JSTOR is one of UCSB Library’s most heavily-used databases. It provides online access to over 1,400 scholarly journals in the arts, humanities, sciences, and social sciences, delivering full text articles with the click of a mouse.
JSTOR’s strength is in providing full-text access to known citations. JSTOR—the name is an abbreviation of “Journal Storage”—is a digital archive of the back runs of journal articles. Started in 1995 as a not-for-profit service funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, it was intended to help university and college libraries reduce costs associated with storing library materials, specifically scholarly journals, by digitizing older materials.
The JSTOR interface is still fairly intuitive and easy to use, although some problems remain: pages are not scalable; some color images are rendered in black and white; search terms are not highlighted in results; diacritical marks are not always well handled, and there are the occasional broken links and dead ends. JSTOR provides a “contact us” link in the upper right corner of the page and encourages users to send comments, suggestions, and complaints. Your UCSB librarian can contact JSTOR with your comments. Your feedback is important.
As an archive, JSTOR by definition does not provide access to current scholarship. Most journals in the JSTOR database have a “moving wall”: a lag time between the publication of the printed issue and availability of the content on JSTOR. Publishers may choose to delay JSTOR access for up to ten years. Most are delayed three to five years. What researchers see in a typical results list in JSTOR are articles that are at least three years old. Fortunately, that is changing.
In January of 2011 JSTOR entered a partnership with UC Press to create the “Current Scholarship Collection.” For subscribers (including UCSB Library), this feature provides access to current issues of some 200 journals in addition to archived materials. The complete list of titles is online.