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Citation Searching

Introduction to using citations as a method of searching for new content instead of subject/keyword searches.

Click to perform a Cited Reference Search in
Web of Science Cited Reference Searching

How to search by citations: Cited Reference searching in Web of Science

To identify articles that have cited a particular paper or book, follow these steps for performing a cited reference search:

   1. Select Cited Reference Search from the Basic Search drop down menu:


2. Because citations in reference lists are often incorrectly cited, it’s important to search with as little information as possible, such as author name and cited work:

Author: Enter the first author, last name first, followed by a space, the first initial, and the truncation symbol (asterisk): gould s*. Another option is to click on Select From Index to browse the author index, and then transfer your selected cited author(s) to the Cited Author field on the search page.

Cited Work: For a journal title, use the list provided (click on Journal Abbreviations List) to find the correct abbreviation. For a book title, browse the cited work list (the magnifying glass icon to the right of the search box), remembering to look for variations in the abbreviated title (include all variation in the search). When using these indexes, click on the Add icon beside the abbreviation to search, then click on the OK button at the bottom of the page to add the selections to the search page.

Cited Year: The cited year is one of the most commonly incorrect parts of a citation. Do not search by cited year unless it is absolutely necessary to narrow the search. 

3. Click on Search.

4. From the list provided, select all those that might be the citation in question.


Look for variations in the cited author name, cited work, volume number, the page number, and the year to identify an incorrectly cited article:

Author         cahoon d*
Cited Work   nature

The results:

Cited Author         Cited Work         Volume     Issue           Page         Year         Hits

CAHOON, D.R.       NATURE               350            _                   4           1992         1
CAHOON  DR         NATURE               359          6398               813       1992         186
CAHOON  DR         NATURE               359            _                   813        1992        7
CAHOON  DR         NATURE               35              _                   812        1992        1
CAHOON  DR         NATURE               359            _                   812        1992        1
CAHOON  DR         NATURE               359            _                   812        1991        1

All six of these extra “variations” refer to the same article. The second citation, with 189 citing works, is the correct one. (Because it is one of the source articles contained in SCI, it is linked to that source record.)

5. To the left of each citation, there is a box to Select the reference. Click the box next to each citation that is correct or that seems to be referring to the correct citation. (If all that is needed is the number of times a given article was cited, simply add up the number of hits for all relevant variations.)

6. Click on the Finish Search button to find the articles that cited the article in the years selected in step 4.

7. If desired after searching, set limits and sort options (languages, document types, etc.) from the left side of the page.

To find cited references for years earlier than SCI, use the print version of SCI (located in the Reference Collection), which goes back to 1955. The Mulford Library does not have back issues of SSCI in print. The Carlson Library on Main campus and Bowling Green State University are the closest libraries with SSCI in print.