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What is the status of the Montessori Bibliography Online?

I periodically like to take stock of the content included within the bibliography in order to do a general audit of the data and also to get a snapshot of the entire dataset. Generally, I focus on 5 areas:

  • Type of entry
  • Language of content
  • Year of publication
  • Available or unavailable in digital form
  • Tagged or untagged

For the most part the scope of these categories are self-evident, however there are some nuances to consider. Type of entry refers to the type of material – journal article, book, book section, et cetera – in which the citation references. Language of content refers to the language(s) which the referenced document is written. In some cases a document may be written in one or more languages. Year of publication is pretty self-evident, this refers to the year in which the document was published. In some cases the date of publication is unknown or unidentified so this field is left empty. Available or unavailable in digital form refers to whether the document is accessible digitally from a reputable and reliable source. This includes content that is freely available as well as content available behind a paywall. Finally, tagged or untagged refers to whether I have completed a basic level of cataloging of the content. As I add content to the database I attempt to assign relevant tags – this has been a challenge to maintain.

As of January 31, 2023 – 41,943 unique entries in the Montessori Bibliography Online

Type of entry

Book3,6198.63 %
Book section2,6576.33 %
Journal or magazine article32,53777.57 %
Manuscript of archival collection4241.01 %
Newspaper article1,1032.63 %
Thesis or dissertation1,0802.57 %
Other5231.25 %
Accurate as of January 31, 2023.
“Other” is a combination of types which individually make up less than 1.0% of the entire dataset. These types include: Audio recording, Blog post, Conference paper, Dictionary entry, Document, Encyclopedia article, Interview, Patent, Presentation, Report, Video recording, and Web page.

Language of content

Dutch3,3287.92 %
English26,46962.98 %
French5691.35 %
German2,7956.65 %
Hungarian2980.71 %
Italian5,73513.65 %
Japanese8622.05 %
Spanish5171.23 %
Swedish2280.54 %
Other1,2282.92 %
Accurate as of January 31, 2023.
“Other” is a combination of languages which individually make up less than 0.5% of the entire dataset. These languages include: Afrikaans, Arabic, Bosnian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Galician, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Icelandic, Indonesian, Korean, Lithuanian, Malay, Marathi, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Tamil, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Uzbek, Vietnamese, and unidentified.
Some of the referenced materials include more than one language.

Year of publication

View larger version
Accurate as of January 31, 2023.

Available or unavailable in digital form

Available13,90733.16 %
Unavailable28,03666.84 %
Accurate as of January 31, 2023.

Tagged or untagged

With keywords14,75335.17 %
Without keywords27,19064.83 %
Accurate as of January 31, 2023.

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How many articles in the Bibliography are peer reviewed?

“How many articles in the Montessori Bibliography Online are peer reviewed?” This is the question that a number of individuals have posed to me. After considerable evaluation and problem solving I was able to identify an approach to collate this information and a method for recording it within entries of the database.

The method I employed to determine whether a magazine or journal article is from a peer reviewed publication initially relied on the following steps:

  • Determine ISSN for publication and add it to applicable entries in the database.
  • Determine Peer Review status of publication and demarcate peer reviewed sources within the database.

It may be of interest to know that I utilize Zotero to organize and catalog all of the entries within the Montessori Bibliography Online and I use a plugin called Zutilo to perform some more advanced operations.

Determine ISSN

In order to identify the ISSN for publications referenced in all of the article entries I relied on three resources: ISSN PortalUlrichsweb, and WorldCat. Once an ISSN was identified, I added it to the applicable entries in the database (in the “ISSN” field of Zotero). Not all publications will have an ISSN: some publications pre-date the ISSN standard, other publications have not applied for an ISSN. I am operating under the impression that all peer reviewed publications will have an ISSN.

Approximately 77% (31,842) of all entries in the Montessori Bibliography Online are magazine/journal entries and I was able to identify ISSNs for 61% (19,564) of these entries. These article entries are from 1,694 (based on ISSN) or 2,636 (based on publication title) unique publications. This discrepancy is due to the fact that not all publications have ISSNs and a publication can have the same ISSN but then change title.

Determine peer review status

After identifying the ISSN for as many entries as possible, the next step was determining the review status of the publications. In order to achieve this I relied on a few methods. Firstly, I consulted Ulrichsweb which indicates if publications are peer reviewed (aka “refereed”). Additionally, I consulted publication websites to see how they present their review process. It’s important to note that “peer review” is generally synonymous with double-blind review, blind review, and refereed. Once I determined whether a publication employed peer review or not I added this demarcation to the applicable entries in the database.

This specifically resulted in repurposing the “journalAbbreviation” field in Zotero to capture the peer review status data. Therefore, if I was able to determine that a publication is peer reviewed then a “Yes” was added to the “journalAbbreviation” field in the respective database entries.

Peer review statistics

As of January 5, 2023, 1,776 of magazine/journal article entries in the database are from peer reviewed publications. These peer reviewed articles come from approximately 880 unique publications (884 by unique title, 876 by unique ISSN).

5.58% of all article entries are from peer reviewed sources.

9.08% of all article entries with an ISSN are from peer reviewed sources.

The chronological distribution of all peer review article entries in the Montessori Bibliography Online (as of Jan 5, 2023).

The chart above indicates a clear exponential upward trajectory beginning in the early 2000s. This sharp increase is likely in part due to changes in scholarly communication – such as the introduction of electronic/online journals – during the past 20 to 40 years. Other similar factors also may partially explain this uptick. Thus, it’s difficult to say whether this trend indicates an increase in research related to Maria Montessori and/or Montessori education.


These numbers may under-represent the actual figure because determining peer review status of historical publications or publications which are no longer in print is quite difficult. All this to say, I’m not sure if any meaningful conclusions can be drawn from these figures, but I think it at least provides some insight into the Montessori Bibliography Online dataset.

Regardless, now that this data has been captured within the database it can be displayed in records on the search results page. For any article that is from a peer reviewed source, the record will include a “Peer Reviewed” label as illustrated in the image below.

Any article entry that is from a peer reviewed publication now has a “Peer Reviewed” label included at the head of the entry.

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New year… New beginnings… News section

Happy New Year! With a new year comes new beginnings. In that vein I am pleased to introduce a new section – a News section – on the site. In this section I will provide periodic updates about the Montessori Bibliography Online and any other related information. Some of the updates I’m excited to share: statistics about the overall number of entries/citations in the database; the chronological distribution of entries/citations; a breakdown of different types of entries (articles, books, etc.).

I’m excited to introduce this News section where I can share updates and news with you.