Bradford's Law of Scattering: Ambiguities in the Concept of "Subject" [chapter]

Birger Hjørland, Jeppe Nicolaisen
2005 Lecture Notes in Computer Science  
Bradford's law of scattering is said to be about subject scattering in information sources. However, in spite of a corpus of writings about the meaning of the word "subject" and equivalent terms such as "aboutness" or "topicality", the meaning of "subject" has never been explicitly addressed in relation to Bradford's law. This paper introduces a distinction between Lexical scattering, Semantic scattering, and Subject scattering. Neither Bradford himself nor any follower has explicitly
more » ... the differences between these three and the implications for the practical applications of Bradford's law. Traditionally, Bradford's law has been seen as a neutral and objective tool for the selection of the most central information sources in a field. However, it is hard to find actual reports that describe how Bradford's law has been applied in practical library and information services. Theoretical as well as historical evidence suggest that the selection of journals based on Bradford-distributions tend to favorite dominant theories and views while suppressing views other than the mainstream at a given time.
doi:10.1007/11495222_9 fatcat:ujm4y2y2hfa5baphtkoeosd5ge