ACM Digital Library

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ACM Digital Library is a subscription-based non-patent literature database created by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) that contains the full text of every article ever published by ACM and bibliographic citations from major publishers in computing.[1] A list of all contents in the Digital Library can be found here. The ACM Digital Library is integrated and includes unrestricted access to the Guide to Computing Literature bibliography.[2]

Features of the ACM Digital Library include:[2]

  • Reference linking though CrossRef
  • Integration with the ACM Computing Reviews database
  • Index terms using ACM's Computing Classification Scheme (CCS)
  • Alerting and TOC services
  • All export formats including BibTex, Endnote, and ACM Ref
  • OpenURL compliance
  • COUNTER III and SUSHI Compliant usage statistics


Both search and browse options are available on the ACM Digital Library. Browsable indexes include:

  • Browse the ACM Publications:
    • Journals/Transactions
    • Magazines
    • Proceedings
  • Browse the Special Interest Groups
  • Browse the Conferences:
    • Recent and Upcoming Conferences
    • Conference Listing
  • Browse the Special Collections:
    • ACM International Conference Proceeding Series (ICPS)
    • Classic Book Series
    • ACM Oral History interviews
  • Browse the Publications by Affiliated Organizations
  • Browse all literature by type
  • Browse all literature by Publisher
  • Browse by the ACM Computing Classification System

The ACM Digital Library also has a number of search forms:

  • Quick search form - A keyword search form is available in the upper right corner of the Digital Library homepage.
  • Advanced search form - The advanced search form includes a number of fielded search options, and phrases or full names must be surrounded by double quotation marks (Boolean operator options are given for each form - all/any/none=AND/OR/NOT):
    • Words or phrases - Find (any field/title/abstract/review) with all/any/none of the text entered in the search form.
    • Names - Find (authors/editors/advisors/reviewers) with the names entered in the search form.
    • Keywords - Search by keywords entered in the search form.
    • Affiliations - Find a company or school entered in the search form.
    • Publication - Search by publication title, publisher, year, or publication type (journal, proceeding, transaction, magazine, newsletter).
    • Conference - Search by sponsor names, location, or year.
    • Identification codes - Search by ISBN/ISSN or DOI.
    • Computing Classification System (CCS) - Find node or subject/noun.
    • Select required components (full text, abstract, review).

The advanced search form for the ACM Digital Library.

  • Command Line - The command line is only accessible after completing an initial search and selecting the "Advanced Search" option under the "Refine Your Search" menu. Users can edit the query directly in the command line, but no help guides are provided to instruct the user in the Digital Library search syntax.

The command line interface for the ACM Digital Library.

Uusers can refine their search using a side menu, which allows users to narrow results by:

  • Keywords
  • People (names, institutions, authors, editors, advisors, reviewers)
  • Publications (publication year, publication name, ACM publications, all publications, content formats, publishers)
  • Conferences (sponsors, events, proceeding series)
  • Advanced search (includes editing the query directly in the command line)

The search results can be sorted by relevance, title, publication date, publisher, citation count, or number of downloads. The results can be viewed in expanded or condensed format, and the results page also allows users to view related journals, magazines, SIGs, and conferences under separate tabs.

The search results and refine options for the ACM Digital Library.

When viewing the full record of the search result, the user can download the full PDF (if full-text is available), view bibliographic information on the document, and view bibliometric data within the top menu section. Below this section is a number of tabs with additional data on the document: Abstract, Authors, References, Cited by, Index Terms, Publication, Reviews, Comments, and Table of Contents. If a particular type of data is not available for the record, then the tab will be gray.

The full record view for the ACM Digital Library.

A small "Tools and Resources" menu is also available on the full record view. Available tools include:

  • A "Request Permissions" option
  • A TOC alerting service (either by email or RSS)
  • Save the record to a binder
  • Export (in Bib Tex, EndNote, or ACM Ref formats)
  • View upcoming conferences related to the record
  • Share via email or social media

The user must be signed in with their personal ACM Web Account to utilize some tools.

Finally, a number of "tags" for the record are displayed below the "Tools and Resources" menu. Select a tag to view other search results relavent to that tag.

Training Resources

The ACM Digital Library website lists a number of free training resources to help users fully utilize the features of the Digital Library:

  • DL User Guide - A power point presentation that describes all features and functions of the ACM Digital Library. The user guide can be downloaded or viewed directly on the website.
  • ACM DL YouTube Videos - Tutorial videos on topics like author profile pages and measuring usage of the Digital Library.
  • User Generated Tutorials - Tutorial videos created by DL users, on topics like doing advanced searches, and two "getting started" guides.


A number of access options are available for both ACM members and non-members for the ACM Digital Library (DL):[3]

  • All ACM Members who subscribe to the DL get unlimited access to full-text content.
  • ACM Special Interest Group (SIG) members receive full-text access to all materials sponsored by their respective SIGs in the DL.
  • Non-members and the general public can search/browse the ACM Digital Library.
  • Communications of the ACM (CACM): All ACM members receive full-text access to CACM in the DL.
  • Computing Reviews: appears unbundled in the DL and Guide (individual reviews are attached to their bibliographic items.) ACM member DL subscribers receive access to the Online Computing Reviews Service. All others must subscribe to OCRS as a standalone subscription.
  • Subscribers to individual electronic subscriptions (member and non-member): receive full-text access to the individual journals to which they subscribe.

Subscription and access options for institutions are described in detail here.


  1. "ACM Digital Library." ACM Digital Library website, Accessed January 31, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "The Digital Library." ACM Digital Library website, Accessed January 31, 2012.
  3. "Access to the DL." ACM Digital Library website, Accessed January 31, 2012.

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