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HIS 200: Thinking Historically: Tracing Citations

Citation Trace

Citations are a map of scholarly conversations over time. Tracing cited works is an effective way to tap into conversations and find great material that may otherwise be hard to find. 

To go back in time -

  • Is the citation to a book? Look up the book title in the library catalog.
  • Is it to a chapter of a book? Look up the book title (not the chapter title) in the catalog.
  • Is it a journal article? Check our list of journals.
  • Is it not available in our library? Request it from another library through Interlibrary Loan.
  • Not quite sure what it is? Ask a librarian to help trouble shoot it.

To go forward in time -

Type the author and title of the book or article into Google Scholar. Click on "cited by" to see who has cited it since it was published. Some library databases also offer this feature. Web of Science has a particularly well-developed citation trace feature which is cross-indexed in Google Scholar.


Going From Citations to Books and Articles


The first highlighted reference includes volume, date, and page number, so it's probably a journal article. Search our journal list to see if we have the Autumn 1985 issue of Critical Inquiry in our library in print or electronic form. Yay, we have this one!

The second has page numbers, but no volume. It's a collection of essays. Look up "Society and Culture in Early Modern France" in the catalog. Yay, we have that one, too.

The third has no page numbers. It's a whole book. Look up "Jesus as Mother" and you'll see we have that one as well. A trifecta.



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