A&I is short for "indexing and abstracting". In this case, "indexing" and "abstracting" are verbs. These databases index articles (tell you where to find the articles) and abstract articles (provide descriptive information about the content of the articles).
A&I indexes are an excellent tool for finding articles in a variety of journals. Some indexes even cover publication beyond journals, such as book chapters, theses, and conference proceedings. While these materials might be more difficult to track down, they can be useful for advanced researchers.
Read through the tabs below to see how A&I indexes work.
Indexes are the tools used to find articles in periodical literature (journals, magazines, and newspapers). An index tells you which journals have published articles on your topic.
You've seen that we subscribe to many indexes. How do you know where to start?
How do you know the index for your subject? There are a few ways.
Once you've found indexes related to your subject, you may also consider:
Shopping for Articles?
Compare finding articles to shopping in a mall.
When you come to the Library, you'll find various online indexes for locating articles.
It's tempting to use Google for all your research. Why not? It's easy and it finds lots of STUFF.
Think of Google as an all-purpose store (keeping with the shopping mall analogy), like Walmart or Zellers.
For more information about using Google to its best advantage, see our webpage on "Using Google, Google Scholar, and Other Internet Search Engines".
Once you have selected your index(es), use your keyword searching skills (from the Keyword Tutorial) to search for articles. This gets you citations, which lead you to the articles.
It's not always easy to identify which articles might be useful for your research. They're not precisely what you need every time.
See the next section to examine citations.