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Publication . Article . Preprint . Other literature type . 2018

A diachronic study of historiography

Giovanni Colavizza;
Open Access

The humanities are often characterized by sociologists as having a low mutual dependence among scholars and high task uncertainty. According to Fuchs' theory of scientific change, this leads over time to intellectual and social fragmentation, as new scholarship accumulates in the absence of shared unifying theories. We consider here a set of specialisms in the discipline of history and measure the connectivity properties of their bibliographic coupling networks over time, in order to assess whether fragmentation is indeed occurring. We construct networks using both reference overlap and textual similarity. It is shown that the connectivity of reference overlap networks is gradually and steadily declining over time, whilst that of textual similarity networks is stable. Author bibliographic coupling networks also show signs of a decline in connectivity, in the absence of an increasing propensity for collaborations. We speculate that, despite the gradual weakening of ties among historians as mapped by references, new scholarship might be continually integrated through shared vocabularies and narratives. This would support our belief that citations are but one kind of bibliometric data to consider --- perhaps even of secondary importance --- when studying the humanities, while text should play a more prominent role.

Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Epistemology Mutual dependence Market fragmentation Historiography Scholarship Sociology Network connectivity Narrative Social fragmentation Bibliographic coupling


Humanities, History, Intellectual organization, Bibliographic coupling, Network connectivity, Text similarity, Digital Libraries (cs.DL), FOS: Computer and information sciences, Computer Science - Digital Libraries, Library and Information Sciences, Computer Science Applications, General Social Sciences

Related Organizations
42 references, page 1 of 5

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Funded by
SNSF| Linked Books: Reconstructing the history of the history of Venice
  • Funder: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
  • Project Code: 159961
  • Funding stream: Projects | Project funding
SNSF| Understanding Citations in the Humanities
  • Funder: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
  • Project Code: 168489
  • Funding stream: Careers | Fellowships | Doc.Mobility
Related to Research communities
Social Science and Humanities
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