Computer Science Department, Bucknell University

How To Do A Literature Search
By Dan Hyde
Updated August, 2004

What resources are available for a scholarly literature search? How do you get started? How to be effective in your search?

Below is a list of possible resources.

  1. A chapter or section in a book may have some introductory material. Search the bibliography at the end of the book for useful articles and books. Note that some textbooks have a bibliographic section at the end of each chapter.

  2. For overview articles consult the Encyclopedia of Computer Science, third edition (1993) and fourth edition (2000) by editors Anthony Ralston and Edwin D. Reilly, Van Nostrand Reinhold, publisher. Both editions are in the Reference Section of Library under QA76.15. The newer edition does not replace the third edition. Many times I have found what I wanted was in third edition and not in the fourth. Other useful encylopedias of computer science are on the same and nearby shelves.

  3. The ACM Guide to Computing Literature supplies a good coverage of the computing literature. Unfortunately, it takes several years to compile. Therefore, the latest year is 2002. This annual publication is indexed by author, title and keyword. The keyword search is the most valuable. The volumes are found in Reference Section at QA75.5.

  4. Computing Reviews is another publication of the ACM. In Computing Reviews (CR), experts review current books and articles in the field of computing. CR organizes all of computer science into a classification scheme. Authors of articles for ACM publications must supply the CR Classification as well as keywords. The CR issues are found on level 2 of the library.

  5. Another source of articles is to search through a collection of on-line databases. From click on databases and E-Journals. Try IEEE Xplore and Internet & Personal Computing Abstracts.

  6. The Library also has developed Research by Subject web page for each discipline. From the above URL, click on Research by Subject then select Computer Science.

  7. A valuable resource is the Science Citation Index. This resource has the usual author, title and keyword index. However, it also contains a citation index, i. e., all the works in that year that cited a previous work. Once you have found a key article, you can use this tool to find all the articles that cited the key article in later years.

  8. Select several key journals in your area and browse through the last several years for possible articles. This is especially useful if you have drawn a blank on a keyword search or are not sure what keywords to use in a search.

  9. Find or ask for a current bibliography on the Internet. Also, many abstracts and even whole articles are now on the Internet. Use your favorite search engine such as Google.

  10. Attend a conference or workshop. Conference proceedings are more up to date then journal articles. Unfortunately, very few conference proceedings are in the library. If you know the reference, the article can be acquired by Interlibrary Loan.

Page maintained by Dan Hyde, hyde at Last update August 20, 2004
Back to CSCI 475's Home page.