An informetrics study of the cited references in archival research in sub-Saharan Africa: A measure of the archival researchers' preferences?

  • Omwoyo Bosire Onyancha University of South Africa
  • Koketso Mokwatlo University of South Africa
  • Nampombe Mnkeni-Saurombe University of South Africa
Keywords: Archival research, citation analysis, informetrics, researchers’ preferences


The purpose of this paper was to investigate the application of informetrics to determine authors' preferences for specific sources of information when conducting their research, as well as to find out the information-related preferences of authors publishing archival research in sub-Saharan Africa. Relevant data was extracted from five electronic databases, hosted by the EBSCO publishing company, using a uniform search query that combined the name of the author's affiliate country and archives (truncated as "archiv*"). The search was limited to full-text papers only. The results show that archival researchers in sub-Saharan African countries prefer (a) journals as the sources of information, with the journal for the Eastern and Southern African Region of the Board of International Council of Archivists (ESARBICA) the most cited; (b) relatively old sources – average citation age 11.87 years; (c) archives subject-specific sources; and (d) peers whose research interest is in the same subject field, namely archives and records management. We recommend that an aggressive and effective public programming of archives be conducted in sub-Saharan Africa to increase awareness of the importance of archives in research. We conclude that informetrics is one way of measuring authors' preferences for particular sources of information.

Author Biographies

Omwoyo Bosire Onyancha, University of South Africa
Department of Information Science
Koketso Mokwatlo, University of South Africa
Department of Information Science
Nampombe Mnkeni-Saurombe, University of South Africa
Department of Information Science

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0376-4753