The information listed below is current as of the date the transcript was finalized.
Abstract of Interview
Helga Schmid begins the interview by discussing the growth of her interest in the world of information. While attending the Vienna University, she studied mathematics and physics and also worked on gaining her teaching certification. However, after meeting her husband, she relocated to Belgium and worked for Euratom (European Atomic Energy Community), where she began training to be a computer programmer. In 1969 she and her family moved back to Vienna and she joined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). While there, under the direction of Giampaolo Del Bigio, Schmid helped publish the first INIS (International Nuclear Information System) Atomindex. In 1975, she moved on to AGRIS (International Information System for the Agricultural Sciences and Technology) where she worked with varying software and helped the fledgling organization to organize and evolve its technological programs. In 2000, she retired, after rising through the organization to become the head of AGRIS Processing. Schmid concludes the interview by discussing briefly her knowledge of AGRIS in its present state and sharing some of the positive experiences she had throughout her career as a computer analyst.
European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom)
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Table of Contents
Interest in mathematics and physics lead towards a career in teaching. Met husband at Vienna University. Relocation to Belgium and computer programmer training at Euratom. Return to Vienna; position at the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Work under the supervision of Giampaolo Del Bigio; first INIS Atomindex. Work with incoming INIS data, including checking and production of the INIS master file. Retrieval systems, such as IRMS (Information Retrieval and Management System).
Photocomposition method for IAEA indexes. IAEA Thesaurus, drawing on first Thesaurus, created by Euratom. Launching the system.
Transfer to AGRIS for personal reasons. Computer processing of the AGRIS data. Corrections for AGRIS data in Vienna and additions to the system. Making the software multilingual.
Proposal to move AGRIS to Rome. Motivation drops in Vienna at AGRIS headquarters. AGRIS processing unit closes. Retirement due to AGRIS management changes.
Positive and negative experiences during the time at AGRIS. Thoughts on changes in the information world. Anecdotes on encounters between executives and programmers.
About the Interviewer
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.