Bibs & Blather
On Being Cited
I saw it as the first item on my chatterwall on the Library 2.0 Ning, from Marcus Elmore on March 21:
Hi Walt—The new issue of C&RL arrived and I opened it only to discover that you’re one of the 28 most frequently cited LIS scholars of the past decade—congrats!
“Well, that’s interesting,” I thought—particularly given that I’m not a scholar at all. Not having C&RL at hand, I contacted editor Bill Potter, who was kind enough to send the table of “Most Cited Personal Authors, 1994-2004” from “Analysis of a decade in library literature: 1994-2004,” by Kelly Blessinger and Michele Frasier, College & Research Libraries March 2007, pp. 155-169.
When I first looked at the table I noted a couple of things (after sending a note about this recognition to select superiors and coworkers):
Ø I’m one of only two on the list (31 names—28 ranks but with three ties) who aren’t academic librarians. The other: Maurice Line, director of the British Library. For that matter, it appears that 25 or 26 of the 31 are library school faculty.
Ø Michael Gorman was also on the list in 22nd place (I’m 27th), so my first thought was that Future Libraries: Dreams, Madness & Reality was cited a lot and my inclusion was a fluke.
Ø As far as I can tell, only eight of the 31 are women, in a woman-dominated profession.
After reading the article, I know a little more. Turns out the second bullet isn’t true, or at least isn’t completely true: the 53 times I was cited cover 29 works.
A couple of caveats: I’m not the 27th most widely cited author for that period—I’m the 27th most widely cited in 2,220 journal articles from ten of 28 LIS journals meeting the study’s criteria. It’s quite possible that I’d fall out of the top group if all 28 were studied. I certainly can’t fault the authors for limiting the study to a reasonable size. (The ten journals, chosen randomly from the 28: Journal of Documentation, College & Research Libraries, Library Resources & Technical Services, Library and Information Science, Library & Information Science Research, Library Trends, Journal of Librarianship & Information Science, Information Technology and Libraries, Knowledge Organization, Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science. Why this obviously non-alphabetic order? The table lists the 28 journals in descending order by Impact Factor for 2003, from JDoc’s 1.603 on down.)
The article covers a fair amount of ground. It looks at topics covered in the journal literature in some detail, noting changes in coverage over the decade. On average, articles included about 21 citations, and the 47,389 citations included 21,994 authors—of whom 69% were cited only once. The “top 28” list includes everyone cited at least 50 times, noting again that these citations are only from 10 of the 28 journals that could be candidates for study.
I won’t bore you with more bibliometric comments. I think this is an article I’d read even if I wasn’t mentioned in it. On the other hand, it’s true that I read less of the formal library literature than I used to and feel even less guilt about not contributing to it very much. (Except indirectly, I guess.) I’ve said that, when I retire, I’ll spend time at San Jose’s joint city/San Jose State library (which should include a strong library science collection) and catch up with professional literature I’ve missed so I can start doing “proper” writing again. I may be kidding myself.
Why did I discuss this article in Bibs & Blather instead of The Library Stuff? For the same reason there hasn’t been a The Library Stuff this year, after six or seven occurrences three of the last four years (four in 2005)—although I didn’t recognize that reason until early April. To use webspeak, The Library Stuff is now deprecated (like The Good Stuff): It might appear again, but it’s unlikely.
That’s not because Steven M. Cohen told me to stop using his term (he didn’t). It’s certainly not because I plan to write less about direct library issues—quite the opposite, as I believe the first four issues of 2007 show. If anything, a renewed concentration on libraries as libraries makes The Library Stuff less useful as a section. It has no organizing principle other than alphabetic order by citation. It’s useful as a way to comment on articles and longer posts, but not as a way to synthesize citations and insights on topics.
Enter Making It Work, beginning in this issue and continuing as long and frequently as it feels right. My plan is to use the new section for topical discussions—not just “Library 2.0” or social software issues, but any library topics not covered elsewhere where I think interesting things are being said and feel I can add value to the discussion. Sometimes the heading will appear over multiple topics; sometimes it will be used for a single-topic Perspective. In that way, it’s the same as most section names (except My Back Pages, Trends & Quick Takes and Interesting & Peculiar Products—all of which continue to be potpourris of briefer items and mini-essays).
Sometimes things get caught in folders and don’t make their way out in a timely manner. So it is with a detailed email Richard Entlich (Cornell), author of the wonderful “FAQ”s in RLG Diginews sent me last September (last September!) adding detail to Pioneer OA Journals: The Arc of Enthusiasm, Five Years Later (C&I 6:12, October 2006). It’s true that I haven’t done any Following Up and Feedback for a long time, but that’s no excuse.
Here’s an edited version of Entlich’s email, providing additional details on some of the ejournals. Thanks to Richard for the work—and, again, my apologies for not using it in a more timely fashion.
There is no question in my mind that the vast majority of the titles you identified in your first study are now highly endangered, even those for which you were still able to find complete, currently accessible archives. However, after following up on those you couldn’t locate, I found the situation dire, but not quite as dire as you indicated…
One pretty strong conclusion from my admittedly tiny sub-study of your listing—the Internet Archive Wayback Machine has little to offer as a sanctuary for these early electronic titles… I’m guessing that the early exemplars of scholarly online publishing will all gradually disappear into the bit bucket of history because no one has identified them as significant enough to merit the effort to collect, catalog, and preserve. There are just too many other more pressing priorities.
On the other hand, things seem to be looking up a bit for more recent publications, with initiatives like the LOCKSS Humanities Project, and various web archiving programs pulling in some of the more obscure web publications.
InterJournal. I did not have any trouble with www.interjournal.org/. The site appears alive, well, and up-to-date, with submission and acceptance of manuscripts continuing in 2006 and a full archive of past submissions. Ulrich’s lists this as an active title.
LIBRES. Of the issues that should be on the ftp site, all of those published from 1994 and 1995, and some of them from 1992 and 1993 can be found at infomotions.com/serials/libres/.
RhetNet. The archive at wac.colostate.edu/rhetnet/ seems to be pretty intact, at least compared to the one at www.missouri.edu/~rhetnet/
Asia-Pacific Exchange (Electronic) Journal [APEX-J]. The home page with links to the back issue archive is available on the Wayback Machine, e.g., web.archive.org/web/ 19990219125302/leahi.kcc.hawaii.edu/pub/apexj/. However, the links are to a gopher site and as far I know, the Wayback Machine did no crawling of gopher sites. I haven’t been able to turn up any of the back issues.
Electronic Journal on Virtual Culture (originally Arachnet Electronic Journal on Virtual Culture). A full archive is available at infomotions.com/serials/aejvc/. Also, the contents of 1993 issues plus first issue of 1994 are available at www.ibiblio.org/pub/academic/communications/papers/ ejvc/.
Gassho. The first five issues are available at www.ibiblio. org/pub/academic/religious_studies/Buddhism/DEFA/Journals/Gassho/
Research & Reflection: A Journal of Educational Praxis. A partial archive is available at web.archive.org/web/ 19990203181345/http://www.soe.gonzaga.edu/rr/index.html.
Surfaces. An archive is available at www.pum.umontreal.ca/revues/surfaces/home.html.
De Proverbio. An archive is available, but not free, at www.ebookmall.com/ebooks-authors/teodor-flonta-ebooks. htm
I also have a few tidbits relating to the titles you labeled as "Mysteries" back in 2001:
SPEED: An Electronic Journal of Technology, Media, and Society. An archive is available at proxy.arts.uci.edu/ ~nideffer/_SPEED_/
Sense of Place. I found a single crawl of the site on the Wayback Machine from 2004, but the content doesn’t come up. However, it’s possible that the Internet Archive does have something that will eventually be accessible. See web.archive.org/web/20041024234207/http://mmm. dartmouth.edu/pages/sense-of-place/sop_home.html.
Advances in Systems Science and Applications. There is some information about it at www.iigss.net/ASSA.htm. I have found a number of references to a current publication with this title and the same ISSN as was given to the original ASSA, but it’s published in Chinese. Ulrich’s lists its status as “Researched/Unresolved” and its country of publication as “Taiwan, Republic of China.” It also says it didn’t start publishing until 1997, but the ARL Directory of Electronic Journals had a listing for it in 1995.
Online Modern History Review. Based on the information in the ARL Directory of Electronic Journals, it appears that this title may have only ever been available via Telnet. See also lists.asu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9311&L=aera-f&D=1&T=0&P=259.
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