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Find sources using bibliographies

Looking Backward

Let's walk through the process of looking backward. This process has two parts:

  1. Bibliographic mining: you're "mining" someone's bibliography to find additional sources.
  2. Known-item searching: after you've found something in the bibliography, you'll be looking for a specific (known) item — not just any source on your topic.

Bibliographic Mining

Let's say I'm doing research on refugees and mental health, and I found this article:

Wright, A. M., Aldhalimi, A., Lumley, M. A., Jamil, H., Pole, N., Arnetz, J. E., & Arnetz, B. B. (2016). Determinants of resource needs and utilization among refugees over time. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 51(4), 539-549. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00127-015-1121-3

As I read, I see this excerpt, and I want more information about the study about refugees in transitional limbo (source 9):

Predicting resource needs and utilization after arrival

Previous studies, although limited by cross-sectional designs, suggest that the longer refugees are in transitional limbo during the asylum period, the worse their post-settlement physical and mental health [9]. Previous studies also indicate that refugees who experience serious or numerous pre-displacement traumatic events experience poorer mental and physical health in the host country [10, 11]. Poorer health and quality of life should be associated with higher...

My next step would be to look for the full citation, which I found at the end of the article:

  1. Laban CJ, Komproe IH, Gernaat H, de Jong J (2008) The impact of a long asylum procedure on quality of life, disability and physical health in Iraqi asylum seekers in the Netherlands. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 43(7):507–515

Known-item searching

Now that we have a citation, we can search for it. Here's that citation again:

Laban CJ, Komproe IH, Gernaat H, de Jong J (2008) The impact of a long asylum procedure on quality of life, disability and physical health in Iraqi asylum seekers in the Netherlands. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol 43(7):507–515

  1. The first thing we need to do is find out the full name of the journal - we can do that by searching Google for the abbreviation in the citation. It turns out that "Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol" is short for "Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology." (It's actually the same journal that the first article was from!)

  2. Next, we need to see if the library subscribes to the journal. Go to the library homepage, and click Find a Specific Journal:

    Screenshot of the library homepage, with 'Find a Specific Journal' outlined in red

  3. On the next page, enter the name of the journal. If the library has it, you should see it in our results list.

    Screenshot of search results from journal title search

  4. Click on the journal title, and take a quick glance at what dates the library has access to (under "Full Text Availability"). Our article is from 2008, so we should be fine.

    Now we can search for the article title. Click the green magnifying glass icon to search. 

    Screenshot of journal page with search box

  5. The article should come up in your results - click Available Online.

    Screenshot of a search result from a specific journal

    Finally - here's the article:

    Screenshot of article discussed

Okay, but what if the library doesn't have the article, or it's not available online?

You can request the article via Interlibrary Loan. We'll send you a digital copy of the article - usually within a week or so.

Ask a Librarian