What Does Full-Text Mean?

By John Mack Freeman

Full-text allows users to find a copy of the complete original article online.
i text image by Ewe Degiampietro from Fotolia.com

Full-text refers to online periodicals that reproduce the entire contents of articles online in a searchable format. Full-text can have some restrictions depending on the publisher and database within which the file is found.


Full-text is defined in the context of online resources by the Duke University library as a resource that has the entire text available online for reading and searching instead of just a citation or abstract. Full-text can be applied to a single article, an entire periodical or a database of Internet-accessible periodicals.


Full-text files include all of the original data provided in the original periodical online including footnotes, images and bibliographic information.


Depending on the restrictions on certain source material, full text may not be available for all materials online at the same time. "Active full text" means that a periodical has full text up through the current date, "full text" usually refers the full text of an article being provided up to a certain date. "Embargoed" files only allow full text after a certain date set by the publisher.