Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering: Journal articles / papers

Finding journal articles and research papers

What are journals articles?

A journal is a specific type of academic publication. Like magazines, new parts of journals are published regularly throughout the year. Typically this could be monthly, biannually (twice a year) or quarterly (every three months). Each of the parts of a journal is referred to as a journal "issue". Individual journal issues are often grouped together into annual journal "volumes".

Each journal issue contains a collection of articles, which are short pieces of academic writing. Articles are written by academics from universities and other research institutions and they provide information about current research and teaching.

Finding journal articles:

If you want to do a quick and simple search for journal articles, use Article Search or an ejournal package such as ScienceDirect or the ejournals packages from IET, IMechE, AIAA or ASME. They will usually allow you to access the articles online immediately.

If you want to do a comprehensive search of the research literature, you should use one or more of the key databases (on the next tab) instead. The databases cover many more articles and offer better search features.


The following e-journal packages are all useful for finding and accessing articles and papers on mechanical and aerospace engineering:

To find a specific e-journal, please check the Library's e-journals A-Z list:

Alternatively, you can search Article Search. This can save you time, as Article Search searches many of the university's subscribed e-journals simultaneously.  

Hardcopy journals

If you can't access an article online, this could be because the university doesn't subscribe to the journal in which it was published. In that case, check if the library holds the journal in printed (i.e. hardcopy) format. This is often the case for older journals.

Search for the journal title (not the article title) on the library catalogue. If the library holds the journal in printed format, the catalogue will show you its location and the shelfmark. If you are not sure where to find the journal, please ask for help at one of the Enquiry Desks.

Please note:

  • Hardcopies of engineering journals published from 1981 to the present are shelved in the Journals Area on Floor 3 of the McClay Library.
  • Journal volumes which were published before 1981 are kept in the Library Store. Please ask at the Borrower Services Desk on the ground floor of the McClay Library if you wish to consult any of them.

Printed journals are shelved on mobile shelving. The video below shows how you can operate the mobile shelves. If you would like help with this, please ask at one of the Enquiry Desks:

Off-campus access

The library's databases and e-journals packages can be accessed both on and off-campus.

For off-campus access please follow the links to the databases from this guide or from the Library catalogue or the library's Databases A-Z list.

This will enable you to authenticate with your QUB ID card details and use the databases and e-journals when you are away from campus.

If you have queries about accessing e-books, e-journals or databases from off-campus, check our e-resources guide, or contact your subject librarian, Irene Bittles (email:

Technical papers and reports

Technical papers and reports can be tricky to find, as they are often not included in e-journal packages. The following sites can be helpful for finding such documents:

Keeping Up to Date

The ZETOC service will email you the tables of contents of new journal issues as they are published. It covers a wide range of subjects and you can select multiple journals.