Information Searching – not that long ago!

Ebsco, Proquest and Oxford Reference are just three of the many premium websites that we now use every day to help answer queries from our customers, and that’s not even including that search engine of choice, Google. But what used to happened before this? What resources did we use?

Printed indexes provided the principal access to information in journals, newspapers and magazines. Believe it or not we still have a number of these in volumes in Stack 1 at the Central Library and out at the Store.

Older colleagues may remember the time it took sourcing the relevant information through the indexes and then the subsequent retrieval of the many printed sources that we kept on site. This all went on while customers waited patiently for the information to be delivered to them.

Some indexes are of a general nature and include British Humanities Index and Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature.

Industrial Arts Index eventually split into Business Periodicals Index and Applied Science and Technology Index, covering serials in those fields.

Art Index and Short Story Index are fairly self explanatory, and then there are a couple of specialist gems in Architectural Periodicals Index and Horticultural Abstracts.

These days, of course, we check The Times Digital Archive, but not that long ago it was a case of waiting for the print copy of The Times Index. While on the subject of newspapers don’t forget the ‘homegrown ‘ index to The Press. This was retrospectively compiled by ANZC colleagues, and until 1994 handwritten on 5×3 cards; it has now been transferred to a microfiche format.

Ken Ocock
FingerTip Library

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