One of the things we hear from library users all the time is how much they enjoy browsing through the stacks for articles related to their research interests. It’s hard to replicate that experience of serendipitous discovery with online journals – though there are a variety of online table of contents services, like JISC’s Journal TOCs – but we’ve just implemented a new scholarly article recommendation service called bX that may help.

It’s built onto the Find It system we already use to connect you to full-text links; when you click the purple Find It button (Find It @ Harvard) in any eresource or enter an article citation into the Citation Linker, you’ll still get the familiar links to the item you’re looking for, but below that you’ll see a list of related articles that might also interest you.

So what does that look like?

bX aggregates and analyzes article usage data to find connections between articles; here’s an example, using Margaret Kartomi’s “The Classification of Musical Instruments: Changing Trends in Research from the Late Nineteenth Century, with Special Reference to the 1990s” (Ethnomusicology 45, (2001): 283-314):

Why doesn’t bX always give recommendations?

bX requires an article title; additional information is required in Citation Linker, but a citation without the article title will never display recommendations. And since those recommendations are based on aggregated data, an article that has been used less frequently may not have enough usage information associated with it to give you related results.

In my experiments with bX this morning, I’ve found that I get different results when I include the subtitles of articles in my searches through Citation Linker; if you’re using this to look for recommendations, you might want to try your searches twice: once with just the first portion of the title, and once with the full title and subtitle of the article.

Give it a try, and let us know what you think! You can submit questions and comments using the Find It Questions and Comments page.

– Kerry Masteller