Rapid advances in computer cpu and graphics processing power during the late 1980’s and 1990’s led to the development of the LIS specialty of Information Visualization and the subspecialty of Knowledge Domain Visualization (KDViz). KDViz specializes in visualization methods and analysis of the knowledge structure within scientific and academic disciplines, often based upon co-citation analysis.
During the past 15 years, a variety of studies have shown the ability of KDViz to reveal the subtle intellectual structure and developments in a variety of scientific areas, from single disciplines to the entirety of scientific publication during a specific time period. Many of these studies can be found in the KDViz and Social Network Analysis page of the References and Readings section. Among the prominent researchers in KDViz is Dr. Chaomei Chen, of Drexel University. Dr. Chen is the creator of CiteSpace, and its most recent version, CiteSpace II. CiteSpace II is an open source KDViz application that has been used in many KDViz studies of scientific literature. One of Dr. Chen’s particular interests is in the identification of trends and turning points in science, which is why he developed CiteSpace.
CiteSpace II is a progressive KDViz software program. This means that it can visualize the development of the co-citation network over time, and the time period under study can be divided into a variety of time “slices”. Also, its unique graphic approach to visualization, using size, color, and shape, allows large amounts of information to be contained in a single visualization.
CiteSpace II was chosen for use in the thesis due to the body of research literature that has successfully used the program, positive comparisons with other KDViz programs, and the availability of a sizable amount of supporting documentation. This being said, CiteSpace II is research, not commercial, software. Learning its use and interpretation, for someone unfamiliar with KDViz, takes a considerable investment of time and effort.
The CiteSpace webpage can be accessed here.
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