School of Informatics and Computing Menu

Katy Börner, PhD: Mapping Science



Cartographic maps of physical places have guided mankind’s explorations for centuries. They enabled the discovery of new worlds while also marking territories inhabited by unknown monsters. Domain maps of abstract semantic spaces aim to serve today’s explorers in understanding and navigating the world of science (see The maps are generated through the analysis of large-scale scholarly datasets in an effort to connect and make sense of the bits and pieces of knowledge they contain. They can be used to identify objectively major research areas, experts, institutions, collections, grants, papers, journals, and ideas in a domain of interest. Local maps provide overviews of a specific area: its homogeneity, import-export factors, and relative speed. They allow one to track the emergence, evolution, and disappearance of topics and to help to identify the most promising areas of research. Global maps show the overall structure and evolution of our collective scholarly knowledge. This talk will present an overview of the techniques used to study science by scientific means together with sample science maps and their interpretations.


Katy Börner is Victor H. Yngve Professor of Information Science at the School of Library and Information Science, Adjunct Associate Professor of Informatics, Core Faculty of Cognitive Science, and Research Affiliate of the Biocomplexity Institute at Indiana University, Bloomington. She conducts research on the analysis and visualization of user activity data, the mapping of knowledge domains, and the design of cyberinfrastructures and directs the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center (see