Perhaps you’ve heard in the news lately about the 2008 Nobel Prize winners. These people were all honored for their important contributions to literature, science and world peace.

The 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature went to Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, and if you are interested in reading any of his works, you can find them in BearCat, Baylor Library’s online catalog. If you choose “Search the Catalog by Author” and put in “Le Clezio” you will find a list of the books written by him, which the library has in its collection. The books that the library owns by Le Clézio include works in French and in English translation.

If you’re interested in finding the works of the Nobel Prize winners in the sciences, you should start with the database called Web of Science (log in with your Bear ID and password). This database contains a large amount of high-quality peer-reviewed articles from the leading science journals.

I was specifically interested in finding out about the Nobel Prizewinners in Medicine, since two of the recipients were the scientists who discovered the HIV virus (Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier). So, after I logged into Web of Science I searched for “Montagnier, L.” and selected “Author” from the drop-down box. It looks like Mr. Montagnier has published quite a lot – that search produced 374 results! Scanning down the list, it looks like a number of the articles were published with Barré-Sinoussi.

However, Web of Science has a great feature – being able to see the number of articles which have cited any particular article. Let’s take that list of results we got by searching for Mr. Montagnier and changing “Sort by” from “Relevance” to “Times Cited” (that’s on the far right at the top of the search results). When we do that, we find that the first article is called “ISOLATION OF A T-LYMPHOTROPIC RETROVIRUS FROM A PATIENT AT RISK FOR ACQUIRED IMMUNE-DEFICIENCY SYNDROME (AIDS)” and it has been cited 4393 times!. This is also the article which first presented the Nobel laureate’s ground-breaking work discovering the HIV virus.

This is one of the great features of Web of Science: the ability to see what each article has cited and who has cited it. The higher the number of “times cited” the more important or influential the work has been. No wonder these scientists won a Nobel Prize!