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Historically, one of the obstacles to progress in the development of forecasting principles was that researchers in different fields were unaware of similar efforts by researchers in other fields. Described below are literature sources and methods of retrieval. In some databases, only titles and sources are available. Increasingly, however, abstracts are supplied, and in some cases the full text articles are available as well. While some of the sources can be reached by all, it helps considerably if your library subscribes to the services.

1. Books

Citations to the world book literature on forecasting are available on the Internet. Sources include access to all U.S. Library catalogs on the Internet as well as the Library of Congress catalog. The Library of Congress subject headings are widely used. The Library of Congress assigns subject headings as books appear on a topic.

2. National Bureau of Economic Research - Working Papers

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Papers are available on-line. They allow for search by keywords.

3. Social Science and Science Data Bases

There are many major social science and science databases. All of the databases listed (and several hundred others) are available from DIALOG Corporation. Another multiple database vendor through the Internet is OVID.

I find Social SciSearch (the WEB version of the Social Science Citation Index) most useful. Social SciSearch also allows one to search on cited authors and their papers. A paper citing the publications of Makridakis probably deals with forecasting. At the other extreme of usefulness, I find that the ABI/INFORM database contains too many papers of marginal value.

Brief Description of Several Key Data Bases

Dissertation Abstracts (1861 to date)

Subject title and author guide to American dissertations accepted at accredited institutions since 1861. Includes increasing number of Canadian, British and European dissertations. "Forecasting" is not used as a subject, but there were about 1,150 dissertations with "Forecasting" in title as of 1999. The earliest is from 1925 "Forecasting School Enrollment"

Inspec (1969 to date)

The major source on the literature of physics, information technology, electronics, and electrical engineering. Also covers conference proceedings and non-English language sources.

MathSci (1940 to date)

Two subfiles are important for forecasting Current Index to Statistics published by the American Statistical Association and Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and the Index to Statistics and Probability by Tukey and Ross

SciSearch (1974 to date)

Indexes and abstracts 5,300 journals in science and technology.

Social SciSearch (1972 to date)

Indexes and abstracts 1,700 social science journals. All the citations in the documents are searchable.

4. Social Sciences Information Gateway (SOSIG)

SOSIG provides a source of Internet information for researchers and practitioners in the social sciences, business, and law. Each source has been selected and described by a librarian or academic. The catalog is searchable by subject area. SOSIG is part of the UK Resource Discovery Network. Searching SOSIG for papers on forecasting is difficult.

It has a Social Science Search Engine with a database of over 50,000 social science Web pages. It also has a Social Science Grapevine where researchers can make their CVs available online, which are then freely accessible to all visitors to the site. Grapevine's Likemind section provides a forum for exchange of ideas and information about potential research opportunities.