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Agriculture Library Research Guide

Guide to selected UH Manoa Library and Web resources for tropical agriculture - especially those that relate to Hawaii and the Pacific Islands

Why Use Print Indexes and Abstracts?

Image of a green shelf of print indexes.

(Original image from random letters photostream on flickr; used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license)

Periodical indexes are tools used to find articles in journals, magazines, and newspapers. They provide subject access to the articles and contain basic citation information that allows you to locate each article.

Abstracts are indexes that include a summary of the article in addition to the citation information.

Many major indexes and abstracts are now available on the Web. The Finding Journal Articles tab provides linkes to some electronic science indexes and abstracts available through UH Manoa Library subscriptions. Generally, these electronic databases only cover literature published since the 1960s when computers were first used for typesetting and printing.

Scholarly publishing began in 1665 with the first issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Indexes and abstracts in print are used to find scholarly articles published before the 1960s. They are essential if you are doing comprehensive research on a topic.

Some Suggested Print Indexes and Abstracts

These print indexes and abstracts and many others are all available in the Science and Technology Reference Collection on the first floor of Hamilton Addition.

Bibliography of Agriculture (1942 - 1978)
Call number: Science Reference Z5073 .U572

Biological Abstracts (1926 - 1969)
Call number: Reference QH301 .B37

Forestry Abstracts (1940 - 1972)
Call number: Reference SD1 .F66

Horticultural Abstracts (1931 - 1972)
Call number: Reference SB1 .H789

Science Citation Index (1965 - 1980)
Call number: Science Reference Z7401 .S365

Soils and Fertilizers (1938 - 1972)
Call number : Reference S590 .S67

Tropical Abstracts (1946 - 1974)
Call number : Reference S11 .T76

Using Indexes and Abstracts in Print Format

Subject or Topic Searching

 Read the directions for using the index or abstract publication. These are generally at the beginning of the volume or inside the front cover. Although the concepts are the same for using most printed abstracts, the details vary from one to another.

If available, use a vocabulary or terminology list, such as CAB Thesaurus or Medical Subject Headings(MeSH), to locate terms to use for searching.

Locate the appropriate subject heading or keyword alphabetically in the subject volume(s) of the index. Some abstract indexes are published every six months, some annually, and some are compiled containing five years of citations. You will need to check the relevant subject volume in each set of index volumes, e.g. for each six months or year or five years.

Select relevant items from the entries under the subject heading. Copy down the abstract numbers of the items you want to locate.

Find the abstract numbers in the volumes of abstracts for the same year as the index in which you found the number.  Abstracts are bound in numerical order each year.

Write down, scan or photocopy the citation information for the article that you want to locate. The citation includes:

  • author name
  • article title
  • journal title or abbreviation
  • volume and issue number
  • month, day and year of publication
  • page numbers

To find the full journal title from an abbreviation, try the PubMed Journals Database or the CAS Source Index. You can also use the book Periodical Title Abbreviations: by Abbreviation to find the full title of the journal, or ask for assistance at the Reference Desk.

To find out if UH Manoa Library has the journal and issue, look up the journal title in the OneSearch. Use the Journal Title begins with selection in the Basic Search search option.

Most of these older articles will only be available in print, but some may be available electronically. If they are, the link will be included in the Hawaii Voyager record. Write down or text the call number for the journal and locate the item in the stacks.