Cover image for Guide to information sources in the physical sciences
Guide to information sources in the physical sciences
Stern, David, 1956 December 30-
Publication Information:
Englewood, Colo. : Libraries Unlimited, 2000.
Physical Description:
xxiii, 227 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QC5.35 .S74 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



This bibliographic guide offers users a basic overview of the current trends and the best, most important, and most up-to-date paper and electronic information resources in the field of physics. The author has selectively chosen and succinctly annotated a list of hundreds of major tools used by physical scientists and researchers, including bibliographic sources, abstracting and indexing databases, journals, books, online sources, and other subject-specific non-bibliographic tools. Stern also provides information on grants, personal bibliographic database tools, document delivery, copyright and reserves. In addition, he discusses future developments, directions, and trends in the field, and in the concluding chapter he outlines the history and developments of the physics. Designed to help students, new researchers in the field of physics, and working physicists in need of additional information resources outside their normal field of study, this is an invaluable reference, research, and collectio

Author Notes

DAVID STERN is Director of Science Libraries and Information Services at Yale University. He has worked as a general librarian, medical librarian, science librarian, administrator, and consultant, and he is widely published in the area of science librarianship.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

With 12 chapters that provide annotated citations of more than 300 information sources in the field of physics (and physics only, although the title may indicate otherwise), this book by a subject specialist for the Yale University Libraries is targeted to librarians and scientists who must navigate the sometimes overwhelming world of physics-related information. The work is part of the Reference Sources in Science and Technology series. The Guide makes it apparent that information needs of scientists go beyond the search for a journal article or monograph. Physicists also need to be able to locate funding sources, use citation-management software, and track down patents. Moreover, they need information on issues such as copyright and document delivery and must understand how information is disseminated in physics and what the role of libraries is in that process. In the chapter on physics journals, for example, Stern gives a history of physics publishing from print journals to preprint servers and describes how impact factors and library usage studies are used to evaluate journals. He then goes on to list a core group of significant physics journals, interdisciplinary journals, and important journals in subdisciplines. Most chapters combine descriptions of specific information resources with a discussion of related issues in this fashion. Subjects covered include important reference tools and key monographic series, sources of full-text patents and translations, document-delivery options, indexing and abstracting tools, choices of citation-management software programs, and trends in information discovery and retrieval, among others. There is a chapter devoted to online sources that covers physics gateways, megasites, discussion lists, and other important Web resources, but URLs are sprinkled liberally throughout all the chapters, wherever their inclusion makes sense in order to lead the reader to relevant information. Readers will find particularly interesting Kristine Fowler's contributed chapter, "Important Works in the Development of Physics, 1600^-1900," which lists works in chronological order and gives information on compilations and English translations. The volume has two indexes, one by author, title, and editor and one by subject. Guide to Information Sources in the Physical Sciences would be a helpful addition for any library with a science focus. Readers should keep in mind, however, that because of the broad coverage of the work, fewer physics-specific works are listed than can be found in similar guides. For instance, Bowker-Saur's Information Sources in Physics (3d ed., 1994) lists far more examples of important readings and information sources in physics, arranged by subfield. Because Stern's Guide is not meant to be an exhaustive list of physics-information sources, those who need more expansive lists should seek out other works, such as Information Sources in Physics.

Choice Review

The author of this bibliographic guide has provided an annotated list of major sources used by physical scientists and researchers. It intends to "provide a strong overview, but ... not an exhaustive list of all physics sources." Coverage of disciplines other than physics is negligible. Stern offers a detailed look at bibliographies, abstracting and indexing services, journals, books, online sources, and nonbibliographic tools in physics. Also included is information on patent organizations, physics societies, grants, personal bibliographic database tools, document delivery, copyright, and reserves. The extensive evaluation of online resources focuses on physics discussion lists, news groups, gateways, and key publishers. Chapters are organized first by medium, then by subject area or medium subcategories. Especially valuable are commentaries on current controversies or situations that affect the usefulness of materials. The concluding chapter, by Kristine K. Fowler, is a chronological listing of important primary literature in the development of physics, 1600-1900. Older guides, e.g., the definitive bibliography Information Sources in Physics, ed. by Dennis F. Shaw (3rd edition, CH, Nov'94), lack coverage of Web sites. A very useful source for academic libraries and researchers, especially in choosing current resources in physics, including Internet resources; highly recommended for all physics collections. N. Zdravkovska; Georgetown University

Table of Contents

List of Figuresp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Introductionp. xiii
Chapter 1 Bibliographic Sourcesp. 1
Guides to the Literaturep. 1
Physicsp. 1
General Sciencep. 2
Bibliographies and Catalogsp. 3
History of Physics Resourcesp. 4
Bibliometric Reference Toolsp. 8
Evaluation and Administration Data from the Libraryp. 8
Scientist Behaviors and Trendsp. 11
Library Trendsp. 11
Selected Journal Articlesp. 12
About Publishing Trendsp. 12
Scientist Behavior Studiesp. 13
Chapter 2 Abstracting and Indexing Databasesp. 15
Introductionp. 15
Journal AandI Tool Featuresp. 15
Current Awareness Tools and Techniquesp. 20
Domains of Current Awareness Servicesp. 20
The Peer Review Debatep. 21
Multiple Hosts and Variant Database Segmentsp. 22
Summaryp. 22
Physics AandI Databasesp. 22
Related Databasesp. 29
Aggregators Providing Full-Text Database Accessp. 35
Search Services: Hosts to Multiple Databasesp. 37
Personal Current Awareness Servicesp. 38
Chapter 3 Journalsp. 39
History of Journal Publishingp. 39
Journal Bibliographiesp. 41
Key Publishersp. 42
Evaluation of Journalsp. 43
By Journal Titlep. 43
By Specific Articlep. 46
Local Evaluation Measuresp. 47
Journals in Physicsp. 53
Significant Core Physics Journal Collectionp. 54
Interdisciplinary Journals Covering Physicsp. 87
Selected Physics Journals by Subdisciplinep. 92
E-Print Serversp. 102
Some Statistics and Comments on E-Printsp. 102
Endnotesp. 103
Chapter 4 Booksp. 105
Key Publishersp. 105
Types/Uses of Sourcesp. 107
Ordering Booksp. 107
Online Bookstoresp. 108
Out-of-Print Dealersp. 108
Library Approval Plans and Firm Ordersp. 108
Library Acquisition Listsp. 109
Selected Bibliographyp. 109
Dictionaries/Encyclopediasp. 109
Handbooksp. 112
Data Tables/Booksp. 115
Directoriesp. 118
Key Monographic Seriesp. 120
Book Reviewsp. 122
Library Catalog Searchingp. 123
Book Indexing/Consortial Gatewaysp. 123
Online Full-Text Booksp. 125
Career Informationp. 127
Key Textbooksp. 128
Chapter 5 Online Sourcesp. 129
Physics Gatewaysp. 129
Internet Search Enginesp. 134
Single-Site Search Enginesp. 134
Multiple Simultaneous Site Searchingp. 135
Discussion Lists and Newsgroupsp. 135
Example Toolsp. 136
Teaching Toolsp. 136
Equipment and Suppliesp. 136
Photographsp. 137
People and Organization Informationp. 137
Job Opportunitiesp. 138
Other Example Resourcesp. 139
Chapter 6 Other Non-Bibliographic Databases and Paper Resourcesp. 141
Patentsp. 141
Full-Text Patentsp. 142
Patent Abstractsp. 142
Patent Organizationsp. 143
Obtaining Patent Documentsp. 145
Commercial Document Delivery of Patentsp. 145
Translationsp. 146
Reviews of the Literaturep. 146
A-V Materialsp. 147
Dissertationsp. 148
Societiesp. 148
Abbreviationsp. 149
Current Journalsp. 149
Older Materialp. 149
Chapter 7 Grantsp. 151
Paper Toolsp. 151
Online Toolsp. 154
U.S. Government Agenciesp. 156
Browsing the Internetp. 156
Listservsp. 156
Fee-Based Databasesp. 157
Chapter 8 Bibliographic Management Toolsp. 159
Personal Bibliographic Database Softwarep. 159
The Major Application Packagesp. 160
In Magicp. 160
EndNote, Reference Manager, and ProCitep. 160
Reviews of These Productsp. 164
Chapter 9 Document Deliveryp. 165
Traditional Interlibrary Loanp. 165
Economic Aspects of Copyrightp. 166
Commercial Document Delivery Sourcesp. 167
Chapter 10 Copyright and Reservesp. 173
Answers to the Most Common Questionsp. 174
United States Copyright Lawp. 174
Chapter 11 Future Developments, Directions, and Trendsp. 177
Traditional Full-Text Data Filesp. 177
PDF Images and Limitationsp. 179
E-Printsp. 179
Next-Generation Developmentsp. 179
One-Stop Shoppingp. 180
Smart Agentsp. 180
Multidisciplinary Searchingp. 181
Discovery Technologiesp. 182
Visualizationsp. 183
Knowledge Databasesp. 183
Logistical Concernsp. 184
Validatorsp. 184
Distance Educationp. 185
Local Servers and Local Informationp. 185
Multiuser Requirementsp. 186
Facilities and Staffing Redesign in Relation to New Optionsp. 186
Changing Library Staff Tasksp. 186
Consolidate or Diversify Across Vendorsp. 187
Remote Hosts or Local Loadingp. 187
Invest Now or Wait for Standardsp. 188
Stay Neutral or Become Involved in the Information Processp. 188
Explore and Develop Proactivelyp. 189
Further Readingp. 191
Chapter 12 Important Works in the Development of Physics, 1600-1900p. 193
Selected Bibliographyp. 213
Author/Title/Editor/Electronic Resource Indexp. 215
Subject Indexp. 225