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?
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
Differences in various national and international arrangements for financial support of science information services: relationship of the supporting organizations to such services.
Conditions and methods necessary for promoting research on organization and use of scientific information and on the problems of scientific documentation.
Implications, for training, of the requirements of the science information services and of the needs for research in the problems of scientific documentation.