Authors of scientific articles often read a paper that fails to cite their prior work when they feel it should have. A survey of university faculty shows the extent to which such opinions abound. If justified, they reflect non‐use of bibliographic search methods, their inadequacy or non‐scholarly use of the result. Principles for the design of a new kind of automated or semi‐automated document retrieval system are formulated. They are analysed and shown likely to improve the scholarly quality of scientific work as represented by the bibliographies in manuscripts reporting that work.
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