A conference paper is the text of a paper or presentation given at a conference. Papers from a particular conference are often compiled together as a conference proceeding.
Conference papers and proceedings are published in a variety of ways, which can make them tricky to find. They may be published as a book, a journal article, a special issue or supplement of a journal, or as part of a series. Sometimes the organisation that holds the conference may only publish abstracts from the conference, and not the entire papers. Authors may also publish their conference papers on their own website or on an institutional website. On other occasions conference papers may not be published at all!
Conference papers present the latest research and advancements in a particular field. Therefore, conference papers and proceedings can be a great source of current research and leading information in a field.
When searching for conference proceedings try a search using the complete conference title, or a few keywords with the location and year of the conference. You can also search for a specific conference paper if you have its title or author's name.
Many of the library's databases will allow you to limit your results to conference papers. Look for options to do this in fields like document type, publication type or article types.
A search in the library catalogue or databases may find conference papers or proceedings published in journals, journal supplements, books or series. Be aware that published proceedings may not include ALL of the papers presented at the conference, especially if some papers are not peer-reviewed.
To find conference material in the library catalogue limit your search results to Conference Proceedings or Conference Papers under Resource Type.
Many library databases index published conference papers and proceedings. Some key multidisclipinary databases that index conference papers/proceedings are listed below:
Many conference proceedings are not indexed in the Library catalogue or databases, but may be freely available, and can be found through a search on Google Scholar.
Unpublished conference papers or proceedings are more difficult to track down. Often the title, author and abstract will be listed in a 'Book of abstracts' included as a supplement of a journal issue, but these don't point you to the full text.
Unpublished papers from a conference may be made freely available on the website of the host organisation, or distributed to attendees only. Some authors make their work available on their own website or via their institution's repository, or you may need to contact the author to request a copy of their paper.