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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 Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

ASME sponsors between 25-30 research conferences per year and publishes the papers presented as individual proceedings totaling approximately 7,000 papers.

Resources for finding ASME proceedings

ASME Digital Collection

The ASME Digital Collection currently holds around 100,000 conference proceedings, typically dating from 2002 to the present. A very few titles go back much further – the earliest dated proceeding in the database currently dates from 1955. ASME’s stated goal is to add all their legacy proceedings to the database.

Proceedings can be browsed by series, year, or topic area, or searched. For known items with a relatively recent publication date, this is the easiest way to get to what you need.


Compendex is a highly comprehensive index of engineering articles, but it also covers grey literature including conference proceedings. A list of ASME publications indexed in this database can be found using the Content Available link in the page footer. Choosing American Society of Mechanical Engineers from the publisher list in the Serials tab of the Compendex spreadsheet will produce a list of division proceedings and journals that have been indexed. This should give a good indication of whether the paper you want can likely be uncovered using Compendex.

Linda Hall Library

Librarians at the Linda Hall Library have created a database of engineering papers they deem "difficult to find." Though it is not comprehensive, it consists of citation information about ASME and ASCE papers, primarily from 1991 to 2001.

ISU Library

The ISU Library has copies of some ASME conference proceedings. Use Quick Search to search for the title of the conference to see which proceedings are in our collections. Papers and proceedings not in our collection may be requested through Interlibrary Loan.

Relevant series & titles

International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE)

Proceedings for this conference are available via the ASME Digital Collection starting in 2002.

ASME did not publish proceedings for IMECE prior to the early 2000s. However, some papers presented at IMECE were published by the individual ASME technical divisions as conference proceedings.

Proceedings of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Current ASME conference papers are published in their respective conference proceeding in this series, whether they are designated as a technical paper or a conference paper. ASME Proceedings are available via the ASME Digital Collection starting in 2002, with coverage of a very limited number of titles going back further.

Historically, technical papers were published separately from conference proceedings, even if they were presented at a conference, so older papers may need to be sought elsewhere.

Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers

ASME began publishing Transactions of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1880. Over time the Transactions began to be split into individual journals, each with a narrower topical focus. Today there are about 30 journals in the Transactions “family”.

Some ASME Papers were published in these journals even though they may not have been published as part of a proceedings. The Index to Place of Publication of ASME Papers can be used to find which papers were published in which journals. To locate the paper of interest, you will need to know the number it was assigned.

When all else fails...

If the paper you are looking for isn't covered by one of the links above, try searching by author or paper title in a database like Compendex or Google Scholar that has very broad coverage of scholarly publications. You can also look for later publications by the same author – they often cite their own earlier publications in the list of references, or you might find that the conference paper was published in a journal rather than a proceedings.

If you still can't find what you are looking for, or if you'd like help navigating the search process, contact a librarian.

Your Librarian

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Lorrie Pellack
Head, Research & Instruction Services Dept.
150c Parks Library
Ames, IA 50011-2140
Phone: 515-294-5569