Periodical Indexes
(a.k.a. Library Databases)

Periodical indexes allow you to search for citations to articles in popular magazines and scholarly journals. Sometimes these indexes have the complete or "full text" of articles as well. Indexes cover all sorts of subjects. If you start with a general index you will find articles about new trends, opinions, and information for the non-specialist. You may be familiar with the general index called Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature. Periodical indexes are one of the best sources to use when writing a research paper.

Where do you find these indexes? Good question. Libraries purchase some periodical indexes and allow their community to use them over the web. To figure out what indexes are available and the subjects they cover look at your library's web page. On the LSU Libraries web page, click on "Indexes and Databases." You can also ask a librarian at your school. (Don't worry, you aren't bothering them.)

Periodical indexes are one of the best places to find information because:

  • you can access many of them through the Web
  • they index information which has gone through an editorial review process
  • they cover a variety of subjects
  • they are structured for finding information more precisely
  • they offer citations to the popular magazines and scholarly journals that have articles on your topic

In Module Two you will learn more about choosing and searching periodical indexes. Mastering these skills will make research easier.

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