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What are Conference Papers?
Almost every area of scholarship -- arts, engineering, humanities, sciences, social sciences -- holds conferences where scholars get together to present and discuss their latest research. Conferences may be very broad in topic or very narrow. Some are held annually, some are one-shots. In any case, they are an important form of publication of scholarly research.
Some conference papers represent the earliest publication of a piece of research. Some never appear in print. Those that do appear in print may appear in a book, in a special issue of a journal, in a regular issue of a journal, or in a journal which specializes in conference papers. Some are easy to locate, and some can only be obtained by contacting their authors.
Locating Conferences on the UCSB Library Catalog
The best way to find conferences (as opposed to specific papers from a conference) on the UCSB Library catalog is by a Keyword search. This search looks for the words you supply in the authors or title words or subject headings or tables of contents (where available) regardless of which field or what order they appear in. This can get around the problem of whether the sponsoring organization appears as the author or as part of the title. In this type of search, it's a good idea to leave out words like "proceedings" or "transactions" in your first try. These are so common that they don't improve the search and may slow it down drastically.
When you display the results of a UCSB Library catalog search, the books appear in reverse chronological order -- most recent first. If you know the date of a conference, this can make locating it easy. Journals appear in the list according to the date that the journal was first published. Some major journals thus have "publication dates" in the 1800s.
Keyword searching for conferences is weakest when you only have relatively common words in the name of the conference. For example, electronics or computing by themselves make poor keyword search terms since there are so many books by IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and ACM (Association for Computing Machinery). Where your keywords are common, add the term congresses, which is always part of the Library of Congress Subject Heading for a book of conference proceedings. The terms proceedings or transactions may also be useful as limiters. Alternatively, you can use the Advanced Search feature, and limit your search by Format to "Conference".
Locating Conference Papers in Indexing Databases
- ACM Digital Library -- computer science *FULL TEXT*
- ACS Symposium Series - chemistry, bioichemistry, chemical engineering, aterials, *FULL TEXT*
- Advances in Solid State Physics - physics *FULL TEXT*
- AIP Conference Proceedings -- physics and related fields*FULL TEXT*
- L'Année Philologique -- classics
- Aquatic Sciences & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA) -- aquatic biology, other marine sciences
- ASABE Technical Library -- agricultural engineering*FULL TEXT*
- ASCE Library - civil engineering
- ASTM Standards and Engineering Digital Library - engineering *FULL TEXT*
- Bibliography of the History of Art -- art history
- Biological Sciences Database -- ecology, entomology, microbiology, biochemistry, marine biology
- BIOSIS Citation Index -- all areas of biology
- Business Source Complete -- business and industry*FULL TEXT*
- CIAO - Columbia International Affairs Online -- international affairs *FULL TEXT*
- Civil Engineering Database -- civil engineering and related areas
- Compendex Plus -- all areas of engineering
- COS Conference Papers Index -- science, with emphasis on aquatic, life and environmental sciences
- Current Index to Statistics - statistical science
- Earthquake Engineering Abstracts -- earthquake engineering
- EconLit -- economics
- Energy Citations Database -- energy related topics
- Environmental Sciences & Pollution Management -- environmental science and engineering
- ESRI GIS Bibliography - geographic information systems
- ETDEWeb -- energy related topics (conference papers published as technical reports only; some link to full text.)
- Family & Society Studies Worldwide -- family studies
- GeoRef -- geology
- History of Science, Technology and Medicine -- history of science
- IEEE Xplore -- electrical and electronic engineering and related fields *FULL TEXT*
- INIS - nuclear energy
- INSPEC -- physics, electrical and electronic engineering, computer science
- International Bibliography of Art -- art history
- Lecture Notes in Computer Science -- all areas of computing and its applications *FULL TEXT*
- Lecture Notes in Physics -- all areas of physics research and teaching *FULL TEXT*
- Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts -- library science and information science
- Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts -- linguistics and language studies
- MathSciNet -- mathematics, statistics, operational research, econometrics
- MLA International Bibliography -- languages, literature, linguistics
- MRS Proceedings Library -- materials science and engineering *FULL TEXT*
- Oceanic Abstracts -- marine science, oceanography
- PapersFirst -- all areas of scholarship
- Plant Science -- plant biology and biotechnology
- POPLINE -- population and reproduction studies
- PsycInfo -- psychology and related fields
- PubMed -- all areas of medicine
- RILM Abstracts of Music Literature -- all areas of music
- SciFinder -- all areas of chemistry and chemical engineering, and many related fields (requires registration)
- Sociological Abstracts -- sociology and related fields
- SPIE Digital Library -- optics, photonics, optoelectronics and imaging *FULL TEXT*
- Sustainability Science Abstracts -- human use and conservation of natural resources
- Toxline -- toxicology
- Water Resources Abstracts -- water supply and pollution
- Women's Studies International -- women's studies, feminist studies
- World Ceramics Abstracts -- ceramics and their applications