Knowledge organization (KO) and bibliometrics have traditionally been seen as separate subfields of library and information science, but bibliometric techniques make it possible to identify candidate terms for thesauri and to organize knowledge by relating scientific papers and authors to each other and thereby indicating kinds of relatedness and semantic distance. It is therefore important to view bibliometric techniques as a family of approaches to KO in order to illustrate their relative strengths and weaknesses. The subfield of bibliometrics concerned with citation analysis forms a distinct approach to KO which is characterized by its social, historical and dynamic nature, its close dependence on scholarly literature and its explicit kind of literary warrant. The two main methods, co-citation analysis and bibliographic coupling represent different things and thus neither can be considered superior for all purposes. The main difference between traditional knowledge organization systems (KOSs) and maps based on citation analysis is that the first group represents intellectual KOSs, whereas the second represents social KOSs. For this reason bibliometric maps cannot be expected ever to be fully equivalent to scholarly taxonomies, but they are – along with other forms of KOSs – valuable tools for assisting users’ to orient themselves to the information ecology. Like other KOSs, citation-based maps cannot be neutral but will always be based on researchers’ decisions, which tend to favor certain interests and views at the expense of others.
Information Processing and Management, 2013, Vol 49, Issue 6, p. 1313-1325