Reed WJ "The Pareto, Zipf and other power laws" ECONOMICS LETTERS 74 (1): 15-19 DEC 20 2001

charles h. davis davisc at INDIANA.EDU
Wed Mar 20 14:48:03 EST 2002

As usual, I appreciate Gene's selective dissemination of information.
This particular issue (power curves) has been a concern of mine for some
time, and I'd like others to comment on it (please).

Specifically, there is a major difference between

        y=ae**bx (exponential)


        y=ax**b (power)

Aside from the mathematics, there may be sociological implications.  When
Blaise Cronin and I looked at acknowledgements as opposed to citations, we
found that there was a true power curve -- not a "simple" citation-like
exponential distribution.

[Davis, Charles H. and Blaise Cronin, "Acknowledgments and Intellectual
Indebtedness: A Bibliometric Conjecture," Journal of the American Society
for Information Science 44(10):590-592 (December 1993).]

Sociologically, we may be underestimating something like "appeal to
authority" in our interactions with colleagues, peers, and mentors.


Charles Davis
Senior Fellow, SLIS, Indiana University
(812) 331-1322  Fax: (812) 855-6166

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