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Conference Proceedings: A How-To-Find Guide

Techniques for locating conference papers and journal articles that were based on conference presentations.

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

For papers presented from 1867-1972, see Proceedings of the American Society of Civil Engineers or Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers. (Prior to this time, advance copies of papers were printed and sent out to members for review and discussion but were apparently not officially published anywhere.) In 1867, the minutes of the Annual Meeting specified that Transactions would contain the papers read and discussions had before the Society and Proceedings would contain the "other less valuable matter." (Proceedings of the ASCE, v. 1, p. 149).

Starting in 1896, individual papers were first published in the Proceedings and opened to discussion by members. After the discussion period ended, all discussion of a paper would be published along with the paper itself in the Transactions.

Starting in 1912, they altered publication methods a bit more. "Papers which...appear to be of a character suitable for oral discussion, will be published as heretofore in Proceedings and set down for presentation to a future meeting of the society....All papers which do not come under this heading...will not be scheduled for presentation to any meeting. Such papers will be published in the Proceedings in the same manner as those which are to be presented at meetings, but written discussions, only, will be requested for subsequent publication in Proceedings and with the paper in the volumes of Transactions." (Proceedings of the ASCE, v. 36, no. 1, January 1912, p. 8.)

From 1950-1955, ASCE issued proceedings papers as a "separate" - which were labeled as ASCE Proceedings and also given a Separate number.

From 1956-1972,ASCE published a number of journals that were co-issued as part of the Proceedings. So, it could either be referenced as being published in the Proceedings OR with the journal name and pagination.

Starting in 1970, each conference proceeding has a unique title beyond the title of the conference. They are often cited both ways. The quickest way to locate full information on a given conference presentation is to use the ASCE Civil Engineering Database (which coversASCE publications from 1970 to the present).

Indexes: Each volume of the Proceedings and Transactions have indexes. The annual indexes were combined into the Cumulative Index of ASCE Publications (1930-1998). The Index to Transactions of the ASCE for 1867-1920 is searchable from the Linda Hall Library website.

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Kris Stacy-Bates
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Iowa State University

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