locate the in-line citations in articles

Citation practices are the reason why we have Zotero in the first place. While it is great tool for managing research literature, I wonder if the developers could take a step further to help the researchers with understanding the literature more effectively.

Here is the idea: suppose we have a journal article A which has been cited by a series of subsequence articles A(1), A(2), A (3),..., A(n). And thanks to Google Scholar, we can easily identify all the subsequence articles with the "cited by" link. Now suppose the researcher has taken the trouble to download all the articles including A and subsequence articles to a specific folder in PDF formats (if this can be done automatically, all the better).

Now my request is a module in Zotero that can automatically extract all the sentences or paragraphs in subsequence articles where A is cited and discussed. My hypothesis is that most subsequent authors would probably focus on similar points made by the original author of A. And by reviewing how the subsequent authors discussed the article A, we can probably understand the most important points made in A in a way that is even more effective than reading A itself.

Without much programming experiences, I am not sure whether this can be done or how much efforts would be required. Thanks for your attention and feedback.
  • Unfortunately, tracing citations on the basis of their written appearance on the page is a lot of work, and it is always going to be fragile. Even if the technical barriers were cleared, the utility of just grabbing the surrounding paragraph will be heavily dependent on the specific argument that the citation is used to support.

    It may be more efficient to read the cited sources and take notes.
  • there are, I believe, tools that do citation network analysis, though - they depend on different data/data structure than Zotero, though, but it might be worth a look if you're interested.
Sign In or Register to comment.