What are "web only" or "online only" articles and how can I get at the full text?

 Many publications have what’s known as “web only content,” articles and other materials that are available almost exclusively to individual subscribers on the publication’s website and which  are not included in most institutional subscriptions like the ones available to libraries. Sometimes these will be identified as web only; sometimes you see clues, like if the item has a very specific date that doesn't coincide with an issue of the title. 

Is it possible to get to these materials without an individual subscription? We do have some tips and tricks:

Getting at the full text through the publication website:

  • Sometimes these are free online.
  • Sometimes the site will give a certain number of free articles (for instance, 3 a month), often using your browser to identify you.
  • The publication might have a free trial. 

Getting at it through the library:

  • Look for other HOLLIS entries for the same title. 
  • If you’ve found a HOLLIS record, but the online access links on the search page don’t get you to the article, open the HOLLIS record by clicking on the title. Once you’re looking at the full records, check down under "Online Access." You may see additional databases in which Harvard Library has access to the material.
  • Check the Factiva database (Harvard login required). (Harvard ID holders  can also find it in HOLLIS Databases). Factiva sometimes has access to web-only items. *Check for included publication titles before searching for your article.
  • We may be able to get it for you through Interlibrary Loan. 

Finally, Ask a Librarian to take a look for you (or show you how to go through the above options).

Service Alert:
  • Ask a Librarian, including chat and email, will be suspended from 5:00 pm on Thursday, December 22, through Monday, January 2, for the holiday break. Any questions received during this period will be answered beginning Tuesday, January 2, 2024.
  • If If you're experiencing an ongoing technical issue when you attempt to access library materials with your HarvardKey during these times, please report it to Library Technology Services.



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