A. J. Meadows

Born: January 24, 1934 | Sheffield, GB

A. J. Meadows discusses his reasons for studying both astronomy and the history of science, and how that led to his appointment in both departments at the University of Leicester. Meadows also comments on his initial interest in information science, later establishing two centers for communication studies, and becoming associated with the Institute for Information Scientists [IIS], the Library Association [LA], and Aslib. He then discusses online communication's impact on information science with the example of BioMedNet and the e-print system, his relationship with Donald  J. Urquhart, and the definition of the words information," "documentation," and "library. "   "

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0206
No. of pages: 27
Minutes: 109

Interview Sessions

W. Boyd Rayward
29 June 2000
Loughborough University, Loughborough, England

Abstract of Interview

A. J. Meadows begins the interview with a discussion of his early employment at the University of Illinois. He reveals why he studied both astronomy and the history of science, and how, through his knowledge of both those subjects, he was appointed to those departments simultaneously at the University of Leicester. Next, Meadows discusses his initial interest in information science, which led him to establish two centers for communication studies. Further, he details particular studies undertaken at those centers, and the results. Then, Meadows discusses his various relationships with the Institute for Information Scientists (IIS), the Library Association (LA), and Aslib. He details the merger between the IIS and the LA, and the significance of Aslib's research department. Subsequently, Meadows discusses online communication's impact on information science, and vice versa. As examples, he explains the creation and growth of BioMedNet and the e-print system. Also, Meadows describes his relationship with Donald J. Urquhart. In conclusion, Meadows talks about the various peaks of information science, and ponders the definition of the words “information,” “documentation,” and “library.“ 

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1957 University of Oxford BS Physics
1959 University of Oxford MS Physics
1959 University of Oxford PhD Astronomy
1965 University College London MSc History and Philosophy of Science

Professional Experience

University of Leicester

1965 to 1986
Professor, history of science and astronomy

Loughborough University

1986 to 2001
Professor, information science department

Honors

Year(s) Award
1996

Hon DSc, City University London

1996

Permanent Vice President, Library Association

Table of Contents

Early Employment
1

First job at the University of Illinois. Parallel work in astronomy and the history of science. Derek Price. Initial interest in information science. The impact of computers on information. Belver C. Griffith. The Centre for Primary Communications. Short-termism. Mechanisms of quality control.

Early Work in Information Science
5

Studies on the take-up of results. Pure research versus applied research. The Institute of Information Scientists. Working on the research committee at Aslib. Working for the Library Association. The merger between ISS and the LA. The difference between the FID and the IFLA. Comparative study of communication in science and history. The Royal Society's journal.

Interest in the Computer Revolution
11

The development of online communication. The effects of new technology on the traditional path of publication. The e-print system. The creation of a central index and abstracts. BioMedNet. Donald J. Urquhart. Copyright rules at the Boston Spa. Robert King Merton. Arnold Thackray. Cranfield University. TREK.

Defining Information
18

Bibliometric studies. Scientometrics. Early electronic data-storage systems. The various peaks of information science. Defining information and documentation. Informatics. Defining libraries.

Notes
22
Index
23

About the Interviewer

W. Boyd Rayward

W. Boyd Rayward is a research professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Chamapaign. He turned to librarianship after graduating in English literature from the University of Sydney. He received his PhD from the Graduate Library School at the University of Chicago in 1973. He has held positions in the University of Chicago (where he became Dean of the Graduate Library School). He served as professor and head of the School of Information Library and Archive Studies and Dean of the University's Faculty of Professional Studies at the University of New South Wales in Sydney where he is now professor emeritus. He has published two books related to Paul Otlet, Belgian documentalist and internationalist, and a great many articles on history of national and international schemes for the organization and dissemination of information.