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The Spire Project: Zines, Magazines & Journals
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Zines, Magazines, Journals and Newsletters; each incorporate the valuable services of quality control, editorial input, and focus. Newsprint is dealt with in a separate article. This article addresses the task of finding periodicals.

Most article searches start with a published index or commercial database. An alternative approach uses periodicals as a research venue. Locate a topic-specific periodical and you have a collection of topic-specific information.


to article list Zines on the Internet
There are actually fewer zines than you may expect, and some are not noticeably different from webpages. Others are well developed, expertly edited and well worth your attention.
webpage John Labovitz created the definitive E-Zine-list, further improved with a title list, and an even better keyword/subject list. Unfortunately, it stopped being updated in March 2000 with 4392 zines.
A brilliant solution to finding new zines (or other internet periodicals) is the search the past discussion of NewJour, a mailing list dedicated to new journals. We can do this by title or full text. Here is the title search:
webpage One of the original Electronic Periodical Lists is now published as the ARL Directory of Electronic Journals and Newsletters, 6th Edition by The Association of Research Libraries. This directory is online but as there is no search engine, the site is best if you know a zine title.
Certain Universities have very good lists of electronic periodicals but unfortunately include journals available under license, so not available publicly. The University of Southern California's Electronic Journals Collection, and the University of Washington Ejournals both have good lists.
If zines interest you, definitely visit the and their zine and ezine resource guide with it's gratifying emphasis on linking to articles about zine publishing and distribution.

      Print Publications 

to article list Definitive Periodical Directories
If you are searching for a periodical, there are three definitive directories, available in print or as a commercial database. The primary difficulty here is you will find too many periodicals matching your interest.
bookdatabase Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory by Bowker, is a giant international directory of periodicals now in its 34th edition. (Dewey: Q011.34 ULR) Ulrich's is also a prominent commercial database. Further descriptions can be found from OVID FieldGuide, Dialog, SilverPlatter
bookdatabase EBSCO's Serial Directory, is another giant international directory of Periodicals. (Dewey: Q011.34) The EBSCO Serial Directory, is also a prominent database. Further descriptions can be found from EBSCO.
Newsletters in Print by Gale Research, is an annual featuring 11,000+ newsletters. While there are broad subject categories, use the real subject index at the back of the book. (Dewey: Q071.3 NEW).

to article list Alternative Periodical References
There are further resources online but you must appreciate these are not definitive, complete lists.
Alternatively, we can search the periodicals held by one of the largest libraries. This is not a complete list but will certainly include most of the prominent periodicals. We can use our script to search Periodicals in the Library of Congress Online Catalogue (
Otherwise, start with a title/subject/author search, then select Search by: Serial Title. Click "full record" to get further details. Limits may be added at any time and there are plenty of general help files.
database Another large library periodical list is the COPAC libraries periodical search. . Copac offers unified access to the catalogues of some of the largest university research libraries in the UK and Ireland.
webpage [US] National Directory of Magazines ( lists American magazines, 20,000+, arranged by a long subject list.
webpage Subject Access to Australian Journals ( lists many of the Australian periodicals thanks to the National Library of Australia.
webpage For sheer convenience sake, you should consider searching the periodicals held by your local libraries. Here is the search form for international libraries by Libweb ( Libdex has a good country index. If unsuccessful, read Finding a Library.


One of the difficulties with finding useful periodicals in this way, is you will never actually get any list of the more important periodicals, the highly regarded, the most topical. A search for science magazines will not lead you to Nature and New Scientist (two of the most prestigious science magazines). Instead you get a list of perhaps thousands of possible magazines. This is a serious difficulty, not easily overcome.

Article ListResearch CommentarySeminar datesUpdate Notices There is a way around this but unfortunately it is not a clean search of available resources. Undertake a search for articles which match your interest, then focus on the most periodicals featured. The publications appearing most often should, in theory, be the ones to focus on. Of course article length may also give you a clue.

We can use the free online article databases - but unless you have a single unique term to search for, we suggest you don't. Carl UnCover ( is a bibliographic database to articles from well over 18,000 multidisciplinary journals but there is no proximity search available (so no " "). The Northern Light ( Collection comes from 5,400 periodicals, some newspapers, some serials. Northern lights is light on content in comparison.

To do this right, you must make use of one of the commercial databases that cover your field. Anything less runs the risk of self-selecting only publications which allow their articles to be indexed - that does not particularly help.

This may seem like a lot of effort just to select the publications you want. Certainly, there is always the backdoor approach of contacting a librarian from a specialist library and getting advice. Sometimes the simple approach is the best.

May I suggest posting a message to the Buslib-l mailing-list/newsgroup if you are truly lost.

In a small way, this approach works for individual researchers too. If you have access to BPO, and you want to browse available publications, start an article search then focus on the periodicals that appear most often. It is an effective way to focus quickly on the few publications that cover your interest with any intensity.


  5 Second Summary:
Zines are free, easy to find, and well organized.
Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory, Ebsco's Serial
      Directory, and Newsletters in Print (Gale) are definitive.
In a pinch, use an large library periodical search.

Occasionally you will wish to subscribe to a promising periodical and read page by page. This works well in organizations where periodicals can be circulated among interested parties, passively picking up information. Most research, however, is an active process - a search for specific answers to questions you have now.

It may be useful to browse the table of contents pages of appropriate periodicals. Automated delivery of contents pages is emerging as a viable electronic service, though this tends to be more surfing or browsing than research at this time.

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