It is truly wonderful when something comes along that speeds access to science. Such is the case with CrossRef’s linking network for scholarly literature. Anyone that has ever done a literature search prior to 2000 is completely blown away today when they encounter the time saved and the quality of CrossRef’s linking service. I vividly recall my own literature review for my PhD dissertation almost 40 years ago and I want to share my story.
For many long and miserable days and nights for a solid month I practically lived at the University of Maryland’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Library plowing through a massive set of numerous volumes of citation indices looking up keywords related to my dissertation. My topic Secondary deflections and lateral stability of beams was based on my research at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. None of my faculty had specialized in such topics and so my task was monumental-- do a full blown literature review from scratch. I would write down suspected relevant citations and walk through the extensive stacks of the library where I could locate the journal, find the right volume of the journal, and examine the article. Since the indexing contained minimal information, most of the time the articles weren’t relevant and much of my effort was fruitless. When I got lucky and found a relevant article, I had to copy the citation information and meat of the article by hand. Then I had to scour the references in that article and determine if it was necessary to find the referenced journals in the stacks and examine the referenced articles. This is how a dissertation literature review was done before online...Read more...