Eugene Garfield

Born: September 16, 1925 | New York City, NY, US
Died: Sunday, February 26, 2017 | Philadelphia, PA, US
Photograph of Garfield Eugene

CHF Collections, Photograph by Douglas A. Lockard

Eugene Garfield begins the interview with a discussion of The Johns Hopkins University Welch Library indexing project. Garfield joined this project in 1951, during which he became involved in machine methods for indexing and searching literature. He worked on automating Current List of Medical Literature and experimented with punched cards and zato coding. He discusses his relationship with Sanford V. Larkey, and his decision to attended library school at Columbia University. After graduating, Garfield joined Smith, Kline & French as a consultant. He eventually set up his own company, DocuMation, Inc., and worked on many projects, including a Genetics Citation Index for the NIH and Management's DocuMation Preview.

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0165
No. of pages: 102
Minutes: 257

Interview Sessions

Robert V. Williams
29 July 1997
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Abstract of Interview

Eugene Garfield begins the interview with a discussion of The Johns Hopkins University Welch Library indexing project. Garfield joined this project in 1951, during which he became involved in machine methods for indexing and searching literature. He worked on automating Current List of Medical Literature and experimented with punched cards and zato coding. During his tenure there, he helped to organize a symposium to demonstrate the project's work, at which he met many pioneering information scientists. Also while at the project, Garfield developed his idea for Contents in Advance. He discusses his relationship with Sanford V. Larkey, and his decision to attended library school at Columbia University. After graduating, Garfield joined Smith, Kline & French as a consultant. He eventually set up his own company, DocuMation, Inc., and worked on many projects, including a Genetics Citation Index for the NIH and Management’s DocuMation Preview. Garfield discusses the development of Current Contents, the growth of his business, and the challenges he encountered. In the 1960s, he launched Science Citation Index, a concept that was later expanded to include other fields of literature. Garfield was also involved in many professional organizations throughout his career, including the Information Industry Association (IIA). He addresses the evolution of his company, Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), his colleagues, and his decision to sell ISI. Garfield concludes the interview with a discussion of his experience with VINITI, changes in library education, and the future role of the Internet.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1948 Columbia University BS Chemistry
1954 Columbia University MS Library Science
1961 University of Pennsylvania PhD Structural Linguistics

Professional Experience

Evans Research and Development Corporation

1949 to 1950
Laboratory Chemist

Columbia University

1950 to 1951
Research Chemist

Johns Hopkins University

1951 to 1953
Staff member, Welch Machine Indexing Project

Eugene Garfield Associates

1954 to 1960
President

Institute for Scientific Information

1960 to 1992
President and CEO
1992
Chairman
1993
Chairman Emeritus

American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T)

1998 to 2000
President

The Scientist, LLC

1986 to 2000
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
2001
President

Honors

Year(s) Award
1953 to 1954

Grolier Society Fellow, Columbia University

1966

Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science

1966

Fellow, Institute of Information Scientists

1975

Award of Merit, American Society of Information Scientists

1977

Hall of Fame Award, Information Industry Association

1977

Herman Skolnik Award, Division of Chemical Information, American Chemical Society

1978

Book Award for Best Information Science Book of 1977

1980

Award, Chemical Notation Society

1983

Patterson-Crane Award, American Chemical Society

1983

John Price Wetherill Medal, Franklin Institute

1984

Derek J. de Solla Price Memorial Medal, Scientometrics

1986

John Scott Award, City of Philadelphia

1987

Distinguished Alumni Award, Columbia University, School of Library Service

1988

Doctor (honoris causa), Vrije University, Brussels, Belgium

1990

Honorary PhD, State University of New York, Albany

1991

Honorary Fellow, Society for Technical Communication

1991

Honorary PhD , Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia

1993

Honorary Fellow, Medical Libraries Association

1993

Honorary Foreign Member, Institute of Marine Biology, Vladivostok, Russia

1993

MD (honoris causa), University of Rome, Tor Vergata, Italy

1995

MD (honoris causa), Charles University, Czech Republic

1999

Avenue of Technology Award, Philadephia, Pennsylvania

2000

Professor Kaula Award for Library and Information Science, India

2007

Richard J. Bolte, Sr., Award for Supporting Industries, Chemical Heritage Foundation

Table of Contents

Welch Indexing Project
1

Producing the Current List of Medical Literature. Efforts at automation. Using the IBM 101. Punched card technology. Welch Conference. Colleagues. Leaving the project.

Beginning a Business
23

Publishing Contents in Advance. Attending library school at Columbia. Forming DocuMation, Inc. Consulting for Smith, Kline & French. NIH grant. Management’s DocuMation Preview. Contract with Bell Labs. Changing name to Eugene Garfield Associates. Current Contents. Working with Claire Schultz. Subscriptions. Copyright difficulties.

Institute for Scientific Information
46

Launching Science Citation Index. Financial problems. Competing with Chemical Abstracts. Index Chemicus. Using the Wiswesser system. Genetics Citation Index. Colleagues at ISI.

User Information
58

Utilization of citation indexes. Database. Interest in a book citation index.

Information Science Organizations
66

NSF grant to Chemical Abstracts Service. Founding of IIA. NFAIS for non-profits.

Conclusion
74

Controversy with Scientific American. Evolution of ISI. Decision to sell ISI. Experience with VINITI. Future of library education. Role of Internet.

Notes
92
Index
94

About the Interviewer

Robert V. Williams

Robert V. Williams is a professor of library and information science at the University of South Carolina. He holds a PhD in library and information studies from the University of Wisconsin, Madison; an MS in library and information science from Florida State University; and an MA in history from New York University. Before joining the University of South Carolina in 1978, he was an archivist and information services manager for the Ford Foundation, and the Georgia Department of Archives and History. Williams has also been an information consultant for many organizations including Appalachian Council of Governments of Greenville, South Carolina, and Pontifical Catholic University Madre y Maestra, Dominican Republic. He came to the Chemical Heritage Foundation as the Eugene Garfield Fellow in the History of Scientific Information in 1997. He is a member of the South Carolina Historical Records Advisory Board, the American Library Association (ALA), and the American Society for Information Science (ASIS), where he served as chair of ASIS History and Foundations of Information Science Special Interest Group in 1994–1995. Williams is also a member of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) and Chair of the SLA Membership Committee. Williams has numerous publications on the historical role of information science.