Citation analysis can be a powerful tool to help librarians learn user needs, determine patterns of sources for authors using their collections, and maintain those collections based on the needs and patterns identified. In an era of decreasing collections budgets, the knowledge gained by citation analysis can be beneficial to those tasked with collections development and maintenance. Academic libraries used by graduate student researchers need to have a wide variety of materials available in the collection and citation analysis can be used to discover which materials are used most often and by which programs. A dataset of citations created from the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses database was used to determine the amount of “in-house” journals used by engineering doctoral students at a major U.S. research university compared to the number of articles that the university did not have direct access to from 2015 to 2018. The information was sorted by discipline to show which programs were well represented in the collection compared to those that could use some reinforcement. Results show that the university libraries own a large majority of the sources used by the graduate students whose dissertations were selected for this study. The author will also be able to use the dataset to learn which source titles are used most often and where to direct collections funds to ensure continued development in areas most used by the university’s graduate researchers. Other academic libraries can use the methods described in this study to verify the use of their own collections and make decisions accordingly.
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