B  U  L  L  E  T  I  N

of the American Society for Information Science and Technology         Vol. 30, No. 3        February/March  2004

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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. ASIS&T would welcome reader feedback on the usefulness of this (or any other) Bulletin feature (bulletin@asis.org).

From JASIS&T v. 54 (14)

Giorgetti, D., & Sebastiani, F. (2003). Automating survey coding by multiclass text categorization techniques (1269-1277).

Study and Results: Survey coding is the task of assigning a symbolic code from a pre-defined set of such codes to the answer given by a respondent in response to an open-ended question in a questionnaire or survey). This task has traditionally been carried out manually or by partially automated methods that require the manual definition of pattern matching rules.

What's New? We present a novel, fully automated, text categorization-based approach to survey coding that relies on machine learning techniques. The result is a substantive improvement in terms of accuracy, flexibility, time and cost-effectiveness. Also, this approach allows the application to survey coding of a wealth of results and techniques developed within learning-based text categorization.

Limitations: The method we propose requires pre-classified training examples, and it is thus not cost-effective for small-sized surveys, where manually coding the training examples may coincide with coding the entire survey. We report results obtained by testing our approach on three text corpora from the General Social Survey run by NORC (National Opinion Research Center) in 1996.

Walters, W.H., & Wilder, E.I. Bibliographic index coverage of a multidisciplinary field. (1305-1312)

Study and Results: This study examines the literature of later-life migration, a multidisciplinary field of interest, and evaluates the effectiveness of 12 bibliographic databases in indexing that literature. Five journals three in social gerontology, one in rural sociology, and one in regional science account for 40 percent of the articles recently published in this area. The disciplines that publish the most work on later-life migration are not necessarily those that provide the best index coverage, however. Moreover, four multidisciplinary databases each provide better index coverage than any single-subject database.

What's New? The low degree of overlap among the 12 databases suggests that scholars working on multidisciplinary topics must continue to rely on a wide range of bibliographic tools. Those who search only Sociological Abstracts or GEOBASE, for example, will miss quite a few relevant articles. Likewise, librarians and faculty who regard indexes such as Periodical Abstracts and ArticleFirst primarily as undergraduate resources may well underestimate the depth of coverage provided by these multidisciplinary databases.

Limitations: While our findings suggest broader conclusions about multidisciplinary research and multidisciplinary indexing, most of our results are based only on the literature of later-life migration.

Vaughan, L. & Shaw, D. (3003). Bibliographic and Web citations: What is the difference? (1313-1324).

Study and Results: We compared bibliographic and Web citations to articles in 46 LIS journals published in 1992 and 1997. For 57% of the journals, Web citations correlated significantly with both the number of bibliographic citations listed in the Social Sciences Citation Index and the ISI's Journal Impact Factor. Many of the Web citations represented intellectual impact, coming from other papers posted on the Web (30%) or from class readings lists (12%). Web citation counts were typically higher than bibliographic citation counts for the same article. Journals with more Web citations tended to have websites that provided tables of contents on the Web, while less cited journals did not have such publicity. The number of Web citations to journal articles increased from 1992 to 1997.

What's New? Web citations parallel or confirm analyses of bibliographic citations done with ISI data. Although Web citation analysis is not a replacement for the study of bibliographic citations, it is promising and has considerable potential as the Web continues to develop.

Limitations: Only LIS journal articles were examined; therefore applicability of the conclusions in other fields is unknown.

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