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Finding Conference Proceedings: Start Here

Demystifying how to find conference proceeding using tools to help you search successfully and understand why conference proceedings are so hard to find.

Why this Library Guide?

Many researchers, whether at the masters, PhD, post-doc or faculty level, have difficulty locating conference proceedings. 

The stumbling blocks abound, therefore, we have created this guide to explain the complexities that surround published conference proceedings in order to help you navigate your search and ultimately find them!

This guide includes:

  • Understanding Conference Proceedings  - Your starting point in discovery 
  • Deciphering Citations - an often overlooked but very important step
  • How to Find Conference Proceedings
  • Where to Find Conference Proceedings - with a Flowchart worksheet & Resources to help make your search more structured and insightful
  • Tutorials - demonstrating various search strategies!
  • Practice - try it out and find out where you may be going wrong

Start Here

It is important that you are familiar with the information presented below.

It will help you to understand other information presented in this guide and provide you with some background knowledge when troubleshooting your conference proceedings searches.

If you have questions or comments, please see the Help & More! tab for contact information.

What is a Conference Proceeding?

A conference proceeding is the published record of a conference, congress, symposium, or other meeting sponsored by a society or association, usually but not necessarily including abstracts or reports of papers presented by the participants. When the entire text of the papers presented is included, the result is called transactions. 

The term is also used in the titles of journals published by long-established scholarly societies, for example, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), and also for the records of certain courts of law (see The Proceedings of the Old Bailey).


Synonyms for Conference Proceedings:

Use these alternate terms when searching for conference proceedings:

Congresses             Colloquium  

Meetings             Workshop

Symposium             Transaction


Abbreviations:  conf., symp., congr., proc., etc.

Why are Conference Proceedings Important? Why Would You Use Them?

1) Engage with Leading Edge Research

Conference proceeding are a way to engage with leading edge research prior to official journal publication. They may include: findings, innovations, best practices, or new methodology (especially in science & engineering).

2) Informally Present Research

Conference proceedings allow researcher to explain their research in a less formal setting than peer reviewed journals.

3) Present New Ideas

Conference proceeding allow researchers to present new concepts and techniques in a field which are not fully developed. This allows other researchers to be involved and influence the direction of research at the early stages.

4) Connect

If you are new to a field of research conference proceedings can help connect you with research, researchers, research teams or institutions doing research on topic of interest.

Where to go next???

Go to the section on Deciphering Citations located on the next menu tab at the top of the page.

It is important to understand the elements presented in a citation.  This will allow you to break down your search into manageable and repeatable steps.