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Researching in Periodicals

Whether a user is looking for current or historical information in the periodical collections, there are many tools available to make access easier.

The Magazines & Newspapers Department subscribes to more than 20 current periodical indexes in print and more than 40 different periodical databases. In developing the collection, the staff takes into consideration the indexing sources available for a title, though this is not the only determining factor in selection.

Electronic Indexes

For very current information, electronic indexes and databases are the most useful tool, as they are typically more up to date than print indexes.

The Library subscribes to a number of different electronic periodical databases which can be used to find articles on a variety of subjects. Some of the databases provide access to full-text articles from hundreds of magazines and journals. Most of these research databases available from the Library's homepage under Internet Resources: Research Databases can be accessed from outside of the Library. With Internet access and a valid Hamilton County library card, you can use these databases from your home, business, or school.

These are a few of the periodical databases available through the Library's homepage:

EBSCOhost Web
EBSCOhost offers access to a variety of full-text databases that range in scope from general reference collections to subject-specific databases. Resources include MasterFILE Premiere, Business Source Elite, Health Source Plus, EBSCO Animals and Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia.

Expanded Academic ASAP
Use this database to find some full-text information from generally more scholarly or academic magazines or journals on subjects such as Education, Psychology, Religion, History, current events, and the social sciences.

General Reference Center Gold
Use this database to search magazines, some newspapers and some reference books for more popular topics in general interest magazines. The Library subscribes to many of the publications indexed here, so that if an article found is not full-text, it can generally be obtained from holdings in the Magazines & Newspapers Department.

ProQuest Direct (available only at library locations)
This comprehensive database includes a wide variety of publications from general interest magazines to scholarly journals with frequent full-text and even full-image access. This database is especially useful for its access to several hundred full-text newspapers from across the country as well as international newspapers.

OCLC FirstSearch
There are over 40 different subject-specific databases in this database system, although there is not much full-text access. However, it is utilized by many researchers looking for very specific subjects that may not appear in more popular magazines or journals. Some of the well-known periodical databases in this system of databases are Medline, the comprehensive medical journal database, and ERIC, the database for research in Education.

Newsdex

Of particular note is Newsdex, the index to local newspapers created by the Library and maintained by the librarians of the Magazines & Newspapers Department. This database indexes articles of local interest (coverage of local news only, not national or international) from area newspapers, currently including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati Post, Cincinnati Herald (an African American weekly newspaper), Cincinnati Magazine, Business Courier, and the Downtowner (a weekly newspaper on events and issues concerning downtown Cincinnati). It is available through the Library Catalog and can be accessed from a home or outside computer.

Newsdex references articles from local newspapers as early as 1811. From 1990, when the the old card index was converted to an online index, Newsdex is fairly complete; coverage decreases the further back the index goes. Still, it is the only index for Cincinnati newspapers to cover such a broad range of years, and it is utilized a great deal by researchers all over the country.

Print Indexes

The department subscribes to printed indexes as well. Together, they cover more than 100 years of magazine and newspaper articles (a much greater historical depth than many electronic indexes), and many are still current. Many reference books are also available in the department, including directories of magazine and newspaper publishers.

Here are a few of the print periodical indexes available in the Magazines & Newspapers Department:

Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature
These familiar green magazine indexes are a favorite for the young and old, as they index the most popular magazines and have done so since 1890. They are most often utilized for finding articles on popular topics or events before the 1980s, since that is generally as far back as online databases can go. The entire run of Reader's Guide from 1890 to the present is shelved in front of the service desk in the department.

New York Times Index
This set of indexes dates back to the beginning of this well-known newspaper that has served as the nation's newspaper since it began in 1851. The New York Times is a popular source for finding contemporary articles on events in national and world history (for example, the sinking of the Titanic), and these indexes provide a quick way to find those articles.

Book Review Index
This index has the most comprehensive coverage of any book review reference source. It has been providing access to book reviews in periodicals since 1965.

Book Review Digest
While not as comprehensive as Book Review Index, this index goes back much farther (1905) and includes excerpts to give the reader an idea as to the content of some reviews.

Humanities Index
This index is especially useful for those who are looking for literary criticism from scholarly journals, but it also covers other topics in the humanities, such as religion, history, and the performing arts.