Periodical Services

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Print periodicals
Electronic periodicals
Scholarly vs. popular

The most current resources in the Library are found in the Periodicals (Serials) section. These include:

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Journals

These items may not be checked out so that they will be available to everyone in the DBU community. Faculty may be allowed limited check-out privileges, under special circumstances.


Vance Memorial Library currently receives and maintains over 400 periodical titles. Our archives contain an additional 700 inactive titles.

  • Complete lists of all available titles are kept in binders located throughout the first floor of the Library.
  • Lists are organized both alphabetically and by subject.
  • Many titles are held in microfiche/microfilm formats to conserve shelf space. Microform readers/printers are located on the first floor. Please ask for assistance.
  • DBU’s print periodical titles are indexed in the Library Catalog.



DBU’s Online Databases allow access to thousands of periodical articles from any computer, many in full-text format. If a print journal has been supplanted by its electronic counterpart, every effort is made to indicate this fact both in the Library Catalog and on the shelves.


  • The content of journals in electronic form does not always represent 100 percent of the content of their print editions.
  • Most databases provide approximately 10 years of back-issue archives in full-text (this will vary according to publishers' wishes). 
  • Some publishers choose to withhold their most recent content for a brief period of time (3 months, 6 months, or 12 months) before allowing its inclusion in database products.  This process is known as embargo.  If the content you need is currently embargoed, you may request the article through Interlibrary Loan, or check to see if DBU owns the print version of the periodical.



There are three main types of periodicals found in the Vance Memorial Library and online:

  • Newspapers – present a primary source, eyewitness account of issues and events
  • Magazines – present a general treatment or broad overview of a subject or event
  • Journals – present a scholarly, in-depth treatment of specified topics

The following chart presents expanded criteria for differentiating between scholarly journals and popular magazines:


Scholarly Journals
Popular Magazines
Include bibliographies or references (works cited) Usually do not have bibliographies or references
Authors are experts in the field Authors are often general writers
Articles are signed by the authors Articles are sometimes unsigned
Standardized formats (APA, MLA, etc.) are usually followed; Articles usually over 5 pages in length Various formats, unstructured; Articles usually 1-4 pages or less than one page
Audience is the scholarly reader Audience is the general population. Audience is entertained and informed.
Written in the jargon of the field Written for anyone to understand
(usually at 5th grade level)
Published bimonthly (6 times/year), quarterly (4 times/year), or semiannually (2 times/year) Published weekly or monthly
Illustrations support the text: such as maps, tables, charts, graphs, photographs Often profusely illustrated for marketing and advertising appeal


(Based on a handout by the University of Michigan and a figure published in Cook, Kim N., Lilith R. Kunkel, and Susan M. Weaver. "Cooperative Learning in Bibliographic Instruction" Research Strategies Winter 1995 : 17-25.

To find more helpful definitions, click here.


We are here to help you!

For more information, questions, or comments regarding Periodical Services, please contact:


Serials Supervisor
Zack Prince

To ensure prompt attention to email,

please include "DBU" in the subject line of your message.

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