The Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature is a subject and author list of many (but not all) magazine articles published in the U.S. This list, called an index, is sent to U.S. libraries every two weeks so that interested people can find out quickly what current information is  available.


For university or college students who must frequently do research, this list of subjects written about in magazines of general interest can be valuable. Learning to use The Reader’s Guide is, therefore, important to all university students in the U.S. The content of The Reader’s Guide consists of subject and author  entries to periodicals; that is, magazines published regularly. This information is listed alphabetically.

After the subject or author’s name, information is given which tells the student where to find the magazine article. For example, if you want to look up the subject ‘Education’, you should look up the letter ‘E’ and then find the word  ‘Education’. If you want to look up an author whose last name is ‘Rodriquez’, you should look up the letter ‘R’ and then find the word ‘Rodriquez’. Under the subject or the author listing, you will find articles listed, in alphabetical order, about that subject or by that author.

Each article is listed by the first word in the title of the article  except for the words ‘a’, ‘an’, and ‘the’; these initial words are not considered in the alphabetizing of articles. The Reader’s Guide also has two kinds of cross-references; that is, information about other places to look in The Reader’s Guide for more articles about a subject.


After a heading, you might find the word ‘see’  which is followed by other subject headings also found in the index. For example, ‘Higher Education’ isn’t a subject heading in The Reader’s Guide; if you look up ‘Higher Education’ you will find: “see Universities and Colleges”. Then you will look under ‘U’ for universities. The other kind of cross-reference is ‘see also’.


For  instance, if you look for ‘Education’, The Reader’s Guide will list articles about education, but it also says: “see also: Adult Education, Elementary Education, Special Education”. If you are interested in any of those headings, you can look them up in The Reader’s Guide.


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