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Dissertation Information for Donald J. Lehnus

- Donald J. Lehnus

- Ph.D.

- Library and Information Science

- Case Western Reserve University (USA) (1973)

- Phyllis A. Richmond

- Jesse H. Shera
- Conrad H. Rawski
- Thomas Gleason Morris

MPACT Status: Fully Complete

Title: Milestones in Cataloging, 1835-1969; An attempt at an objective approach to the growth of the subject literature

Abstract: The problem of this inquiry was to determine if it would be possible to identify through citation analysis the most significant works in the development and growth of a particular field of study. The subject chosen for this investigation was cataloging (exclusive of classification and subject cataloging) and the time period covered was 1835- to 1969. A method utilizing citation analysis was devised wherein a single work was selected and its citations (or references) were used as a base on which to construct a citation network. The citations from that single work were recorded and these references in turn looked for. Thus a chain of citations was begin. This procedure was followed for each new reference until the network was completed, that is, until all references to works in the defined subject area published since 1835 were traced and recorded. Language or country of publication were not delimiting factors.

An examination of the completed network indicated how many times each work appeared therein. Through this method a network of 7,209 citations of 2,532 works written by 1,412 personal and corporate authors was constructed. The study was based on 184 works by 132 personal and corporate authors which were cited eight or more times. The publication dates of the 184 works ranged from 1841 to 1964, thus covering almost the entire period under study. These works were analyzed by language, publication date, publisher, sex and nationality of the author, and format, that is, journal article or monograph. The 184 works were grouped according to their similarities and a classification schedule was created quite easily.

There were 58 works which were cited 15 or more times in the network, and 50 of these were published prior to 1950. Graphs illustrating the "citation duration" of these 50 works were analyzed. Six works had a citation duration of more than 75 years, that is, authors had been citing them for a period of at least 75 years. Eight works had a citation duration of 50 years or more. The works with a citation duration of 75 years or more were designated "superclassics" and those with more than 50 years were called "classics". The remaining works had citation durations of varying lengths. Many were published since 1925 and thus could not qualify as "classics" according to the criterion requiring a citation duration of more than 50 years. Some of these will probably be classics someday, while others probably never will be such. The citation duration graphs indicated a group of works which seem to have already served their usefulness and are "dying".

A study of the professional and personal lives of the 125 most frequently cited personal authors revealed that a chain of contacts did exist among 115 of the 125 authors. Included here were nine personal authors who were cited eight or more times. In a few cases where actual contact could not be documented the circumstances through which contact was possible and highly probable were verified. Of the 125 personal authors, there were 56 (44.8%), who at one time or another were affiliated with just five institutions. Ten individuals who were found to be central persons in a time series of "invisible colleges" were designated as "key figures". Their importance in these invisible colleges was determined by the great number of personal contacts documented for each of the ten.

In summary, the use of the citations from a single writing led to the construction of a citation network that covered all aspects of the defined subject and all eras of the time period assigned. The network indicated which works and which authors were most often cited by other writers. Biographies of the lives of the most frequently cited authors revealed the existence of a series of "invisible colleges" ranging from Panizzi to those living today. The use of "citation duration" in combination with "citation frequency" pinpointed works which qualified as "superclassics" and "classics" in the field of cataloging.

MPACT Scores for Donald J. Lehnus

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calculated 2008-02-07 10:56:49

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