This study explores the tendency of authors to recite themselves and others in multiple works over time, using the insights gained to build citation theory. The set of all authors whom an author cites is defined as that author's citation identity. The study explains how to retrieve citation identities from the Institute for Scientific Information's files on Dialog and how to deal with idiosyncrasies of these files. As the author's oeuvre grows, the identity takes the form of a core-and-scatter distribution that may be divided into authors cited only once (unicitations) and authors cited at least twice (recitations). The latter group, especially those recited most frequently, are interpretable as symbols of a citer's main substantive concerns. As illustrated by the top recitees of eight information scientists, identities are intelligible, individualized, and wide-ranging. They are ego-centered without being egotistical. They are often affected by social ties between citers and citees, but the universal motivator seems to be the perceived relevance of the citees' works. Citing styles in identities differ: “scientific-paper style” authors recite heavily, adding to core; “bibliographic-essay style” authors are heavy on unicitations, adding to scatter; “literature-review style” authors do both at once. Identities distill aspects of citers' intellectual lives, such as orienting figures, interdisciplinary interests, bidisciplinary careers, and conduct in controversies. They can also be related to past schemes for classifying citations in categories such as positive–negative and perfunctory–organic; indeed, one author's frequent recitation of another, whether positive or negative, may be the readiest indicator of an organic relation between them. The shape of the core-and-scatter distribution of names in identities can be explained by the principle of least effort. Citers economize on effort by frequently reciting only a relatively small core of names in their identities. They also economize by frequent use of perfunctory citations, which require relatively little context, and infrequent use of negative citations, which require contexts more laborious to set.