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  5. SSIRG Speaker Series: Dr. Howard D. White

SSIRG Speaker Series: Dr. Howard D. White

Visualization and Bibliometrics

Howard White
Professor Emeritus
College of Computing & Informatics
Drexel University

May 1, 2014
3:00 - 4:30PM

Greene Hall
3347 E Downer Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53211

As someone who has been part of the bibliometric mapping movement for more than three decades, I have developed definite opinions on what makes for good maps. Visualizations of citation data, for instance, can show a great deal about the history and structure of the literature in a given field. They can also be what the leading theorist on informative visualization, Edward R. Tufte, calls "chartjunk." In this talk I will present examples of  good and bad maps, taken from the actual publications of information scientists or created by me from available software. This leads naturally to a discussion of the design principles that should guide bibliometric mappers. It leads as well to some ultimate questions: What is the point of bibliometric mapping in the first place? How does it differ from other forms of scientific visualization? Who are its intended audiences?

After taking his PhD in librarianship at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1974, Howard D. White joined Drexel University's College of Information Science and Technology, where he is now professor emeritus. He co-authored For Information Specialists: Interpretations of Reference and Bibliographic Work with Marcia Bates and Patrick Wilson (Ablex, 1992). A later book is Brief Tests of Collection Strength (Greenwood, 1995). He has also published on bibliometrics and co-citation analysis, evaluation of reference services, expert systems for reference work, innovative online searching, social science data archives, library publicity, American attitudes toward library censorship, and literature retrieval for meta-analysis and interdisciplinary studies. In 1993 he won the Research Award of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST) for distinguished contributions in his field. In 1998 he and Katherine McCain won the best JASIS paper award for Visualizing a Discipline: An Author Co-Citation Analysis of Information Science, 1972-1995. He was a Drexel Distinguished Professor for 1998-2002, using the grant awarded to develop the AuthorMap system. In 2004 he won ASIST’s highest honor for career achievement, the Award of Merit. In 2005 the International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics honored him with the biennial Derek de Solla Price Memorial Medal for contributions to the quantitative study of science.

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