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Bibliography Mining and Cited Reference Searching

Learn how to mine a bibliography for its references, or search for cited references. Both techniques help you expand beyond a single article.

Bibliography Mining Tutorial

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Bibliography Mining & Cited Reference Searching

Bibliography mining and cited reference searching are advanced research techniques that help you look both backwards and forwards in time to discover how an individual article or book relates to the development of a discipline.

Research article in the middle. Bibliography mining pointing backwards to the past. Cited Reference Searching pointing forwards to the present.

Bibliography Mining

It is likely you have already been using bibliography mining in your research to find additional resources, but you didn't realize that's what it was called.   All scholarly works, whether in print or electronic form, will have bibliographic references (also known as a Works Cited or Reference List) that can help you expand your research by looking backwards in time. 

Bibliography Mining is looking at the reference list of an article and “mining” it for resources that may be relevant to your topic. When you use bibliography mining, you will be finding articles older than your article.

You can use the bibliography to:

  • Find related articles that you wouldn’t discover otherwise.
  • Locate seminal works, theories or authors.
  • Trace an idea to its source.

What are Seminal Works?

A seminal work forms the basis for a new discipline or theory. Its influence extends across many years as others build off the ideas first put forth in it. Seminal works are routinely found in bibliographies, since article authors want to place their work in the context of the formation and development of the field.

Cited Reference Searching

After an article is published, others will use it in their own research. Cited Reference Searching is looking at what other authors/publications have been citing your article in their reference lists.   Cited Reference Searching allows you to take an older article and follow its use by others up to the present time.  When you use cited reference searching, you will be finding articles more current than your article.

You can use cited reference searching to:

  • See how an idea or author is received by the scholarly community.
  • Discover how an idea changes, matures, or is misused over time.

To save you time, many databases support a feature that gives you hyperlinked reference and “cited by” lists, quickly connecting you to full-text articles if they are available in the library.


See the Bibliography Mining and Cited Reference Searching guide to learn more.