When researching the history of the West, start with America: History and Life and then branch out as appropriate for your topic and focus.
There are three methods for obtaining the actual articles you wish to read:
Method 1: In some databases, you will be able to link directly to the full-text article. If given the choice between a PDF or HTML version of the article, always choose the PDF format. This will give you an exact image, including page numbers, of the article as it appears in the paper journal.
Method 2: If a direct link to full text is not available, then search Primo (available on the library homepage) to see if the library subscribes to the journal.
When you pull up the record for the periodical, note carefully the "Holdings" section, which can be reached by selecting "Availability and Request Options." Periodical issues can be in paper, microform, or electronic full-text formats. If the periodical is available only in paper or microfilm, you will need to go downstairs to the basement to find the bound volumes of periodicals or the microform.* If the periodical record indicates that full text is available, a link to the article will be provided.
*For articles in microform, you have the option of filling out an interlibrary loan request. A library staff member will create a PDF for you from the microform format.
Method 3: If Primo indicates that the article is not available in any format, then request the article through interlibrary loan. Most databases include links to interlibrary loan within each record. It usually takes about a week or less to receive an electronic copy of the article.