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Catherine Michael's picture

Journal Coverage: Communication Abstracts; ComAbstracts; and Communication & Mass Media Complete

Prepared by the Electronic Resources in Communication Studies Committee of the Education & Behavioral Sciences Section, Association of College & Research Libraries

This spreadsheet, based on an analysis completed in December 2006, compares titles in Communication Abstracts, Communication & Mass Media Complete, and ComAbstracts.  The spreadsheet consists of four worksheets:

1. Journals.  An alphabetical list of titles indicating in which of the three databases each is covered, with coverage dates.  There is a column for each database with an x for titles it covers.  In addition, journal titles are formatted with bold for CMMC, red for Communication Abstracts, and italics for ComAbstracts.  (All three if it is in all three.)

2. Uniqueness. Lists of titles unique to Communication Abstracts and ComAbstracts (very few of each) and a selected list of titles unique to CMMC (of which there are many.)

3. Overlap Survey.  The results of a survey of selected titles covered by all three databases, with the total number of citations per title per database for those years covered by all three.  (There is some variation, but in general CMMC has the most extensive coverage of shared titles, and Communication Abstracts has the least extensive coverage of shared titles.)

4. Gaps. Lists of titles in CMMC and Communication Abstracts but not in ComAbstracts and of titles in CMMC and ComAbstracts but not in Communication Abstracts.  (There were no titles in Communication Abstracts and ComAbstracts but not in CMMC.)

EBSCO's CMMC spreadsheet was used as the starting point for this analysis.  Information was added from CIOS and CSA and from searching the three databases.  Some of the additional information from EBSCO (including full text coverage) can be viewed by unhiding columns in the Journals worksheet. (Column B, which is hidden, allows you to separate out the non-academic titles in CMMC.)

There were some quirks in gathering this data.  For example, searches in Communication Abstracts by title and by ISSN sometimes gave different results.  But we are confident that the overall data and the picture it gives is good and will be useful to communication librarians and others.

The focus is on indexing, not full text, because CMMC is the only one of the three with full text (although CIOS has a few full text titles, and links to the Sage full text collection show up in Communication Abstracts if you subscribe to both products from CSA.)

For the sake of clarity, if not sanity, we refer to Communication Abstracts as CSA and ComAbstracts as CIOS in various places.

In order to further assess and compare journal coverage, in 2008 the committee extracted selected tables of contents (TOCs) from 34 communication studies journals, and searched all content of the selected TOCs (including reviews) in ComAbstracts, Communication Abstracts, and Communication & Mass Media Complete (the 34 titles are indexed by all three databases). The committee reviewed TOCs from the first issues of the 34 journals for the years of 1978, 1988, 1998 and 2005. The additional research reinforces the findings of the initial overlap survey, which indicates that Communication & Mass Media Complete has the most extensive coverage (especially since it indexes book reviews), while Communication Abstracts (CSA) has the least extensive coverage. Data collected for the additional journal coverage assessment is included in the attached MSWord document.

Electronic Resources in Communication Studies Committee