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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.

Suggested Citation

National Research Council. 1959. Proceedings of the International Conference on Scientific Information: Two Volumes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

1662 pages |  6 x 9 |  DOI:
Chapters skim
Front Matter i-xxiv
Opening Session Address 1-8
Area 1: Literature and Reference Needs of Scientists: Knowledge now available and methods of ascertaining requirements 9-12
Proposed Scope of Area 1 13-18
Study on the Use of Scientific Literature and Reference Services by Scandinavian Scientists and Engineers Engaged in Research Development 19-76
The Transmission of Scientific Information 77-96
An Operations Research Study of the Dissemination of Scientific Information 97-130
Information and Literature Use in a Research and Development Organization 131-162
Methods by which Research Workers Find Information 163-180
Determining Requirements for Atomic Energy Information from Reference Questions 181-188
Systematically Ascertaining Requirements of Scientists for Information 189-194
How Scientists Actually Learn of Work Important to Them 195-198
Planned and Unplanned Scientific Information 199-244
The Use of Technical Literature by Industrial Technologists 245-266
Requirements of Forest Scientists for Literature and Reference Services 267-276
The Information-Gathering Habits of American Medical Scientists 277-286
Use of Scientific Periodicals 287-300
Summary of Discussion 301-312
Area 2: The Function and Effectiveness of Abstracting and Indexing Services 313-316
Proposed Scope of Area 2 317-320
An Evaluation of Abstracting Journals and Indexes 321-350
Analytical Study of a Method for Literature Search in Abstracting Journals 351-376
The Relation Between Completeness and Effectiveness of a Subject Catalogue 377-380
Cost Analysis of Bibliographies or Bibliographic Services 381-392
The Efficiency of Metallurgical Services 393-406
Subject Slanting in Scientific Abstracting Publications 407-428
The Importance of Peripheral Publications in the Documentation of Biology 429-434
Current Medical Literature: A Quantitative Survey of Articles and Journals 435-448
A Combined Indexing-Abstracting System 449-460
A Unified Index to Science 461-474
Lost Information: Unpublished Conference Papers 475-480
International Cooperation in Physics Abstracting 481-490
International Cooperative Abstracting on Building: An Appraisal 491-496
Cooperation and Coordination in Abstracting and Documentation 497-510
On the Functioning of the All-Union Institute for Scientific and Technical Information of the USSR Academy of Sciences 511-522
Summary of Discussion 523-536
Area 3: Effectiveness of Monographs, Compendia, and Specialized Centers: Present trends and new and proposed techniques and types of services 537-540
Proposed Scope of Area 3 541-544
Review Literature and the Chemist 545-570
The Place of Analytical and Critical Reviews in Any Growing Biological Science and the Service They May Render to Research 571-588
Recent Trends in Scientific Documentation in South Asia: Problems of Speed and Coverage 589-604
Scientific Documentation in France 605-612
Scientific, Technical, and Economic Information in a Research Organization 613-648
Summary of Discussion 649-660
Area 4: Organization of Information for Storage and Search: Comparative characteristics of existing systems 661-664
Proposed Scope of Area 4 665-670
Conventional and Inverted Grouping of Codes for Chemical Data 671-686
The Evaluation of Systems Used in Retrieval Systems on Large Electronic Computers 687-698
Experience in Developing Information Retrieval Systems 699-710
Printing Chemical Structures Electronically: Encoded Compounds Searched Generically with IBM-702 711-730
Evolution of Document Control in a Materials Deterioration Information Center 731-762
Retrieval Questions from the Use of Linde's Indexing and Retrieval System 763-770
Classification with Peek-a-boo for Indexing Documents on Aerodynamics: An Experiment in Retrieval 771-802
Summary of Discussion 803-812
Area 5: Organization of Information for Storage and Retrospective Search: Intellectual problems and equipment considerations in the design of new systems 813-816
Proposed Scope of Area 5 817-822
The Basic Types of Information Tasks and Some Methods of Their Solution 823-854
Subject Analysis for Information Retrieval 855-866
The Construction of a Faceted Classification for a Special Subject 867-888
On the Coding of Geometrical Shapes and Other Representations, with Reference to Archaeological Documents 889-902
Subject-Word Letter Frequencies with Applications to Superimposed Coding 903-916
The Analogy between Mechanical Translation and Library Retrieval 917-936
Linguistic Transformations for Information Retrieval 937-950
Linguistic and Machine Methods for Compiling and Updating the Harvard Automatic Dictionary 951-974
The Feasability of Machine Searching of English Texts 975-996
Semantic Matrices 997-1026
Interlingual Communication in the Sciences 1027-1046
An Overall Concept of Scientific Documentation Systems and Their Design 1047-1070
The Possibilities of Far-Reaching Mechanization of Novelty Search of the Patent Literature 1071-1096
Descriptive Documentation 1097-1116
Variable Scope Search System: VS8 1117-1142
The Haystaq System: Past, Present, and Future 1143-1180
A Proposed Information Handling System for a Large Research Organization 1181-1202
Information Handling in a Large Information System 1203-1220
Tabledex: A New Coordinate Indexing Method for Bound Book Form Bibliographies 1221-1244
The Comac: An Efficient Punched Card Collating System for the Storage and Retrieval of Information 1245-1254
Summary of Discussion 1255-1268
Area 6: Organization of Information for Storage and Retrospective Search: Possibility for a general theory 1269-1272
Proposed Scope of Area 6 1273-1274
The Structure of Information Retrieval Systems 1275-1290
The Descriptive Continuum: A 1291-1312
Algebraic Representation of Storage and Retrieval Languages 1313-1326
A Mathematical Theory of Language Symbols in Retrieval 1327-1364
Abstract Theory of Retrieval Coding 1365-1382
Maze Structure and Information Retrieval 1383-1394
Summary of Discussion 1395-1410
Area 7: Responsibilities of Government, Professional Societies, Universities 1411-1414
Proposed Scope of Area 7 1415-1416
Responsibilities for Scientific Information in Biology: Proposal for Financing a Comprehensive System 1417-1428
Responsibility for the Development of Scientific Information as a National Resource 1429-1434
Differences in International Arrangements for Financial Support of Information Services 1435-1440
Training for Activity in Scientific Documentation Work 1441-1488
Training the Scientific Information Officer 1489-1494
Training for Scientific Information Work in Great Britain 1495-1502
The ICSU Abstracting Board: The Story of a Venture in International Cooperation 1503-1516
Creation of an International Center of Scientific Information 1517-1522
An International Institute for Scientific Information 1523-1534
Summary of Discussion 1535-1548
Closing Session 1549-1562
Financial Support 1563-1564
Exhibitors 1565-1566
Roster of Registrants 1567-1606
Index 1607-1638

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