Friday, May 26, 2006

On Academic Silos and a Failure to Communicate

In today's email alert from Web of Science, I found the following citation:
Vidakovic, Jovana, and Milos Rackovic. 2006. Generating content and display of library catalogue cards using XML technology. Software Practice and Experience 36(5): 513-524.

I haven't read the article, but I did browse the reference list. It cites Kevin Clarke's Medlane/XMLMARC Update,and the Library of Congress's MARC XML site. But it doesn't cite my two minor contributions, nor anything by Roy Tennant, Dick Miller, or even McDonough's paper on SGML and USMARC, which was published in 1998[1]! Now, I can understand that somebody working in Serbia might not have ready access to the literature, but I would expect the referees for a journal of the stature of SP&E to have some familiarity with the area.

This has come up before, especially in Computer Science: if it's not published in the journals they read, and if they can't find it via Google or CiteSeer, then it hasn't been published. The world is becoming more interdisciplinary every day, and researchers that don't search using the traditional tools for locating literature (or, in this case, don't even seem to talk to researchers in related fields), are going to miss previous, relevant, work.

[1] McDonough, Jerome P. 1998. SGML and the USMARC standard: Applying markup to bibliographic data. Technical Services Quarterly 15(3): 21-33.