CiteSeerX: The Next Generation of Open Access Library Archiving


A digital library serves as an online archive of information and can be one of the most useful tools for the researchers. One such tool was CiteSeer that was launched long back but has been relaunched with some added features, as CiteSeerX. Let us have a quick look at these.

CiteSeerX Reinvents the Digital Library, Again

In 1998, the academic search engine CiteSeer went public, changing the landscape for online research. It offered autonomous citation indexing for the first time, to the researchers in the fields of computer science and information science. When a scholar searched for an author name, keyword, or journal, CiteSeer would return relevant results for the search term. These results were not only drawn from full-text publications but they also reflected every known instance when that term appeared in bibliographic citations. From the outset, CiteSeer was able to crawl both Adobe and HTML files. It was a revolutionary technology and set the groundwork for future online access tools such as Google Scholar.

CiteSeer had its drawbacks, however. For one thing, it could only index papers that were already available online to the public: either papers that authors had submitted directly to CiteSeer, or papers that authors had published on their own websites. Another challenge was its popularity and growing scale. CiteSeer’s infrastructure was not equipped to handle 1.5 million searches every day or to index three-quarters of a million documents. To address concerns like these, CiteSeerX was launched in 2008.

A Visitor’s Guide to CiteSeer

 Here are some of the things CiteSeerX can do for you:

  • Compile citation statistics: Every result for a search tells you how many times a paper has been cited in other authors’ bibliographies. You can also explore those other authors’ linked papers in detail. You can look at abstracts and keywords, view a cached PDF of full-text articles, or follow download links for the papers you’re interested in.
  • Powerful search: With CiteSeerX, you can search an author by his full name, partial names, or initials. You can perform a basic search, or you can limit your search terms by date ranges, publishers, or author affiliations. CiteSeerX disambiguates author names, is not case sensitive, and allows you to perform Proximity or Boolean searches. It even lets you search text within embedded tables.
  • MyCiteSeerX: CiteSeerX is now open access and free to all. If you opt to create an online CiteSeer account, you can make use of a variety of personalized features. Through this account, you can:

Create a personal collection of articles and citations.

Receive automatic notifications of new citations relating to a paper you’ve saved in your user profile, as well as notifications of new papers that are relevant to your past searches and accessed articles.

Personalize searches and save favorite search settings.

Automatically share articles via social media, and of course you can submit your own articles to the CiteSeerX digital library.

The Definitive Search Engine for Computer Science Scholarship

By 2015, CiteSeerX was making more than five million articles on computer science and information science available. These articles were available to the approximately one million unique online patrons of its virtual AI library, processing millions of searches of every day. By 2017, its holdings had shot up to more than seven million documents, adding two hundred thousand new scholarly papers every month.

Its inability to crawl publisher metadata when processing searches remains a concern (it is still limited to uploaded submissions and open data sources such as author websites), and CiteSeerX has provided direct links to try your query at other citation indexes, such as the DBLP Computer Science Bibliography and AllenAI Semantic Scholar.

Nevertheless, in 2010 it was voted the #1 online information repository worldwide. Inarguably, the CiteSeerX citation index plays a significant role in the scientific community. Already a cornerstone of information for computational and information sciences, it has begun expanding its reach to include articles and citations related to areas such as economics and physics as well.

Is CiteSeerX Right for You?

Try a CiteSeerX search and please let us know about your experience in comments! Have you had better or worse luck with alternative access tools such as Web of Science or SciELO? Would you consider submitting your scholarly writing and research for CiteSeerX bibliographic indexing, and why or why not?

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