Computer Science Department, Bucknell University

How To Do A Literature Search

Originally by Dan Hyde
Revised by Xiannong Meng
August 22, 2005

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 information needed was in the 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. The printed versions are found in Reference Section at QA75.5. The on-line version can be found at Students, faculty, and staff of Bucknell can access the Guide directly from the domain.

  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. The on-line version can be found at The full service requires ACM membership and its digital library subscription. Guest acount is available for limited services.

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

  6. The Library also has developed Research Pathfinders for each discipline. From the above URL, click on databases then Research Pathfinders. You find computer science under Engineering

  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 or Visisimo to find some information.

  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 or use on-line search listed below.

  11. If you are looking for computer science literature, especially conference proceedings and articles, here are a few good places to start.

Page maintained by Xiannong Meng, Last update August 22, 2005
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