Dissertation Information for Gertrude Houser Lamb
- Gertrude Houser Lamb
- Library and Information Science
- Case Western Reserve University (USA) (1971)
- William Goffman
- Andrew D. Booth
- Conrad H. Rawski
- Manfred Kochen
MPACT Status: Fully Complete
Title: The coincidence of quality and quantity in the literature of mathematics
Abstract: On the basis of earlier studies in the structure of a literature, the scholar and librarian can identify a minimal nucleus and succeeding zones of journals which are most productive on a given subject. He can determine how many additional titles he is required to search in order to locate the number of references equal to the total references in the distribution from which the nucleus is derived, and can attempt to predict the total number of references in a "complete search." The searcher might conclude that it is not worth his time and energy to consult the relatively unproductive journals except that there remains the question of whether the quality articles are imbedded in the journals which can be identified for a subject field as the most productive. The answer to this question would provide the scholar and librarian with additional evidence to guide him in determining reasonable limits to his search.
In this study, the articles indexed and abstracted in Jahrbuch uber die Fortschritte der Mathematik and Mathematical Reviews for 1934-1954 are considered a quantity bibliography. The benchmark of quality is a bibliography of the 'articles published by mathematicians in residence at the Institute for the Advanced Study. Sixteen per cent of these articles cited at least once ten or more years after publication. A Bradford distribution identifies the most productive journals in each of these bibliographies. A comparison of the productivity of the quantity and quality bibliographies shows that the fifteen titles of the nucleus and two zones of the general bibliographV include seven of the nine most productive titles in the quality bibliography. Similarly, the six titles of the nucleus and two zones of the Institute for Advanceed Study bibliography include four of the six most productive journals in the general bibliography.
Moreover an approach to mathematics, through any one of twenty-six subject headings by which Jahrbuch and Mathematical Reviews are indexed for 1934-l954, may start with the most productive journals of the general bibliography. The implication of subject diversity is that the journals which in a Bradford distribution are ranked as the most productive for any given subject also offer a point of entry into the literature as a whole from any of the sub-headings by which the literature is classed.
For the scholar and librarian the above observations further help reduce the uncertainties in deciding upon a search more limited than the traditional "complete search." Beyond this, anyone who had prepared a Bradford distribution of a large number of journals and articles knows that it is a mind-bending job. There is a possibility that if a bibliography of provable quality is available for a given subject, a Bradford distribution of its journals gives the same assurance in reducing the uncertainties inherent in a limited search.