Database Saves Space and Makes Research a Snap

Posted: April 17, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

University Libraries has access to a powerful research tool called JSTOR. Short for “Journal Storage,” JSTOR is a digital database that contains back issues of more than 100 important scholarly journals. While the database does not contain recent issues (i.e., those that appeared in the last three to five years), it contains all of the earlier issues, even for journals that were established in the 1800s. In addition, the publisher continues to update the database so that users can always access issues that were published more than three to five years ago.

George Mason users don’t even have to go to the library to use JSTOR–it’s available online. From a George Mason Internet connection, go to If you are using a commercial Internet service provider from home, go to and choose JSTOR from the Electronic Resources database menu. Accessing restricted materials like JSTOR off campus requires configuring a proxy.

JSTOR is a nonprofit organization established in August 1995. The idea for the JSTOR database was conceived by William G. Bowen, president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as a way for libraries to save precious storage space. The database eliminates the need for libraries to keep paper copies of certain journals and allows users to search journals with unprecedented ease.

Among the 117 journals available through JSTOR are Annual Review of Anthropology, Journal of Asian Studies, Journal of Higher Education, Shakespeare Quarterly, and Political Science Quarterly. While the first JSTOR database consists primarily of humanities publications, JSTOR now has a database consisting of nine general science publications, including Science and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. University Libraries is in the process of purchasing the science database, which should be available to George Mason users by summer and perhaps as early as the end of this semester. As one of the charter subscribers to JSTOR, George Mason receives a substantial discount in the annual access fee for the JSTOR general sciences database.

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