Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Library Databases in the Economist

This week's Economist has a piece about library databases and scholarly research. It appears that serendipidy is occuring less than it used to than in the days people flipped through the pages of journals. Articles tend to be narrowly indexed.



Louise Klusek said...

I read this in The Economist too. They are referring to a study by James A. Evans in the July 18th issue of Science magazine (we have it online). Strangely his evidence contradicts the research of the librarians Tenopir and King on the scholarly reading habits of scientists. Jennifer Couzin points out this discrepancy in her short news item "Survey Finds Citations Growing Narrower as Journals Move Online" in the same issue (see page 329).

Stephen Francoeur said...

In a post on ACRLog, Barbara Fister has some nice commentary on the article in Science and the Tenopir study that Louise also mentions. Fister talks about problems with the long tail argument and gets into the phenomenon of satificing among undergraduates looking for sources (for more on satisficing, see this recent article from the Journal of Documentation).