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Conference Proceedings and Meeting Abstracts in the Health Science Literature: A Guide: How to Locate Conference Proceedings

Techniques for locating abstracts, papers or posters presented at conferences.


  • Search society and organization websites for information about their publications. 
  • Enter keywords from a specific citation into the society's site search box - will often provide additional details about the publication. 
  • Look for information for meeting abstracts on the society's web pages.
  • Association websites typically only include information from recent meetings.  Looking for older publications on these sites will generally not produce results.
  • Sometimes publications often may only be available to attendees of the specific meeting or to members of the organization.

When your search fails

1.  Try a range of years for your search.  Depending on where the conference was held, and who sponsored it, the proceedings can take 2-3 years to become published.  Cited works may have a different dates or vary in title of the proceedings publication.   There is often a year of publication and a year the conference was actually held.

2.  Sometimes the entire conference is cited or published under a special title.  Try searching for a conference title or an editor, rather than the abstract or paper author / abstract title.

3.  Look for a special issue included with the official organ or publication of a society.  Often these issues are published as supplements and may have seperate numbering.

4.  Contact the author.   Author email addresses can be found on conference websites, via their university affiliation, a Google search will often turn up Currirulum vitae, or other recently published articles from the same author may include contact information.

5. Contact a librarian. We have our ways.

Databases to locate abstracts from conferences, symposia or proceedings.

Keep in mind that MEDLINE (PubMed or OvidSP) does not index abstracts of proceedings from the health science journal titles indexed. 

InterLibrary Loan for Proceedings

Requesting conference proceedings through Interlibrary Loan may take longer than traditional journal article requests.  These items may take longer to locate and may only be availalble as an abstract.  Sometimes these items are not available from other libraries, especially if they were supplied only to attendees or not published in print format.   

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