NIST

Bradford's law

(definition)

Definition: Journals in a field can be divided into three parts, each with about one-third of all articles: 1) a core of a few journals, 2) a second zone, with more journals, and 3) a third zone, with the bulk of journals. The number of journals is 1:n:n².

See also Lotka's law.

Note: Bradford formulated his law after studying a bibliography of geophysics, covering 326 journals in the field. He discovered that 9 journals contained 429 articles, 59 contained 499 articles, and 258 contained 404 articles. Although Bradford's Law is not statistically accurate, librarians commonly use it as a guideline.

Contributed by Arvind <uk_arvind@mail.utexas.edu> May 2002.

Author: PEB


Go to the Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures home page.

If you have suggestions, corrections, or comments, please get in touch with Paul Black.

Entry modified 17 December 2004.
HTML page formatted Fri Feb 23 10:06:07 2018.

Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "Bradford's law", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 17 December 2004. (accessed TODAY) Available from: https://www.nist.gov/dads/HTML/bradfordsLaw.html