Communication Institute for Online Scholarship
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by Timothy Stephen

Launched in 1990, ComIndex has the distinction of being the first electronic index to the academic literature of the communication field. Originally, ComIndex was provided as software that libraries and individuals installed on personal computers. Updates were provided annually. With the advent of the world wide web, the same functionality was provided on the CIOS web site in combination with databases named the Open Journals Index and the Visual Communication Concept Explorer. The Open Journals Index was renamed ComIndex Online in 2010.

The ComIndex database contains bibliographic information for journal articles published in the primary professional literature of the communication(s) field. The database can be searched by title word, phrase, or article author. The search system supports full Boolean search logic (AND, OR, NOT, XOR), proximity searching, wildcard searching, and word conflation (which finds alternative forms of words based on common linguistic roots).

The literature included in this database is restricted to first line scholarship published in academic journals that serve the communication discipline. The database is comprehensive.

CIOS ComIndex database includes all regular articles published in every issue of the journals covered (coverage information). Only book reviews and editorial notes are excluded.

The database is enabled with "openURL" technology. If you search the database from a university whose library supports openURL linking, you will be able to link directly from search results to full text of articles for those journals to which your library subscribes.

ComIndex differs from ComAbstracts in that (1) ComAbstracts searches include not only article titles but also article abstracts, (2) ComAbstracts includes advanced search features (e.g., search by journal), (3) ComAbstracts includes high-level classification of articles by topical focus using a controlled dictionary of specific relevance to the communication field, and (4) ComAbstracts is updated continually while ComIndex is updated annually.