Academic journal article Extrapolation

Letters to the Journal

Academic journal article Extrapolation

Letters to the Journal

Article excerpt

The Critical/Biographical Coverage of SF and Fantasy: An Unscientific Snapshot of Subject Coverage in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database, ca. Summer 2013

Some time ago, I queried listservs regarding interest in a data file showing subject coverage of science fiction and fantasy, as reflected in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database. The responses indicated enough interest to complete the datafile.

The introduction and the Excel datafile on the Texas A&M University Library Institutional Repository. The link to the file is in the Introduction, following this note.

The data file is functionally freely available for use by anyone who wants to use the data, to manipulate the data file, to add to the file and extract data (as the sample columns illustrate), or otherwise use it for any type of research.

In the course of re-editing the subject entries in the Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database, it became obvious that for only a bit more work, a data file could be created that would give a snapshot of the material covered in the database. A quick query of SFRA members indicated interest in such a project.

The data file is derived from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database as of June 2013, when the database consisted of 100,300 records. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Database is a wide-ranging compilation, including scholarly articles and books, newspaper articles, news notes, motion picture reviews and comments, and some web content. Using this data file as a guide, it would be easy, if time consuming, to define the types of coverage in the database: scholarly article, book chapter, news note, and the like.

The file is simple: a subject term, and the number of times that term was used in the database. It has the beginnings of other data columns. In the third column, I started coding for terms that would be useful for sorting. Terms such as "AUTHOR", "ARTIST", "DIRECTOR", "ACTOR" and the like can be added, and used to sort the data for closed evaluation. Sample columns for other coding options are also included. Additional coding and use are left to anyone who may have an interest.

The file is an unscientific and non-rigorous presentation of data. By that, I mean the file is a by-product of another project, not a tightly designed research effort. By non-rigorous, I mean that I exercised care in deriving the numerical data, but there are almost certainly some instances of miscounting. …

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