Indexing and Abstracting Periodicals/Sources
The indexing and abstracting sources of information are referred to as the secondary sources of information as they provide access to the already published primary sources of information. They have a very important role to play in locating and bibliographical control of materials, as their volume and variety is on the increase all the time. This category of sources are in the form of indexing and abstracting periodicals.
An indexing periodical is one which regularly and systematically indexes the contents of periodicals and sometimes other forms of publications, either of a general nature or within specified subject fields.
On the other hand, an abstracting periodical is one that is, in addition to the above, involved in the preparation of abstracts, usually in a limited field, by an individual, an industrial organization for restricted use or a commercial organization. The abstract is prepared, published and supplied regularly to subscribers. It can be comprehensive or
The functions of the indexing and abstracting services include keeping the user abreast of current literature in a particular field of knowledge, locating specific information from the literature of the subject field and providing bibliographic
control of the published literature in the particular subject. Abstracts help the users to make a choice of documents relevant for their research/study, as they, to some extent, reveal the specific subject of the document. They also help the user to overcome language barriers, provide full bibliographic details of a publication and collect all the published information in various sources during a certain period, at one place. Their use in research is the chief reason for their popularity and that is why these services/sources are available in almost all fields of knowledge. The other reason is the maintaining of uniformity and consistency in rendering the bibliographic description and having a helpful order for the arrangement of the entries. These are published at regular intervals and the publications coming from the reputed
publishers have very less time lag. This help in maintaining currency and uptodateness in a field of knowledge.
The indexing and abstracting sources are of many kinds depending on their coverage:
- Comprehensive services
- Geographical coverage
- Subject coverage
- Coverage by kind of document, e.g., patents