Finding Journal Articles: Island Studies

The most current research on any academic topic is usually found in journal articles. In many scholarly disciplines, specialized subject databases have been developed to provide a search portal for the published writing of that particular discipline, and especially journal articles: examples include PscyInfo (Psychology), ERIC (Education), etc. There is no database product specifically dedicated to Island Studies, however, as it is a relatively new, still-developing field of study. Also, Island Studies can encompass research across a whole host of academic disciplines, from environmental and life sciences through the humanities and the social sciences, which presents a further challenge to creating a specialized Island Studies' research product.

Big Search -- Aggregators, OneSearch, and Google Scholar
Fortuitously for Island Studies, however, the trend towards cross-disciplinary / multidisciplinary research has become widespread in academia, and the research landscape -- including database searching -- has evolved accordingly. Some "aggregator" databases, for example, do not focus on any particular area of study, but instead extend coverage across a broad range of disciplines and subject areas: aggregator databases subscribed to by UPEI include Academic Search Complete and Scopus. Even more ambitiously, many academic libraries now use "discovery service" search tools that offer the ability to search across mulitple databases -- including broad-based aggregators such as Academic Search -- simultaneously. This has obvious advantages for a multidisciplinary field like Island Studies. 
The discovery service used by the UPEI Library is called OneSearch -- more information, along with some basic search and usage tips, is available here.

Another tool for multidisciplinary research is Google Scholar. Developed by Google in cooperation with publishers of academic / scholarly writing across a broad range of disciplines, Google Scholar indexes: "articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites." Although its claim to cover "all scholarly literature" is hyperbole, Google Scholar does offer very significant global reach.
More information on using Google Scholar as a UPEI researcher -- including settings and search tips -- is available here

Disciplinary Digging -- Subject Databases

While the Big Search tools mentioned above offer powerful searching options, research-in-depth can still benefit greatly from more specialized, subject-specific databases (where available). Some of these databases work poorly -- or not at all -- with a discovery service like OneSearch, so relevant results may be missed; relatedly, OneSearch and GoogleScholar often do not support more complex and focussed searches well, as they lack the more advanced capabilities, including the discipline-specific search options, offered by many specialized databases. This also means that Big Search tools can produce overwhelmingly large results sets that are difficult to refine / narrow, meaning that relevant content might lost in irrelevant "noise". 
To locate discipline-specific databases, you can consult the Library's Subject Guides or our Database-by-Subject listing.

In the majority of cases, a reference to an article in a OneSearch or subject database result list should include a prominent link to the Full Text of the article. Clicking this link should take you to the electronic text of the article (typically a .pdf). Sometimes, though, a reference may not have a Full Text link, or the link does not work. In such cases, you can use the GetIt@UPEI  (Full Text Finder) option.

This allows you to:

  • determine if the article is available in fulltext; indicated by a “Get Fulltext” link
  • search the UPEI Library holdings for print copies of the journal title if no fulltext link
  • request the article through Interlibrary Loan if the article is not available via UPEI.


Scholarly Journals in Island Studies

The tools discussed above will help you locate scholarly writing about islands in countless journals covering a whole range of disciplines. It bears noting, however, that there are currently only two scholarly journals specifically focussed on Island Studies.

- Island Studies Journal (2006 - present)
This is an Open Access, peer-reviewed (scholarly), electronic journal, dedicated to the study of "our world of islands." New issues appear twice annually on the journal home page (; older print issues are also availabe in the UPEI Library's University Archives (Call # GB271.J67). Of the databases subscribed to by the Library, the only one offering complete coverage of Island Studies Journal is Canadian Business and Current Affairs (CBCA); selected ISJ content is also available in Academic Search Complete and Scopus (which means that some articles may be located and retrieved via the Library's OneSearch tool). Another option is to type at the end of a Google search string; this will target your search specifically to the Island Studies Journal website. 

- Shima : the International Journal of Research into Island Cultures (2007 - present)
This, too, is an Open Access, peer-reviewed (scholarly), electronic journal. Although Shima and ISJ obviously complement each other, the scope and content of each title is quite distinct, and students would be well-advised to consult both journals regularly. New issues of Shima appear twice annually on the journal home page ( Shima articles published from 2017 onwards are included in Scopus, and so may be located and retrieved via the Library's OneSearch function. Another option is to type at the end of a Google search string; this will target your search specifically to the Shima journal website. 

Small States and Territories Journal (2018 - present)

A more recently-launched scholarly periodical (2018) publishing a significant quantity of articles (and book reviews) regarding islands is this title, from the University of Malta's Islands and Small States Institute. It, too, is an Open Access, peer-reviewed publication. At present (Fall 2022), this journal does not appear to be covered in any of the databases subscribed to by the UPEI Library: Google searches can be targetted to

- Okinawan Journal of Island Studies (2020 - present)

This journal is another recently-launched scholarly periodical with -- as its title suggests -- a strong focus on Island Studies is this publication of the Research Institute for Islands and Sustainability at the University of the Ryukus. Articles in both Japanese and English are published.


Created by: Betty Jeffery, B.A., M.L.S.
Date Created: 18-May-2004
Date Revised: 16-September-2022 (Simon Lloyd, Island Studies Liaison Librarian)