Union Lists

Union lists of journals are essential tools for finding out what libraries hold a specific journal (and sometimes the volumes or issues held).

In records for journals, WorldCat (E225) both lists holdings in many libraries and provides a link to an institution’s OPAC.

Many library consortia or state associations produce regional union lists of serials. A reference or interlibrary loan librarian is usually the best source for information on the local lists.

Although now dated, Ruth S. Freitag, comp., Union Lists of Serials: A Bibliography (Washington: Reference Dept., Lib. of Congress, 1964; 150 pp.), is still useful for identifying union lists published before c. 1962.


New Serial Titles: A Union List of Serials Held by Libraries in the United States and Canada (NST). Washington: Lib. of Congress, 1953–99. Monthly, with quarterly, annual, and larger cumulations, including one for 1950–70. Available on microfiche since 1984. Z6945.U5 S42 [PN4832] 016.05.

A title list of serials from throughout the world held by libraries in the United States and Canada. Until 1981, NST includes only works first published after 1949; since 1981, it admits newly cataloged serials regardless of initial date of publication; and, since April 1996, it includes only printed serials. NST continues Union List of Serials in Libraries of the United States and Canada (ULS), ed. Edna Brown Titus, 3rd ed., 5 vols. (New York: Wilson, 1965), which records holdings for more than 156,000 serials published before 1950. NST and ULS are essential for identifying libraries that own lengthy or complete runs (but there are numerous errors and omissions in the records of holdings, and after the 1976–80 cumulation NST does not designate specific volumes held). For subject access, see New Serial Titles, 1950–1970: Subject Guide, 2 vols. (New York: Bowker, 1975).


Serials in the British Library. Wetherby: British Lib., 1981–2010. Quarterly, with annual and larger cumulations. Z6945.B874 [PN4832] 011.34.

From 1987 on, this source is restricted to new serials acquired by the British Library, with entries providing title, publication details, and ISSN. Indexed by subject. From 1981 through 1986, it is a union list of serials acquired since 1976 by the British Library and 16 other major libraries in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. Serials in the British Library succeeds British Union-Catalogue of Periodicals Incorporating World List of Scientific Periodicals: New Periodical Titles (London: Butterworths, 1964–81, quarterly, with annual and larger cumulations), which records periodicals that were first published, began a new series, or ceased publication from 1960 through 1980, and lists the holdings of a significantly larger number of libraries. The holdings of earlier periodicals are recorded in British Union-Catalogue of Periodicals: A Record of the Periodicals of the World, from the Seventeenth Century to the Present Day, in British Libraries (BUCOP), ed. James D. Stewart, 4 vols. (New York: Academic; London: Butterworths, 1955–58); a supplement (1962) extends coverage to 1960.