Contextualization of topics: browsing through the universe of bibliographic information

Rob Koopman, Shenghui Wang, Andrea Scharnhorst

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
1347 Downloads (Pure)


This paper describes how semantic indexing can help to generate a contextual overview of topics and visually compare clusters of articles. The method was originally developed for an innovative information exploration tool, called Ariadne, which operates on bibliographic databases with tens of millions of records. In this paper, the method behind Ariadne is further developed and applied to the research question of the special issue "Same data, different results" - the better understanding of topic (re-)construction by different bibliometric approaches. For the case of the Astro dataset of 111,616 articles in astronomy and astrophysics, a new instantiation of the interactive exploring tool, LittleAriadne, has been created. This paper contributes to the overall challenge to delineate and define topics in two different ways. First, we produce two clustering solutions based on vector representations of articles in a lexical space. These vectors are built on semantic indexing of entities associated with those articles. Second, we discuss how LittleAriadne can be used to browse through the network of topical terms, authors, journals, citations and various cluster solutions of the Astro dataset. More specifically, we treat the assignment of an article to the different clustering solutions as an additional element of its bibliographic record. Keeping the principle of semantic indexing on the level of such an extended list of entities of the bibliographic record, LittleAriadne in turn provides a visualization of the context of a specific clustering solution. It also conveys the similarity of article clusters produced by different algorithms, hence representing a complementary approach to other possible means of comparison.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1119-1139
Number of pages21
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2017


  • Clustering
  • Interactive search interface
  • Knowledge map
  • Random projection
  • Semantic map
  • Topical modelling
  • Visualization


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