Searching for Articles in the Chronicles of Oklahoma

This tutorial will describe the Chronicles of Oklahoma publication, discuss the contents and use of three primary Chronicles of Oklahoma indexes, and present information on how to locate the full text of the journal both online and in paper.


The Chronicles of Oklahoma, which is published quarterly, is the scholarly, historical journal of the Oklahoma Historical Society. First issued in 1921, the Chronicles of Oklahoma publishes articles on a wide range of subjects related to Oklahoma history. This includes topics such as prehistory, Indians, early settlement and the twentieth century. The Chronicles of Oklahoma also includes scholarly reviews of books pertaining to Oklahoma, Indian and western history.

The NSU Library in Tahlequah owns paper copies of the Chronicles of Oklahoma in three locations, including Special Collections, the second floor periodicals collection, and the first floor reference collection. The NSU Library in Broken Arrow also owns this title. In addition to the paper subscriptions, the NSU Library web site provides a link to the Chronicles of Oklahoma database.

The articles and book reviews found in the Chronicles of Oklahoma are indexed by a number of other online and print indexes, including America: History & Life and the Society's print indexes. The NSU Library system owns the following paper indexes:

  • Print indexes for 1921-1999 are available in Special Collections and Reference (Tahlequah)
  • Print indexes for 1921-1959, 1980-1999 are available in the Periodicals Collection (Tahlequah)
  • Print indexes for 1921-1979 are available at the Broken Arrow campus library

Contents and Use of the Indexes

The Chronicles of Oklahoma print indexes include alphabetical name and subject listings of the articles and book reviews found in the publication. Each volume in the print index series covers certain years of the journal, and can be extremely useful for browsing topics. While the paper indexes can be especially useful for browsing, an online index to the Chronicles of Oklahoma can be effectively used to run comprehensive subject and keyword searches.

As stated above, the NSU Library provides access to two online databases which index the Chronicles of Oklahoma. This includes America: History & Life and the Society's online index. America: History & Life, which is discussed in more detail in a separate tutorial, is an extremely useful tool for finding articles and book reviews published in the Chronicles of Oklahoma since 1963. On the other hand, the Society's online index is a combination index and full text database which is divided into two parts. Part one provides the table of contents for each issue from 1921-2002, and provides the full text of the articles contained in each issue from 1921-1942. Part two serves as an online index of all issues from 1921-2002. (The database shows the beginning date as 1923, because the first volume was published from 1921-1923). To view the articles appearing in the journal after 2002 it may be necessary to visit a nearby library, such as the NSU libraries in Tahlequah and Broken Arrow, or a public library.

Searching the Society's Online Database

As previously noted, a separate tutorial provides information on how to search the Chronicles of Oklahoma in America: History & Life. Therefore, this section will focus on how to use the Oklahoma Historical Society's Chronicles of Oklahoma database.

Perhaps the best starting point is to discuss the two parts of the database as they first appear on the database's logon screen, as seen below:

  • The "Select Volume" link takes users to both the table of contents of each issue and the available full text.
  • The "Search All Volumes" link takes users to an online search engine which can be used as an index to the available issues.

By clicking on the "Select Volume" link a user essentially is given three choices. This includes the option of browsing the table of contents and full text of volumes 1-20, the option of browsing the table of contents of volumes 21-80 only, or searching all 80 with the use of the online index (which is linked from the blue "Search" button).

Actually, the blue "Search" button on the above shown screen shot takes users to the same search page as is linked from the "Search All Volumes" option, which is found on the database's main page. It also is important to point out that the "Search" page actually can be used to search more than the Chronicles of Oklahoma. In fact, as seen in the following illustration, it is necessary to click on the bullet next to the Chronicles to indicate that you wish to specifically search this journal. When making this selection it is also important to note that the "Basic Search Form" box at the top of the screen should be ignored and not used when wanting to exclusively search the Chronicles of Oklahoma.

To use the index or search page type the term or phrase into the second search box (after marking Chronicles of Oklahoma with a bullet), and press enter. When using the Society's online index it is important to keep in mind that the database not only will search for the term or keyword in the article titles of all 80 volumes, it also will search for the word or term in the full text of the first 20 volumes. As a result, when searching a common term, such as the word Oklahoma, it is highly likely that most of the items retrieved will be from the text of the articles appearing in the first 20 volumes. On the other hand, knowing that this index searches the full text of the first 20 volumes can be quite useful when researching unique terms in these early issues, such as personal names. When searching phrases, remember to place quotation marks around the phrase being searched, as illustrated below:

Locating Articles Which Are Not Available Online

As described above, the first 20 volumes of the Chronicles of Oklahoma are available in full text on the Society's database. To read articles published from volume 21-present (or 1943-present), it may be necessary to visit a library which owns a paper copy of the item. Below is a partial listing of regional library holdings for this title in paper:

  1. NSU Library - Tahlequah Campus (F 691 .C55)
    • Special Collections (second floor), 1921-present
    • Periodicals Collections (second floor), nearly complete set from 1921-present
    • Reference Collection (first floor), nearly complete set from 1921-one year ago
  2. NSU Library -Broken Arrow Campus (F 691 .C55)
    • 2001-present
  3. Tulsa City-County Library
    • Central Library, 1950-present (Oklahoma Collection, 4th Floor)
    • Genealogy Library, 1921-2004 (some on microfilm)
    • Some issues are available at the Hardesty, Martin, Pratt, and Rudisill branches
  4. Muskogee Public Library (Grant Foreman Room)
    • 1921-present

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Last Updated: 05/26/2017