Citation Indexes Uses for Writers

Academic and large Public Libraries have long relied on Citation indexes to assist scholars. While many professors and college students learn “Who is Who” in their fields from their teachers, the experts in almost every field change over each decade.  Citation indexes in many scholarly fields attempt to weigh in on Who’s Who by showing who cites who in their scholarly papers.  While not a foolproof method of identifying top scholars in a particular field, citation indexes can be of use to graduate students in particular when it comes to writing theses or dissertations. They can also be useful to writers who want to find or any kind of experts in any particular subject. Origins of Citation Indexes Wikipedia says that early citation indexes existed for rabbinic and other religious literature the 12th century, followed by legal citation indexes in the 18th century.  As for Asian countries and other ancient cultures in the Middle East or Africa there may also have been some kinds of early citation indexes in their languages that Westerners are not familiar with.  In the 20th century, the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) launched in the 1960s three of the most well-used indexes, namely the Science Citation Index (SCI) and the Social Sciences (SSCI) and the Arts and Humanities Citation Indexes. (AHCI). Citation indexes for many other fields within these broad categories of scholarly research and discussion soon followed.  Impact of Computers on Citation Indexing Early hardbound citation indexes were sometimes bulky and difficult to use. They were heavy, requiring leafing  through them to find names and subjects of interest, and they were great dust catchers. Wikipedia asserts that the first automated citation index was done by CiteSeer in 1997 using a web crawler search of pubic web sites that focused primarily on computer and information studies. At the turn of the century publishers of citation indexes and other library reference books turned to creating online databases for citation indexing. Well-known scientific publishing company, Elsevior went so far as to combine subject searching with citation searching in the sciences and social sciences.   Improving Modern Citation Databases However, as Google is currently learning, quantity and quality are difficult to balance when dealing with millions, billions, or even trillions of documents.  The precision (quality) versus recall (quantity) debates by librarians in the last century are rife in the citation index fields these days. Altrametrics Almetrics is...
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Walter Benjamin – Storytelling vs. Fiction

Walter Benjamin’s essay “The Storyteller” in Illuminations: Walter Benjamin: Essays and Reflections (English translation 1968), will be thought-provoking for anyone who loves to write or read fiction.

Most of us think of fiction as storytelling, but it isn’t really. I can attest to this from experience.

Back on a September day in 2004, my drumming mentor, Barbara Borden, gave me a day pass to “The Healing Power of Art” at Moscone Center in San Francisco. On my way to Moscone I passed an intriguing stranger.

What caught my eye at first was a large patch of burnt-looking skin on his face. I recognized it immediately.

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