In this session, I will present the results of a citation analysis that a) investigates the contours of the scholarly conversation in history over a five-year period and b) analyzes the extent to which this conversation is manifest in several discovery and indexing tools, including Historical Abstracts, Summon, JSTOR, WorldCat, and Google Scholar.Citations included in the analysis are drawn from research articles published in the American Historical Review between 2009-2013. All citations to secondary, non-archival sources were included in the formation of a population, then randomly sampled for analysis. Citations in the sample have been coded for date of publication, language, and format, providing a multi-dimensional snapshot of the scholarly conversation in history (inclusive of all geographic areas and time periods covered by AHR articles in this period). Secondly, the citations in the sample have been looked up in each of the discovery tools listed above. Resulting data depicts the extent to which each tool captures the conversation, as defined by the sample in the study, with views into the language, format, and date range characterizations that differentiate each tool’s approximation of the sample.
This project aims to contribute to the earnest conversations in libraries concerning efforts to facilitate discovery and exposure of collections. These conversations are often punctuated by questions about how to assess the continuing value of discipline-specific indexing services, as libraries adopt web scale tools and encourage vendors to share more data, facilitating cross-platform, algorithmically based discovery in the aggregate. Taking history as a case study, and incorporating considerations of user awareness, expectations, and use patterns with disparate tools, this project should illuminate and provide evidence for at least part of a bigger picture. The method may be useful for others who would like to perform similar assessments, particularly with feedback from members of the audience.