Referencing patterns in South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science, 1996 - 2007

Omwoyo Bosire Onyancha, Jan R. Maluleka


This study uses bibliometric techniques to examine the frequency and patterns of referencing in articles published in South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science (SAJLIS) from 1996 to 2007. The authors believe that an analysis of references and referencing patterns in a journal is vital because references play an important role in scholarly communication, which is defined as the process of sharing and publishing research findings in order to reach a wider scholarly and professional community. This paper thus seeks to determine, among other objectives : the growth of publications in the journal; the growth of references; articles with the most number of references; types of sources consulted by SAJLIS authors; language used to publish the consulted sources; and whether the length of articles influences the number of references. It was found that SAJLIS has maintained regular publication for all but one year, 1999, when the journal was not published. On average, SAJLIS published 15 articles per year between 1996 and 2007; journal articles were the most commonly consulted document type by SAJLIS authors (2241; 46.6%), followed by books (1512; 31.5%), Internet-based sources (665; 13.8%), and conference proceedings (189; 3.9%); Internet-based sources and electronic journals were growing in popularity among the researchers; the average number of references per article equated to 29.13; and the highest and lowest number of references recorded in a single article were 101 and 4, respectively. We also observed that the number of references in an article does not influence the length of the article; the average length of SAJLIS papers is 10 pages and there was an increased usage of electronic resources by SAJLIS authors from 2001. Finally, this paper draws several conclusions based on the findings of the study and provides some recommendations for further research.


References; South African Journal of Libraries and Information Science; informetrics; information science; citations; journals; South Africa

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