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J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library

Citation Searching: Home

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Frequently Asked Questions

Top 5 Library FAQ's:

What is a Citation Search?

With a traditional citation search, you can discover how many times a particular publication has been cited and in what contexts. This may be helpful for:

  • Tracking the use and evolution of a particular idea over time.
  • Faculty members preparing a comprehensive list of their publications and how influential they have been when applying for promotion or tenure.
  • Assessing the relative quality or merit of a publication. Publications cited more frequently are generally more impactful and may be considered more reliable.

Citation Searching: General Tips

  • It is important to know that no single source will contain a complete list of citing articles. For example, Web of Science may show 10 citing articles for a publication while ScopusGoogle shows seven, with only partial overlap between the two. When doing a citation search, it is recommended you check at least the major three citation databases: Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar.
  • Be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the database you select. Points to consider are included under the  Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar tabs of this guide.