OCAD University Dorothy H. Hoover Library

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What is JSTOR?

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JSTOR is a journal database that provides access to hundreds of academic journals from all subject areas. There are over 200 art journals and also has excellent coverage of design research. It is the most popular database in the library's collection and generally presents half of all the journal articles accessed here at OCAD U.  Is it the best source to use for peer-reviewed journals?


  • No peer-review limits: in general, the titles in JSTOR are scholarly; however it does not offer a specific "peer-review" limit like other databases such as Academic Search Premier; Business Source Complete; or Canadian Business and Current Affairs (CBCA); so chances are you will find "peer-reviewed" articles, but it's not guaranteed.  You can always look for the publication information from the ejournal page, using the "Browse Journals" feature.
  • No current articles: JSTOR is an archival collection so offers access to articles from every issue of journals from the first volume number to approximately 5 - 10 years from the current date. So for current, cutting-edge research in art and design, it is not an ideal source for articles.
  • No Canadian art & design journals: you can certainly find information on Canadian artists and designers, but there are no Canadian arts periodicals in the collection.
  • Everyone uses JSTOR!: because the collection is so popular, there is the danger of missing out on journal titles that are more specialized to contemporary art practice.  Ejournal collections such as ACM Digital Library ; SAGE Journals ; Taylor & Francis Journals offer unique cutting-edge research that is not accessible through JSTOR
  • Why not use Summon instead? Summon searches through all our journal databases, including JSTOR, so you will be accessing much more comprehensive and current articles.


  • Excellent coverage of art history: JSTOR is ideal for searching obscure artists or artisans from all historic time periods.
  • Excellent source for interdisciplinary research: because there are hundreds of journal titles from the sciences, humanities, social sciences, JSTOR is an ideal tool to search for information on visual and material culture.
  • Ideal for accessing primary documents:as an archival database, you can search for exhibition reviews or academic essays published when an artist was alive. For example, by using the publication date limits you could see how Frida Kahlo's art was reviewed in the 1940s, or even when the first time Vincent Van Gogh was mentioned in an academic art journal!