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Informing Collection Development through Citation Examination of the Civil Engineering Research Literature

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Evolving Engineering Libraries: Services, Spaces, and Collections

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.876.1 - 22.876.15



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Paper Authors


Scott A. Curtis University of Missouri, Kansas City

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Scott Curtis is the Research and Instruction Librarian for Science and Engineering at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He most recently held positions as a Bibliographer for Science and Engineering, the Head of Reference Services, and the Search Service Coordinator at Linda Hall Library of Science, Engineering, and Technology. Prior to his library career, he worked in engineering and management roles in electronic instrument and refractory materials manufacturing companies. He has a B.S. in Physics from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.S. in Engineering Management (Manufacturing Management) from The George Washington University, and an M.L.S. from Emporia State University.

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Informing Collection-Development through Citation Examination of the Professional Civil Engineering Research LiteratureAbstractLibrarians must scrutinize collection development decisions to ensure that patron use of librarymaterials meets expectations based upon institutional cost and effort to acquire, organize, andprovide access to these materials. Some librarians have studied reference citation patterns withinengineering as a tool for collection development. Because current commercial citation indexingtools focus on analysis by author and subject, gathering different types of citation information ofinterest to librarians can prove time-consuming. This paper presents a study that builds uponfield-spanning and subfield-specific journal citation studies by Musser and Conkling (1996) andMusser (2007), a study of theses and dissertations by Eckel (2009), and in particular a study ofcivil engineering theses and dissertation citations by Kirkwood (2009). Kirkwood analyzedcitations by format of the cited material, finding that 40% of referenced sources in these thesesand dissertations in civil engineering were grey literature, and noted that master’s students citedgrey literature almost twice as frequently as doctoral students at her institution. This paper seeksto establish whether format use within citations in the professional civil engineering literaturediffers appreciably from the patterns reported in earlier studies. In addition, the current studyproposes a flexible data organization method that should allow for relatively straightforward re-use of the data in future, as yet undetermined, analyses.Abstract References:Eckel, Edward J. (2009). The emerging engineering scholar: A citation analysis of theses and dissertations at Western Michigan University. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, 56 (Winter 2009). Accessed at, Patricia. (2009). Using engineering theses and dissertations to inform collection- development decisions, especially in civil engineering. American Society of Engineering Education 2009 Annual Conference and Exposition, paper AC 2009-140, Austin, TX, June 14-17.Musser, Linda R. and Conkling, Thomas W. (1996). Characteristics of engineering citations. Science & Technology Libraries, 15 (4), 41-49.Musser, Linda. (2007). A study of references in mining engineering publications. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, 49 (Winter 2007). Accessed at

Curtis, S. A. (2011, June), Informing Collection Development through Citation Examination of the Civil Engineering Research Literature Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18170

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