Quickly lookup references

Monday, January 11, 2016 | 12:30 PM


As a graduate student and then a faculty member, I spent many a day trying to find references I had seen in articles. Tracking down each reference and then a copy of it that I was able to read often took several steps. With many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.

To help researchers quickly lookup references, Scholar now automatically identifies queries that are likely to be looking for a specific paper. For such queries, it tries hard to find the intended paper and a version that that particular user is able to read. You can lookup full references, e.g.:

King CY, Diaz-Avalos R (2004) Protein-only transmission of three yeast prion strains. Nature 428: 319–323.

Wong PC, Pardo CA, Borchelt DR, Lee MK, Copeland NG, Jenkins NA, Sisodia SS, Cleveland DW, Price DL (1995) An adverse property of a familial ALS-linked SOD1 mutation causes motor neuron disease characterized by vacuolar degeneration of mitochondria. Neuron 14:1105–1116.

Accetta, F. S., Zoller, D. J., & Turner, M. S. 1985, Phys. Rev., D31, 3046

Watanabe, Y., & Komatsu, E. 2006, Phys. Rev. D, 73, 123515

You can lookup article titles:

Emerald: A general‐purpose programming language

Compelling transgenetic evidence for transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy prions to humans

If all you remember is some of the authors and words from the title, that works in many cases too:

einstein rosen podolsky 1935

riedel gibson active disks

You can cut-and-paste references, type what you remember of the paper, or better still use the Scholar Button (available for Chrome, Firefox and Safari).

The astute reader has no doubt already figured out that this feature can be embedded on other web sites and can be used by libraries, publishers, teachers and others to help their own readers and students track down scholarly articles. To construct a Scholar lookup URL for an article title or a full reference, URL-escape the text and append it to https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=. E.g., here is a link to one of our recent articles:

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=On+the+shoulders+of+giants%3A+The+growing+impact+of+older+articles.

We would like to thank Cliff Chiung Yu Lin for his contributions in making this feature possible.

Posted by: Anurag Acharya, Distinguished Engineer