Librametric, Bibliometric, Scientometrics, Informetrics

Librametric, Bibliometric, Scientometrics, Informetrics: The Librametric, bibliometric, scientometrics, informetrics are overlapping areas, though their scopes are not the same.

1. Librametry: Dr. S. R. Ranganathan coined the term librametry and presented his concept in 1948 at the ASLIB conference held at Lemington Spa. He said that “there is a need to develop this subject on the lines of Biometry, Econometry, Psychometry, etc. He used the term to include statistical approaches to the study of library and its services. However, the practice of using quantitative method to measure information sources were made even before Dr. S. R. Ranganathan either under different name or without any name at all. For instance E. J. Cole and Nellie Eales in 1917, graphically mapped the literature and called this as “Statistical analysis”, E. Wyndham Hulme in 1922 studied the literature and called it “statistical bibliography”, but the terms were found to be clumsy as it could easily be mistaken.

2. Bibliometrics: The formal term “bibliometric” was first used by Alan Pritchard in his article “Statistical bibliography or bibliometric” in 1969 published in the “Journal of Documentation”. “Biblio” means book and “metric” means a scale or measure. Bibliometric means application of statistical studies in library and information science.

            Pritchard defines bibliometric as “the application of mathematical and statistical methods to books and other media of communication”.

            Potter defines bibliometric as “the study and measurement of the publication pattern of all forms of written communication and their author”.

Thus bibliometric is a sort of measuring techniques by which interconnected aspect of written communication can be quantified. It is the study, or measurement, of texts and information. Bibliometrics utilizes quantitative analysis and statistics to describe patterns of publication within a given field or body of literature. Researchers may use bibliometric methods of evaluation to determine the influence of a single writer, for example, or to describe the relationship between two or more writers or works. One common way of conducting bibliometric research is to use the Social Science Citation Index, the Science Citation Index or the Arts and Humanities Citation Index to trace citations.

a) Bibliometric Techniques: There are different kinds of bibliometric techniques. For example-

i) Productivity Count: It deals with books articles, words in a text, place of publication, subject matter, time and date of publication, publishing institution, authors, author’s institution, etc. Nicholas and Ritchie in the book “Literature and Bibliometrics” called it as productivity count or descriptive.

ii) Literature Usage Count: It deals with citation in published works, circulation, frequency of borrowing or browsing different library material, failure and success in search strategies, search option , etc. Nicholas and Ritchie called it as “Evaluative”.

b) Laws of Bibliometrics: One of the main areas in bibliometric research concerns the application of bibliometric laws. The three most commonly used laws in bibliometrics are - Lotka's Law of Scientific Productivity, Bradford's Law of Scatter, and Zipf's Law of Word Occurrence;

i) Lotka's Law of Scientific Productivity: In 1926, Alfred J. Lotka proposed an inverse square law relating to scientific papers to the number of contributions made by each author. Lotka's Law describes the frequency of publication by authors in a given field. It states that ". . . the number (of authors) making n contributions is about 1/n² of those making one; and the proportion of all contributors, that make a single contribution, is about 60 percent". This means that out of all the authors in a given field, 60 percent will have just one publication, and 15 percent will have two publications (1/2² times . 60), 7 percent of authors will have three publications (1/3² times . 60), and so on. According to Lotka's Law of scientific productivity, only six percent of the authors in a field will produce more than 10 articles.

Lotka’s equation is xn.y= Constant.


Y= Frequency of authors making n contribution, the value of the constant was found to be 0.6079

ii) Bradford's Law of Scatter: Samuel Clement Bradford in 1934 points out that if scientific journals are arranged in order of decreasing productivity of articles on a given subject, they may be divided into a nucleus of periodicals more particularly devoted to the subject and several groups and zones containing the same number of articles as the nucleus when the number of periodicals in the nucleus and succeeding zones will be 1: n: n2.

Bradford's Law states that journals in a single field can be divided into three parts, each containing the same number of articles:

* A core of journals on the subject, relatively few in number, that produces approximately one-third of all the articles;

* A second zone, containing the same number of articles as the first, but a greater number of journals, and

* A third zone, containing the same number of articles as the second, but a still greater number of journals.

The mathematical relationship of the number of journals in the core to the first zone is a constant n and to the second zone the relationship is n². Bradford expressed this relationship as 1 : n : n². Bradford formulated his law after studying a bibliography of geophysics, covering 326 journals in the field. He discovered that 9 journals contained 429 articles, 59 contained 499 articles, and 258 contained 404 articles. So it took 9 journals to contribute one-third of the articles, 5 times of 9, or 45, to produce the next third, and 5 times 5 times 9, or 225, to produce the last third.

Bradford's Law serves as a general guideline to librarians in determining the number of core journals in any given field. Bradford's Law is not statistically accurate, but it is still commonly used as a general rule of thumb.

iii) Zipf's Law of Word Occurrence: George K. Zipf, 1947 states that if the words occurring in a natural language text of sizable length were listed in the order of decreasing frequency then the rank of any given word in the list would be inversely proportional to the frequency of occurrence of the word. Zipf’s equation is

r . f = k


r = Rank;

f = Frequency of Word;

k = Constant

The Law states that in a relatively lengthy text, if you "list the words occurring within that text in order of decreasing frequency, the rank of a word on that list multiplied by its frequency will equal a constant. The equation for this relationship is: r x f = k where r is the rank of the word, f is the frequency, and k is the constant. Zipf illustrated his law with an analysis of James Joyce's Ulysses. "He showed that the tenth most frequent word occurred 2,653 times, the hundredth most frequent word occurred 265 times, the two hundredth word occurred 133 times, and so on. Zipf found, then that the rank of the word multiplied by the frequency of the word equals a constant that is approximately 26,500".

c) Uses of Bibliometric Studies: Historically bibliometric methods have been used to trace relationships amongst academic journal citations. The bibliometric research uses various methods of citation analysis in order to establish relationships between authors or their work. The Bibliometric studies are used in

i) Measuring the scattering of articles on a subject in various periodicals (Bradford).

ii) Measuring the productivity of an author based on the number of published articles. (Lotka).

iii) Ranking of words in a text based on frequency of occurrence of words.

iv) Productivity count of literature.

v) To identify the peers, social change and the core journal, etc.

vi) Indexing and Thesaurus;

vii) Research;

viii) Formulating search strategies in case of automated system;

ix) Comparative assessment of the secondary services;

x) Bibliographic control;

xi) Preparation of retrospective bibliographic and

xii) Library Management.

3. Scientometrics: This term was introduced and came into prominence with the founding of the journal named “Scientometrics” by T. Braunin in 1977, originally published in Hungary and currently from Amsterdam.

            The term “Scientometrics” was used to mean the application of quantitative methods to the history of science but it is now generally used as a generic term for a variety of research approaches within the study of science that a quantifiable aspect of science can be utilized to assess the characteristic of science.

            Marton and Garfield have defined it as the field of enquiry given over to the quantitative analysis of science and scientific field.

4. Informetrics: According to Brooker the term “informetrics” was first proposed by Otto Nacke of West Germany in 1979. It focused on information productivity. It interprets information technology and considers interaction of information theory, cybermetrics, decision theory, etc.

5. Webmetrics: Webmetrics can be defined as using of bibliometric techniques in order to study the relationship of different sites on the World Wide Web. Such techniques may also be used to map out (called "scientific mapping" in traditional bibliometric research) areas of the Web that appear to be most useful or influential, based on the number of times they are hyperlinked to other Web sites.

6. Let Us Sum Up: According to Sen, bibliometric deals with document and its component while informetrics studies pertaining to information. Morales use the term informetrics to cover almost all the aspect of bibliometric and librametrics.