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Finding Conference Proceedings

28 June 2018 - 10:24am by Caitlin Meyer

Despite the promise of tools like Quicksearch and the breadth of massive databases like Scopus, certain types of information simply cannot be found in one place. No need to fret, though! We've got you covered. This series of blog posts will serve as a home of recommended resources and searching tips for hard-to-find types of information. Have a suggestion for a subject? Shoot me an email

Conference proceedings – the collections of papers and/or abstracts that are presented at conferences – may be published in book format, as special issues of a journal, or as a serial.  Sometimes they are in the format of an abstract, sometimes in the form of a ‘conference paper’. A conference paper may morph into a journal article (usually with substantial additional material) but not always.

If a conference abstract is found, then further sleuthing is required to see if the organization supporting the conference published proceedings or stopped at abstracts only. You might do an author search in the following resources to see if the author followed up the conference abstract or paper with a full-length journal article: PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, Embase, or Google Scholar. 

Last resort? Contact the author/researcher directly and ask!

Recommended Resources

  • Conference Proceedings Citation Index (Web of Science)
    Click on ‘More settings’ to restrict your search to specific conference proceedings citation indices or search the entire Web of Science Core Collection.
  • Embase
    Limit to publication types: conference abstract, conference paper, or conference review.
  • HSRProj (Health Services Research Projects in Progress)
    Information about ongoing health services research and public health projects.
  •  InterDok 
    Since 1965, InterDok has amassed material from conferences, congresses, meetings, and symposia. Locate records by search author names and paper titles associated with a particular proceedings.
  • ProceedingsFirst (OCLC)
    This is an index of worldwide conference proceedings – every published congress, symposium, conference, exposition, workshop and meeting received by the British Library Document Supply Centre.
  • WorldCat 
    This ‘world catalog of publications’ is an excellent tool for finding conference proceedings. Search specific conference number and title (16th and “international AIDS conference”), limit by year(s): 1989 or 1990 or 1991

Tips & Tricks

  • Associations usually publish abstracts from their Annual Convention in the association journal in the same issue or special supplement every year.
  • Sometimes both the authors and the title will change when published as a full-length journal article. Make sure to search creatively and read carefully.
  • Society, organization, and association websites frequently have information about their publications, including proceedings and annual meeting abstracts.
  • Requesting conference proceedings through Interlibrary Loan may take longer than traditional requests. It may only ever be available as an abstract (see second bullet point).