Denna sida på svenska This page in English

Finding literature in computer science

Research articles

  • Wikipedia is useful for finding short overview information. At the end of a Wikipedia article, there are often references to the original sources of the information. If the information is interesting, read and cite the original sources rather than the Wikipedia article. While the content in Wikipedia may be very good for some articles, bear in mind that other articles may be incomplete, inaccurate, or out-of-date. You need to find the original sources.
  • Google Scholar is useful for finding published research. Most journals and conferences in computer science are listed in Google Scholar. For example, type in some keywords, e.g., Extreme Programming, or the name of an author, e.g., Kent Beck, or the title of an article if you are looking for a particular article.
    Google Scholar presents the found articles ordered by the number of citations to them. This is an important indicator of how important or interesting an article is. An article with many citations is likely to be good and interesting. Just click on the citations link to get a list of those citing articles! This is a very powerful way of finding other articles about the same topic. For example, if you start by finding the original article on a subject in wikipedia, you can use Google Scholar to find newer articles on that subject.
  • DBLP (Digital Bibliography & Library Project) is also useful for finding published research. It is a bit more selective than Google Scholar, so if an article is listed in DBLP, it is usually of some reasonable quality and has been reviewed by other researchers before publication. DBLP covers most quality conferences and journals in Computer Science. In DBLP, it is easy to find most publications by a specific author, or all articles in a particular conference or journal. It also links each article to Google Scholar if you want to look at who cites it. DBLP also usually has DOI links to the article, and high-quality BibTex, see below.

Accessing full-text of articles

Many research articles are protected by copyright and are not publically available on the web. But Lund University subscribes to the full text of many journals and conference proceedings, and you can access them from the university network, or by using your LUCAT login.

Access through Google Scholar or DBLP

The easiest way to access the full-text pdf of an article is to sit on the university network (physically or via VPN), and to use Google Scholar or DBLP. They have links directly to the article's page at the publisher's site, and from there it is usually just one click to get the pdf.

(Hint! If there is a pdf link that does not seem to work, it could be that you are on an IEEE XPlore page. Try clicking on the "IEEE XPlore Subscribers" link right below the inactivated "PDF" link. This will get you to a page where you can get the pdf. If you are on the university network...)

Google the pdf directly

If you can't find the article through Google Scholar or DBLP, or if you are at home without a VPN connection, you can always try to just google on the article title. Sometimes the author makes the article available directly from their home page.

Through the publisher or the university library

Here are some publishers that are important in computer science and where the university has full-text access. IEEE and ACM are leading non-profit organizations, the others are private publishing companies:

See Elin for the complete university portal for electronic databases, and Elin--Computer Science for a list of the part about computer science.


  • Use Amazon or Google Books or some other good web book store, to find out what books exist. You can often search in the books here, and look at some pages or even complete chapters.
  • Borrow books from E-husets bibliotek. The personel there can also help you with "fjärrlån" from other Swedish libraries. You can see which books are available in which Swedish libraries through the national database libris.
  • Is there a particular book you can't find in the library? Ask me (Görel). I have a number of books on Agile Methodologies.

Bear in mind that there are many books in the area of agile software that express the author's opinion. They can still be very valuable, reporting interesting experiences and views, but they are not always scientific and objective in the same way as research papers are supposed to be.

Citing and reference lists

It is very important to cite others' work in your writings, and to reference the work in a way people are used to. Here are a couple of example papers to look at (you don't have to try to understand the content of the papers, just look at how citations are used and written):

Note in particular how they refer to other papers when describing the background of their own work, and when comparing their work to others.

Note some technical details: The references are listed in alphabetical order (last name of first author) at the end of the paper. Citations are either given by numbers, e.g., [14], or by author's last name and year, e.g. [Pugh 88]. Note also the kind of information given for each reference. For example, to cite a paper in a journal, the reference includes authors, title, journal, volume, number, pages, and year.

For more information on why and how to cite in computer science, see, for example,

These guidelines explain what kind of information you need to include for books, journal articles, conference articles, web sites, etc.

Use DOI links

If you want to provide a link to a research article, use the doi-link, i.e., the digital object identifier. This is a permanent address that will not change. Most articles in conferences and journals have such links. They typically look like this: (this particular URL is the DOI link to Kent Beck's article from 1999 on Extreme Programming). If you click on the DOI link, it will take you directly to the publishers page about the article. From this page you can usually access the full text (if you are on the university network).

Finding old web pages

Web pages are often moved and sometimes deleted. If you come across a broken link, you can look for old versions of the page using the "Wayback machine" at

Use BibTeX

If you are writing your report in LaTeX, make sure to use BibTeX to handle your citations and references. It is easy - MUCH easier than trying to write the references by hand. You can get high quality BibTeX entries for articles at DBLP and at some publishers' sites. The BibTeX on Google Scholar often has insufficient detail.

More advice

Do you have more good advice that you think would fit here? Please mail me: