Miniatures and Murals: Portraits of a Discipline and its Adherents
Rudy Professor of Information Science, Indiana University
Bibliometric techniques are widely used to evaluate research performance, analyze patterns of intellectual interaction and map the evolution of disciplines. The resultant high-level statistical distributions and citation maps can be very revealing about the dynamics of scholarly communication, but they don’t always tell us a great deal about what is happening on the ground or the epistemic significance of place. In this talk I make a case for combining large-scale citation analysis with close-up description of local practice. I argue for a tighter coupling of bibliometrics with biography (“biobibliometrics”) and show, using information science as a case study, how we can develop a richer understanding of a discipline by combining traditional indicators of scholarly productivity (publications, citations) with carefully crafted profiles of scholars’ careers as authors, collaborators and mentors.