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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/736

Title: The power of power laws and an interpretation of Lotkaian informetric systems as self-similar fractals
Authors: EGGHE, Leo
Issue Date: 2005
Publisher: Wiley
Citation: Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 56(7). p. 669-675
Abstract: Power laws as defined in 1926 by A. Lotka are increasing in importance because they have been found valid in varied social networks including the Internet. In this article some unique properties of power laws are proven. They are shown to characterize functions with the scalefree property (also called self-similarity property) as well as functions with the product property. Power laws have other desirable properties that are not shared by exponential laws, as we indicate in this paper. Specifically, Naranan (1970) proves the validity of Lotka’s law based on the exponential growth of articles in journals and of the number of journals. His argument is reproduced here and a discrete-time argument is also given, yielding the same law as that of Lotka. This argument makes it possible to interpret the information production process as a self-similar fractal and show the relation between Lotka’s exponent and the (self-similar) fractal dimension of the system. Lotkaian informetric systems are self-similar fractals, a fact revealed by Mandelbrot (1977) in relation to nature, but is also true for random texts, which exemplify a very special type of informetric system.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/736
DOI: 10.1002/asi.20158
ISI #: 000228634800002
ISSN: 1532-2882
Category: A1
Type: Journal Contribution
Validation: ecoom, 2006
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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