Are you lost in the literature? Or are you desperately looking for the ‘needle in the haystack’? Even though you might be already familiar with Philpapers and Philosopher’s Index, the philosophy-specific bibliographic databases, in this blog post we highlight some important differences between the two. You can find further comparisons between them on both the Philpapers dedicated webpage and the Philosopher’s Index webpage, whereas Princeton University did an excellent external review in 2014.
Philpapers has arguably become the central online resource for English-speaking philosophy, and its repository includes more than 1.800.000 research books and articles. Browsing and discovery are facilitated by a hierarchical subject taxonomy with more than 5000 categories which, together with the indexing, are implemented by a large community of professional philosophers. In addition to the search engine, Philpapers offers further tools, such as a job portal and the possibility to create a personal profile. It is a relatively new database which has showed a successful development in scope while maintaining a good quality, and it is also likely that its structure will be improved in the near future.
Originally created in 1966, Philosophers Index contains about 600.000 records and is controlled only by a limited number of editors, who submit full texts of papers only after checking their quality and assigning relevant keywords to them. Both simple and advanced searches are supported, allowing users to formulate complicate and precise queries limited to specific field, by language, or document type. Individual indexes can also be browsed directly, and the philosophical taxonomy, featuring a 15000 words thesaurus, exhibits a great variety and interconnectedness.