Citations as Data: Harvesting the Scholarly Record of Your University to Enrich Institutional Knowledge and Support Research

Leila Belle Sterman, Jason A. Clark


Many research libraries are looking for new ways to demonstrate value for their parent institutions. Metrics, assessment, and promotion of research continue to grow in importance, but they have not always fallen into the scope of services for the research library. Montana State University (MSU) Library recognized a need and interest to quantify the citation record and scholarly output of our university. With this vision in mind, we began positioning citation collection as the data engine that drives scholarly communication, deposits into our IR, and assessment of research activities. We envisioned a project that might: provide transparency around the acts of scholarship at our university; celebrate the research we produce; and build new relationships between our researchers. The result was our MSU Research Citation application ( and our research publication promotion service ( The application and accompanying services are predicated on the principle that each citation is a discrete data object that can be searched, browsed, exported, and reused. In this formulation, the records of our research publications are the data that can open up possibilities for new library projects and services.

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