A key to locating periodicals in the Library of Congress collections is to have accurate titles and places of publication for them. Directories identify title changes, provide publishing information that can distinguish otherwise similar titles, and, more important for researchers, can provide subject access to journal titles that may not be indexed in bibliographies and indexes.
Besides locating other libraries and assisting in verifying holdings information, many union lists provide publication history and editorial information to help you verify citations and trace title changes. The most comprehensive and indispensable historical title is Union List of Serials in Libraries of the United States and Canada, 3rd ed. (New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1965; Z6945.U45 1965 N&CPR). First coordinated by the American Library Association in 1913, this five-volume set lists more than 150,000 serials from 1,000 libraries (including the Library of Congress); among them are annual publications, monographic series, children's magazines, and some pulp magazines. It excludes most newspapers, government publications, almanacs, law reports, house organs, and college student publications. Its value to researchers lies in its comprehensive gathering of serial titles and comparative information about collections held across various libraries. It is not intended to provide subject access to serials and lacks any kind of thematic organization of material.
Directories commonly used by division specialists include the following, which are available in most libraries. The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.
Published union lists are also available for subjects or special interest areas and, to a lesser extent, for geographic regions of the United States. Generally, an authorized Library of Congress subject heading followed by the subheading “Periodicals—Bibliography—Union Lists” is used to find union lists on specific topics. A few sample browses are noted below:
The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.
The subscription resources marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.