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Ornithological Worldwide Literature - OWL

  • Global AOU, BOU, CLO, ROL

An indexed and searchable database of >80,000 citations of ornithological papers published around the globe since the early 1980s. Replaced the Recent Ornitholgical Literature supplements to the AUK, IBIS and EMU in the mid-1990s.


Self Description: OWL is a compilation of citations and abstracts from the worldwide scientific literature that pertain to the science of ornithology. A major attraction is its coverage of the 'grey' literature, which are not abstracted by commercial databases such as Zoological Record or the Science Citation Index.


OWL deals chiefly with serial publications such as periodicals but also announces new and renamed journals and provides abstracts of other serial publications, conference proceedings, reports, and doctoral dissertations. Papers dealing exclusively with domestic and pet birds and their husbandry are excluded unless they are applicable to non-domestic birds.


OWL was previously known as the Recent Ornithological Literature (ROL) or as Recent Ornithological Literature Online (ROLO). The scope of OWL will be more than just the "recent" literature of ornithology. Eventually, the online database will go back 50 or more years to acquire citations to the serial literature. OWL will proceed well into this century with a database of the current worldwide literature that would be of interest to ornithologists.


OWL is a joint effort between the American Ornithologists' Union and the British Ornithologists' Union and Birds Australia. The database is hosted by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, based in Ithaca, New York, USA.

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