"...every fresh fact that is revealed.....is a clue leading from the very chambers of knowledge, which the discoverer leaves behind him to guide his followers. It is never lost.....for we may at pleasure take up the thread and commence where it ended...." Matthew Fontaine Maury from Address Delivered before the Literary Societies of the University of Virginia on 28th June, 1855
The oceanography literature is part of the larger scientific literature and is composed of specific discipline literature as well as that of other basic scientific disciplines. Scientific literature is the principal medium for communicating the results of scientific research and represents a permanent record of the collective achievements of the scientific community. It is composed of the individual "end products" of scientific research and continues to expand as new research builds on earlier research.
Modern oceanographic research began with the voyage of the "H.M.S. Challenger" during the years 1872 to 1876 which resulted in a 50-volume set of scientific reports. Since the Challenger voyage there has been a proliferation of oceanographic publications paralleling the general growth and diversification of scientific literature.
Scientific literature is divided into two basic categories - "primary" and "secondary". Publications that report the results of original scientific research constitute the "primary" literature and include journal papers, conference papers, monographic series, technical reports, and theses and dissertations. The "primary" literature is eventually compacted into "secondary" sources which synthesize and condense what is known on specific topics. These include scientific reviews, monographs, textbooks, treatises, and handbooks and manuals.
Availability of scientific literature varies depending upon its publication format. Some formats are widely available, e.g., journal papers, while others have limited distribution and are difficult to identify and acquire. This "gray literature" commonly includes technical reports, theses, and dissertations.
The following chart illustrates common steps involved in the scientific research process (inner circle), the dissemination of research results through the primary and secondary literature (outer circle), and the personal assimilation of this information resulting in new ideas and research (inner circle):
Oceanography serials can be grouped into the following three categories:
Copies of papers contained in serials that are not available in the HSU Library can be requested through the Library's Interlibrary Loan Service.
Since many oceangraphy literature databases and "Literature Cited" in scholarly journal papers abbreviate serial titles the following sources can help you find the full unabbreviated serial title:
The research paper published in a scientific journal represents the most important "primary" source of information for the oceanographer. Seventy-five percent of the oceanography research literature is published in this format. The first journals publishing extensively in the field of oceanography were established in the 1870s. By 1900 there were eleven titles including the Biological Bulletin from Woods Hole and the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom Journal. Starting in 1950 there was a rapid expansion in new titles paralleling greatly increased research in the field of oceanography. Today Genamics JournalSeek lists approximately 200 in oceanography and approximately 100 titles in marine biology. Other sources of information on marine science journals include:
. For other subject directories to oceanography journals see Scholarly Journal Directories.
Paralleling the "core" journal concept found to be true to most scientific fields there are approximately 15 titles that account for 75% of the significant publications in marine biology and 10 titles which account for 50% of the significant publications in physical oceanography. See Journals Ranked by Impact: Oceanography, Journals Ranked by Impact: Marine and Freshwater Biology, SCImago Journal and Country Rank: Oceanography andSCImago Journal and Country Rank: Aquatic Sciences for highly ranked journals.
Literature databases listed in Articles and Databases: Oceanography typically index individual research papers by author, subject, taxonomic category, habitat, time period, life stage, chemical compound and geographic area. In addition many journal publishers maintain a searchable database of articles that have been published in their journals.
A source for older journal papers in oceanography are the annual reprint collections of journal and conference papers authored by personnel at major oceanographic institutions. They can be used when the HSU Library does not have the journal you need and when you can identify the author of an article as coming from one of these institutions. The HSU Library has "collected reprint" collections from the following institutions:
Today, authors of research publications may deposit their work in an institutional or subject digital archive. The Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) and the Directory of Open Access Repositories (open DOAR) list available archives, including HSU's Humboldt Digital Scholar. Digital archives of interest to oceanography include:
While most oceanography research results are published in journals, perhaps 10% of the research is published in individual issues of what are called monographic series in the library world. Longer contributions resulting from scientific research are often published in this format. Monographic series typically have the following characteristics:
A typical example is:
Park. T.(a) 1994. Taxonomy and Distribution of the Marine Calanoid Copepod Family Euchaetidae.(b)Bulletin(c) of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (d) V.29(e).
where a=individual author; b=individual title; c=series title; d=series author; e=series number
To locate monographic series in the HSU Library you need to consult the following sources:
As with individual journal papers databases listed in Articles and Databases: Oceanography also can be used to identify research published in this format.
Following are some of the oceanography monographic series available in the HSU Library. These are shelved in the regular book collection rather than Periodicals.
The outcome of graduate study conducted at universities is commonly a master's thesis or doctoral dissertation. In addition to the formal thesis or dissertation, research results are often communicated in other "primary" literature formats, such as the journal paper.
See Theses and Dissertations for how to find and acquire 1) HSU masters theses; and 2) theses and dissertations produced at other universities that are available in other libraries and on the Internet.
Papers presented at national and international conferences, symposia, and workshops are another source of "primary" scientific information in oceanography. For many of these meetings the presented papers are eventually published in a "proceedings" or "transactions" volume or made available on the web. Those available in the HSU Library are listed in the HSU Library Catalog under author (generally the name of the conference, individual editor or sponsoring organization) and title.
Literature databases listed in Finding Articles also provide subject, taxonomic, geographic, and author access to individual conference papers.
Following are some of the regularly recurring oceanography conferences received by the HSU Library. In addition there are many other one-time specialty conferences listed in the HSU Library Catalog.
Conference papers are also included in some of the oceanography "collected reprint" collections.
Monographs generally are not part of the "primary" literature of science, but rather are "secondary" sources of information. They may be either scholarly contributions or popularizations on specific topics. Through scholarly monographs the "primary" literature on specific topics is condensed, summarized or reviewed. Most include references back to the "primary" literature.
Monographs may take the format of textbooks, treatises, taxonomic works, encyclopedias, handbooks and other reference works. Monographs available locally are listed in the HSU Library Catalog. Library catalogs at other institutions can be used to identify other useful research in monographic format that can then be requested on Interlibrary Loan. For guidance in searching library catalogs see Finding Books in Oceanography.