How to Do Library Research

This set of pages has information on how to do library research. In all cases, once you have located sources, be sure to evaluate them, using the evaluation guides.

Identifying Key Journals in a Field

To identify the key journals in your field, it is recommended that you consult the following three reference sources as needed.

  • Magazines for Libraries Magazines for Libraries. Ed. by Bill Katz and Linda S. Katz (earlier editions). New York: Bowker, 1969-72; 1982-89; 1995-2008.
    Z 6941 .M23 INFO DESK has latest edition owned Titles are grouped in a broad subject arrangement. Included are magazines written in non-specialist language, the main English language research journals sponsored by distinguished research societies, high quality commercial (for profit) publications, and electronic-only journals. A total of 6076 periodicals are listed in the 17th edition (2009 on cover). Each title is reviewed by an expert in the field with the scope, special features, intended audience, ideological standpoints/editorial tone (left/liberal, center, right/conservative) described. It also lists indexes that include the journal (abbreviated; check abbreviations list for full titles). Journals that are considered "Basic Periodicals" for academic libraries will be indicated by "Ac" or have some mention of scholars or college and university libraries in the journal description. Supplement this information with a current source. Look at the Subject Index in the back of the book for your field of study, or use the Title Index to find a review of a journal title.

    Magazines for Libraries overview information can be found within Ulrich's (selectively--only a small percentage of Ulrich's titles are in Magazines for Libraries), but on a title by title basis, so it can be faster to use Magazines for Libraries to get a good overview of major publications in a field.
  • Ulrich's Periodicals Directory Ulrich's Periodicals Directory. (CSU has current as online only. Print version titled Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory. New York: Bowker, 1965- .) Annual, with updates 3/year. Earlier years in print found in Morgan Stacks 1965-2000. Z 6941 .U5 Morgan Ulrich's contains over 300,000 periodical titles currently published throughout the world, arranged by subject. Default search is Title (keyword), but this can be changed to Title (exact), among other possibities such as subject, ISSN (international standard serial number), publisher/distributor, and language. Brief display shows title, publisher, country, issn, start year, status (e.g. active or ceased), and price. Full record displays show information as available: Table of Contents, ISSN, Title, Publishing Body, Country, Status, Start Year, Frequency, Volume Ends, Document Type, Abstracted/Indexed, Media, RSS Availability, Size, Language, Price, Subject, Dewey #, LC#, CODEN (alphanumeric code that uniquely identifies a specific publication), Circulation, Special Features, Article Index, Composition, Editor(s), Publisher(s), E-Mail, URL, Description, and Title History. FindIt@CSU button is enabled.

    Tabbed options include: other editions/formats, abstracting/indexing & article access, publisher & ordering information, advertising, rights, demographics, and reviews. Reviews may have Magazines for Libraries entry information.

    Online version has line indicating if a journal is refereed: 

Printed version: Titles of journals are arranged alphabetically within 700 subject headings. Information given about each title includes subscription information, circulation statistics, and where the journal is indexed Vol. 4 has a list of "Refereed Serials," which indicates that articles are reviewed by experts in the subject before they are allowed to be published. Such carefully reviewed publications are scholarly journals. However, be aware that Ulrich's list does not include ALL refereed serials. Examine the editorial policy and instructions to authors found in selected issues of journals to determine if the editorial boards and/or consultants are experts in the field.

Minimum information: Main Entry Title, Frequency, Publisher Address, Country Code, and Dewey Decimal Classification.

Additional information can be the journal's ISSN (International Standard Serial Number), language, special features, where it is indexed (abbreviations), Title changes, etc.

  • Encyclopedia of Associations

Encyclopedia of Associations. Detroit: Gale Research, 2008-2009 (at CSU). Annual.
HS 17 .G32 Morgan

Provides information about national organizations of the U.S., including their publications. Use Part 3 of Vol. 1, the Name and Keyword Index, to look up organizations by topic, keyword, or name. The number provided is an entry number, not a page number. There is a paperback Vol. 3 that supplements the annual hardbound volumes.

Because the Library no longer has a current subscription to this publication, it is suggested that you make good guesses as to what associations might cover your area of interest and use your Web browser to search for and identify them. Once on their pages of information, look for their publications. For example, a search for: chemistry association, brings up the American Chemical Society. Under their publications menu there is a list of journals.

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