Research Tools - Fall 2000

JSTOR Increases Research Capabilities for Students and Faculty

The Weinberg Memorial Library has acquired a subscription for a new database called JSTOR. JSTOR, an acronym for journal storage, is a collection of 117 journals in scholarly fields such as anthropology, ecology, economics, finance, history, mathematics, philosophy, political science, science, and sociology. JSTOR is a non-profit organization formed in 1995 for the purpose of creating and maintaining an electronic archive of essential scholarly journals in various fields. Initially funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, JSTOR was developed at Princeton University and the University of Michigan to offer a solution for academic libraries witnessing rising journal costs as well as increasing space requirements. JSTOR proposes an alternative by offering journals in an electronic format; libraries could then obtain a complete subscription of core journals for a fraction of the cost necessary to obtain, bind and store back issues. Accessing these journals in electronic format also enables libraries to gain more space for other journals. Unlike other databases, JSTOR offers the complete run of a journal except for the most recent years. Depending on the publisher, the last 2 to 5 years are not included in JSTOR so as not to compete with the more recent print copy years. Publishers consented to including titles in the JSTOR database as long as the collection did not include issues from the most recent years. The publisher agreement permits JSTOR to add years as long as the 2 to 5 year wall is maintained. This moving wall enables both the publisher and scholar to obtain a mutually satisfying compromise. The publisher does not have to worry about the electronic version of recent issues reducing the circulation or revenue generated by a journal. Consequently, JSTOR is constantly being updated. This compromise enables both students and faculty to search a wide time span for a topic in a journal, and the users are still able to search almost the complete run of the journal with one search statement. Unlike the print and microfilm formats, JSTOR enables the user to search much more quickly and efficiently. The ability to search a complete run of a journal cannot be overestimated especially considering the fact that some journals contained in JSTOR have a hundred year plus run. In order to search the print counterpart, a student or professor would have to painstakingly review each year of the journal or be limited to a print index that might combine abstracts or citations for several years of a JSTOR journal
There are several ways to search for articles in the JSTOR database. The basic search combines terms using AND as well as OR connectors.  The search allows the user to research concepts or terms in articles by author, title, abstract, or full-text. The advanced search screen enables a patron access to full Boolean logic to combine terms and limit by the type of article such as reviews or opinion pieces. In order to provide such sweeping access to over 100 journals, there are guidelines that publishers of these journals have required subscribing institutions to follow. Due to copyright restrictions, a user of JSTOR can download and print one copy of a particular article. Fair use restrictions for articles must be followed.
JSTOR is a database that allows unparalleled access to information with the assurance that the preservation of this information will be maintained. The JSTOR mission is to preserve these journals as well as expand upon the initial phase with other subject collections based upon feedback from the participating institutions.  The University of Scranton's participation in JSTOR helps to forward this mission while enabling the library to greatly increase the electronic research capabilities to better serve the faculty and student body.

David Marks
Pride, Passion, Promise: Experience Our Jesuit Tradition