF (digital copy) of the article. Sometimes the full article is HTML, which means there is no scan of the article, but you can still read all of the words from the article.
Some library databases contain millions of article records (or descriptions/abstracts) to help you discover an article that actually lives in a different database. If you don't see a link for a PDF of an article, look for a link called "Find Full Text" or just "Full Text." This will either (1) guide you to the database where the PDF lives or (2) prompt you to request the article through Interlibrary Loan (see next section).
Sometimes when you click "Find Full Text" you will see a screen with a link titled Submit Article Delivery Request. This usually means that the library does not subscribe to the journal that published the article you need. Don't worry, you can still get it! If you ever see the "Submit Article Delivery Request" link, just click it, and an article request form will be automatically filled out for you. All you have to do is submit the request and wait for 1-2 business days for the article to be emailed to you.
Learn more about Interlibrary Loan: