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Current Periodical Collections at the Library of Congress

Reference Sources

Magazine heads. [Between 1935 and 1942]. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

There are several types of reference sources that can assist with and enrich periodical research.

Find periodical indexes, abstracts, and directories readily available in the Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room reference stacks. Reference sources can be identified by searching in the Library's online catalog. The "Location in the Library" filter is useful for this when searching the Browse mode. To limit your search results to items specifically found in the NCPRR, toggle open Add Limits and select:

  • Location in the Library
  • Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room Reference Collection.

Please note that there may be more reference sources available beyond what you are able to find by searching only the online catalog. For questions or assistance with identifying or locating reference sources, please contact the Newspaper & Current Periodical Reading Room. In addition, most of the specialized reading rooms have indexes, abstracts, and directories appropriate to their areas of interest.


To a greater extent, researchers rely on electronic abstracting and indexing services to research in periodicals and journals. If you are looking for coverage of a particular person or event, you can use indexes to possibly find citations that will lead you to specific issues and page numbers for articles. Be aware that for periodicals there are no comprehensive indexes covering multiple titles over long time periods, and some titles lack any kind of indexing at all. An example of titles that index current periodicals are the H.W. Wilson indexes: the Social Sciences Index and the Humanities Index.

Periodical Directories and Lists

Use periodical directories to find out what kinds of publications were published in a certain place and time, as well as a title's publication information, such as its editors.