Frequency of a cited item in a document

Hi all,

I was wondering how to know how many times an item (eg. a reference) is cited in a document. Is is possible to create some output indicating each reference and its frequency in the document? Notice this is difference from the total number of references in the document.

Thanks
  • no, nothing easy/built-in, sorry.
  • edited November 4, 2016
    It would be rather trivial for anybody with some knowledge of JavaScript to generate that type of data for Word .docx documents with a customized version of http://rintze.zelle.me/ref-extractor/, though.

    (I'm still wondering if this is a frequent enough request to add this as a feature to the regular version)
  • (I would personally love that feature)
  • Any thoughts on how to best report these count results, if I make it a standard feature?

    Since I haven't built in citeproc-js or Citation.js (https://larsgw.github.io/citation.js/) yet, I really only have the item metadata itself to work with. Because multi-item citations don't contain item-specific pre-rendered citations (see e.g. https://github.com/rmzelle/ref-extractor/wiki#multi-item-zotero-citation), I can't easily show formatted citations and their counts (e.g. "(Doe, 2002): 2x"). I also don't seem to be able to easily extract the formatted bibliographic entry for a given item.

    What I could do, is (optionally) add the citation count to the "note" field in the CSL JSON. Alternatively, I could add an option to generate a CSV or TSV file with a few metadata fields (URIs, title) and the citation count.
  • edited November 5, 2016
    I think adding it to 'note', something like:

    Times cited: 13

    Would be good if there were some sort of toggle to include versus exclude it.
  • edited November 6, 2016
    This comment has nothing to do with the technical aspects of programming this feature but it may help illuminate why someone might want a count of used citations.

    @bwiernik. What I, personally, have encountered through the years with demands on my own work; and what several of my university colleagues require is a table that lists each source and the number of times it is cited. The complicated part was a demand that, in the case of an edited book, the number of times each chapter was cited _and_ the sum of all citations of the book should be listed.

    I've never heard of this as a requirement when submitting a manuscript for publication. It is, however, a not-uncommon requirement for students' reports and theses. I first encountered this when I was an undergraduate student at a small liberal arts college in the 1960s. This was back in the days of printed indices, note cards, and hand-typed manuscripts. (We were also required to provide our deck of notecards for cited and examined but not-cited references -- the times cited indicated by a number on each index card.)

    After this forum thread reminded me of this aspect of writing long past, I asked my colleagues about why this source listing was required. To my surprise their answers were not obscure and unreasonable. The source citation list is a quick way to identify how strongly each school of thought influenced the student. It is intended to be used by the student during the writing process as a guage to assess how broadly differing points-of-view are included. I followed up by pointing out that it appears to me that most students compile the list only after the document is complete. I asked if they told their students the purpose of the requirement. To a person they expressed an Ah-Ha moment. No they had not explained the reason for the requirement. Each person said though it was obvious to them, it was now obvious that their students didn't know why. I said that until now, I didn't have a clue that the citation count requirement was considered useful to the student and not merely some holdover formality from long ago.

    Another aspect of manuscript requirement minutiae is including the proportion of words in quotations to the total number of words in the document. That drove me near crazy in the '60s and '70s. I remember being docked a full grade letter by one professor because I had under-counted the number of non-quote words and had calculated the proportion of quote-words to total words instead of her unique requirement that the proportion be the number of quote-words to non-quote-words. She or an assistant actually counted each word.

    As I wrote this I also remember the days when a template transparency was placed over each typewritten page to test if text strayed into the margins. If the text entered a margin the page (and usually the full document) had to be retyped. The margins had to be wide enough for holding comments. Needless to say my fellow students and I had to pay a typist to do the work. Retyping due to margin errors was the typist's responsibly. Changes because of modifications, edits, deletions, small revisions, required paying again.
  • @segarra, @bwiernik, I just updated http://rintze.zelle.me/ref-extractor/, which now has a new toggle 'Store cite counts in "note" field'. When checked, the cite count is prepended to the "note" field ("Extra" in Zotero) in the format "Times cited: n".

    Again, feedback welcome.
  • @bwiernik @DWL-SDCA In my opinion, it is necessary to reduce the cited times of a certain bibliography in the paper.

    The bibliographies are intended to guide the reader to a detailed reading of the chapters in which they are interested, and the reader should turn to the reference for a quick look. Therefore, multiple citations of the same bibliography are not helpful for the reader to survey the background knowledge of this article. If an bibliography is cited in the discussion section, the duplicate citation of the bibliography in the introduction section should be indispensable, otherwise such citation should not be adopted.

    On the contrary, the bibliographies of a good paper should be relatively comprehensive to the previous research, which limits the cited times of a certain bibliography. If a reference is cited to prove a point of view, another appropriate reference will expand the scope of the study's contribution to this research scope when discussing another point of view.

    @segarra I put forward an solution.

    First, download the references from zotero through the plug-in of @Rintze . Then try to convert them into RIS format files and import them into Endnote X8. After that, re-inserted these references in the full text. Finally, check the cited times and the location distribution of each reference through the "Edit & Manage Citations " of Endnote X8.
  • Let's not give people guidance on scientific writing here. You don't know who you're talking to -- chances are, they're experienced academics themselves -- and disciplinary traditions vary a lot (e.g., in the humanities you may be exploring one text which can be cited dozens of times in an article, books differ from articles, etc.)

    As note by Rintze, for the original question, the number cited is now included in export from his tool.
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