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Finding Conference Proceedings: How to Find

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

How & Where to Search

This Search Steps Flow Chart guides you through the process of searching for a conference proceeding article:

Search Tips

Searching in the Library Catalogue?

  • Search using keywords from the conference proceeding title in the Books + tab, or search the paper title in the Articles + tab
  • No luck? A search by the proceedings corporate author (sponsor) or proceedings editor can be helpful

Searching in a Database?

  • Often indexing is done at the level of the individual paper. Therefore, search using keywords from the conference proceeding article title
  • Check the limits available in the database. Is there an option to limit to 'conference articles' or 'conference proceedings?

Why are Conference Proceedings Hard to Find?

Be aware of the following when searching for conference proceedings:

1) Publishing Issues

  • The conference proceeding may never have been published and sometimes the proceedings are only given to conference attendees.
  • There may be time lag between the conference and publication of the proceedings.
  • They can be published in many different forms – book series, serials, monograph, government document, special issues, technical report, html, CD ROM.  Do you know how the one you are looking for is published?  

2) Cataloguing Issues

  • Title variations - this is extremely common especially as the name of associations change and more conferences become collaborative efforts.
  • Sometimes items are not actually catalogued as a conference proceedings. 

3) Authorship Issues (who is the “author?”)

  • Name changes can occur within the sponsoring organization.
  • Acronyms may by cryptic or may change over time.

4) Other Citation Issues

  • The citation may only be for a preprint or abstract, therefore, the full conference presentation is not available.
  • Incomplete or incorrect citation information is a very common problem.