Beyond Citations: Who gets counted when we count?

The digital component that accompanies chapter Consciousness.

Visualizations for presentation, talk coming soon.



Beyond Citations*: Who gets counted when we count?
Keystone Digital Humanities, University of Pennsylvania, July 22-24, 2015.


While citation analysis of academic journals has become a common method for characterizing scholarly networks in the digital humanities, my project attempts to go beyond citations to ask who gets counted when we count? Just as the field of altmetrics attempts to evaluate the influence of new forms of communicating contemporary scholarship, Beyond Citations digitally reassess the influence of activists in the 1970s who, while important to the development of feminist theory, may not have produced much by the way written work that is now cited.   By going beyond citations, I explore the other traces left by the overlapping worlds of feminist knowledge producers. Focusing on the work of what I’ve called sister/outsiders, the countless women who live on in footnotes of the “academic colony,” and culled from archival sources at Barnard’s Center for Research on Women and the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Beyond Citations visualizes participants on panels, attendees at conferences, authors included in significant anthologies, entries into bibliographies, mentions in acknowledgments and names in texts themselves. These visualizations are purposefully politically, to up the body count of the women who contributed to what we now call feminist theory.

Beyond Citations not only challenges scholarly modes of counting, but also highlights on the politics of working digitally. Non-canonical archival context is less likely to be digitized and put on the internet making it impossible to scrape easily for digital humanities project use. When available sources drive projects that seek to demonstrate the power of working digitally that approach not only limits what we can see, but erases certain bodies, raising crucial questions about whose minds matter most.  Going beyond citations requires scraping what is available, such as metadata of non digitized sources, but also dealing with digitizing and concomitant OCR challenges, database construction questions, quality of NER, and the perils of parameters in network analysis.


*my title is inspired by Beyond Citation by an amazing project conducted by students in the Digital Praxis Seminar at the CUNY Graduate Center.

viz examples

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  1. Max Kemman @MaxKemman

    @ProfessMoravec Interesting project, though the framing of going beyond citations seems more confusing than enlightening to me
    9:51 AM – 12 Jan 2015

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    Max Kemman
    @ProfessMoravec I see, perhaps something like “Non-written Influences” or “Non-writing Influencers”? Beyond Cit makes me think of altmetrics

    10:02 AM – 12 Jan 2015

  2. The key here is that the feminist networks you are working with are not purely scholarly networks in the sense usually meant in that kind of citation analysis. I suspect this also applies to other fields in which there are significant contributions from outside the academy.

    This project is important precisely because it challenges methodologies that colonize knowledge production for the academy even when that knowledge production includes significant participation from activists, writers not (securely/primarily) employed in universities/colleges, and so on.

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