By Weisbard, Phyllis Holman
Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women's Studies Resources , Vol. 32, No. 1
Good news on the "cited reference" front: the pioneer cited reference source ISI (Web of Knowledge/Web of Science) is no longer the main game in town for tracking forward the influence of a journal article by finding out where it is cited. This is good for women's studies scholars, since the Web of Science (WOS) approach has always been a decidedly flawed tool for the field.
Since WOS is so well accepted, however, its good to understand a bit about how it works before moving on to the newer citation trackers. Bear with me: this is subtle and technical, but I'll try to make it understandable. WOS is made up of three databases: Science Citation Index (SCI) does full indexing of 6,650 "major journals" from 1900 through the present; Social Science Citation Index (SSCI), full indexing of over 1,950 journals plus "selected, relevant items from over 3,300 of the world's leading scientific and technical journals" from 1956 through the present; and Arts & Humanities Citation (A&HCI) Index, full coverage of 1,160 journals and "selected, relevant items from over 6,800 major science and social science journals" from 1975 through the present.
The first use of WOS, therefore, is as a straightforward resource leading to the indexed articles. These indexes can be searched separately or together. Most women's studies topics are best searched across SSCI and A&HCI together, because although SSCI includes women's studies among the "disciplines covered," there's nothing explicit about women's studies in the comparable list for A&HCI--yet we know that many women's studies journals exist in the arts and humanities and that women/gender-related articles are frequently published in other arts and humanities journals as well. Leaving out SCI is helpful when one is interested in the social aspects of contraceptives, breast cancer, and other women's health topics, when inclusion of purely scientific/medical articles in a results list will just be confounding. However, WOS is an incomplete resource for women's studies topics because it does not index numerous important women's studies journals, among them Journal of Lesbian Studies, Feminist Media Studies, Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, Politics & Gender, NWSA Journal/Feminist Formations, Gender in Management, Gender & Language, Gender & History, Yale Journal of Law and Feminism (or most other law reviews focusing on women/gender/feminism), Women & Performance, Women in Judaism^ and Women's Studies Quarterly* Since we have better tools, such as the database Women's Studies International, for capturing women's studies publishing, this gap in WOS coverage is mainly of passing annoyance (as in, "Gee, why don't they include these journals?").
But the "power" built into WOS that I wish to describe in detail is that it traces forward where a particular article has been cited. For example: you are interested in how often and where Anne McClintock's article "Family Feuds: Gender, Nationalism, and the Family," Feminist Review vol. 44 (Summer 1993), pp. 61-80, has been cited to date. Feminist Review is one of the journals indexed by WOS. Here's how to run that search, which is illustrated in Figure A:
 Select the Web of Science tab from the Web of Knowledge opening screen.
 Select its "Cited Reference Search" tab.
 Deselect SCI and leave SSCI and A&HCI checked.
 Enter the bibliographic information about the article, paying attention to the WOS format, and click on "Search."
[FIGURE A OMITTED]
Figure B shows that WOS finds various hits corresponding to the article in question. Select them all, and click on "Finish Search." WOS now displays 78 items citing the McClintock article, as recent as in the latest issue (vol. 16, no. 4, 2010) of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies (see Figure C), as displayed at UW-Madison, including "Find-It" links to availability of the items on that campus. …