Bibliometrics: A Service, Not Just a Tool

Do you use bibliometrics just for counting citations and calculating the impact of research? Susan Makar (photo at left) and Amy Trost did, too—until some of their customers started asking them to help with projects related to strategic planning that required quantitative analysis that went beyond the traditional bibliometric focus on measuring research output.

Susan and Amy, research librarians in the Information Services Office (ISO) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, decided to write a paper about their experiences expanding the ISO’s bibliometric capabilities to include topic and text analysis and more customized services. They will present the paper, “Operationalizing Bibliometrics as a Service in a Research Library,” on Monday, June 11, at the SLA 2018 Annual Conference in Baltimore.

Amy and Susan’s paper is one of five so-called contributed papers being presented at the conference. Their paper was judged the best of the five by a panel of SLA members, so they will receive free registration to SLA’s 2019 Annual Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

In the paper, Amy* and Susan describe the service requests they received that led them to use bibliometrics in new ways. These requests included the following:

  • conducting a detailed and focused study of NIST research in the area of greenhouse gas metrology;
  • creating a network visualization of NIST co-authorship to understand how researchers collaborate across organization lines; and
  • understanding the landscape of artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify potential authors for a special issue of a journal.

“Each of these requests presented its own set of challenges,” they wrote. “Sometimes the challenge was identifying the right body of literature; other times it was using the right analysis tools to show meaningful results. Close collaborations with researchers were necessary to ensure the project stayed on track and that ISO answered the requests with on-target deliverables.”

Susan and Amy’s paper, along with the four other contributed papers being presented at SLA 2018, will be posted on sla.org after the conference.

* Amy is now affiliated with the Universities at Shady Grove/University of Maryland Libraries.

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