Register & Read: Another full-text option

I would venture a guess that we’ve all encountered this little message at some point during our research:


After hours of research it can be enough to make you feel a little frustrated…

Writers Block (8)

Image by Jonno Witts. CC license here.

While many of our past blog posts have focused on alternatives to finding full-text (Google Scholar, WorldCat), today we are excited to bring you another wonderful option: JSTOR’s Register & Read.

This might seem a bit confusing at first…the library already subscribes to JSTOR’s Arts & Sciences collection right?  Yes! But with Register & Read, you can access full-text articles beyond the library’s subscriptions, making it a great option for gaining immediate access to some articles which would otherwise be unavailable.

If this sounds too good to be true, it’s important to remember that (of course) there are limitations.  Here are the essential facts:

  • Register & Read is free for up to 3 articles every 2 weeks
  • Articles are available full-text only online; no PDF downloads
  • Access to some 5 million full-text journal articles included!

Let’s walk through a real life scenario of when this might come in handy so you know what to expect.

First, let’s assume you found a citation/abstract for an awesome article published in the American Journal of Sociology.  Being the adept researcher you are, you connect to the library website, and use the ‘Journal and Book Titles’ link to see if we have access to this journal:



No dice.  Next, you decide to scroll through our databases and select ‘JSTOR’ from the list to see if the article is available through Register & Read.  No matter what article you’re looking for, you will want to use the ‘advanced search’ page.


Here, make sure you un-check the box labeled “include only content I can access”.  Next, create a search for the article you’re interested in. In this case, I used a main keyword from the article’s title in conjunction with the name of the publication like so:


If you see the article in your results list, go ahead and click on the title to see what your access options are.  If you see a banner at the top of the page which says “read online free” then you’re in luck!



You can see in the image above that JSTOR knows Fielding does not have subscription access to this journal.  However, using JSTOR’s Register & Read service, you can still gain access to the full-text article free of charge!

When you click on the ‘read online’ button, you will see a new window asking you to either register for a JSTOR account or sign into one you’ve already created:


Once you complete this step, you’ll be taken to your “shelf”. This is where you can store and access your three articles every two weeks. It’s as easy as that:


It goes without saying that there are downsides to only being able to read an article online instead of downloading the PDF.  However, the major benefit of Register & Read is simply that it provides access to a wealth of information beyond Fielding’s library collection.  For example, Fielding’s subscription access to the Journal of Negro Education dates back to the mid-1990s.  But, through JSTOR’s Register & Read, you can access articles published in this journal as far back as the 1930s; that’s 60 extra years of coverage!

There will certainly be times you cannot find what you need in JSTOR. Five million articles is a lot, but it’s not everything.  And there will be times when you just prefer to download a full-text PDF copy of your article as opposed to reading online.  But for the cases in between, we hope you will consider this wonderful way to supplement our library’s subscription access.

2 thoughts on “Register & Read: Another full-text option

  1. When you read online, is it possible to copy/paste excerpts?

    Also, online reading access seems like a bit of a grey area. On the one hand, access to downloading and storing the resource file is restricted. But on the other hand, if we can view it on our screen, we can also screen capture it. Is this allowed/legal?


  2. Hi Che–thank you for these thoughtful questions! With increasing digital access to copyrighted materials, much of the landscape can feel like a grey area.

    When reading online via Register & Read, it is not possible to copy and paste excerpts. The full-text content is made available as “page images” and you cannot interact with them in a way as to copy/paste.

    As far as screen capture goes, this appears to be outside of the access granted in the terms and conditions of this service. In a larger sense, screen capture could be considered a form of ‘reproduction’ of a work, which violates copyright. JSTOR’s terms and conditions ( state that downloading content is a permitted use for “Authorized users other than Register & Read users”. Here, they are expressly stating that full-text items obtain through Register & Read cannot be downloaded, which I would venture to say applies to any manner in which you may try to store the content, including screen capture.

    JSTOR’s intent with this service is to provide access to content to individuals who previously may not have been able to gain such access. It’s an excellent way to supplement the access provided by the library, but online reading is not without limitations.

    Please feel free to reach out to the library if you have additional questions; we are happy to help!


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