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- Over a quarter of a century ago H. G. Wells made a magnificent, if premature, plea for the establishment of a world information center, "the World Brain" (1). To Wells, the World Brain became the symbol of international intellectual cooperation in a world at peace. The realization, within our lifetime, of the physical and intellectual achievement envisioned in World Brain no longer lies in the realm of science fiction. The ultimate specification for a World Brain must await more fundamental studies and understanding of information science. However, the increasing convergence of such previously unrelated fields as genetics, linguistics, psychology, and chemistry foretells exciting realignments in classical conceptions of the "information" problem. Unquestionably there are many different forms and arrangements which a World Brain could assume. Vannevar Bush's "Memex" was a microfilm version of the universal fingertip library (2): Memex stimulated considerable speculation but also produced some realistic work (3). Tukey's "Information Ledger" is a recent specification of the desiderata for a universal information system (4). More recently, Senders has given an approximate quantitative measure of the information content of the world's libraries (5). Surely the increasing awareness of the science-information problem on the part of both the legislative (6) and executive (7) branches of government will add momentum to the inevitable trend toward establishment of a world information center.
The main purpose of this article is to provide some perspective on the science-information, or science-"indexing," problem: to review briefly the developments in citation indexing that have occurred over the past 10 years; and to indicate why the recently published Science Citation Index (8) is a harbinger of things to come -- a forerunner of the World Brain.
The average scientist thinks a World Brain would be extremely useful, The possibility of having all recorded knowledge at one's fingertips is fascinating. The librarian, however, eminently more practical on this topic than the scientist, because he has learned to live with bibliographical poverty in the midst of scientific wealth, thinks of the enormously detailed problems of bibliographic control (9). Therefore, the librarian may be the one who best appreciates the implications of the Science Citation Index for bibliographic control. It is the first really serious attempt at universal bibliographical control of science literature since the turn of the century (10), On the other hand, the librarian is sometimes too acutely aware of the detailed problems involved in compiling an international inventory of science -- precisely what the Science Citation Index is. I believe the need for such an inventory, for such bibliographic control, is indisputable (11).
- H. G. Wells, World Brain (Doubleday, Doran, Garden City, NY., 1938).
- V. Bush, "As we may think," Atlantic Monthly 176, 101 (July, 1945).
- E. A. Avakian and E. Garfield, "AMFlS -- the Automatic Microfilm Information System," Spec. Libraries 48, 145 (1956).
- J. W. Tukey, "Keeping research in contact with the literature: Citation Indices and beyond," J. Chem. Doc. 2, 34 ( 1962).
- J. W. Senders, "Information storage requirements for the contents of the world's libraries." Science 141, 1067 (1963).
- During the past 7 years numerous Senate hearings on the science-information problem have been conducted by the Committee on Government Operations, Subcommittee on Reorganization and International Organizations (Senator Hubert H. Humphrey, chairman). See, for example, Interagency Coordination of Information (published pursuant to Senate Resolution 276, 87th Congress, 21 Sept. 1962) (Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C., 1963). For the House of Representatives, see, among others, National Information Center [Hearings on HR. 1946 before the Committee on Education and Labor, Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Research Data Processing and Information Retrieval (Roman Pucinski, chairman) ] (Government Printing Office. Washington. D. C., 1963).
- A. M. Weinberg et al., "President's Science Advisory Committee," in Science, Government, and Information (Responsibilities of the Technical Community in the Transfer of Information) (Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C., 1963).
- E. Garfield and I. H. Sher, Science Citation Index (Institute for Scientific Information, Philadelphia, 1963).
- J. H. Shera and M. E. Egan, Eds., Bibliographic Organization (Univ. of Chicago Press. Chicago. 1951).
- K. O. Murra, "History of some attempts to organize bibliography internationally," in Bibliographic Organization, J. H. Shera and M. E. Egan, Eds. (Univ. of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1951), pp. 24-53.
- E. Garfield, Statement and testimony, Hearings on H.R, 1946 of 19 July 1963 [see National Information Center (Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C., 1963). pp. 226-251].
- w: World Brain
- w: Memex
- w: Science Citation Index
- w: Internet Protocol Suite
- w: Enquire
- w: The Interactive Encyclopedia System
- w: NoteCards
- w: World Wide Web
- w: WikiWikiWeb
- w: Wikipedia
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- Garfield, Eugene (1964). "Science Citation Indexing -- A New Dimension in Indexing." Science 144 (3619): 649-654. [^]
- Garfield, Eugene (1955). "Citation Indexes for Science: A New Dimension in Documentation through Association of Ideas." Science, 122(3159): 108-111. [^]
- Bush, Vannevar (1945). "As We May Think." The Atlantic Monthly (July 1945): 101-108. [^]
- Literature/1939/Bush [^]
- Bernal, J. D. (1939). The Social Function of Science. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd. [^]
- Wells, H. G. (1938). World Brain. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Doran & Co. [^]