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Science Reference Services (Science, Technology, and Business Division)
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Reader at a table piled high with books.
Using the general collection in the Science and Business Reading Room

The Collections

Science Reference Collection

Photo:  The Science and Business Reading Room, with the Science Reference Collection in the  background.
The Science and Business Reading Room, with the Science Reference Collection in the Background

The Science Reference Collection consists of approximately 25,000 volumes that are shelved in the Science and Business Reading Room. Special collections include dictionaries, current journals, pamphlets, abstracts and indexes in both paper and online form, and other types of material.

The science and technology collection encompasses subject areas such as:

  • astronomy
  • botany
  • medicine
  • agriculture
  • military science
  • naval science
  • engineering
  • mathematics
  • environmental sciences
  • physics
  • chemistry
  • computer sciences

Science Reference Desk Collection

The Science Reference Desk Collection is located in the Reference Services Alcove on the east side of the Science and Business Reading Room. It includes frequently requested reference books, directories, statistical compendiums, and handbooks, such as:

  • American Men and Women of Science
  • CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics
  • Directory of Chemical Producers
  • Encyclopedia of Associations
  • the Jane's series of military and weaponry books

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Technical Dictionaries Collection

Photo: Shelves of books, with dispaly of books and magazines  on Einstien in the foreground.
Photo: Part of the dictionary collection

The Technical Dictionaries Collection is a great resource for translators, scientists, and researchers working with material in multiple languages. It includes many foreign language-to-English and English-to-foreign language works. It is especially strong in Russian, German, and French titles. It covers broad subject areas such as:

  • geology
  • physics
  • biology
  • hydrology
  • herpetology
  • specialized titles such as those on wild and cultivated plants

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Abstracts and Indexes

Researchers using the Science and Business Reading Room have access to an extensive collection of print and online services that help you find what you need.

The Library of Congress subscribes to many online abstracts, indexes and full-text products. Please note that you must be on the Library of Congress premises to use them.

In addition, a comprehensive collection of paper abstracts and indexes supplement the online products.
Examples include:

  • Chemical Abstracts
  • Food Science and Technology Abstracts
  • Forestry Abstracts
  • Horticultural Abstracts
  • Nutrition Abstracts and Reviews

Science Reference Services Abstract and Index Collection - Print Resources

Kenyon Cox's Mural "The Sciences" in the Library of Congress.

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Current Journals

Photo: readers using the tables in the  Science and Business Reading Room.
Readers doing research in the Science and Business Reading Room

The Science Reference Services Current Scientific and Technical Journal Collection is located on the shelves immediately outside of the Reference Alcove. The titles are shelved alphabetically. They usually include the most recent twelve months. Examples include:

  • Journal of the American Medical Association
  • Communications of the ACM
  • ENR
  • Nature
  • Science


Current journals not in the Current Scientific and Technical Journal Collection may be available in the Newspaper and Current Periodicals Reading Room.

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Photo: Part of a mural of Thomas Jefferson  located in the Science & Business Reading Room.
Mural of Thomas Jefferson in the
Science and Business Reading Room

Science Topic-Based Vertical Files

Located in the Reference Alcove, the vertical file collection includes information for over 1000 current topics of interest to science researchers. Reference librarians will assist readers in retrieving the materials. The exact contents vary, but each file usually contains reports, journal articles, statistical data, and bibliographies. Examples of topics include health care issues, general patent information, and science literacy.

Science Reference Vertical File Subject List (PDF, 81 KB)

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Science Fair Resources

The Science Reference Collection, in the Science and Business Reading Room, includes many helpful books for teachers, parents, and scientific enthusiasts in search of science fair project information. Many of these titles may be available at a local school or public library. Bibliographies on Science Fair Projects, Space Science Projects, Science Projects in Biology, and Environmental Science Projects are also available for researchers via the Science Tracer Bullet Series. SCTB Online is the World Wide Web version of the Science Tracer Bullet Series of bibliographies. The World Wide Web provides access to many Internet Resources in this area.

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   July 28, 2016
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