How do I find other sources that have cited a particular article or book?

This is commonly known as a cited reference search.

These searches are never universal---you are always looking at citations from a specific subset of the world’s publications. For library databases, the inclusion criteria mostly focus on a publication’s scholarly merit, but for full-text resources in particular, publishers’ business practices (such as the availability of full-text licensing) may also be a factor.



The most authoritative resource for citation tracing is Web of Science, a multidisciplinary database covering the journal literature of the sciences (comprehensive), social sciences (extensive), and arts and humanities (selective). Its cited references index systematically tracks the references cited in a specific set of journals that meet its criteria for inclusion.

To find citing articles, search for the article and then click on the “times cited” number next it.

For a more complete list, conduct a cited reference search, which will allow you to account for all of the database’s variant entries for your article.



Many other databases also offer various forms of "cited by" search or browse options. The accuracy and completeness of these searches vary. See, for example:

  • JSTOR (look for the "citation locator" search)

  • Google Scholar (n.b. this returns many false positives, and the total citation counts tend to be inflated)

  • ScienceDirect (from an article record, click on "citing articles")


As the number of full-text scholarly resources increases, it is often possible to approximate a cited reference search with an exact phrase search, since the "works cited" portion of a scholarly work is usually searchable in full-text resources. That is, if the reference you'd like to trace has been cited in a consistent way, you can do a phrase search for it, and your results will include most of the articles or books that cite the reference. You may need to do multiple searches in order to account for variations in how a work has been cited. For literature in the humanities, exact phrase searching is an important tool, as many cited reference indexes have less complete coverage for humanities material.

Selected full-text resources:

  • GoogleScholar
  • Google Books
  • HathiTrust
  • Project Muse
  • Cambridge Core
  • Oxford Scholarship Online
  • UPSO

More Help Options

Email Your Question

Use our simple form to email a librarian your question. We usually respond to questions within 24 hours (M-F).


Request a Research Appointment

Harvard only: Talk to a librarian for advice on defining your topic, developing your research strategy and locating and using sources.

Request an Appointment