Readers' guide to periodical literature: an author and subject index. New York, NY: H.W. Wilson, c1999.
Reference type: Index
Authority: This publication has been put out since 1900 and is considered to be one of the primary resources for finding periodical articles.
Audience Relation: This resource is useful to science fiction writers because it helps them to conduct research quickly. Although there are several online equivalent databases, this resource can be counted on to be in most public and academic libraries, draws from a set list of periodicals deemed to have high standards by the editors of Reader's Guide, and is laid out in a format that is easy to learn and use, all of which saves precious time, a commodity a writer truly values.
Scope: This book is intended for anyone who wants to find an article that was printed in the periodicals on the index list. Essentially, the book indexes all the articles in each issue using a controlled vocabulary with cross-references. Each volume (with the exception of some of the older ones from the early part of the century) covers one year's worth of periodicals, with the most current year issued in smaller paperbacks until the year ends.
Content Evaluation: This index is one of the most useful sources for periodical research. The format is so easy to learn that new users usually do not have to consult the sample subject entry before diving into use. The cross-referencing is fairly all-inclusive and is enhanced by the more natural language of subject headings than, say, Library of Congress subject headings.
The pages, while thin to conserve space and weight, are in a subdued buff color that is easier on the eyes than a bright white would be. The print is small, but not unreadable for most people. And, the font is a pleasant seriffed variety that is neither difficult to read nor taxing on the eyes. Some improvements that could be made on form would be an addition of index tabs on the loose paper side and first and last entry headers at the tops of the pages as in most dictionaries.
All in all, this book, while perhaps not as comprehensive as some online indexes, requires the least investment for learning to use with the highest payoff. Writer's of any sort would benefit from its use.
Availability: Order through publisher with some volumes available special order at Amazon.com