Citation Searching


Citations can be traced through the use of several tools that are available on the market. The two primary tools are Web of Science, and Scopus. Web of Science contains the three citation indexes that have existed since the early 1960s: Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Science Citation Index and Social Science Citation Index. Scopus is a recent entrant into the field and is the only real rival to Web of Science at the moment. Some traditional journal indexes and Internet resources include reference citations, but the inclusion of such information is inconsistent and the data is by no means comprehensive. Start with the table of contents above to see what resources are available at Montclair State University, other nearby universities and online as well.

The citation indexes are strongest in the sciences with Scopus including over 12,000 science and medicine titles and Science Citation Index over 6,100 titles. Coverage in other fields is markedly less comprehensive. In the social sciences Scopus covers around 2,700 titles and Social Sciences Citation Index covers around 1,700 titles. Arts & Humanities Citation Index includes approximately 1,300 publications and is the only tool for tracking citations in those fields.

Google Scholar also tracks citation data and makes a good third option.

Citation Indexes & Services at MSU

Library Contacts:
Tom Trone
Phone: x7146

Bill Vincenti
Phone: x7147

Web of Science:
This contains the three citation indexes from Thompson/ISI, Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index. These include citations and references from articles in more than 8,000 peer-reviewed journals.
Dates: 1998 to present.
Click here for tutorial.

Journal Citation Reports:
A tool that attempts to determine the importance of journals within particular fields. The data collected includes the number of times publications are cited and the immediacy of publications.
More details | Click for tutorial

Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Science Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index are accessed via two vendors:

  • FirstSearch - Gives access to Arts & Humanities Citation Index. MSU Faculty and Doctoral Students can be provided with the password to access this so they may search themselves. Staff and other students will need to make an appointment. (See library contacts above.)
  • Dialog - All three citation indexes are available via Dialog. However, searches in Dialog need to be performed by a librarian. (See library contacts above.)

Full descriptions are available from the link below:

Brief Descriptions:
Arts & Humanities Citation Index:
Dates covered: 1980 to present (via Dialog and FirstSearch)
AHCI covers 1,300 of the world's leading arts and humanities journals, plus relevant social and natural science journals, and has additional records from the Current Contents series of publications.

Science Citation Index:
Dates covered: 1979 to present (via Dialog)
Dialog's SciSearch contains all of the records published in the Science Citation Index, plus additional records in engineering technology, physical sciences, agriculture, biology, environmental sciences, clinical medicine, and the life sciences. SciSearch indexes all significant items (articles, review papers, meeting abstracts, letters, editorials, book reviews, correction notices, etc.) from more than 6,100 international scientific and technical journals.

Social Sciences Citation Index:
Dates covered: 1972 to present (via Dialog)
Social SciSearch database is an index to the literature of the social, behavioral, and related sciences. Social SciSearch contains all of the records published in the Social Sciences Citation Index.

The printed edition is also available in the Reference Department
for the years 1977-1999.
Call # Ref. Z7161 .S65

Limitations: Exact results cannot be guaranteed.


  • These three indexes allow author searching only by last name and first initial.
    Example: Smith, J.
  • Only the first author is tracked for any given article.
  • There is no authority file that allows the indexers to differentiate between authors bearing the same name.
  • Keyword searching is limited.
  • The citation indexes are limited in scope. These three indexes track the contents of about 8,500 publications, and coverage outside of the US (other than the UK and the Netherlands) is extremely limited.
  • Citations to books and other types of publications are not included.
  1. Do not rely on just searching for your name. For articles where you are not the first author make sure you look up that particular article using the name of the first author. Then you should be have better chances of tracking it.
  2. For common names, be prepared to sift carefully through results to ensure that they are referring to the correct scholar.