Senior Research Fellow
Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute
Pusa New Delhi
Due to the increase in available literature, an average
scholar is usually unable to keep himself up-to-date
with or sometimes even keep track of documents or
information in his Field. It is in this abstracting services
can play a very important role in keeping him well
informed. They help in bringing information to the
notice who need it rather quickly, and are extremely
According to UNESCO “An abstract is a summary of an article
accompanied by adequate bibliographical information to enable the
article to be traced”.
According to Allen Kent- “An abstract is a summary of a
publication or an article accompanied by an adequate
bibliographical description to enable the publication or article to be
An abstract ,simply defines, is a condensation that presents
succinctly, the objectives, scope and finding of document. This
information usually conveyed together with an indexing system,
which further helps to identify document content. An abstract is a
rule, is aimed at a specific group of users who either may have easy
access to the original document.
As a tool for researcher, or the scientist, or the
technologist, the social scientist, the abstracting service
has the fallowing uses to offer.
It alerts the users to newly published work scattered in
many journals and other sources that he is likely to
miss without help.
It helps in keeping up-to-date with new knowledge.
It helps the researcher to save his time by grasping at
the steadily rising tide of the publications.
An informative abstract, sometimes can serve as a
substitute to the original document.
abstracting services might be called as the
It aids in the writing of reviews.
It enables one to make a retrospective search for
literature in a field.
It helps in improving indexing.
Technically, there are three types of abstracts as mentioned
i). indicative Abstract: “indicative abstract merely tell
briefly what the document is about”.
It is a brief abstract or short or short summary written with
the intention enabling the reader to decide whether he
should refer to the original publishing or article. It indicates
what it is about, which its title can seldom do adequately.
ii). Informative Abstract: “informative abstract are longer
and present the essential data and conclusions so that the
reader has no need to refer to the original documents”.
iii). Critical abstract: A critical abstract makes a value
judgment or additional comment on the paper.
Abstractive services are extension of indexes, as they perform the
same function in locating and recording the contents of periodicals,
books, and other documents. Abstracting services offer from indexes:
by definition , they include a summary a summary de of the material
abstracting services tend to t be limited to relatively narrow subject
The arrangement of abstract rarely follow the single author, subject
and sometimes title alphabetical arrangement of indexes.
abstract provides a clue to the relevance of the material and is
valuable in determining the necessity of reading the original
document. An index only gives a key to where the material is
Indexes are indispensible tools for providing easy and quick
access to information contained in a document or a collection
The term „Index‟ has been derived from the Latin word
„indicare‟ which means to „indicate‟ or „to point out‟. Index is
therefore, basically concerned with indicating an object or
idea to one who does not know where that object or idea to
one who does not know where that object or idea is located.
Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, defines an
index as “an indicator, more often an alphabetic list that includes
subjects and names of people and places that are considered to be
a special significance in a graphic record”.
The British Standard BS3700:1954 defines an index as “a
systematic guide to the location of words, concepts or other items
in books, periodicals, or other publications”.
Chakrobartty and Chakrobarti define an index as, “a systemic
guide to be the items of a collection or the concepts derived from
it. It comprises entries arranged in a known or searchable order,
with references to show where each items indexed is located”.
A record specifying an existant along with its address is an
“entry”. In the context of subject indexing, an entry always
pertains to a source of information . Any set of methodically
arranged entries is an “index”. The process of preparing an
index is “ indexing”
“It is a process of analyzing the information content of records
of knowledge and expressing the informational content into a
Basic purpose of indexing is to help maximum of recall
or retrieval or relevant information with minimum of
noise. In the absence of any need for recall there would
be any need for indexing.
Indexing thus serve as an operating tool. No store can
be efficiently operated without an index of some kind
The indexing tool becomes necessary any store of
information or document containing information is
required to be organized for repetitive use by the user.
Indexes to collections,
Periodical indexes, and
We are very well aware with the book index, so we
describe mention remains.
2. Indexes to collections: these index collections of
poems, fiction, plays, songs, essays, stories, biographies
3. Periodical indexes: Broadly speaking, these are of
three types, namely:
3.1 General Indexes: it consists;
3.11 Citation Indexes
3.12 Subject Indexes
3.13 Indexing to individual Periodicals
3.2 Subject Indexes, and
3.3 Indexes to single periodicals
Indexes guides users to documents and other things;
Author indexes guides user to names of people and lead searches to document
related by subject because the author tends to specialize.
Index provide guide to material that the user may wish to recall or that he may not
know exists, that is, indexes are used for question of recall or discovery.
Without indexes, the searcher would waste time by turning through documents
page by page… indexes save the time and make practical searches that would
otherwise be given up.
indexes provide highly compact, useful information about a person or a field.
The cross references in subject indexes guide uses to accepted facts of a field.
Nomenclature, terminology and spellings are often helpfully provided by indexes
and their introduction.
The origination of a field of knowledge can be obtained through a classified index
or from the cross-references in an alphabetic subject index.
The subject approach may be catered for by such indexes as subject
indexes, keyword index or by a minute index for special approach.
It is catered for by such index as Patent Index, Numerical Patent
Index, Report Index, Conference index, Translation Index, Book
Index, Bibliographic Index, etc. or by Contract Number Index,
Accession Number Index, Registry Number Index.
An index to the literature on a particular subject, mostly consisting
of micro-documents is called a subject index or bibliographic index.
It is difficult to know what new has been published
even in a small area of specialization as literature is
being published at a very fast alarming rate. These
services have been found to be very helpful in
deciding which articles is to access and used and
which are not.
Kumar (K). Reference Service. 4th Rev. ed. 1991