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Pennants for Garfield: bibliometrics and document retrieval


  • Howard D. White

    () (Drexel University)


Abstract Eugene Garfield’s name, like that of any prolific author, can designate both an oeuvre and a person. That duality is explored here with pennant diagrams, a decade-old technique that can structure information about both oeuvres and persons in one scatterplot. Such diagrams are not readily made now, but may have a place in recommender systems of the future. This paper recapitulates the basics of creating and understanding them. In pennants, every term in a bibliometric distribution is weighted with a version of the TF * IDF formula from information retrieval. The distributions are generated by a seed term, such as a cited author’s name or a subject phrase, and consist of terms that co-occur with the seed in a database. TF * IDF orders the terms by relevance and specificity with respect to the seed—an outcome interpretable in light of relevance theory from linguistic pragmatics. Garfield’s name appears illustratively as a seed in one pennant and as a co-cited author in five others. Another example shows works by him and others that co-occur with the phrase “Citation Analysis” in Scisearch. Pennants are richly suggestive about authors, and here they are linked to a fruitful idea of Garfield’s that appeared in his first paper.

Suggested Citation

  • Howard D. White, 2018. "Pennants for Garfield: bibliometrics and document retrieval," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 114(2), pages 757-778, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:scient:v:114:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2610-9
    DOI: 10.1007/s11192-017-2610-9

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