How do I . . . Decipher Journal Abbreviations?

February 28, 2007

A question came up the other day about finding the full title of a journal from an abbreviation found in a citation. This is particularly important because the JOURNAL LOCATOR and the Five College Library Catalog require you to know the full title of a journal when trying to determine what Smith College owns.

Here are some of my favorite places to search for full journal titles:

  1. PubMed’s Journals Database (primarily for science-focused journals)


    After logging into PubMed, notice the PubMed Services menu on the left-hand side of the screen. When you click on Journals Database, you are provided with a search box (that looks just like the normal PubMed search box). In this box, you can type in the abbreviation exactly as you see it. In most cases, you will find the full title with ease.


    Here we can see the full title:


  2. JAKE (Jointly Administered Knowledge Environment)


    JAKE is actually an OpenURL link server (much like our SCLinks service). But, I like to use it to find journal abbreviations. JAKE is a nice alternative to the PubMed Journals Database, because it has non-science and more obscure science titles.

    Simply type in your abbreviation of interest:


    There may be several results listed, since JAKE is searching various databases. In this case, I can easily see the title of my journal.


  3. CASSI (CAS Source Index)

    If you are physically in the Young Science Library and have an obscure journal abbreviation that you can’t decipher, I recommend using CASSI (QD 1 C46 1907-1989). This 3-volume set is located on the tall wooden table adjacent to the computers on the first floor of the library. CASSI has many foreign and no longer published titles that other resources might not list. This resource is organized alphabetically by ABBREVIATION; simply look for the BOLD lettering and match it to your journal abbreviation.

Questions about any of these journal title tools? Ask A Librarian!