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Changes in the LIS research front: Time-sliced cocitation analyses of LIS journal articles, 1990–2004

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Abstract

Based on articles published in 1990–2004 in 21 library and information science (LIS) journals, a set of cocitation analyses was performed to study changes in research fronts over the last 15 years, where LIS is at now, and to discuss where it is heading. To study research fronts, here defined as current and influential cocited articles, a citations among documents methodology was applied; and to study changes, the analyses were time-sliced into three 5-year periods. The results show a stable structure of two distinct research fields: informetrics and information seeking and retrieval (ISR). However, experimental retrieval research and user oriented research have merged into one ISR field; and IR and informetrics also show signs of coming closer together, sharing research interests and methodologies, making informetrics research more visible in mainstream LIS research. Furthermore, the focus on the Internet, both in ISR research and in informetrics—where webometrics quickly has become a dominating research area—is an important change. The future is discussed in terms of LIS dependency on technology, how integration of research areas as well as technical systems can be expected to continue to characterize LIS research, and how webometrics will continue to develop and find applications.

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