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Lost Titles, Forgotten Rhymes:
How to Find a Novel, Short Story, or Poem Without Knowing its Title or Author

Link disclaimerFinding Short Stories

A Trip Around the World at Story Hour Time Story Hour Club--W.P.A Library Center
A Trip Around the World at Story Hour Time, Story Hour Club--W.P.A Library Center.
1 print on board (poster): silkscreen, color,
between 1936 and 1940.
Prints and Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:

Locating short stories is often more difficult than locating novels because there are fewer bibliographic tools that catalog and index stories. In addition, print indexes do not typically provide subject or plot access to short stories, which is essential if only the plot is known.

That said, community-based resources such as message boards and listservs are excellent ways to locate short stories (as well as novels). General web searches may also turn up a reference to a story, or its complete text.

Some databases to which your library subscribes may also prove helpful in locating short stories. The following databases allow users to limit searches by categories such as genre, subject, first and last line, and setting, and to search for keywords in plot summaries and across the full text of digitized stories:


MagillOnLiterature Plus

Short Story Index

If you are seeking a short story for which you already know the title, you may wish to review the University of California Santa Barbara Library's Finding Short Stories guide to learn about useful resources that may be available at your local library. Additional short story indexes, including the print editions of Short Story Index, can be identified by searching the Library of Congress online catalog under subject headings such as:

Short Stories, American - Bibliography.
Short Stories, American - Indexes.
Short Stories - Bibliography.
Short Stories - Indexes.


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  Home >> Lost Titles, Forgotten Rhymes >> Finding Short Stories
  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  February 17, 2017
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