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Document : A piece of written, printed or electronic matter that provides information or evidence or that serves as an official record.

Documentary Sources:  Sources that are in the form of documents.

Non-Documentary Sources : Sources that are not in the form of documents, e.g.  organisations, persons.

Primary Sources : Sources that carry original contributions, information that is appearing for the first time, etc. These are the base for secondary sources.

Secondary Sources : Sources that are based on the material published in the primary sources.

Tertiary Sources : Sources that are based on secondary sources, or act as key to the primary and secondary sources

Documentary Sources:


There are four types of dictionaries: abridged, unabridged; bilingual and multi-lingual dictionaries.


The term was first used in the book Johann Henrich Alsted's Encyclopaedia Cursus Philosophici, Herbom, 1608.

The first known encyclopaedia was written by Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher, which resulted from his assembled treatises. That is why Aristotle is referred to as the father of encyclopaedias although he never intended to write one.

The first encyclopaedia to be published in English was John Harris's Laxion Technicum, or, An Universal English Dictionary of the Arts and Sciences, London, 1704.

Encyclopaedias are of various types. Two major kinds are the General encyclopaedia like the Encyclopaedia Britanica and the subject encyclopaedias like the Encyclopaedia of Religion.


The word `bibliography' has originated from the Greek terms - 'biblion' meaning a book and `graphien' meaning to write. Bibliography, thus, means `writing of books' which later on changed to `writing about books'.

Based on the activities, to aid the users, the following branches of bibliography can be identified:

  • Analytical or critical
  • Systematic or enumarative
  • Descriptive
  • Historical
  • Textual

National bibliographies

A national bibliography can be defined as a list of books, documents, pamphlets, serials, theses, dissertations or other printed material produced in a country, in the language of the country, by the people living in the country or elsewhere within a stipulated time limit.

Indian National Bibliography (INB). Calcutta: Central Reference Library,   1957- Monthly

  • It is based on the publications deposited at the National Library of India under the           `Delivery of Books Act of 1954'.
  • Till 1972 the INB was divided into two parts: general publications and government publications.
  • INB contains two sections: the classified and the alphabetical.
  • First published as quarterly , with annual cumulation, the periodicity was changed to monthly in 1964 and continued upto 1977 (when the publication was      suspended).
  • With a gap in publication for 1978, 1979 and a combined set for 1980-83, the monthly periodicity has been resumed since January 1984.
  • From January 1984 onwards 19th edition of DDC system is being followed.
  • Entry details are now based on AACR II rules with slight modification.

British National Bibliography. London : British Library Bibliographic Services Division, 1950- Weekly

  • From 1976 onwards the cumulation is issued in 2 volumes
  • Subject catalogue arranged by modified Dewey number;
  • and alphabetical volume index providing separate author/title, and alphabetical subject approach.
  • BNB CD-ROM machine readable version containing data for 1950-1985 is available on disc.
  • Microfiche edition is also available.

Cumulative Book Index: A World List of Books in English Language. New York: Wilson, 1898- Monthly.

  • Cumulative book index popularly known as CBI is for USA what BNB is for Great Britain.
  •  It originally recorded only US publications.
  • Since 1928, it started including books published in English language throughout        the world.
  • Therefore it is international in scope.
  • It does not include government publications, maps, music score, book with fewer           than 50 pages, ephemeral material etc.
  • The entries are arranged in one alphabetical sequence by author, title, and subject. 
  • A directory of publishers and distributors appear at the end of each issue. 
  • Issues are published every month except July and August and are cumulated annually.

Trade bibliography

A trade bibliography is a list of books and other materials which are printed and available in a country for sale, through publishers, booksellers or trade agencies.

  • Their chief function is to promote book trade.
  • They serve commercial purposes and thereby help as well by boosting sales. 
  • They can be national or international in scope. 
  • The unpublished documents like dissertations, theses, publications of societies, etc., are usually excluded in the trade bibliographies. 
  • Also excluded are unpriced and government publications.
  • There are both current as well as retrospective trade bibliographies.


• Indian Books in Print. Delhi : Indian Bureau of Bibliographies, 1955-
• Indian Book Industry. Delhi : Sterling, 1969-
• British Books in Print. London : Whitaker, 1965-
• Publishers' Weekly, (American Book Publishing Record., New York : R.R. Bowker, 1960-
• Books in Print. New York : R. R. Bowker, 1948-

Bibliographical control consists of four aspects:

Complete recording of all types of printed and other types of library materials;
Systematic acquisition of these materials in libraries and other information  organizations;
Location of materials through union catalogue, union lists and like devices; and
Provision of subject bibliography in all areas.

Bibliography of Bibliographies

  • These are lists of bibliographies to help users in choosing bibliographies.
  • They help in tracing bibliographies.
  • The bibliographic control of bibliographies presents many difficulties due to many           reasons.
  • The main reason being the total number of usable bibliographies being considerable.
  • Besides this, it is difficult to find out whether or not a bibliography exists on a given topic, suitable for a particular user, and also whether it is worthwhile getting hold of it if not in the stock. 
  • The last reason is the cost as the major bibliographies are expensive to buy and house.
  • The bibliographic control of bibliographies thus is somewhat patchy.
  • A very famous publication Besterman's World Bibliography of Bibliographies is  presently out of date.
  • The only choice left to the user thus is H.W. Wilson's half-yearly Bibliographic Index 1937,
  • Many of the major bibliographies in current use may be found in Walford's Guide to Reference Materials or in Sheehy's Guide to Reference Books

The word `index' is derived from the Latin word `indicare' meaning `to point out' or `to show'. 

An indexing periodical is an access tool to a systematically arranged list of periodical literature providing complete bibliographical references of already published individual items of primary documents, which a republished in regular interval.

An Index can be alphabetical, classified, chronological, geographical or numerical

An `abstract' according to ALA Glossary (1983) is `an abbreviated, accurate representation of a work, usually without added interpretation or criticism, accompanied by a bibliographical reference to the original work when appearing separately from it'.

An abstracting periodical, in addition to having the above-mentioned features of an indexing periodical, gives the information content of the primary documents in a condensed form.

Citation Index

The ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science (1983) defines Citation Index as an index consisting essentially of a list of works which have been cited in other, later works and a list of the works from which the citations have been collected.

Citation Index is the contribution of Eugene Garfield of the "Institute for Scientific Information"(ISI); Philadelphia, USA.

Current Contents

Current Contents (CC) includes content pages of important journals in different  fields to pro-vide a quick current awareness service.
CC is a weekly service to ensure that information reaches quickly and easily to  readers. 
It is published by Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), Philadelphia, USA   covering combination of related disciplines in six separate subject areas.

Biological Abstracts. Philadelphia: Biosciences Information Service, 1926- Semi-monthly.

  • It abstracts and indexes current published research from biological and biomedical           periodical literature published worldwide. 
  • It is available as a printed publication, or magnetic tape and online as part of the BIOSIS preview database. 
  • Abstracts in the main section are arranged by entry number under alphabetical           subject headings. 
  • Each issue also includes: author index, biosystematic index, generic index, concept index and subject index. 
  • Each entry includes: entry number; author; institutional affiliation and address; article title; abbreviated journal title; volume and issue numbers page numbers; year of publication; original language if other than English; and information abstract Microfilm or microfiche formats are also available by subscription.

Chemical Abstracts and Indexes. Columbus, US: Chemical Abstracts Service, 1907-Weekly.

  • Subject covered is chemistry and allied disciplines. 
  • The Documents covered include journal articles, patents, reviews, technical reports, monographs, conference proceedings, symposia, disserations, and books. 
  • Abstracts in the main section are arranged by entry number under 80 subsections           within 5 broad subject categories. 
  • Each issue also include key word index, patent index and author index. 
  • Cumulated six monthly volumes includes general subject index, chemical subject index, formula index, ring index, author index, and patent index. 
  • Volume indexes are cumulated every five year as CA collective indexes. Print   form published 52 times per year. 
  • CD-ROM published since 1996 is avail-able 12 times per year. 
  • Microfiche format published 52 times per year is available in combination with          the print edition.

Index Medicus. 1979- Monthly. Bethesda : National Library of Medicine.

  • The new series of Index Medicus was started from 1960 onwards. 
  • It indexes about 150,000 article titles every year from over 2250 biomedical journals, by author and title, giving citation under each entry. 
  • Available as a printed publication and as an online database (MEDLINE). 
  •  An abridged version, Abridged Index Medicus and an annual cumulation, Cumulated Index Medicus are issued separately. 
  • The index is produced from the computerised MEDLARS system.

Library and Information Science Abstracts (LISA). Ticeherst, Great Britain World Wide Subscription Services, 1969- Monthly.

  • It covers about 600 periodicals, books and other literature dealing with Library and information science. 
  • Abstracts in the main section are classified by subject. 
  • Each issue also includes detailed subject index, author and proper name index and journal index. 
  • LISA Plus-Library and Information Science Abstracts published by Bowker Saur,           East Grinstead, Great Britain in CD-ROM format since 1992. 
  • It is published 4 times a year.

Indian Scenario

  • Indian Science Abstracts. New Delhi: Indian National Scientific Documentation Centre, 1965 Fortnightly.
  • Indian Psychological Abstracts and Reviews. New Delhi: Sage Publications India, 1972.
  • Indian Literary Index. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 1988-. Semi-annual.
  • Indian Management Abstracts. Calcutta: Information Research Academy, 1972-. 4 issues/year.

News Paper Indexes

  • Index to Financial Times. London: Financial Times Business Information, 1981, Annual.
  • Index to Times of India. Bombay: Bennet, Coleman, 1973-. 3 times a year.
  • It was compiled by Micro film and Index service, Reference Department. Ceased publication after publishing a few issues.
  • New York Times Index. New York: New York Times, 1913-. 24 issues a year. Annual cumulations available from 1948.
Source: IGNOU Material
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