A bibliometric chronicling of Library and Information Science’s first hundred years

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This paper presents a condensed history of Library and Information Science (LIS) over the course of more than a century using a variety of bibliometric measures. It examines in detail the variable rate of knowledge production in the field, shifts in subject coverage, the dominance of particular publication genres at different times, prevailing modes of production, interactions with other disciplines, and, more generally, observes how the field has evolved. It shows that, despite a striking growth in the number of journals, papers, and contributing authors, a decrease was observed in the field’s market-share of all social science and humanities research. Collaborative authorship is now the norm, a pattern seen across the social sciences. The idea of boundary crossing was also examined: in 2010, nearly 60% of authors who published in LIS also published in another discipline. This high degree of permeability in LIS was also demonstrated through reference and citation practices: LIS scholars now cite and receive citations from other fields more than from LIS itself. Two major structural shifts are revealed in the data: in 1960, LIS changed from a professional field focused on librarianship to an academic field focused on information and use; and in 1990, LIS began to receive a growing number of citations from outside the field, notably from Computer Science and Management, and saw a dramatic increase in the number of authors contributing to the literature of the field.

This content has been updated on June 2nd, 2017 at 11 h 49 min.