Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fantasy & Science Fiction in Periodical Databases


This is one of those little librarian finds.

The Magazine Fantasy and Science Fiction is online, short stories, reviews and all, in the Masterfile Premier index and General Reference Center Gold.

That's crazy to me. Crazy in a good kind of way, like dying and finding out that there's a heaven and they serve meatloaf and have back issues of Hellblazer kind of way.

So, how do you get to them? Go to your library's website. In Michigan, you can also go to Mel.org, and you will need a Michigan library card or driver's license to sign in.

If your library has some kind of magazine or database search, or federated searching, go looking for Masterfile or General Reference Center Gold. Those are the two databases that I know have access to Fantasy & Science Fiction, but you're looking for a general interest magazine database of anykind.

If it's Masterfile , click on the title of the database. Under Masterfile Premier, there should be a link that says Title List. Click that, and in the search bar titled Browse Publications, type Fantasy & Science Fiction. Click the browse button. Click the title of the magazine. See the column of dates on the right? Click any one, and it will give you a list of that year's issues. Click the issue to get a list of articles and stories. Click the pdf link under a article or story to download a pdf file of the article. They index 1994 to the present, full text.

If its General Reference Center Gold (via Mel.org in Michigan), then get into the database. On the basic search screen type Brin into the Find search bar, and Fantasy & Science Fiction into the Publication search bar. Click the search button. Under the title of an article, it should say About this publication. Click that. Use the drop down menu of years, and the column of dates at the bottom of the page, to navigate between issues.

I almost hesistate to print this in fear that somebody will decide that those stories shouldn't be indexed anymore. I can see authors being uncomfortable that their stories are being syndicate in this way. But I think it's great for several reasons:

1) I get access to the stories.
2) It supports the magazine. Without the magazine, we wouldn't have submission venues for short stories at all.
3) It eventually supports the authors. Seriously, if you have a few more people browsing the back issues of Fantasy & Science Fiction, they'll get exposed to so many more good authors, and want to buy their books.

It's not just great for me, it's great for science fiction as a genre.

Unfortunately, I would never have thought of looking in a library's periodical database for the magazine. Usually, people go there for non-fiction. I totally found it by accident. So I'm doing my best to let people in the SF community know about it. A resources is only as good as its use. Now I have to wonder what other fiction magazines might be indexed in there.

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