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Find Conference Proceedings

A quick guide to finding conference papers and proceedings

Why Conference Papers and Proceedings?

What are conference proceedings?

Arthur Lakes Library in Winter

Conferences are a major source of cutting edge research, particularly in science and engineering.  At conferences, researchers present papers on the research they are doing and obtain feedback from the audience.  The papers presented in the conference are then usually published in a volume called a conference proceeding.  It may be months before such information is published as a journal article, or it may never be published.

Why are conference proceedings hard to find?

Publishers are inconsistent in how they publish proceedings.  Sometimes the proceeding is treated like an individual book.  In other cases a conference that occurs every year or so may be treated like a journal, so that there is only one library catalog record for all the years of that conference's proceedings.  Sometimes the papers from a conference are not published and may only be available from the authors.  All of these factors combine to make conference papers and proceedings difficult to find.  The most important thing to remember is that if you have any difficulty finding a conference proceeding or paper, please ask a librarian for help.

Not Sure Where to Start?

Search the Library Catalog and then limit your results to Conference Proceedings

Conference Proceedings in the catalog

Tips and Strategies

  • Conference websites may give you additional information, such as the date and location of the meeting. 
  • The year the meeting was held may be different from the year its proceedings were published. To capture this possibility, limit your search to a range of years, from the date of meeting onwards. (e.g., 2014-2016).
  • Sometimes conferences and/or their proceedings change names, publishers, or sponsors. Finding a previous proceeding can provide a history of these changes.
  • Formal subject headings like LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings) and MESH (Medical Subject Headings) sometimes have subject headings specifically for "congresses" or "conferences."
  • Some proceedings will give information about previous conferences and where proceedings are published. This can be very helpful, particularly when the names of the conference changes, the conference meets irregularly, or the places where proceedings are published varies from meeting to meeting.
  • Check with Library of Congress Name Authority File for various conference names and sources.

Search for Conference Proceedings in Multiple Resources at Once

Conference Proceedings Databases