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The General Collections



Starting Places
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Periodicals for Girls (and Boys)
Industry and Labor Union Journals
Fashion Magazines and Pattern Books
Publications of Organizations
State Historical Society Publications
Biographical Sources
Women's Writings
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Periodical Indexes
see caption below

Century Magazine. Louis Rhead, artist. [August 1894]. Prints and Photographs Division. LC-USZC4-2261 (color film copy transparency)

bibliographic record

Unless otherwise indicated, all index titles in this section are available in print form in the Main Reading Room reference collection or online on terminals throughout the Library. The Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room holds many of the same periodical indexes in its reference collection, although not always the same run of years.

Periodical indexes (works that list articles from a selected group of journals, usually alphabetically by author, title, and subject) are of enormous help to the historian, but many researchers are aware of only the most obvious, such as the commonly available America: History and Life (1964-, Z1236.A48, online 1964-). The Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature (1900-, AI3.R48, online 1983-) with its century of coverage is also familiar to most people, but many overlook its two-volume companion Nineteenth Century Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature (covering fifty-one periodical titles published in the 1890s, AI3.R496) and Poole's Index to Periodical Literature (1802-1906, AI3.P7, with supplements; online as part of Nineteenth Century Masterfile).

Some general twentieth-century indexes are

  • International Index (with title change, 1907-74, AI3.R49), then separated into Social Sciences Index (1974-, AI3.S62, online 1983-) and Humanities Index (1974-, AI3.H85, online 1984-)
  • Education Index (1929-, Z5813.E23, online 1983-)
  • Art Index (1929-, Z5937.A78, online 1984-)
These titles all provide access to articles on women, but none focuses specifically on women or on history.

With the advent of the modern women's movement in the late 1960s, the Alternative Press Index (1969-, AI3.A27) began early and continues still to provide good coverage from journals omitted by more mainstream indexes for topics such as women's liberation, black women, violence against women, lesbians, and a multitude of other subjects of special interest to women.

Access: The Supplemental Index to Periodicals (1975-, AI3.A23) covers popular titles such as Cosmopolitan, American Girl, and Modern Bride.

Indexes focusing on women include

  • Women Studies Abstracts (1972-, Z7962.W65)
  • Women's Studies Index (1988-, Z7962.W675)
  • New Literature on Women (in Swedish, Ny Litteratur om Kvinnor, about 60 percent in English; 1980-, HQ1686.K9)

Computers are revolutionizing access to periodicals. An ever-increasing number of current serials receive excellent indexing, and major projects are underway to include older titles. The subscription-only database Periodical Contents Index (PCI ) permits keyword searching of words in the title of an article (no subject terms are added) and by an author's name and viewing of tables of contents from more than three thousand American and European journals in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, beginning with the first issue of each title into the 1990s. Sample titles include the Journal of the American-Irish Historical Society (1898-1941, E184.I6 A5), American Suffragette (1909-11, JK1880.A6), and the journal of the American Association of University Women (various titles, 1884-1990, LC1756.A2 A5).

The Library of Congress also subscribes to many full-text databases. Three particularly useful ones are:

  • American Periodicals Series contains the fully searchable text of more than 1,100 journals published between 1741 and the early twentieth century. This incredible resource provides keyword access to many previously unindexed magazines, with indexing to cartoons, advertisements, poetry, obituaries, letters, recipes, and reviews, as well as to all articles. Among the many titles are the Liberator (1831-1865), the National Police Gazette (1845-1906), and the Ladies' Home Journal (1884-1907).
  • JSTOR (Journal Storage) allows keyword searching of the full text of about one hundred journals, including fifteen history titles, such as the American Historical Review (1895-1995), Journal of Southern History (1935-95), and Journal of Negro History (1916-97).
  • Project MUSE is a database of recent issues of more than one hundred journals published by Johns Hopkins University Press and other scholarly publishers, with titles such as American Jewish History (1996-), the journal of the National Women's Studies Association (1999-), and the Journal of Asian American Studies (1998-).

These three full-text databases plus PCI are available on terminals throughout the Library. It is likely that the Library of Congress will subscribe to other such databases as they are created; ask the reference staff about newer indexes.

Citation Searching

Researchers know to find a good source and then scour its bibliography and notes for other helpful references, but few know to look in citation indexes to find where a specific book or journal article was later cited. This kind of search assumes that if a piece of research is subsequently cited, the citing article may be of interest to the scholar. For example, in your research on Cherokee women, you find an excellent book on your specific subject. Citation indexes identify which later articles cited the book that you have already found. Often these subsequent works, which list that known title in their notes or bibliography, may discuss the same topic. There are three citation indexes that may aid those researching women's history

  • Arts & Humanities Citation Index (print 1975-, AI3.A63; CD-ROM, 1975-)
  • Science Citation Index (print 1945-, Z7401.S365 SciRR; CD-ROM, 1981-, SciRR)
  • Social Sciences Citation Index (print, 1956-, Z7161.S65; CD-ROM, 1981-)

SEARCH TIPS: Periodical indexes vary. Read the introduction to determine how to use a title efficiently and to learn what journal titles are covered, whether all articles in a journal are indexed, and whether other kinds of materials such as articles in books are included.

When casting a wide net, search periodical indexes that focus on subjects that seem unrelated to your topic. For example, Applied Science and Technology Index (formerly Industrial Arts Index, 1914-, Z7913.I7 SciRR, MRR Alc; online 1983-) leads to articles on “Advertising—Women, Appeal to,” and “Glass ceiling.”

BIBLIOGRAPHY: For a subject guide to periodical indexes in the Main Reading Room, see Abstracts, Indexes, and Bibliographies: For Finding Citations to Periodical Articles (Humanities and Social Sciences Division, Research Guides, no. 5, 1993). Available online ( and at MRR Ref Desk.

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