In response to questions by Buxton and Meadows, there was an examination of the occurrence of title words in the abstracts, first paragraphs, last paragraphs and cited titles of research papers in chemistry, economics, history, mathematics and philosophy for the 1960 and 1970 eras. Title word occurrence in first paragraphs varied little among disciplines. Last paragraphs tended to have most frequent occurrence of title words in history and philosophy, and cited titles had most frequent occurrence in chemistry and mathematics. There was no significant difference between chemistry and mathematics of occurrence in abstracts abstracts were not available for the other disciplines. Among disciplines taken as a whole, the best reflection of title word occurrence was the collection of abstracts, followed in order by first paragraphs, last paragraphs and cited titles. First and last paragraphs together provided 70 to 80 of the title words. For most disciplines, longer than average titles did demonstrate a higher frequency of title word occurrence in first and last paragraphs than did titles in general. The results implied that indexing based on extraction of title words could employ similar procedures from discipline to discipline. Nevertheless, sensitive information retrieval systems should be prepared for changes in the vocabulary of fields like history and philosophy to occur possibly more slowly than in fields like mathematics and chemistry.
Journal of Documentation – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 1, 1982
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