Citation Maps of Authors in the Humanities: Some Dutch Examples

This talk  is jointly hosted by The e-Humanities group and the Center for Digital Humanities on
Friday August 30th, 16:00

Address: BG5 2.13  Oudezijds Achterburgwal 233-237, 1012 DL Amsterdam
On Map:

(drinks will be served afterwards at this location)

Professor Howard WhiteProf. White’s Biographical Information
Howard D. White
College of Information Science and Technology
Drexel University
Philadelphia, PA 19104 USA

After taking his PhD in librarianship at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1974, Howard D. White joined Drexel University’s College of Information Science and Technology, where he is now professor emeritus. He co-authored For Information Specialists: Interpretations of Reference and Bibliographic Work with Marcia Bates and Patrick Wilson (Ablex, 1992).  A later book is Brief Tests of Collection Strength (Greenwood, 1995). He has also published on bibliometrics and co-citation analysis, evaluation of reference services, expert systems for reference work, innovative online searching, social science data archives, library publicity, American attitudes toward library censorship, and literature retrieval for meta-analysis and interdisciplinary studies. In 1993 he won the Research Award of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST) for distinguished contributions in his field. In 1998 he and Katherine McCain won the best JASIS paper award for Visualizing a Discipline: An Author Co-Citation Analysis of Information Science, 1972-1995. He was a Drexel Distinguished Professor for 1998-2002, using the grant awarded to develop the AuthorWeb system.  In 2004 he won ASIST’s highest honor for career achievement, the Award of Merit.  In 2005 the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics honored him with the biennial Derek de Solla Price Memorial Medal for contributions to the quantitative study of science.

Presentation Title and Abstract:

Citation Maps of Authors in the Humanities: Some Dutch Examples

Humanities researchers frequently focus their interests on individual artists or scholars—on authors around whom literatures form. These literatures are manifestations of research specialties (e.g., Spinoza studies), and the works in them are linked by citations. The AuthorWeb system, developed a decade ago at Drexel University, presents researchers with a new kind of transdisciplinary reference tool made possible by a citation database—in this case, the Arts & Humanities Citation Index. It allows the user to enter a seed author of interest (e.g., Spinoza) and then to instantly retrieve and map the 24 other authors who are most frequently cited with the seed.  The maps are overviews of the seed author within a specialty as seen by citers. Three kinds of overviews are provided: Pathfinder networks, Kohonen self-organizing maps, and pennant diagrams. Each kind allows instant retrieval of the documents that co-cite the other authors with the seed, along with the specific works co-cited. Examples will include maps for Frank Ankersmit, Mieka Bal, Joep Leerssen, Hugo Claus, Harry Mulisch, and Baruch Spinoza. Such maps would seem to have uses in teaching and exploratory research across the humanities and to bear on fields such as audience reception theory, canon formation studies, the study of interdisciplinarity, the sociology of literature, and intellectual history. But it remains an open question how well they fit with traditional patterns of humanities scholarship.