To better understand the information-seeking behavior of geoscientists due to ever-changing research habits, an exhaustive citation analysis was performed on a local population of geology dissertations from a large academic research university spanning the years 1888-2008 . Past studies have shown that literature-use in the geosciences declines more slowly than in other scientific disciplines, therefore geology dissertations present an interesting litmus test on how changing information-seeking behavior can affect the obsolescence of scientific literature over time. This diasynchronous review analyzes citation patterns of dissertations by comparing the average citation age for each year and normalizing this data with the earliest citation year (potential) to establish an "average citation depth" for the last 120 years of the university's geoscience PhD graduates. The results indicate that citations have become increasingly younger suggesting that information-seeking behavior has shifted in the last 10 years. These shifts are discussed in terms of potentially disruptive events including the physical location change of the geosciences library, the increased reliance on electronic bibliographic databases, and the role of individual dissertation advisors as affecting the average citation depth of dissertations.
Johnston, Lisa R.
HOW DEEP ARE GEOSCIENTISTS WILLING TO DIG? A CITATION ANALYSIS ADDRESSING THE CHANGING INFORMATION-SEEKING BEHAVIOR IN THE DIGITAL AGE.
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