Claudio Todeschini

Born: August 14, 1937 | Tripoli, LY

Claudio Todeschini received his first degree in civil engineering from the University of Capetown, South Africa and later went to the United States and became a PhD research assistant at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Todeschini accepted a professorship at the University of Maryland in 1966, and a year later, he became a part-time researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the US Department of Commerce, working on information systems, retrieval, and terminological relationships. He joined the International Atomic Energy Agency. 

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0209
No. of pages: 33
Minutes: 122

Interview Sessions

W. Boyd Rayward
13 June 2000
International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria

Abstract of Interview

Claudio Todeschini was born in Tripoli, Libya, and spent his childhood in Italy and South Africa. He received his first degree in civil engineering from the University of Capetown, South Africa. He began his graduate studies on concrete shell structures at the Imperial College, University of London. Todeschini received his DIC (Diploma of Imperial College) in 1961, and then went to the United States and became a PhD research assistant at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He finished his PhD work on thin-shell structures at the University of Illinois in 1967. Then, Todeschini accepted a professorship at the University of Maryland in 1966, and a year later, he added to his workload by becoming a part-time researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the US Department of Commerce. While working on an information system for the Department of Commerce, Todeschini gained a strong interest in information storage and retrieval, and terminological relationships. In 1969, he joined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and began working on the INIS (International Nuclear Information System) information system. His involvement with the INIS project began with terminology work in Luxembourg, where he adapted and developed terminology from the pre-existing EURATOM information system. In fact, Todeschini focused on terminology throughout most of his career at the IAEA, which he discusses throughout the interview. Todeschini also discusses the INIS's decentralized input system, and the incorporation of abstracts into that system. He details how the INIS has been available in each member state, and how for profit organizations are able to host access for the system. In conclusion, Todeschini discusses the various heads of the INIS system and describes his most important personal contributions to the system. 

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1959 University of Cape Town BS Civil Engineering
1961 Imperial College London DIC (Diploma of Imperial College)
1962 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign MS Theoretical and Applied Mechanics
1967 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign PhD Theoretical and Applied Mechanics

Professional Experience

University of Maryland, College Park

1966 to 1969
Professor, Theoretical and Applied Mechanics

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

1967 to 1969
Part-time Researcher, Theoretical and Applied Mechanics

US Department of Commerce

1967 to 1969
Part-time Researcher, Information Systems on Pneumatic Tires

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

1969 to 1976
Subject Specialist, Engineerinng and Mechanics
1976 to 1981
International Nuclear Information System [INIS] Thesaurus Specialist
1981 to 1992
Head, INIS Subject Control Unit
1992 to 1996
Systems Analyst
1996 to 1999
Head, INIS Section

Honors

Year(s) Award
1991

Distinguished Service Award, International Atomic Energy Agency

Table of Contents

Family and Education
1

Spending his early life in Italy. His father's work in wine-making in South Africa. Earning his degree in civil engineering from the University of Capetown. Attending the Imperial College at the University of London. Working for Ove Arup and Partners. Becoming a research assistant at the University of Illinois. Accepting a job at the University of Maryland.

Early Work on Information Systems
4

Working at the Bureau of Standards. Information system on tire mechanics. Collaborating with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and using ideas from its information system. Early interest in terminology relationships. Applying for a position with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Working at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
8

Taking a leave-of-absence from the University of Maryland to work for the United Nations (UN) in Vienna. Joining the International Nuclear Information System (INIS) project. The political implications of UN work. Nuclear Science Abstracts and early US views of the INIS project. Early champions of the INIS project. Assembling study teams for the INIS project.

The International Nuclear Information System Project
13

The state of INIS when he first arrived at the IAEA. The INIS's initial lack of abstracts. Adopting and adapting the EURATOM's terminology for the INIS. Creating study groups for the terminology of different fields of study. The relationships between terms in the INIS. Adoption of the INIS terminology relationships by the International Organization of Standardization. Rewriting the thesaurus maintenance program for the INIS. Pre-coordination and post-coordination of terms.

Associates at the United Nations
20

John Woolston's development of the INIS system. Edward Brunenkant. IBM and the STAIRS software. Accessing the INIS through hosts. Discontinuing Nuclear Science Abstracts in favor of the Atomindex. Harold Pryor's work on the INIS project. Hans Groenewegen.

Conclusions
26

The INIS philosophy. Global access to the INIS system. Personal contributions to the INIS system. Developing the Expert system.

Index
30

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.