How do I request a periodical?

Extensive collections of periodical indexes and abstracts are located in the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room and in the Main Reading Room. In addition, most of the specialized reading rooms have indexes and abstracts appropriate to their areas of interest. To determine whether the Library has a particular periodical and the best way to access it, reference librarians can assist readers in tracking down the options.

  • Many of the most frequently requested titles are listed in Commonly Used Periodicals (1992), available at reference desks.
  • There are separate catalogs of periodicals in the Science Reading Room, the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room, and the Main Reading Room.
  • Periodicals are also listed in the Online Catalog, and many can be found in the Main Card Catalog. To locate a periodical, search under the title (such as Sports Illustrated) or under the name of the issuing agency (for example, American Mathematical Society).
  • Bound volumes of non-current periodicals are housed in the general classified book collections. In requesting a bound periodical volume, use the periodical's call number and title and specify the issue you want, giving as much information as possible, including the day, month, year, volume, and issue or series number if available.

If you do not find the periodicals you are seeking, be sure to ask a reference librarian for assistance. 

The procedure above applies only to bound (non-current) periodicals. Issues for the current year and, in some cases, the preceding year are available only in unbound form, generally in the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room (there are some exceptions based on subject, e.g., law and music, and language). The Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room also holds most newspapers (with some language exceptions), including those on microfilm, regardless of date. The Microform Reading Room has collections of older (mainly 18th and 19th century) American and British periodicals, many of which are not listed in any of the Library's catalogs.

Last Updated: Sep 13, 2023
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