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Page 1415 Cite
Suggested Citation:"Proposed Scope of Area 7." 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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PROPOSED SCOPE OF AREA 7

THE TASK OF developing and maintaining effective scientific information services is of such magnitude as to require the resources and cooperation of all organizations with an interest in the progress of science. To varying degrees, governments throughout the world have undertaken to provide, or contribute support to, information centers and services; professional societies and industrial organizations have been active in fostering interest in and support of documentation work in their respective fields. A study of these various programs and the results achieved should furnish important clues as to the other problems involved, the areas in which greater attention is most desirable, the effects of financial support on the character of the services, and the directions in which further probing would seem to offer the highest dividends.1

Compared to the level of production of new scientific information, research on the organization and use of scientific information is now very limited. The belief is widely held that whatever may be the current level of support for scientific information services as such, significant improvements in their effectiveness are not likely to be achieved unless a vastly increased amount of research and development is undertaken in these fields. Accordingly, the following questions need to be asked: If, because of the size of the problem, we must look to national governments predominantly for support, what residual responsibilities remain with the professional societies? Should they not be expected to contribute by identifying the scientific and professional problems (and needs) involved, and to suggest avenues to their solution? Although the professional societies are necessarily concerned with current publication of the results of current research, should they not also be more concerned than at present with assuring the availability of the past literature through the tools of retrospective search? In addition, what is needed to provide unity in documentation research and to overcome present scattering of effort? How can the individual operations of publication, indexing, microfilming, and so forth be brought together and recognized as parts of a whole? How can the professional societies in the various subject disciplines contribute special insights into special problems which may well illuminate fundamental documentational principles in still other disciplines?

1  

The proposed scope of the Conference Area, as shown here, was prepared during the Spring and Summer of 1956 and provided to all potential contributors as a guide to the aims of the Conference.

Page 1416 Cite
Suggested Citation:"Proposed Scope of Area 7." 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 addition to the problems relating to the support of effective scientific information services, and to the problems related to research and development regarding such services, a third problem area may be identified. This is the area of training for activity in scientific documentation work—either in the production of services themselves, or in research to promote their efficiency. We need a survey of the training facilities now available as a basis for calculating the additional facilities required to meet current and future needs.

Suggestions for Conference Papers

  1. Differences in various national and international arrangements for financial support of science information services: relationship of the supporting organizations to such services.

  2. Conditions and methods necessary for promoting research on organization and use of scientific information and on the problems of scientific documentation.

  3. Implications, for training, of the requirements of the science information services and of the needs for research in the problems of scientific documentation.

Page 1415 Cite
Suggested Citation:"Proposed Scope of Area 7." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×
Page 1415
Page 1416 Cite
Suggested Citation:"Proposed Scope of Area 7." National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10866.
×
Page 1416
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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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