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of the American Society for Information Science and Technology   Vol. 32, No. 1  October/November 2005

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What’s New?

Selected Abstracts from JASIS&T

Editor’s note: We invite JASIS&T authors to submit structured abstracts of their articles for possible inclusion in the Bulletin, particularly those that might be of interest to practitioners.

From JASIS&T v. 56 (10)

Liang, L. (2005). R-sequences: relative indicators for the rhythm of science, 1045-1049.

Study and Results: Scientific evolution has its own rhythm. How can this rhythm be described and made visible? To answer this question a relative indicator, called R-sequence, was designed. The construction of the new indicator starts from a publication-citation matrix. Based on such a matrix a series of observed values and corresponding expected values are calculated. Ratios of pairs of observed and expected values compose the R-sequence. Two calculation methods of an R-sequence – the triangle method and the parallelogram method – are introduced. As a case study JASIS&T’s R-sequences have been obtained.

What’s New? The idea and method to design the R-sequence is new. R-sequences are time-dependent indicators, derived from publication and citation data, but independent of the absolute number of publications and citations. Therefore they can be used to study and compare temporal properties of research between different scientific fields, nations, institutes or journals.

Limitations: Mathematical properties of the R-sequences are not yet derived in detail. Data collection necessary for determining an R-sequence is often tedious, and great care must be exercised not to collect wrong data.

Chaplan, M.A., & Hertenstein, E.J. (2005). Role-related library use by local union officials, 1062-1074

Study and Results: Local union officials are involved in many roles that require using information. This study is part of a larger research project on the information needs and information-seeking behavior of local union officials that also examines whether a model developed to explain the information-seeking behavior of professional workers is applicable to the behavior of local union officials. A questionnaire was distributed to local union officials in the state of Illinois to find out what information sources they use to carry out their roles and whether the specific role affected the type of source used. One section of the questionnaire asked about their library use and the nature of their experiences when using libraries. Local union officials use more than one type of library, and they are usually satisfied with their experience when using libraries. Their chief problems have more to do with inadequacies in library collections than with library services, and they have various suggestions for how collections and services could be improved to make libraries more useful to them. Although suggestive, richer information on local union officials' information-seeking behavior is needed in order to determine the proposed model's explanatory power.

What's New? The study presents new information on a group of library users that have not been studied in decades and relates their library use to their union roles. The study collected specific information about library use, both in order to understand their information-seeking behavior and also in order to learn how to improve library service to this group. It also proposes a possible model for union officials' information-seeking behavior with directions for further research to determine the applicability of the model.

Limitations: The questionnaire was distributed in only one state, and the response rate was less than ideal, although typical of other surveys of union officials. The numbers in some categories were too small to test hypotheses, and all data is presented in terms of frequencies. The questionnaire, however, is one that could be used for surveys in other states or on a national level.

From JASIS&T v. 56 (8)

Vaughan, L. & Shaw, D. (2005).  Web citation data for impact assessment: A comparison of four science disciplines, 1075-1088

Study and Results: In light of the growing interest in open access of scientific publications, we investigated whether Web access can affect journal impact. We sampled 5,972 articles published in 114 journals covering four science disciplines. We searched for both ISI citations and Web citations to these articles and found that the numbers of citations correlated. However, the wider reach of the Web is evident: Web citations are both more numerous and more evenly spread among journals regardless of country of publication. About 30% of Web citations in each subject area indicate intellectual impact (citations from papers or class readings).

What's New? Web citations correlate with ISI citations and provide a more global assessment of impact as well as a balance to the geographic or cultural biases. Web citations could supplement or potentially replace analysis using citation databases.

Limitations: Four science disciplines were examined; therefore the conclusions may not hold in very different fields, such as humanities. The volatility of the Web and its openness to manipulation also limit extrapolation to other disciplines or times.

Erratum: We apologize for some serious cut-and-paste confusion in the “What's New?” column in the August/September 2005 issue of the Bulletin in the summary of an article by Jeffrey Pomerantz. One of his articles did, in fact, appear in volume 56, number 7 of JASIS&T. However, the title of the article in the citation is that of a summary we had previously published by Christian Schloegl and Wolfgang Stock, while the summary itself belongs to one of Jeffrey Pomerantz's later JASIS&T articles, “A conceptual framework and open research questions for chat-based reference service.” That article will appear in JASIS&T volume 56, number 12. We do not have a summary for his earlier article, the correct title of which is “A linguistic analysis of question taxonomies.”


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