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Architecture: Journal articles / papers

Finding journal articles and research papers

What are journal articles?

A journal is a type of academic publication. Similar to magazines, journals are published on an ongoing basis, and new journal parts (which are also known as "issues") are published regularly throughout the year. Typically this could be monthly, biannually (twice a year) or quarterly (every three months). 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 Library Search or an e-journal package such as JSTOR. 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 databases (see below) instead. The databases cover many more articles and offer better search features.

Using databases to find journal articles

Please note: Not all databases contain the PDFs of articles. For those which don't, try the QConnect service to link from the database to the full-text of an article.

Many architecture journals are only available in hardcopy format, not online. If you cannot access an article via a databases or via QConnect, check if the library holds the journal in hardcopy:

  1. Search the databases to find information about relevant articles on your topic.
  2. Note the article details, including author name, article title, source title (i.e. the journal title), publication date, volume, issue number and page numbers.
  3. Then check Library Search to see if the library holds the required journal. Make sure you search for the title of the journal, which the article was published in, not for the title of the article. Library Search will tell you if the journal part which you need is held by the library and the location where you can find it. Take a note of the location details and the shelfmark.
  4. Go to the relevant shelf to find the required journal volume. If you need directions, please ask at one of the Information Desks. Journals cannot be borrowed, but you can photocopy or scan pages from a journal in the library.

The databases cover many more items than are available from the Library. If you find details of an article which you cannot access online or which is not available in hardcopy, you may be able to request it from another library via the Inter-Library Loans service.

Recommended databases

The Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals is a comprehensive index of journal articles on architecture published since 1934. It covers the history and practice of architecture, landscape architecture, city planning, historic preservation, interior design and decoration. A key resource for architectural research. Does not include article PDFs.

The online catalogue of the British Architectural Library at RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects), which holds one of the world’s foremost architectural collections. The catalogue provides references to journal articles, books, exhibition catalogues, technical reports and AV material on architecture and related subjects. Does not include PDFs of indexed literature.

The Construction Information Service provides access to a wide range of technical documents, JCT contracts, reports and publications from professional bodies related to UK building regulations, construction management, building and landscape design. PDFs of most indexed sources are available for download.

The Web of Science gives access to citation databases, journals and conference proceedings with current and retrospective coverage in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, arts, and humanities. A good complement to Scopus. Does not include PDFs of indexed literature.

Web of Science - Search tips (YouTube)

The Planning, Architecture and Design Database Ireland (PADDI) provides bibliographic details of journal articles, books and book chapters on all aspects of the built environment in Ireland, North and South. Does not include PDFs of indexed literature.

PADDI tutorial (YouTube)

Scopus is the world's largest bibliographic and citation database. It covers nearly 20,000 academic journals from a wide range of subjects. Scopus is particularly useful for researching engineering-related aspects of construction. Does not include PDFs of indexed literature.

Scopus tutorials (video / text-only)

ABI/Inform Global is a comprehensive business database providing access to a wide range of journals and working paper series. Useful for researching commercial aspects of construction. PDFs of many indexed sources are available for download.

ABI/Inform Global guide

Business Source Premier  provides access to more than 2,000 business journals. Company information and market research literature is also available. Useful for researching commercial aspects of construction. PDFs of many indexed sources are available for download.


The following e-journal packages are useful for finding and accessing articles and papers on architecture:


Hardcopy journals

Journals from previous years are kept in the Journals Back Issues area opposite the main stairs on each floor. Go to:

  • Floor 1 for shelfmarks A-H
  • Floor 2 for shelfmarks I-P
  • Floor 3 for shelfmarks Q-Z

Current journals with shelfmarks A-P are kept on the sloping shelves on floor 2 but those with shelfmarks Q-Z are kept with the back issues.