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Cited Reference Searching: A How-To Guide

This guide covers search techniques and resources that offer the ability to search the list of references (or footnotes) found in journal articles, books, websites, etc.

What are they?

According to Wikipedia, a citation or bibliographic citation is a reference to a book, article, web page, or other published item with sufficient detail to identify the item uniquely [and to allow the reader to go back to the original source for more detail].

Bad citations are references that are somehow incorrect or incomplete due to author error or publisher errors during printing. They can vary from a simple typographical error in the page number to a completely wrong journal/book name. The most common errors tend to be an incorrect date of publication or journal name; however, author names are also misspelled fairly regularly.

Suggested Resources

What to do about it?

The best solution is to see how other researchers have cited the publication. Use the cited reference searching feature in the Web of Science Core Collection or perform a search in Google Scholar using a combination of author name and/or keywords.

If the author name search comes up with zero, the odds are pretty good you may have the author name misspelled. Leave off the author name and redo search with a few keywords and one other piece of information such as the year or the journal name.

Your Librarian

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Lorrie Pellack
Head, Research Services Dept.
150c Parks Library
Ames, IA 50011-2140
Phone: 515-294-5569