As you explore the literature, you will start to see patterns emerge. Watch out for the authors and co-authors who are producing good research. Take note of where their labs are or where they work. These nodes in the web of conversation among scientists can lead you to the places and people who are making inroads and exploring the frontiers.
If authors have a presence on social media, keep a blog, or have a current website that includes their CV (resume), these, too, can be ways to learn more about how science works. In a sense, the literature is people talking to people. Working scientists get to know the authors behind the articles through conferences and common interests.
References in the scientific literature form a network of ideas. They are important ways to map a scientific conversation over time.
Going backward in time:
When you have an article with references, you can see if a particular reference is available by looking the journal's name up in our "Do We Have this Journal?" link on the library's main page. Then you can use the volume and date information to navigate to the article. If we don't have access to that journal, we usually can get it from another library.
Going forward in time:
If you have a good article in front of you, see who has cited it by searching in either SciFinder or Google Scholar. That will let you click on newer publications that cite it (and Google Scholar will also run the same search in Web of Science for you). Then use the Find It! button to get the article or request it from another library.
Libraries are linked together through an interlibrary-loan (or ILL) system. Libraries share books and make digitized articles available to people throughout the state connected through this system. What you need to know:
If you have a reference to an article you want, you don't need to go through a database to order it. There's a form you can fill in with the citation information, but it's cleverly hidden. To find it ...
From this page, you will also have the option to download PDFs of articles you have requested recently. Be sure to download them because they will vanish after a period of time.
Review articles are not primary research - they don't report new results - but they can be helpful to researchers because they provide a map of what's been going on in some area of research. These are published in scientific journals as well as in "annual reviews" which publish several review articles once a year.
These annual publications review recent research of interest in the fields of biochemistry, earth & planetary science, and physical chemistry.