ABSTRACT

Indexing and abstracting tools are often used to locate information in journals and news sources. Increasingly, indexes provide access to information in other sources as well, including book-length studies, book chapters, conference papers, and dissertations. Searches for bibliographic data in indexing sources can help the researcher fi nd a wealth of information on a specifi c topic. Some indexes are general, covering many areas (e.g., the MLA Bibliography for language, literature, linguistics, music, and folklore), others are specialized, covering a region or topic in depth (e.g., ABSEES for materials on Slavic and East European Studies or RILM for scholarly materials on music). An index may provide only brief bibliographic citations for each article, but some also include an abstract and/or full text of the article. The abstracts or summaries give the user an opportunity to learn in greater detail about the source, and to evaluate its usefulness for a specifi c research project. Indexes can also help users assess the feasibility of their research.