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Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes (1959)

Chapter: An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes

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Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
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An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes

MAURICE H.SMITH

The purpose of this investigation is to examine the relation of typical abstract journals and indexes in the physical sciences and engineering to some literature search activities in a basic research situation. The structure of the literature and the characteristics of abstract journals and indexes in relation to its structure are discussed.

Since the work described was carried out at the request of engineers and scientists, and was accomplished with their close cooperation, it is hoped that their needs will be reflected to some extent in the results. The remarks of engineers and scientists on the problems of literature searching and of keeping abreast of their fields and locating information are included in the discussion informally.

All the work described has been done at the James Forrestal Research Center of Princeton University. The principal research programs involved are in the fields of jet propulsion, low-speed aerodynamics, gas dynamics, and flight dynamics of helicopters and other airborne vehicles. Some literature search work has been concerned with aspects of research programs in chemical kinetics, metallurgy, and engineering phases of nuclear physics programs.

The location in 1951 of the University’s Department of Aeronautical Engineering and its laboratories at the Forrestal Center, five miles from the campus, caused the establishment there of its departmental library, which was merged with the collection of reports known as the Project Squid Library. Project Squid, a cooperative project in jet propulsion, has its headquarters at the Forrestal Research Center. The two merged collections were augmented by interested members of the faculty who gave sets of chemistry and physics journals, and became the Forrestal Research Center Library (9). It is one of the special collections of the Princeton University Library.

The presence of the research programs in the scientific fields required that the more commonly used journals and books in chemistry, physics, and applied

MAURICE H.SMITH The James Forrestal Research Center, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey.

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

mathematics should be available. The book and periodical collections at the end of 1957 included approximately 60 per cent basic science material and about 40 per cent aeronautical engineering material. Eighty journals are received, and the collection includes about 2000 books and 1600 volumes of periodicals.

The collections of reports include about 30,000 separate security unclassified titles, and approximately the same number of reports on microcards received from the Armed Services Technical Information Agency. Aeronautical engineering is strongly represented, with fewer reports in the basic sciences, including about 1000 atomic energy reports.

The card catalogs cover books and reports by subjects and authors. Separate papers in the proceedings of congresses and similar collected volumes are indexed.

Because of the existence elsewhere in the University Library system of departmental libraries, the collection at Forrestal must be selective. The selection of materials for purchase is made by the faculty, and is based also on research demands. There is a Library Committee which advises on major acquisition and operating problems. The Committee at present includes two aeronautical engineering professors, the chief engineer of the jet propulsion projects, a recent doctoral graduate associated with jet propulsion research, a metallurgist, two nuclear physicists, and an engineer associated with nuclear research. All major research areas are represented.

Literature searches and data presented

Literature search requests are made on behalf of research projects. The report on results may be a stack of assembled material, a typed list, or an offset printed bibliography with abstracts, and author, subject, and source indexes.

The usual procedure is to assemble the references on 5 by 8 inch cards which accommodate abstracts or notes. In recent cases the means by which the reference was located is recorded on this card in a suitable brief manner. In the Appendix will be found the cases selected for use as basic data.

It is felt that the diversity of requests and of ways to satisfy them is reflected to some extent in the 50 cases presented in this paper. There is one previous paper in the literature (3) containing a smaller sample of bibliographies compiled, which approaches the problems of literature search in a somewhat similar manner.

The fifty cases will be seen to group themselves into three general types, which may be designated as comprehensive, intermediate, and brief. Their grouping begins with compilations requiring weeks of time, on behalf of more

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

than one person, usually including abstracts, usually printed by offset, and usually equipped with indexes of authors, subjects, and possibly report sources. The number of references may be as few as about 70, or as many as 350, which is approximately the upper limit for a modest service to undertake. The group of comprehensive cases (1 through 10) answers to this general description.

The intermediate group (cases 11 through 37), are less complete, were usually accomplished in days rather than weeks, usually have no abstracts, may have been done for either a group or an individual, usually are typewritten, but may be duplicated by Ditto or other informal method, or may be recorded only on cards or in manuscript note form. The great variation within the intermediate group is further indicated by the number of references, ranging from a half dozen to more than 100. Two cases, 11 and 28, dealing respectively with Taylor Instability and with Tables of Kelvin Functions, were felt to be reasonably complete at the time of compilation. For the most part, however, the intermediate group represents only the best results obtainable within a limited amount of time.

The final group of cases (38 through 50) consists of some instances of brief searches for specific information, solved fairly rapidly. The number of references in these is small, ordinarily not exceeding 25, and more often less than 10. The records are never more formal than a typed memorandum, and frequently are much less formal than that.

It is perhaps appropriate to mention that the mechanics of recording literature search work is similar to that of making research notes, and is equally important in the conduct of the work. Entire searches can evaporate without methodical recording. In the sample used in the present study, Cases 23, 34, 40, and 46 were never formally summarized, except in periodic reports on literature search work. Details of cases 23 and 34 were reconstructed from memory for the purposes of the present study.

Types of literature and their use

The greater part of the literature represented in the sample of cases consists of articles in journals publishing original research, and technical research reports. A third category is articles in collected volumes of papers, such as the proceedings of congresses and symposia, commemorative volumes, survey volumes, and annual review volumes.

In 15 cases readily assessed for the types of literature represented in them, there were recorded 601 journal articles, 1048 reports, 208 articles from collected volumes, 17 books and 43 of such types of literature as engineering society preprints, dissertations, and patents.

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

These figures are indicative only as a representation of the use of research materials by research personnel. They reflect the fact that the literature recorded in these particular examples consists of these proportions of types of literature. The point made is that journals alone obviously do not carry the research load, that they should not carry it, and that the entire spectrum of the recorded available literature must be considered in relation to information problems.

For a more realistic view of the actual use of the principal types of scientific and technical literature, reference is made to Table 1, “Unclassified Items on Loan, November 22, 1957.” Attention is called to the limitations of this sample

TABLE 1 The Forrestal Research Center Library of the Princeton University Library: Unclassified Items on Loan, November 22, 1957

 

Books

Periodicals

Reports

Total

Aeronautical engineering

Graduate students

104

 

13

 

86

 

203

 

Faculty

71

17

174

262

Subsonic

22

11

288

321

Helicopter and instrumentation

79

31

117

227

Gas dynamics

75

29

103

207

Jet propulsion

75

13

195

283

Total

 

426

 

114

 

963

 

1503

Matterhorn

185

 

32

 

31

 

248

 

Metallurgy

22

10

9

41

Organic chemistry

33

7

40

Mathematics

7

4

11

Accelerator

36

36

Total

 

283

 

49

 

44

 

376

Campus students

18

 

3

 

31

 

52

 

Campus faculty

3

10

27

40

Other campus

3

5

8

Total

 

24

 

13

 

63

 

100

Outside interlibrary loans

 

 

9

 

76

 

85

Totals

 

733

 

185

 

1146

 

2064

of use. It does not distinguish clearly between the use of types of literature for teaching and study, compared with research. It is impossible to do so because of the participation of graduate students and professors in research programs, and the participation of research associates in curricular pursuits, both in classroom courses and in laboratory study. Nor can it show the use of atomic energy report material by nuclear energy projects, received directly by them, the use of the University’s other departmental libraries in chemistry, engineering, and physics, nor the use of the general collections of the University Library.

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

It does reflect a pattern of use which has been fairly constant since 1951: that is, a heavy use of books compared with the use of journals by research personnel, a very high use of reports by research personnel, and a high density of items per person in aeronautical engineering (an average of about 18 items per person).

In relation to abstract journals, a distinction between published and unpublished reports is perhaps useful. The report literature is new in recent years only in relation to its quantity (4), for it has been in existence for some time. In the aeronautical field, it has been the chosen form of publication by the national research laboratories from the beginning. Some examples of numbered series of long standing are:

France. Ministère de l’Air: Publications Scientifiques et Techniques. 1930 to date.

Great Britain. Aeronautical Research Council: Reports and Memoranda. 1909 to date.

U.S. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics: Reports. 1915 to date.

These are priced, published reports. Many series are not priced, but are widely enough distributed and readily enough available from the source that they are considered to be published reports. For example, the Technical Notes of the U.S. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics have long been indexed in the Engineering Index and the Aeronautical Engineering Review; and the Information Circulars and the Reports of Investigations of the U.S. Bureau of Mines have been included in Chemical Abstracts, as are at present many reports of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. The distinction between published reports and unpublished reports is one of reasonable availability and reasonable price. Many atomic energy reports are available from the U.S. Office of Technical Services at reasonable prices and therefore can be considered published material. The same is true of some reports of agencies of the U.S. Department of Defense. But considerable quantities of reports are available generally only through the U.S. Office of Technical Services at microfilm and photostat prices and, for this reason, are considered to be unpublished material. They are of course available free to contractors of the Government who require them, but the body of less-known material in report form is formidable (1, 4) and is capable of being missed to some extent because of the complication of its bibliographic control.

It will bear repeating in relation to types of literature that the entire spectrum of primary source materials, including journals, reports both published and unpublished, engineering society preprints, dissertations, masters’ theses, patents, manufacturers’ bulletins and translations, must be looked for at one time

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

or another in a basic research situation; and many of them must be stocked as a matter of routine. Secondary sources, including books and trade journals, play a more important part than might be supposed.

Special mention should be made of an increasing type of primary and secondary source material which often requires systematic direct examination. Collected volumes of papers, whether an annual review volume, the proceedings of a congress, or a commemorative volume, are on the increase in both the book and the report literature. The papers vary considerably in quality, but frequently the author’s contribution is available only in this form. The abstract journals, understandably, are likely to cover them late. The Engineering Index and the Aeronautical Engineering Review list their contents but do not abstract the papers. In the work described in this paper, access to this type of literature has been largely through the library catalog and by direct examination.

Some examples of this type of book are the review volumes, such as Advances in Applied Mechanics, Advances in Catalysis, Annual Review of Nuclear Science, Annual Review of Physical Chemistry, and Reports on Progress in Physics; the proceedings of such congresses as the International Congress of Applied Mechanics, Midwestern Conference on Fluid Mechanics, Heat Transfer and Fluid Mechanics Institute, National Electronics Conference, Japan Congress of Applied Mechanics, U.S. National Congress of Applied Mechanics, Symposium (International) on Combustion, Anglo-American Aeronautical Conference, or the various conferences of the Advisory Group for Aeronautical Research and Development (AGARD) of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Some more esoteric examples are:

Actes du Colloque International de Mecanique, Poitiers, 1950. Published in Publications Scientifiques et Techniques du Ministère de l’ Air, Paris, Nos. 248, 250, and 251 (1951).

Memoirs sur la Mecanique des Fluides offerts à M.Dmitri P.Riabouchinsky. Published in Publications Scientifiques et Techniques du Ministère de l’ Air, Paris, Hors Serie, 1954.

Boundary Layer Effects in Aerodynamics. Proceedings of a symposium held at the National Physical Laboratory, March 31 and April 1, 1955. London, H.M. Stationery Office, 1955.

Relation of abstract journals and indexes to literature searching

The results of 41 of the 50 cases would have been impossible without the use of abstract journals and indexes. In 6 of 10 comprehensive bibliographies,

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

containing 1047 references, 537, or 51 per cent, were identified through abstract journals and indexes. In 12 of 27 intermediate cases, containing 188 references, 130, or 69 per cent, were located through abstract journals and indexes; and 100 per cent of the references in 9 of 13 brief searches were located by this means.

Judgment must be used on which abstract journals or other bibliographies are likely to be productive, or whether some other approach is more appropriate for a particular case. It appears from the evidence that other techniques must be combined with the judicious use of abstract journals and indexes for the greatest possible efficiency.

For certain types of information, it is more efficient to use other sources and techniques entirely, such as asking authoritative persons, direct examination of likely items and, above all, the location of one or more review articles, one or more recent articles having bibliographies, an existing bibliography bearing on the subject, a treatise, a monograph, or a dissertation. In cases 40 and 41, for example, somebody was asked. In cases 14, 15, 18, 19, 23, and 26, the literature was consulted directly; and in case 16 there was some use of bibliographies after the greater part of the literature had been recorded by direct examination of the principal available journals and congresses in the field of the inquiry, astronautics.

It will be noted that several of the 50 cases fall in fields which are of interest to more than one discipline. For example, case 1, Origin of Turbulence, and Related Subjects, has engaged the interest of physicists, mathematicians, chemists, chemical engineers, mechanical engineers, aeronautical engineers, and meteorologists. Case 6, on the atomic rocket and nuclear propulsion, has interested nuclear physicists, chemical engineers, and aeronautical engineers. Case 7, on liquid ozone-oxygen mixtures as rocket oxidizers, has interested chemists and aeronautical engineers. Case 11, Taylor Instability, has interested physicists, nuclear physicists, chemists, and aeronautical engineers. Such interests by both scientific and engineering disciplines naturally are reflected in the literature and will require the use of abstract journals and indexes accordingly. This accounts in part for the use of two or more sources in 9 of the 10 comprehensive searches, 13 of the 27 intermediate searches, and in one of the brief searches.

Another more serious reason for using more than one source is that the information may lie in a field which is too new for its literature to be under complete control, or the type of literature involved is not widely available and is not under complete control. The publishing lag for abstracts is a contributing factor. Case 4 perhaps illustrates these points in the field of helicopters, or case 5, on vertical take-off and landing aircraft. A number of cases illustrate the importance of the report literature which has been previously discussed.

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

It would seem that duplications will always exist among abstract journals as long as they index the same material on behalf of disciplines which have overlapping interests. Duplications on thermodynamic properties (case 7), for example, may be expected between Chemical Abstracts, Physics Abstracts, and various engineering sources. Wide duplication may be expected among scientific and engineering abstract journals and indexes in such fields as fluid mechanics (cases 1, 8, 11), and combustion (cases 7, 17, and 22).

Some comments of engineers

Discussion of the results of some of the completed work with the persons who requested it brought out some interesting points. There was a general disinterest in discussing finished business, especially in comprehensive cases which had already taken up considerable of the engineer’s time during their compilation.

There was considerable interest in the date when certain of the searches (cases 3, 7, and 8) would be finished, and whether there was anything new since progress on them had last been discussed.

An electronics engineer who had received two articles in bound volumes (case 49) had found some useful information in the one which arrived promptly. The other arrived a day later. He could not see why it would be on his desk and sent it back.

Another electronics engineer pointed out that he had combined and greatly enlarged the bibliographies of cases 25 and 26, Correlation Analyzers and Power Spectrum Analysis. Case 25 had not been done at his request, but he had acquired a copy. This engineer made the valuable suggestion in relation to case 50 that the searcher should insist upon a full definition of the problem, and should not begin unless there is sufficient information. The references first submitted in case 50 were useless because the problem had been too broadly stated. The British report mentioned in the description of the case had evidently been located through intuition, as there was no way of knowing from the request that it would be the exact kind of thing needed. Insistence upon a clear understanding of exactly what the inquiry is about, and the purpose for which it is to be used, is of course essential to an efficient approach to the problem (7). In the 50 cases, the titles are those of the inquirers and they were stated very clearly at the time of the inquiry, with suggestions on possible authors, laboratories, and sometimes with several sample references. A more exact definition had to be obtained in case 49, Magnetic Clutches for Servomechanisms, and one of the two inquiring chemists in case 9, on the water-gas reaction, amplified and clarified the original question.

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

It will be clear that the literature searching described is only a part of a body of activity involving some 200 professional scientists and engineers. Most of them maintain bibliographical files of some kind, and personal collections of books, reports, files of professional and trade journals, photostats of articles, reprints, preprints, and correspondence. A senior professor of the caliber to give invited papers at international or national congresses and symposia will of course have a larger collection than a junior colleague of more modest attainments, but all have some kind of personal collection.

One chemist, two electronic engineers, and eight aeronautical engineers were asked informally about their personal methods of keeping up to date and of finding information.

The chemist, six aeronautical engineers, and both electronics engineers felt that the location of one or more reliable recent journal papers or reports was their most frequent method of finding information. Six aeronautical engineers mentioned use of NACA Research Abstracts (U.S. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics), and five used also that organization’s Index of NACA Technical Publications. Two mentioned Applied Mechanics Reviews, one mentioned Mathematical Reviews, and one who used both of these mentioned the usefulness of International Aeronautical Abstracts, published since January 1956 in the Aeronautical Engineering Review. The chemist regularly uses Chemical Abstracts, and felt that no other abstract journal could equal it in breadth of coverage, quality of subject and auxiliary indexing, and general excellence. He mentioned its author and title indexes. One aeronautical engineer felt that the titles of papers in the author index would save considerable of his time. One aeronautical engineer who uses the Bulletin Signaletique du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique felt that none of other sources he consults could match its coverage. He was a strong proponent of the value of meetings and conferences, not so much for the material on the program as for the opportunity to talk with colleagues. Three other aeronautical engineers made special mention of the value of contacts with colleagues in this manner.

The two electronics engineers valued Electrical Engineering Abstracts highly. One used NACA Research Abstracts and certain company library accessions lists, in addition to the Forrestal Research Center Library accessions list. Three aeronautical engineers also mentioned the library accessions list.

All were agreed that there is no procedure applicable to all problems of information. One aeronautical engineer felt that abstract journals were too time-consuming. He maintains an extensive card file, and spoke of the usefulness of the German perforated card service issued previous to World War II by the Zentrale für Wissenschaftliches Berichtswesen über Luftfahrtforschung (ZWB).

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

While no conclusions are attempted on such a small body of evidence in regard to the information-gathering habits of scientists and engineers, the impression from the body of experience reported in this paper is that senior engineers of great attainments are indistinguishable from scientists of like age and experience in this respect. Both appear to react the same to complex and inadequate bibliographic apparatus. Both are likely to ask for help when confronted with a problem outside their immediate fields involving such apparatus, and both appear to have a full knowledge of the values of the literature from long exposure to it. The most analytical of scientists has declared himself helpless when confronted with a time-consuming bibliographic task on top of a busy schedule, and the most empirical of engineers has demonstrated complete analytical powers when supplied with a few starting points. It is difficult to generalize on the matter (6).

Coverage, quality of abstracts, and subject indexes

The three qualities of abstract journals and indexes which are most difficult to evaluate are coverage, quality of abstracts, and subject indexes.

There is no definite proof in the present paper that any specific abstract journal lacks coverage in its field, that its abstracts are lacking in quality, or that its subject indexes are inadequate. The detailed checking and analysis required to make such evaluations are outside the scope of the paper.

The user of abstract journals and indexes must believe that the information is there to be found, provided that a realistic diagnosis of the information problem has been made, and provided that the problem is approached with a reasonable knowledge of what each abstract journal or index claims to cover. Occasionally, the results will be negative, or a single abstract journal will not do what can be done by using two or three.

For example, the inquirer in case 1, Origin of Turbulence, was interested in a paper by Hermann Schlichting on the subject. The particular paper desired was “Uber die Theorie der Turbulenzentstehung,” in Forschung auf dem Gebiete des Ingenieurwesens, v. 16, No. 3, 1949/1950, pp. 65–78. No index appears to have picked it up, and it was located eventually by going back through the bound volumes of the journal.

In the same case, all the sources consulted together did not turn up all of the 11 papers on the subject by L.Sackmann. One was located by direct examination of one of the three volumes of the Actes du Colloque International de Mecanique, published in the numbered series of Publications Scientifiques et Technique du Ministère de l’ Air in 1951. Certain of the papers published in 1947 and 1948 in Comptes rendus were recorded by no abstract journal or index.

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

In another case, not one of the 50 of the present paper, some work by the British scientist, P.C.Thonemann, was of interest. A list of eight journal articles, six letters to the editor, and one research report was compiled. The procedure was to check Nuclear Science Abstracts, 1948 through December 15, 1956, Physics Abstracts, 1944 through November 1956, and Chemical Abstracts, 1943 through November 15, 1956. These turned up six, five, and four items, respectively. No attempt was made to see how many of the total of 15 were covered by Physics Abstracts or Chemical Abstracts. The point is that all three must be searched for a reasonable assurance of completeness. Special mention should be made of the general acceptance of Chemical Abstracts as the most comprehensive journal of its kind.

If the structure of the literature is considered, Chemical Abstracts leads the way with systematic coverage of books, congresses, journals, patents, published reports, published translations, patents, dissertations, and a certain amount of unpublished material. Nuclear Science Abstracts includes all these, as well as unpublished reports and translations. It is perhaps less comprehensive on dissertations, as principally those accomplished under Atomic Energy Commission projects are believed to be included. It should be noted that foreign atomic energy reports and reports of nuclear interest from non-Atomic Energy Commission sources are covered by Nuclear Science Abstracts.

The Aeronautical Engineering Review-Aeronautical Engineering Index includes the entire spectrum of the literature except dissertations and patents. Applied Mechanics Reviews is similar in coverage of various types of literature, but is a critical review and is much more selective on unpublished material. The Engineering Index does not cover dissertations, patents, and unpublished reports and translations, and is selective toward the practical side in its coverage of published material, as Applied Mechanics Reviews is selective toward the analytical side. Electrical Engineering Abstracts, Physics Abstracts, and Mathematical Reviews would not be expected to cover dissertations, patents, or very much unpublished material.

The quality of abstracts may be partly evaluated by external evidence. Abstracts signed with the full name and country of the abstractor (Applied Mechanics Reviews, Mathematical Reviews) or by the full name or initials of the abstractor, with a frequently published list of abstractors (Chemical Abstracts), afford a good prognosis. The evaluation of the work abstracted by the specialist abstractor in Applied Mechanics Reviews is especially useful. The inclusion of some signed abstracts with a preponderance of authors’ abstracts is characteristic of Nuclear Science Abstracts and the two parts of Science Abstracts (Physics Abstracts and Electrical Engineering Abstracts). When abstracts are staff-written, as in the case of the Engineering Index, they are uniform but are descriptive

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

rather than analytical. The staff-written abstracts of the Aeronautical Engineering Review are probably based upon the authors’ abstracts. They vary from full treatments to descriptive phrases. The author abstracts in International Aeronautical Abstracts, contained in the Review, are uniform.

The author abstracts in NACA Research Abstracts are sometimes condensed. The author or contractor abstracts in the Technical Abstract Bulletin (U.S. Armed Services Technical Information Agency) are very full, as are those in the earlier Technical Information Pilot (U.S. Library of Congress. Navy Research Section). The author abstracts in Dissertation Abstracts are very full. The author or contractor abstracts of U.S. Government Research Reports are uniform and adequate.

Comprehensiveness leads to great size, and when the subject index is of great excellence, its compilation is correspondingly delayed. Chemical Abstracts would seem to be now in a dilemma caused by two of its characteristics which set a very high standard (2). A prompt excellent subject index and comprehensive coverage are not compatible as judged by the Chemical Abstracts operation.

The subject indexes of Applied Mechanics Reviews, Nuclear Science Abstracts, Physics Abstracts, Electrical Engineering Abstracts, and Mathematical Reviews are prompt and are invaluable to the user. It is felt that mathematicians do not make heavy use of subject indexes. This was confirmed by one aeronautical engineer of strong mathematical bent. The subject index of Physics Abstracts has been called inadequate (8).

The Engineering Index is in itself an excellent subject index. It is increasingly late in appearing. In 1942 it was likely to arrive in May of the following year. In 1957 it was likely to arrive in August. The Aeronautical Engineering Index is made up from the abstracts included in the Aeronautical Engineering Review each month, which are classified by a compromise between broad and detailed subjects. The Aeronautical Engineering Index for 1956 has been announced for May 1958. Beginning in January 1956, the Review contains International Aeronautical Abstracts, an offset printed insert on yellow paper of abstracts of original research contributions, both reports and journal articles. The less selective regular letter-press printed abstracts have appeared as usual. There is duplication between the two sets of abstracts, the letter-press abstracts appearing a month or so later.

The Technical Abstract Bulletin contains a subject index in each issue, announced to be cumulated semi-annually. The subject index to U.S. Government Research Reports appears every six months. The Technical Information Pilot had a subject index in each issue, and cumulated subject indexes without abstracts were issued for the years 1948, 1949, 1950, and 1951, appearing rather

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

late. NACA Research Abstracts has no indexes, but the Index of NACA Technical Publications appears annually, without abstracts. The Title Announcement Bulletin, replaced by the Technical Abstract Bulletin, had no subject indexes and no abstracts.

Some additional abstract journals and indexes

For various reasons, certain indexes have been omitted entirely from the discussion of this paper, or have been mentioned only briefly.

Two of these are card services. The weekly card service of the Engineering Index, available in subject categories at various prices, was rejected by the Forrestal Research Center Library Committee, on the basis of cost and of interest in a more selective attention to basic research material. For similar reasons, the weekly (or more frequent) card index of the Pacific Aeronautical Library of the Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences was rejected, as was the Industrial Arts Index, announced to be issued in 1958 in two parts, science-technology and business.

The Translation Monthly (the John Crerar Library and the Special Libraries Association), including material formerly covered by the discontinued Bibliography of Translations from the Russian Scientific and Technical Literature (U.S. Library of Congress), is mentioned here because of its importance in the literature spectrum.

There is no mention in the paper of the array of Russian abstract journals, as there is no basis of experience by the writer upon which to discuss them.

Dissertation Abstracts has been mentioned only sparingly. The Monthly List of Russian Accessions (U.S. Library of Congress) has been mentioned even less. These are available in other parts of the Princeton University Library and have occasionally been used to supplement the general abstract journals and indexes.

Conclusions

The importance of abstract journals and indexes in a basic research situation is considered to be proved. Other techniques of searching cannot supplant their use, and there is no substitute for them as matters stand now (5). A specialized information center must use them as a basis for setting up a codified body of knowledge (10). Of eight principal abstract journals and indexes discussed in the paper, six are published by scientific and technical societies. What follows is a suggested standard for abstract journals, offered in the belief that societies have demonstrated an interest in professional standards (11) and are concerned with their maintenance. There is strong evidence that government and private agencies have similar interests.

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

Coverage, quality of abstracts, and subject indexes have been discussed in the body of the paper. The more mechanical characteristics of abstract journals are added to these in the proposed standard. There is no intention of implying, however, that quality is a mere mechanical matter. It may seem that some characteristics suggested for a standard are mutually exclusive, for example strong coverage and a prompt subject index. Such problems have been at least partially solved, and the fact that they are difficult seems to be no reason for not stating them.

Coverage of all the published and unpublished information within the field it claims to cover is suggested as a standard to aim for. Chemical Abstracts offers the best example of thoroughness in this respect, but Nuclear Science Abstracts is very realistic in its coverage of both published and unpublished material. Chemical Abstracts issues every five years a list of journals and other serial material covered, with their locations in libraries. Photostat copies of articles may be obtained by the members of the American Chemical Society through a special service. Nuclear Science Abstracts calls attention to the system of depository libraries set up by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission for its reports, and releases quantities of reports to the U.S. Office of Technical Services for general sale. Both journals indicate sources and prices for out of the way material, such as dissertations and reports. Staff-produced publications, such as the Aeronautical Engineering Review and the Engineering Index, are based upon libraries maintained for the use of members of the supporting society or the cooperating societies.

The abstracts should be analytical, describing theoretical or experimental parameters, results in physical, numerical, or chemical terms, methods and apparatus when new, references in the same abstract journal to closely related work, conclusions, and including an evaluation by the abstractor. The abstracts would combine, therefore, the best features of the abstracts in Chemical Abstracts, Applied Mechanics Reviews, the Technical Abstract Bulletin (ASTIA), and Mathematical Reviews. All abstracts would be signed. Frequently published lists of abstractors are desirable.

Subject indexes should be issued semi-annually (Nuclear Science Abstracts) and cumulated annually (Applied Mechanics Reviews; Chemical Abstracts; Electrical Engineering Abstracts; Mathematical Reviews; Nuclear Science Abstracts; Physics Abstracts). Cumulated subject indexes for suitable periods are desirable (Decennial indexes of Chemical Abstracts).

Author indexes should be supplied with each issue (Applied Mechanics Reviews, Chemical Abstracts, Electrical Engineering Abstracts, Mathematical Reviews, Nuclear Science Abstracts, Physics Abstracts) and annually. It is desirable to cumulate author indexes also semi-annually (Nuclear Science Abstracts) and at intervals of

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

several years (decennial indexes of Chemical Abstracts). It is especially desirable to include the titles of papers in each author index, as is done by Chemical Abstracts, Electrical Engineering Abstracts, Mathematical Reviews, and Physics Abstracts.

Corporate author or report source indexes, cumulated in the same manner as personal name author indexes, are desirable when required by the material covered, as is done by Nuclear Science Abstracts and as is announced by the Technical Abstract Bulletin.

Auxiliary indexes, additional to the usual author and subject indexes, are governed by the kinds of material covered by the abstract journal. For example, Chemical Abstracts added a formula index in 1920, and a numerical patent number index in 1935. Nuclear Science Abstracts includes numerical indexes of report numbers. U.S. Government Research Reports includes indexes of PB numbers, which are accession or report ordering numbers, and of Atomic Energy Commission report numbers. The Technical Abstract Bulletin includes indexes of AD accession or report ordering numbers.

The recommended frequency for an abstract journal is semi-monthly (Chemical Abstracts, Nuclear Science Abstracts), rather than monthly.

An internal arrangement of abstracts according to a detailed classification system is most helpful. Physics Abstracts and Electrical Engineering Abstracts follow this practice, using the Universal Decimal System. Chemical Abstracts has good internal arrangement of like materials.

Bibliographical form should include, for journals, the full title of the article, the author or authors, the title of the journal in a standard recognizable abbreviation, volume, number or date of issue, year, and inclusive pages (Electrical Engineering Abstracts; Physics Abstracts; Nuclear Science Abstracts; Applied Mechanics Reviews; Engineering Index). Chemical Abstracts omits the month of issue. The Aeronautical Engineering Review has varied in both abbreviations and the inclusion of volume numbers and inclusive pages. At present, volume numbers are omitted. For reports, the bibliographical description should include the title, author or authors, issuing agency, series, report number, date of issue, and pages. Abbreviations of the names of agencies or series should be easily recognizable if abbreviated.

All abstracts should be numbered, for ease of indexing and finding. However, Chemical Abstracts has an excellent system of reference to specific fractions of each column for ready finding.

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

REFERENCES

1. BINNINGTON, JOHN P. The Integration of Report Literature and Journals. American Documentation, v. 3, August 1952, pp. 149–152.

2. CRANE, E.J., PATTERSON, AUSTIN M., and MARR, ELEANOR B. A Guide to the Literature of Chemistry. 2nd ed. New York, John Wiley & Sons, 1957. Chapter 10. Procedure in Literature Searches.

3. EVANS, ELMA. Reference Use of the Collection and Its Catalogs. American Documentation, v. 3, August 1952, pp. 146–149.

4. FRY, BERNARD M. Library Organization and Management of Technical Reports Literature. Washington, D.C., Catholic University of America Press, 1953. 140 pp.

5. GRAY, DWIGHT E. General Problems of Information Services. Special Libraries, v. 48, September 1957, pp. 313–320.

6. HERNER, SAUL. Information-Gathering Habits of Workers in Pure and Applied Science. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry, v. 46, January 1954, pp. 228–236.

7. LOWRY, W.KENNETH. Trends in United States Documentation Research. Special Libraries, v. 48, October 1948, pp. 364–366.

8. MILEK, JOHN T. Abstracting and Indexing Services in Electronics and Related Electrical Fields. American Documentation, v. 8, January 1957, pp. 5–21.

9. SMITH, MAURICE H. The James Forrestal Research Center Library. The Princeton University Library Chronicle, v. 16, No. 1, Autumn 1954, pp. 23–28.

10. TOULOUKIAN, Y.S. A Thermophysical Properties Research Center for the Collection, Correlation and Dissemination of Data and Information. American Rocket Society. Preprint No. 469–57, August 26–28, 1957. 27 pp.

11. VAN ANTWERPEN, F.J. Professional Societies and Professional Standards. Special Libraries, v. 48, July–August, 1957, pp. 251–254.

PRINCIPAL ABSTRACT JOURNALS AND INDEXES DISCUSSED

Aeronautical Engineering Index. 1947 to date.

New York, Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences.

Aeronautical Engineering Review. 1942 to date.

New York, Institute of the Aeronautical Sciences.

Applied Mechanics Reviews. 1948 to date.

New York, American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Chemical Abstracts. 1907 to date.

Columbus, Ohio, American Chemical Society.

Electrical Engineering Abstracts. (Section B of Science Abstracts.) 1903 to date.

London, Institution of Electrical Engineers.

Engineering Index. 1884 to date.

New York, Engineering Index, Inc.

Mathematical Reviews. 1939 to date.

Providence, R.I., American Mathematical Society.

Nuclear Science Abstracts. 1948 to date.

(U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.) Washington, D.C., U.S. Government Printing Office.

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

Physics Abstracts. (Section A of Science Abstracts.) 1903 to date.

London, Institution of Electrical Engineers.

Index of NACA Technical Publications. 1915–1949, 1949–June 1951, May 1951–June 1953, and annually.

Washington, D.C., U.S. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

NACA Research Abstracts. June 15, 1951 to date.

Washington, D.C., U.S. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

Technical Abstract Bulletin. September 1, 1957 to date.

Arlington, Va., U.S. Armed Services Technical Information Agency.

Technical Information Pilot. 1948–June 2, 1953.

Washington, D.C., U.S. Library of Congress, Technical Information Division, Navy Research Section. No more published.

Title Announcement Bulletin. March 13, 1953–July 1, 1957.

Dayton, Ohio, U.S. Armed Services Technical Information Agency. No more published.

U.S. Government Research Reports. 1946 to date.

Washington, D.C., U.S. Office of Technical Services (Department of Commerce).

APPENDIX. Case histories

CHECKLIST OF CASES
  1. Bibliography on the Origin of Turbulence and Related Subjects

  2. Bibliography on Boundary Layer Control

  3. Boundary Layer Control. Supplement

  4. Bibliography on Helicopter Handling Qualities, Stability and Control, and Performance

  5. Bibliography on VTOL and STOL Aircraft

  6. Bibliography on the Atomic Rocket and Nuclear Propulsion

  7. Liquid Ozone-Oxygen Mixtures as Rocket Oxidizers

  8. Heat Transfer in Oscillating Flow

  9. Mechanics and Kinetics of the Water-Gas Reaction

  10. Wind Tunnel and Flight Testing of Rotors, Especially for Helicopter Stability

  11. Taylor Instability

  12. Helicopter Instrument Flying

  13. Automatic Pilots for Helicopters

  14. Influence on Lift of Vortex Shedding by Long Slender Bodies in Subsonic Flow

  15. Drag of Submerged or Semi-Submerged Bodies in Water at Low Speeds

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×
  1. Flight Mechanics

  2. Combustion of Fuel Sprays

  3. Calculation of Induced Velocities (Downwash) of Supersonic Wings in Steady Flow

  4. Calculation of Pressure Distribution on Sweptback Wings at Subsonic Speeds

  5. Radial Inflow Turbines

  6. Turboprops

  7. Detonation in Gases and in Liquid and Solid Propellants

  8. Poisoning of Combustion Catalysts

  9. Automatic Temperature Controls for a Laboratory Furnace

  10. Correlation Analyzers (Apparatus Only)

  11. Power Spectrum Analysis

  12. Reduction of Noise in the Reception of Pulse Signals by Auto-Correlation Techniques

  13. Tables of Kelvin Functions for a Wide Range of Frequencies

  14. Low-Frequency High-Powered Radio Transmitter

  15. Mechanical Problems of Heavy Coil Windings

  16. Properties of Kovar and Fernico

  17. Colored Smoke Production

  18. Ram-Jet Combustion and Turbojet Combustion

  19. Thrust Reversal

  20. Inertial Navigation

  21. Optical Tooling

  22. Dielectric Properties, Decomposition Products, and Toxicity of Sulfur Hexafluoride

  23. Kinetics of Dissociation of CO2

  24. Air Pollution from Incomplete Combustion of Hydrocarbons

  25. Shock Tube as a Chemical Research Tool

  26. Sonic Flow in Small Orifices

  27. Scintillation Counters—Design and Applications

  28. Torquing of Stainless Steel Bolts

  29. Welding of Stainless Steels

  30. High-Temperature Wrap-Around Heat Insulating Material

  31. Ferrites

  32. Electroforming

  33. Speech-Band Compression

  34. Magnetic Clutches for Servomechanisms

  35. Carrier Current Amplifiers

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

1. Bibliography on the Origin of Turbulence and Related Subjects. Literature Search No. 13, April 1957. 126 pp.

Source

Reports

Journals

Conferences

Total

Applied Mechanics Reviews

6

24

4

34

ASTIA Title Announcement Bulletin

17

 

 

17

ASTIA abstract cards

16

 

 

16

Physics Abstracts

 

13

 

13

NACA Research Abstracts

7

 

 

7

Chemical Abstracts

 

7

 

7

Brown University, Summaries on Compressible Flow

6

 

 

6

Engineering Index

 

2

 

2

Nuclear Science Abstracts

1

 

 

1

Card catalogs

2

2

 

4

Total

55

48

4

107

From the literature

35

51

6

92

Direct examination

22

20

43

85

Total

57

71

49

177

Unaccounted for

8

15

2

25

Books, dissertations, films

20

 

 

20

Total

 

 

 

329

This search was requested by a chemical engineering professor, and its undertaking was supported by two aeronautical engineering professors. Newly discovered information was sent to the requesting person as the search progressed, and there was considerable contact with the interested group during the course of the search, with beneficial exchanges.

2. Bibliography on Boundary Layer Control. Literature Search No. 6, January 14, 1955. 111 pp.

The basis for this bibliography was a collection of reports and reprints in the files of the requesting aeronautical engineering professor, and material in the Library. No existing bibliography covered the literature in the manner desired, especially for the period 1950–1954. Personnel of the research project in this field, as well as the directing professor, were in continual touch throughout this compilation, supplying references, advising on specific problems and encouraging its rapid completion. References were included from 12 bibliographies. The results of related searches on the electric analogy, the electrolytic tank, injection pumps and experimental techniques, especially flow visualization, were incorporated into the bibliography. Of 311 references included, 224 were reports, 72 were from journals, 9 were from congresses, and 2 each were books, preprints and dissertations.

Systematic searches were made of Applied Mechanics Reviews, 1950–Oct. 1954; Engineering Index, 1950–1953; Physics Abstracts, 1950–Oct. 1954; Mathematical Reviews, 1950–Oct. 1954; Aeronautical Engineering Index, 1950–1953; Technical Information Pilot (Library of Congress, Technical Information Division), 1950–June 2, 1953; Title Announcement Bulletin (Armed Services Technical Information Agency), March 13, 1953–Oct. 1954; and Index of NACA Technical Publications, 1915–May 1954. Records were not kept of the sources from which specific references were taken, but

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

each of the sources searched produced something. Applied Mechanics Reviews was especially useful for foreign publications. The Monthly List of Russian Accessions (Library of Congress) was searched with negative results.

3. Boundary Layer Control. Supplement. On Cards, In Progress, January 1958.

Source

Reports

Journals

Conferences

Total

NACA Research Abstracts

135

 

 

135

Applied Mechanics Reviews

15

19

 

34

ASTIA Title Announcement Bulletin

12

 

 

12

Pacific Aeronautical Index ’55

 

11

 

11

NACA Indexes

7

 

 

7

Physics Abstracts

 

3

 

3

Aeronautical Engineering Review

 

2

 

2

Chemical Abstracts

 

1

 

1

Battelle Technical Review

 

1

 

1

U.S. Government Research Reports

7

 

 

7

Total

176

37

 

213

NACA-ONR bibliography on cards

42

 

 

42

Direct examination

26

7

36

69

From the literature

11

7

1

19

ASTIA microcards

5

 

 

5

Card catalog

2

 

 

2

Total

86

14

37

137

4. Bibliography on Helicopter Handling Qualities, Stability and Control, and Performance, July 1953–February 15, 1956. Literature Search No. 10, February 15, 1956. 22 pp.

Types of Literature

Reports

Preprints

Journals

Congresses, etc.

Books

Total

115

5

43

24

1

188

SOURCES USED

Title Announcement Bulletin (Armed Services Technical Information Agency), July 3, 1953–February 3, 1956.

NACA Research Abstracts (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics), July 1953–January 1956.

Index of NACA Technical Publications, June 1953–May 1955.

U.S. Government Research Reports, July 1953–January 1956.

Applied Mechanics Reviews, January 1954–January 1956.

Engineering Index, 1953 and 1954.

Aeronautical Engineering Review, January 1954–January 1956.

United Aircraft Corporation. Library. Index to Current Technical Publications, January 3, 1955–February 13, 1956.

Princeton University. Forrestal Research Center. Library. Acquisitions, January 5, 1955– February 5, 1956.

Also the Library card catalog; abstract cards from the Armed Services Technical Information Agency, and microcards from the same source.

This search was requested by an aeronautical engineering professor. The original aim was to present all the new information available on helicopter handling qualities, taking up where existing bibliographies left off. This was promised for February 15,

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

1956, just three weeks from the date of the request, and was delivered on that day.

Discussion during the search with other research group personnel working in the field of helicopter stability and control led to a broadening of the scope of the search, as the title indicates. The time limitation precluded more than the bibliographical description of each item. No abstracts could be included.

Time spent on the search was not measured. However, one of the three weeks was taken up with typing and printing, leaving two weeks in which to compile the search, or approximately 80 working hours. It is doubtful if as much as 40 hours of compilation time were required.

5. Bibliography on VTOL and STOL Aircraft. Literature Search No. 12, January 1957. 56 pp.

Source

Reports

Journals

Conferences

Total

ASTIA Title Announcement Bulletin

29

 

 

29

NACA Research Abstracts

18

 

 

18

Aeronautical Engineering Review

1

13

 

14

Pacific Aeronautical Index ’55

 

13

 

13

Applied Mechanics Reviews

5

6

 

11

Forrestal Research Center Acquisitions List

 

4

 

4

United Aircraft Corp. Index

2

4

 

6

Battelle Technical Review

 

1

 

1

Engineering Index

 

1

 

1

Total

55

42

 

97

Direct examination

23

13

15

51

From the literature

30

2

32

Total

53

15

15

83

This search was requested by an aeronautical engineering professor on behalf of a research group. Trade journal descriptive material on specific aircraft was included. References unaccounted for in the table were largely identified through ASTIA abstract cards, ASTIA microcards, and library card catalogs.

6. Bibliography on the Atomic Rocket and Nuclear Propulsion. Literature Search No. 11, February 10, 1957. 33 pp.

Source

Reports

Journals

Conferences

Total

Nuclear Science Abstracts

14

6

 

20

Aeronautical Engineering Index

 

17

 

17

Engineering Index

 

5

 

5

United Aircraft Corp. Index

 

5

 

5

NACA Indexes

3

 

 

3

ASTIA Title Announcement Bulletin

3

 

 

3

Chemical Abstracts

 

2

 

2

Aeronautical Engineering Review

1

 

 

1

NACA Research Abstracts

1

 

 

1

Forrestal Research Center, Acquisitions List

 

1

 

1

Total

22

36

 

58

Direct examination

2

18

9

29

From the literature

1

10

2

13

Total

3

28

11

42

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

Two aeronautical engineering professors and the chief engineer of the jet propulsion research group requested this search. While original research papers were emphasized, the bibliography includes some trade journal material and some reports on equipment.

7. Liquid Ozone-Oxygen Mixtures as Rocket Oxidizers. On cards. In progress, January 1958.

Source

Books

Journals

Reports

Congresses

Patents

Dissertations

Total

Chemical Abstracts

 

34

 

1

6

2

43

Physics Abstracts

 

2

 

2

Total

 

36

 

1

6

2

45

From the literature

1

5

1

 

 

1

8

Direct examination

2

4

5

2

1

 

14

ASTIA visit

 

 

2

 

 

 

2

Meeting program

 

 

 

11

 

 

11

Forrestal Research Center Library Acquisitions

 

2

 

2

Title Announcement Bulletin (ASTIA)

1

 

1

Total

4

11

8

13

1

1

38

This will be a revised and expanded edition of Literature Search No. 8, May 20, 1955. It was requested originally by an aeronautical engineering professor, and the current work is done under the guidance of the chief engineer of jet propulsion projects.

8. Heat Transfer in Oscillating Flow. On cards. In progress, January 1958.

By arrangement with the project leader, an engineer of the project is examining and evaluating all material for this search. A previous literature search on this subject was issued in 1955 (Literature Search No. 7).

The new material available since that time, and some older material not in the earlier search, includes 19 items of direct interest. Of these items, one each was located through the Engineering Index, Nuclear Science Abstracts, Physics Abstracts, and Dissertation Abstracts. The remaining 15 items were derived from direct examination or from authors’ citations.

Of 32 other evaluated titles to be included, Chemical Abstracts produced 1; Engineering Index, 4; Nuclear Science Abstracts, 3; Applied Mechanics Reviews, 2; Physics Abstracts, 5; Dissertation Abstracts, 2. The remaining 15 were located by direct examination or through authors’ citations.

There remain about 150 journal papers and reports to be evaluated.

9. Mechanics and Kinetics of the Water-Gas Reaction, 1903–March 10, 1953. Literature Search No. 5, March 18, 1953. 12 pp.

This search was requested by a research chemist, in the words of the title. Some German work new to him was found through Chemical Abstracts, but the search did not progress further, because of pressures elsewhere.

A succeeding chemist brought references familiar and useful to him, rephrased the

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

problem to include “the carbon monoxide steam reaction,” and communicated frequently throughout until the search was finished.

Two doctoral dissertations and 25 journal references were discovered through Chemical Abstracts; and 34 journal references and 10 books were added from references cited in the literature, by direct examination or directly from the requesting chemist. Abstracts were provided for about half the items, partly in consultation with the chemist, partly on the judgment of the searcher.

10. Wind Tunnel and Flight Testing of Rotors, Especially for Helicopter Stability. Literature Search No. 3, October 27, 1952. 17 pp.

The period since 1945 was emphasized. The request was made by an engineer with a helicopter project. The sources searched systematically were the Engineering Index, Aeronautical Engineering Index, Aeronautical Engineering Review, Applied Mechanics Reviews, NACA Research Abstracts, and Technical Information Pilot (Library of Congress, Technical Information Division). The bibliography included 98 reports, 41 journal papers, and 16 papers in proceedings of congresses. No records were kept of the sources from which specific items were derived.

11. Taylor Instability. December 1957.

The point of entry into the literature was the card catalog under “Taylor Instability,” locating Atomic Energy Commission reports of 1952 and later. From references in these, the original Taylor paper of 1950 was located. Subsequently, references were located, as follows:

Source

Reports

Journals

Total

Originally located in card catalog

9

 

9

Nuclear Science Abstracts, 1950 to date

4

 

4

Physics Abstracts, 1950 to date

 

2

2

Direct examination of current journal by the inquirer

 

1

1

From the literature

2

10

12

Total

15

13

28

One book (Lamb’s Hydrodynamics) was also referenced in the literature. Nuclear Science Abstracts picked up certain AEC reports of 1952 and 1953 in 1956. The inquirer was a professor of aeronautical engineering. Estimated searching time, 3 hours. The abstract journals were searched last in this case.

12. Helicopter Instrument Flying. November 1957.

Source

Reports

Journals

Conference proceedings

Total

Engineering Index, 1950 to date

3

1

 

4

Aeronautical Engineering Index, 1950–1955

 

3

 

3

Aeronautical Engineering Review, 1956–Oct. 1957

 

3

 

3

Direct examination­­

 

2

 

2

From the literature

 

1

 

1

Card catalog

 

 

2

2

From previous brief search

3

 

3

6

Total

6

10

5

21

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

Estimated time, 2 hours. Effectiveness: no new information expected or found. Work discontinued at suggestion of inquirers. Requested by a helicopter test pilot and an electronics engineer. Work carried out simultaneously with search on Automatic Pilots for Helicopters.

13. Automatic Pilots for Helicopters. November 1957.

Source

Reports

Journals

Conference proceedings

Total

Engineering Index, 1950 to date

 

4

 

4

Air University Periodical Index

 

4

 

4

Aeronautical Engineering Index

 

3

 

3

Title Announcement Bulletin

1

 

 

1

Previous brief search

2

1

1

4

Direct examination

 

3

 

3

From card catalog

 

 

2

2

Total

3

15

3

21

Estimated time, 2 hours. Effectiveness: no new information expected or found. Work discontinued at suggestion of inquirers. Requested by a helicopter test pilot and an electronics engineer. Work carried out simultaneously with search on Helicopter Instrument Flying.

14. Influence on Lift of Vortex Shedding by Long Slender Bodies in Subsonic Flow. September 1957.

A paper in the Journal of the Aeronautical Sciences for June 1957, containing 18 references, and an unclassified paper in a classified conference volume of 1956, containing 25 references, were located by direct examination. These were considered to have essentially the bibliography. However, NACA Technical Note 1662, in the hands of the requesting aeronautical engineering professor, turned up two additional journal references. Estimated time, about 3 hours. Work discontinued at the suggestion of the requestor. Of approximately 10 references pertaining to the subsonic regime located by the means described, about 5 were used intensively. Only NACA indexes and the card catalog were scanned.

15. Drag of Submerged or Semi-Submerged Bodies in Water at Low Speeds. April 1956.

The point of entry into the literature was through direct examination of publications of the David W.Taylor Model Basin and of articles in the Aeronautical Engineering Review. These turned up 3 reports and one article, which produced much of the bibliography. James L.G.FitzPatrick’s Bibliography on Flapping Wing Flight (1950) produced 13 more references. Subsequent searches of the Zoological Record and Biological Abstracts for recent years turned up only known references. The requesting aeronautical engineering professor was provided with reprints of articles by another professor, and work was discontinued at the suggestion of the requestor. Estimated time, about 6 hours.

16. Flight Mechanics. October 6, 1957. 18 pp.

Two aeronautical engineering professors requested a bibliography on flight mechanics, to be representative rather than exhaustive, and to cover such subjects as

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

Orbits and Trajectories of Rockets and Missiles and Transfer between Orbits.

To accomplish this in a relatively short time, three journals were examined directly: Astronautica Acta, Jet Propulsion, and the Journal of the British Astronautical Society. In addition to these the available proceedings of International Astronautical Congresses were examined. The bibliography was built up principally from these sources, together with authors’ references in them. Use was made also of about the last two years of the Aeronautical Engineering Review, the Abstract section of the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, and the latest Index of Publications of the Rand Corporation. About 100 references were included, without abstracts.

At the request of the senior professor, a supplement was prepared, consisting largely of books on advanced dynamics and some astronautical titles.

17. Combustion of Fuel Sprays. Typewritten. July 20, 1954, 11 pp. July 22, 1954. 5 pp.

The requesting aeronautical engineering professor was interested in recent work, especially recently declassified material. The lists as submitted covered the period 1950 to date. Principal sources were NACA Research Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts, the Penn State Bibliography on Sprays, 2nd ed., January 1953, and the Aeronautical Engineering Review, together with various authors’ citations. About 115 references were included.

18. Calculation of Induced Velocities (Downwash) of Supersonic Wings in Steady Flow. Typewritten. November 16, 1951. 2 pp. Supplement, November 19, 1951. 1 p.

An aeronautical engineering professor made this request. The two lists were compiled by direct examination of recent files of NACA, British and Douglas Aircraft Company reports and the Journal of the Aeronautical Sciences. References cited by various authors were added. The two lists included respectively 21 and 10 references.

19. Calculation of Pressure Distribution on Sweptback Wings at Subsonic Speeds. Typewritten. March 5, 1952. 2 pp.

An aeronautical engineering professor made this request. Several reports, both American (NACA) and British were assembled by going through the reports for the last two years, then checking through the authors’ bibliographies. The complete typed list included 19 references.

20. Radial Inflow Turbines. Literature Search No. 1, September 17, 1952. 2 pp.

An aeronautical engineering professor requested this search, which had to be quick. About 20 references were included, largely from two papers by W.T.von der Nuell and O.E.Balje, both published in 1952. The Engineering Index, Applied Mechanics Reviews, Aeronautical Engineering Index, Aeronautical Engineering Review, and NACA Research Abstracts were used also.

21. Turboprops. Literature Search No. 2, September 18, 1952. 6 pp.

The requesting aeronautical engineering professor was interested in the basic problems to be solved. Descriptive data were not of interest. About 55 readily available reports and journal articles were located through the Aeronautical Engineering

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

Index, Aeronautical Engineering Review, Engineering Index, Applied Mechanics Reviews, and the National Bureau of Standards Circular 509 (1951), which is a bibliography by Fiock and Halpern.

22. Detonation in Gases and in Liquid and Solid Propellants, 1948 to 1953. (Completed February 13, 1953).

The bibliography was compiled at the request of an aeronautical engineering professor for a quick survey of the literature for the last five years. About 90 references were obtained through Chemical Abstracts, Physics Abstracts, Applied Mechanics Reviews, and the Engineering Index. No record of the sources which produced specific references was kept.

23. Poisoning of Combustion Catalysts. January 1957.

This inquiry came from an electronics engineer interested in the mechanism of the poisoning reaction. The literature was entered through some reports of the Hydrogen Peroxide Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, previously familiar, and by going through the annual review volumes, Advances in Catalysis, where the review paper by E.B.Maxted was found in the 1951 volume. From the bibliographies in these sources, the original work of Coward and Guest (J. Amer. Chem. Soc., v. 49, Oct. 1927, pp. 2479–2486) and by Guest (U.S. Bureau of Mines Technical Paper No. 475, 1930), were found. AGARDograph No. 7, “Introduction to the study of chemical reactions in flow systems,” by S.S.Penner (1955) was added. The inquirer selected the papers by Coward and Guest, Maxted, and one MIT report and later requested the 1930 Bureau of Mines paper by Guest. The searching time was slightly under one hour.

24. Automatic Temperature Controls for a Laboratory Furnace. 1952.

A list of 17 references was compiled from Chemical Abstracts, Engineering Index, Physics Abstracts, and Nuclear Science Abstracts. The investigator, a metallurgist, selected 8 of these and studied them. He was interested in designing a low-cost control. The professor in charge of the laboratory returned from out of town and decided they would buy a suitable control, as there was not time to design and build one. Chemical Abstracts and the Engineering Index were the most useful sources, each accounting for half of the references used.

25. Correlation Analyzers (Apparatus Only). June 1957.

Source

Reports

Journals

Congresses, etc.

Theses

Total

Physics Abstracts

 

5

 

5

Engineering Index

2

2

Electrical Engineering Abstracts

3

3

Total

10

10

From the literature

3

6

2

4

15

The requesting person was an electronics engineer with a nuclear physics project. The object was to get a quick review of the known types of equipment. A typed list was submitted the following day, and the papers immediately available were assembled. Approximately three hours of compiling time were spent.

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

26. Power Spectrum Analysis. June 1957.

A list of 18 references was compiled and the material assembled for inspection by the inquiring electronics engineer. The literature was entered through direct examination of NACA Technical Notes by J.M.Eggleston, and the AGARD Flight Test Manual; and the bibliography was compiled from references cited by various authors. Three titles were of interest for immediate use: Wiener (1949), Tukey (1949), and Lee (1950).

27. Reduction of Noise in the Reception of Pulse Signals by Auto-Correlation Techniques. October 1957.

The literature was entered through the Engineering Index in the presence of the requesting electronics engineer, under such subjects as Radio circuits—noise; Radio equipment—noise; Radio detectors; and Radio communication. Subsequently 11 references to journals were located for the years 1955 and 1956, and about half of these were selected for use. Work was discontinued at the suggestion of the requestor. Estimated searching time, 1 1/2 hours.

28. Tables of Kelvin Functions for a Wide Range of Frequencies. June 1957.

This request, from an engineer with a nuclear physics project, was investigated through the Fletcher, Miller, and Rosenhead Index of Mathematical Tables; Mathematical Tables and Other Aids to Computation, v.1, 1943 to v.11, January 1957; Mathematical Reviews, 1954-March 1957; and Davis, Bibliography and Index of Mathematical Tables, 1949. Results beyond those recorded in Bateman and Archibald’s “Guide to Tables of Bessel Functions,” MTAC, v.1, July 1944, pp. 205–308, were few. Pressure of other work since the matter was investigated has prevented further search. However, in January 1958 one of the tables found, published in 1954 (Bull. Soc. Roy. Sci. Liège, v.23, pp. 52–59), was requested.

29. Low-Frequency High-Powered Radio Transmitter. 1955.

Of 7 references located through the Engineering Index and 4 through the Electrical Engineering Abstracts (1947 to date), the requesting electrical engineer selected 3 for study. The estimated searching time was 2 hours.

30. Mechanical Problems of Heavy Coil Windings. September 1957.

This was requested by an electrical engineer. While a bibliography of 18 references was obtained through the Engineering Index, 1947 through 1956, only one item was actually obtained and submitted: W.Querfurth, “Coil Winding,” Chicago, G. Stevens Manufacturing Co., 1954. It was considered adequate, together with information obtained on trips by the inquirer. Estimated time, 2 hours. Work discontinued with approval of the inquirer.

31. Properties of Kovar and Fernico. January 1956.

Some 14 items were collected for the use of the requesting engineer with a nuclear physics project, through Physics Abstracts and Chemical Abstracts, published between 1935 and December 1955. Data on the desired electrical and magnetic properties were not located. A manufacturer’s bulletin obtained by the requestor was the best single reference.

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

32. Colored Smoke Production. September 18, 1953.

This search was conducted in Chemical Abstracts, 1935 to date. Abstracts were provided of the three journal articles and seven patents turned up. The inquiring aeronautical engineering professor was not interested in more than these.

33. Ram-Jet Combustion and Turbojet Combustion. February 6, 1953. 3 pp.

An aeronautical engineering professor requested a quick three-year survey of the principal contributions in these two fields. The sources used were the Aeronautical Engineering Review, Aeronautical Engineering Index, and the Engineering Index. Recent NACA and British reports were examined directly. Authors’ citations were used in the usual manner. 12 references on ramjet combustion and 17 on turbojet combustion were submitted.

34. Thrust Reversal. April 1954.

Material for this inquiry by an aeronautical engineering professor was located in recent issues of aeronautical news magazines and by use of the Aeronautical Engineering Review, the United Aircraft Corporation weekly index, and the Air University Periodical Index. Eight articles were assembled.

35. Inertial Navigation. October 1956.

The inquiring person was a civil engineering professor. The principal source was the Aeronautical Engineering Review. The inquirer wished to see all of the 12 articles listed.

36. Optical Tooling. November 1956.

The inquiring person was a civil engineering professor. The principal sources were the Aeronautical Engineering Review and the Engineering Index and a visiting lecturer in aeronautical engineering. Of 10 articles located, the inquirer wished to see all.

37. Dielectric Properties, Decomposition Products, and Toxicity of Sulfur Hexafluoride. April 15, 1955.

A list of 24 references was submitted to the inquiring engineer with a nuclear physics project. 6 of the immediately available papers were selected by him for study. Chemical Abstracts was the only source used, and only to the end of 1953. The search was completed by the inquiring engineer for more recent publications.

38. Kinetics of Dissociation of CO2. August 1957.

Seven published papers were examined. One of these (Journal of Chemical Physics, v.23, May 1955, pp. 902–908), based upon a doctoral dissertation, contained the mechanism of the dissociation, and a continuation (same journal, v.26, June 1957, pp. 1727–1733) contained a confirmation of the mechanism. The inquiring chemist accepted these and desired no other literature. Chemical Abstracts was used.

39. Air Pollution from Incomplete Combustion of Hydrocarbons. October 1957.

The inquiring chemist (Ph.D.) was “familiar with chemical sources, not with others.” While he selected five references to 3 journals and 2 international conferences from the Engineering Index, several articles were located by direct examination

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

of the SAE Transactions for 1955, and the article on “Smokes and Fumes” in the Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. Work was discontinued after subsequent location of information in current issues of the SAE Journal.

40. Shock Tube as a Chemical Research Tool. January 1953.

This request came from an aeronautical engineering professor. Inquiry was made of a physical chemist, who confirmed that little was available on the subject except a recent letter to the editor in the Journal of Chemical Physics (v.19, Oct. 1951, p. 1313), and possibly a recent paper in the Journal of Applied Physics (v.23, Dec. 1952, pp. 1390–1399).

41. Sonic Flow in Small Orifices. 1954.

Actually, the two papers which satisfied this inquiry by a chemical engineer were sufficiently identified by a chemist who had mentioned them. Both were published in the Review of Scientific Instruments (v.20, Jan. 1949, pp. 61–66, and v.21, Jan. 1950, pp. 25–30). Other references supplied were not of interest, as the orifices were too large.

42. Scintillation Counters—Design and Applications. October 29, 1957.

For this inquiry from an engineer with a nuclear physics project, two recent books were supplied, and pages were copied by Verifax from the Engineering Index, 1953–1956. These were sufficient for the time being.

43. Torquing of Stainless Steel Bolts. 1956.

An electrical engineer with a nuclear energy project requested this information. A few aeronautical sources supplied some immediate information (Handbook of Instructions for Aircraft Designers; SAE Special Publication No. SP-23), and three articles were located through the Engineering Index. The most satisfactory information was obtained from the Industrial Fasteners Institute: “Torquing of Non-ferrous and Stainless Steel Bolts,” Fasteners, v.9, No. 5, 1954, pp. 3–7, also located through the Engineering Index. About one hour was needed for this search.

44. Welding of Stainless Steels. 1956.

The request came from an engineer with a nuclear physics project. The Engineering Index produced 6 likely references in a quick search over the years 1952–1955. Two of these, a handbook on welding and a book on stainless steels were used.

45. High-Temperature Wrap-Around Heat Insulating Material. 1955.

One reference was obtained by the requesting electrical engineer through the Engineering Index while the searcher located two Atomic Energy Commission Reports through Nuclear Science Abstracts. The engineer said he found information on whom to get in touch with through these three references, and work was discontinued.

46. Ferrites. (General Information) 1955.

This inquiry came from an electrical engineer with a nuclear physics project. Pages of the Engineering Index listing the literature for three years were copied by

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×

Verifax and sent to him, and he selected two or three articles which supplied the information. A metallurgist was supplied with a bibliography in the same way at his request.

47. Electroforming. August 1957.

The requesting engineer is with a nuclear physics project. Five articles were assembled, and two books were obtained. The principal sources were the Engineering Index and library card catalogs.

48. Speech-Band Compression. January 1958.

Requested by an electronics engineer, to cover only literature published since January 1957, on electronic apparatus. Principal source, suggested by the requestor, was the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Seven titles of abstracts and one article were recorded. Five of the abstracts of papers presented and one patent were of interest. These revealed work by two industrial laboratories, two universities, and one Air Force laboratory, under one Army and two Air Force contracts. A subsequent search of Physics Abstracts for the year 1957 turned up no additional material. This search was conducted within 15 minutes, as Physics Abstracts arranges material under Vibration and Acoustics according to the universal decimal system, and all pertinent abstracts to the question would bear the numbers 534.78 or 534.781. The search of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America required 30 minutes, with the index in the December 1957 issue. Work was discontinued at the suggestion of the inquirer.

49. Magnetic Clutches for Servomechanisms. January 1958.

The requesting electronics engineer defined the field exactly, having first asked for a few articles on magnetic clutch applications. He had checked in some books without results. Sufficient information was found in two articles (Electronics, v.22, Nov. 1949, pp. 100–103; and Tele-Tech, v.11, Sept. 1952, pp. 90 plus) through the Engineering Index under Clutches, magnetic. It will be noted that better results for this particular purpose were obtained at dates near the date of the first appearance of the magnetic clutch (1948).

50. Carrier Current Amplifiers. September 8, 1953.

Five references were submitted to the inquiring electronics engineer, all from Electrical Engineering Abstracts, 1946 to date. The best information was found later, in British R & M No. 2627, September 1947, “Electronics Applied to the Measurement of Physical Quantities.”

Suggested Citation:"An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
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Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes Get This Book
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The launch of Sputnik caused a flurry of governmental activity in science information. The 1958 International Conference on Scientific Information (ICSI) was held in Washington from Nov.16-21 1958 and sponsored by NSF, NAS, and American Documentation Institute, the predecessor to the American Society for Information Science. In 1959, 20,000 copies of the two volume proceedings were published by NAS and included 75 papers (1600 pages) by dozens of pioneers from seven areas such as:

  • Literature and reference needs of scientists
  • Function and effectiveness of A & I services
  • Effectiveness of Monographs, Compendia, and Specialized Centers
  • Organization of information for storage and search: comparative characteristics of existing systems
  • Organization of information for storage and retrospective search: intellectual problems and equipment considerations
  • Organization of information for storage and retrospective search: possibility for a general theory
  • Responsibilities of Government, Societies, Universities, and industry for improved information services and research.

It is now an out of print classic in the field of science information studies.

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