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Conference Papers and Proceedings: Home

How to find conference papers and proceedings in the UCSB Library.

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 UC Library Search

The best way to find conferences (as opposed to specific papers from a conference) on the UC Library Search is by abasic 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 UC Library Search, the books appear in "relevance" order -- most closely matching your search terms  first. Refine the results by Resource Type to limit to conference proceedings.  If you know the date of a conference, this can make locating it easy. Refine results by the publication date, allowing plus or minus one year. 

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 Databases

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