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Scott Adams and Medical Bibliogr by ps94506


									Essays of an Information Scientist, Vol:6, p.197-203, 1983         Current Contents, #26, p.5-11, June 27, 1983

                                     Scott     Adams and Medical Bibliography
                                             in an Age of D&conh”nuity—
                                         A Trfhute to a Vfaionary Leader
                                       fss the Field of Medfcal Information

Number 26                                                                       June 27,1983

    In spring 1982, I attended the meeting             graduated    from Springfield’s Classical
of the Council of Biology Editors in                   High School in 1926. His undergraduate
Louisville, Kentucky. I also visited my                years were spent at Yale University,
old friend Scott Adams, who had moved                  New Haven, Connecticut,       where he ma-
to Kentucky some years earlier. I knew                 jored in English. He graduated with a
he had been ifl with emphysema             for         BA degree in 1930, and taught English
some time, so I was glad for the chance                and Latin for a year at a small school in
to visit hm. Even though he had only 25                Wynnewood,       Pennsylvania—a      suburb
percent of his lung capacity left, he                  of Philadelphia.
greeted me cheerfully. We talked about                    In 1931, he joined the US merchant
old times and plans for his memoirs. We                marine as an ordinary seaman on the
both planned to-and         did—attend    the          S.S. The Angeles, plying the route be-
annual meeting of the Medical Library                  tween New York and Rio de Janeiro,
Association (MLA) shortly thereafter, in               Montevideo, and Buenos Aires. In 1932,
Anaheim, California. That was the last                 he was working as a wholesaler’s repre-
time I saw him. He died several months                 sentative engaged in book distribution to
later, on October 3, 1982.1                            libraries. By 1939, he was doing his grad-
    Scott and I also discussed his book,               uate work at Columbia University, New
Medical Bibliogmphy in an Age of Dis-                  York. He received his master’s degree in
continuity.z   It was the cuhnhation        of         library science from Columbia in 1940.
Scott’s long and distinguished career. I                  From    1940 through      1942, Adams
told him about my plans to discuss it in               served as head of the order department
an essay. I had, of course, gone over the              at Columbia Teachers College Library.
chapter he had written about ISP while                 He filled a similar position at Providence
the book was in preparation.      However, I           Public Library, Rhode Island, from 1943
suppose that I really had not accepted                 until 1945. In the latter year, he was
the ultimate      significance    of Scott’s           named head of the Acquisitions Division
illness. So my crowded agenda pushed                   of the Army Medical Library, Washing-
those thoughts of an essay from my                     ton, DC. The library later became the
mind-until     I received word of Scott’s              National Library of Medicine (NLM).
death,                                                 The following year, he was chosen to
    Adams was born in Agawam, Massa-                   serve on the Library of Congress Mission
chusetts,    on November       20, 1909, to            to Europe. Upon his return, he was
Scott and Edith Fisher (Ferre) Adams.                  named acting librarian of the Army
He attended various public elementary                  Medical Library, a post he held until the
schools in Springfield,      Massachusetts,            end of the decade. During that time, he
famous for its Webster’s dictionaries. He              was elected president of the District of

                                                       While with NIH, Adams served on the
                                                    board of directors of MLA, and as presi-
                                                    dent of the American Documentation
                                                    Institute, which was the predecessor of
                                                    the American Society for Information
                                                    Science (ASIS).
                                                       Scott became engrossed in the chal-
                                                    lenge of providing translations of foreign
                                                    medical literature.      From 1956 through
                                                    1958, he duected the NH-I’s Russian Sci-
                                                    entfilc    Translation      Program.     With
                                                    Rogers, he edited the Guide to Russian
                                                    Medical Litemture,5 which provided in-
                                                    formation on the status of Soviet medl-
                                                    cal research.
                                                       In 1959, Adams left NIH to direct the
                                                    Foreign Service Information          Program
              Scott   Adams                         for the National Science Foundation’s
                                                    (NSF) Office of Sc@.nce Information
Columbia     Library Association,     1948-         Services. In 1960, he returned to NLM as
1949.                                               its deputy director, first under Rogers,
    In 1950, Adams became librarian of              who was director of NLM from 1949 to
the National Institutes of Health (NIH).             1963, and then under Martin Cummings,
At the time, according to a 1967 editorial          who has been director since 1964. At
in the Bulletin of the Medical Libmry               NLM, Adams became involved in the
Association by the then outgoing asso-              development      of the Medical Literature
ciation president Frank Bradway Rog-                Analysis and Retrieval System (MED-
ers, the NIH library held a number of               LARS) program, the well-known com-
outdated     books on public       health.J         puterized bibliographic retrieval system.
Moreover, it was inadequately housed in             In 1967, he was elected president of
a basement of the old NE-I Administra-              MLA. In 1969, he was cochainnan with
tion Building in Bethesda,      Maryland.           Sune Bergstrom,        1982 Nobel recipient,
Adams supervised moving the library in-             of the Third International        Congress of
to the new NIH Clinical Center, also in             Medical Librarians in Amsterdam.
Bethesda. He also began the process of                 One of Adams’s early efforts while he
building a collection capable of support-           was with NLM was dhected toward de-
ing the myriad NIH research programs.               veloping a framework for a program of
    Although one could mention numer-               grants to medical libraries throughout
ous other innovations at NIH, Scott was             the US. The need for such grants was a
also instrumental in the development of             direct result of the unprecedented         in-
the concept of the bibliographic      aide,         crease in the rate of national health ex-
an information     scientist who functions          penditures in the US following the end of
as an integral part of a particular scien-          World War II. The magnitude of these
tific research team. I single this out              expenditures     had risen to almost $200
because I recall that it was modeled after          billion annually by 1978-or 9.1 percent
similar concepts developed in industry              of the US gross national product (GNP),
during the 1950s. I know that Scott was             as compared with only 6.8 percent of the
impressed by the experience of our mu-              GNP just ten years earlier.b The corre-
tual friend and former colleague, Robert            sponding growth in the volume of medi-
Hayne.4                                             cal research literature generated enor-

mous problems in identifying, storing,                   elegant history of an important period in
retrieving, and delivering medical infor-                the development of our profession by a
mation. The knowledge being compiled                     principal participant on the scene.”g
was simply not reaching the practicing                      Adams was the author of more than 50
physician.                                               publications on various aspects of librar-
    To resolve this problem, the Medical                 iansldp and information science. Much
Library Assistance Act was passed by                     of his early work in the 1940s was devot-
the US Congress in 1965. The act gave                    ed to such prosaic matters as the book
NLM “broad responsibilities...         to help           trade,g the out-of-print book market, 10
the nation’s medical libraries provide                   and acquisitions programs. 1I. 12 During
vital services to those engaged in medi-                 the 1950s, he continued to write about
cal education,      medical research,       and          pragmatic subjects of general interest to
medical practice.”7 Adams was heavily                    librarians. But in time, his writing also
involved in framing the provisions of the                began to reflect his accumulating occu-
act, which among other things estab-                     pational experience. For instance, out of
lished the Regional Medical Library sys-                 the Army Medical Library years came a
tem and the NLMs extramural program,                     series of articles on medical libraries, 13
which supports library resources,            re-         publication      programs,    14 and   medical   li-
search, training, and the publication of                 brary   architecture.    His activities in the
various indexes, bibliographies,       and his-          Russian Scientific Translation Program
tories.                                                  led to an article on Soviet science. lb The
    After leaving NLM, Adams worked on                   time spent as director of the Foreign Ser-
a program called UNISIST, a combined                     vice Information Program led to an arti-
project of Unesco and the International                  cle on the program’s sponsor, NSF. IT
Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). Its                 The social concerns of the era also found
purpose was the exchange of scientific                   expression     in Scott’s writing, as evi-
information between developed and de-                    denced by his article entitled “Books and
veloping nations. He also worked with                    the bomb,”lB which provides a discus-
the World Health Organization and nu-                    sion of the problems involved in safe-
merous institutions in the US as a con-                  guarding any given library’s collection
sultant in international     scientific com-             during a nuclear war.
munications.     In 1975, Adams moved to                    During the 1960s, Adams perceived a
Louisville, Kentucky, to take a position                 looming crisis facing medical libraries,
teaching international     education at the              due to the vast growth in the volume of
University of Louisville. He continued,                  medical literature. 19.20In the face of the
however, to serve as a consultant             to         problems he himself was experiencing as
Unesco and to the Agency for Intern-                     deputy &rector of NLM in providing
ational Development.                                     bibliographic    services, he became con-
    Included    among the many awards                    cerned with the development          of the re-
Adams received over the course of his                    sources of medical libraries in general,zl
career is the MIA’s highest honor, the                   and with searching the medical liter-
Marcia C. Noyes Award, which was                         ature.zz However, in a series of articles
granted to him in 1969 for his long ser-                 written     throughout      the decade,23-~
vice to MLA. He was the first recipient                  Adams described a system that would
of the MLA President’s Award in June                     solve many of the problems experienced
 1982. He was also posthumously           given          by libraries at that time-MEDLARS,
the ASIS Special Recognition Award in                    the computerization       of NLMs indexing
November 1982 for his book, Medical                      operations.     MEDLARS proved to be a
Bibiiogmphy in an Age of Discontinu-                     great bibliographic      breakthrough.     The
ity.z It was cited as “a perceptive and                  system currently consists of 16 ordiie

clinical data bases, includlng          MED-            Figure 1: The contents page of Medical Bibliogm-
                                                          phy in an Age of Discontinuity, by Scott Adams.
LINE, TOXLINE,           CHEMLINE,         and
CANCERLIT.        The work load handled                 Foreword by Mkhael E. Delhikey, M.D. . . . . .                                      v
by these data bases is staggering.           In
                                                        IIltroductto         n, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    Lx
1981, just nine years after its establish-
                                                        UnfinfakdB whess.                 . .... ... . ... .. . .... . .                    1
ment, more than two million searches
were conducted on the system .29 It has                 Tbe Legacy of Wor4d Warll                       . .... ..... .. .. ..              13

also fostered and stimulated a whole new                NIH and the Rtse of Mksion-OrfeMed
                                                        Bfnmedfcal Rerwarch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                    21
aspect of the information industry, with
complex interconnections        and simulta-            The BIMfoEmphfc Campalgm
                                                        Agafnnt Cancer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .               29
neous rivalries between many private
                                                        The Bfg Parade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                   39
   Scott’s publications    during the 1970s             Bfomedfcaf         fffb~O@@ly
                                                        and    ‘Machlme        Methods”           . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   .    55
reflected his activities in the internatio-
nalcommunity and his work for the Unit-                              . . ...
                                                        f%mmc4fca1BiMio@@)y                      ... ....                         .. .     63

ed Nations. For instance, in his paper                  Mk40ma qnd           Dhctf@ses          10   Comflkt . . . . . . . . .             73
entitled “Information       for science and             Adqtdon     q Chqei
technology: the international       scene,”~                        ~ofMetffehm
                                                        the NdoruifLfb                                          .... .... .. ..            89

he examined the emergence of US gov-                    A&ptatfon          and CbanSw Excerpts Medfca . . . . 113
ernmental policies foUowing the end of                  Adq)tatlm and Change
World War II that concerned the inter-                  Blologfcal AbstrrIcts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
national exchange of scientific and tech-               Adaptation and Cfmngm
nical information. Other articles are de-               Chemkd Abtic@Semke                            ... .... .... .. .. .               141

voted to how US data bases, including                   Adxptatfon auf Clirage:
                                                        The lnstlmte for !Wentffk                    Informtitfnn . . . . . . . 153
ISI’S, are introduced and used in other
countries,gl and to the proper functions                NaUoml Mtii                  BfiM~pMs,                  ....... ...               167

a library must serve to aid in conducting               TremkmdFutures..,                 . ... . .... ..            . . . . . . . 177
a scientific investigation.32                           References mdNotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .                    189
   However, Adams’s best work, and the                     ..
                                                        Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .         211
one of which he was most proud, was his
book, Medical Bibliogmphy in an Age of
Discontinuity,2    published the year be-               quet’s Litemtum Medics Digesta, and
fore his death. The book is a discussion                Adolph Callisen’s Medicinisches Schnft-
of medical bibliography         from World              stelkr Lexicon, among others. How-
War II to the present. (The contents                    ever, Adams’s viewpoint is that of the
page is presented in Figure 1.) To a cer-               compilers of bibliographies,      rather than
tain extent, it is a sequel to Estelle Brod-            that of their users. As such, his book
man’s The Development of Medical f3ib-                  breaks new ground. However, where Brodman                         The main theme of Medical Bibliog-
chronicles individual efforts to biblio-                mphy in an Age of Discontinuity           is the
graphically    control the medical liter-               presumed conflict or discontinuity           be-
ature from the sixteenth century through                tween the interests of the traditional, ac-
the mid-twentieth     century, Adams con-               ademic,     discipline-oriented       sciences
centrates on medical bibliographies or-                 typical of the nineteenth and early twen-
ganized by governmental,           university,          tieth centuries and the needs of mission-
and corporate institutions, Brodman de-                 oriented science that arose in the mid-
tails the scope, arrangement, and useful-               twentieth    century. Discipline-oriented
ness of such bibliographies as Albrecht                 science, as in chemistry, physics, or biol-
von Ha fler’s Bibliotheca          Medicinae            ogy, emphasized the gathering of knowl-
Practicae,    Wilhelm     Gottfried    Plouc-           edge. Mission-oriented       science stressed

 the needs of specific goafs or missions—                    “l’he postwar     era (1945-1970,          for
 such as the Manhattan Bomb Project or                   Adams’s purposes) constituted the most
 the war against cancer. Other missions                  explosive period of library and informa-
 take the form of general problems, like                 tion science development in US history.
 environmental       control or the delivery of          Focusing on medical research in particu-
 health services. The purpose of the                     lar, Adams examines the role played by
 book, as Adams states in the introduc-                  NIH in the development of mission-on-
 tion, is’’tosketch      thecourseofmedlcal              ented bibliographies       to facilitate goal-
 bibliography in relation to the political,              oriented government- and industry-sup-
 social,    scientific,     and technological            ported research, such as that directed
 changes in the United States that have                  toward cancer, heart disease, and men-
 influenced     [the] directions      and forms          tal illness. He broadly describes a num-
 [medical bibliography         has taken since           ber of the bibliographic innovations of
 World War 11].”2 (p. xi)                               the early- 1950s, and discusses in detail
    The “discontinuity”         in the title of          the bibliographic tools and information
Adams’s book, as well as the context of                 dissemination      programs of the National
his analysis of bibliography, owes much                 Cancer Institute.
 to Peter F. Drucker’s The Age of Dis-                      Adams also discusses each of the five
continuity.~        “Discontinuity,”       in the       major organizations that provide medi-
sense in which both Drucker and Adams                   cal indexing and abstracting            services:
use the word, is an abrupt, rapid, and                  NLM,B3 Excerpts Medics ,x Biological
dislocating change that transforms not                  Abstracts, Chemicai Abstmcts, and ISI.
merely the format of bibliographical                    In each case, Adams provides a capsule
tools, but their content and the way they               history and detailed, up-to-date           infor-
are compiled as well. Drucker identifies                mation on the origin, purpose, cover-
four major sources of discontinuity: new                age, similarities and dtiferences, cooper-
technology; changes in the world econo-                 ation, and independence           and interde-
my; shtits in the structure of various na-              pendence of each service.
tional governments;           and the rise of               Scott felt it appropriate to include 1S1
knowledge as a capital resource—the so-                 in his book not only because of the size
called” ‘knowledge society,’~ based not                 and usefulness of our data base, but also
on productivity         but upon the acquisi-           because he believed that the unique
tion, possession, and application of spe-               quality of citation indexing is itself a sort
cialized knowledge.”z (p. xi)                           of “dlscontinuit y“ from established bib-
    “New technology” is also a source of                Iiometric procedures.        “1S1 has been the
d~continuity      on a sidlar IA composed               least constrained by bibliographical          tra-
by Adams. But Adams is interested in                    ditions [of alf the services dwcussed in
those sources that have particular rele-                the book].. and has been in a state of
vance for medical bibliography,             rather      continuous development since its incep-
than bibliography in general, so he dti-                tion.”z (p. 154-5)
fers with Drucker on the other three.                       Adams is cautious in predicting the
Adams lists instead: the growing desire                 future of biomedical bibliography.           It is
to protect society from the harmful ef-                 not dtificult to understand his wariness.
fects of science; the displacement of ac-               In an “age of discontinuity,”       speculation
ademically       oriented,     disciplinary     re-     is risky. Technological       innovations dur-
search by government- and corporate-fi-                 ing the past 30 years have made possible
nanced, mission-oriented          “Big Science”;        the best of both the mission-oriented
and the birth and growth of the informa-                and d=cipline-onented          worlds, because
tion industry, of which ISI is described                they have reduced the possibilhy of con-
as prototypical.                                        flict between the information          needs of

basic research and those of applied re-                who are interested can and should read
search. However, he does not believe                   the entire obituary essay, But it is appro-
that we will move completely to a paper-               priate to close by repeating a quote from
Iess society. Hedoesconcede         that easy          a letter Scott wrote to Rogers in re-
access to online data bases has dimin-                 sponse to some criticism of hk book:
ished the number of printed subject bib-               “The one talent I can boast is that of po-
liographies.                                           litical synthesis; I do have some ability to
    Adams was the consummate            diplo-         identify the common goals among the in-
 mat. He was able to treat with evenhand-              dividuals of a given period, and to relate
 edness the roles of government agencies               these to the socio-political trends in the
 he once served and the private interests              country. What fascinated me was not
 with which they were often in conflict.               the individual booms and busts of jTom,
 Nowhere in his work would one recog-                  Dick, and Harry] as they tried to peddle
 nize the personal antagonisms that often              their goods down the congressional and
 played a key role in the history of thh               executive sides of the street, but why was
 field. That was not h~ style. He had                  the market there in the first place? I in-
 much more faith in international organi-              troduced the [X] meeting, the [Y] im-
 zations than I could ever muster. There               broglio, and the [Z] activities to demon-
 is little in the work of Unesco that re-              strate the nuisance function of self-
 news my faith in the ability of intern-               serving interest accompanying        the ‘in-
 ational bureaucracies to perform any bet-             formation explosion.’ “ST
 ter than national bureaucracies.                          It is with a mixed sense of pain and re-
    However, one of the beautiful things               spect that I dedicate this essay to the
 that one can cherish about a professional             memory of Scott Adams, and to the sur-
 relationship is that, in spite of honest dif-         viving members of his family: hk wife,
 ferences, you can come out liking and                 the former Joan Thley; his daughter, Su-
 respecting one another anyway. Adams                  sanna; two sisters, Frances and Barbara;
 was a gifted writer and one of the great              and one grandson. I deeply regret that
 statesmen of medical librarianship.       His         Scott did not have the opportunity         to
 book will be read by students of informa-             read this tribute to his life and his work.
 tion science for years to come.
    Just as this essay went to press, I
 received the April 1983 issue of the Bu/-                           q   

letin of the Medical Libmry Association
 containing an obituary written by Rog-
 ers. Since he worked with Adams closely                  My thanks to Stephen A. Bonaduce
 for many years, he has provided numer-                and Terri Freedman for their help in the
 ous insights relevant to his career. Those            prepa mtion of this essay.
                                                                                         (I, ,$,


1. Scott Adams, 72, dies, Medical Library official. Wa.rh. Post 6 October 1982, p. C12.
2. Adams S. Medical bibliogmphy in on age of discontinuity.
       Chicago, Ib Medkal Library Aswciation, 1981. 224p.
3. RogersF B. President’s page: Scott Adams. B.[l. Med. Libr. As.n. 55:343-4, 1%7.
4. Graflefd E. To remember my brother, Robert L. Hayne, Essays of an infornmtion scientist
       Philadelphia: 1S1 Press, 1980. Vol. 3. p, 2134.
       (Reprinted from. Current Contents (34):5-6, 22 August 1977.)
5. Adnmm S & Roisers F B, eds. Guide to Russian medical literature.
       Washington, DC: National Library of M.dcine,     1958. 89p.
6. Cmwford S. Health sciences libraries in the United States, 1%9 to 1979.
      3. Amer. Med. Assn. 245:2237-8, 1981.
7. DaviesN E. The health-sciences information struggle. N. Engl. J. Med. 307:201-4, 1982.

  8. Sawyer, Griffith, Borrzi, Debons, Rubens, Blaii, Marcus win awards: specisl recognition award.
            ASIS News 3(2):2, 1982.
  9. Admsrs S. Libraries and the bouk trade: three suggestions. Pub/. Weekly 147:2360-3, 1945,
10, --------.---, ed. The O. P. market: a subject directory to the specialties of the out-o f-pn”nt book trade.
             New York: Bowker, 1943, 120p.
11. ------------- The acquisition program. Bull. Med. Libr. Assn. 34:217-8, 1946.
12. ------------- Sources of aqukitions,        Bull. Med. Libr. Assn. 36:178-83, 1948,
13, . . .. . . ... . . . . The Army Medkaf Library end other medkal libraries of the nation.
            CoIl. Res, Libr. 9:126-32, 1948.
14. Rogers F B & Adams S. The Army Medical Librsry’s publication progrsm,
             Tex. Rep. J?iol. Med. 8271 -3CQ, 1950.
15. Fry A & Adams S. Medhl library architecture in the past fifty years.
            Bull. Med. Libr, Aswx 45:471-9, 1957.
16. Adams S. Problems in communicating Russian science. Fed. Pmt. 16:716-20, 1957.
17. ------------- The Office of Science Information Services, Natiomd Science Foundation.
            Bull. Med. Libr. Assn. 47:387-92, 1959.
18. ------------- Books and the bomb. ALA Bull. 46:50-1, 1952.
   . ------------ The medcal literature crisk-pasl        and present. Med. Dokum, 5:93-5, 1%1.
;. ------------- Medkal libraries are in trouble. Libr. J. 88:2615-21, 1963.
21. ------------- Medicel fibrary resources snd their development. J. Med. Educ, 38:25-7, 1963.
22. Arhma S & Tafrre S. Searching the medical literature. J. Amer. Med. Awn. 188:251-4, 1964.
23. Adams S. The MEDLARS system. Fed. Pro.. 22:1018-21, 1%3.
24. ------------- MEDLARS and the Iibrsry community. Bull. Med. Libr. Assn. 52:171-7, 1964.
25. Adams S & Tefne S. The National L1brsry of Medicine srrd MEDLARS.
            Rev, Int. Dec. 31: IO7-10, 1964,
26, Adams S. MEDLARS: performance, problems, pasibifities. Bull. Med. Libr. Assn. 53:139-51, 1%5.
   . ------------- Letter to editor. (More mr MEDLARS.) Libr. J. 9Ck2450-4, 1%5.
z. ------------- Letter to editor. (MEDLARS.) Libr. Asm. Rec. 70:136, 1968.
29. The National Libmry of Medicine: pmgmms and services, fiscal year 1982. (Annual report. )
            Bethesda, MD: NLM, 1982.
30. Adum S. Znforrnation for science and technology: the internotiona[ scene.
            Chsmpaigrr, IL: University of Illiiois Graduate School of Llbrsry Science, November 1973.
            Occasional papers no. 109.
31. ------------- Foreign users of U.S. bibliographic data beses in biology snd medicine.
            Libr. Tnends 23:153-63, 1974.
32-------------- The library function in science. B.//. Med. Libr. Assn. &3:26-31, 1972.
33. BmdmarI E. The development of medical bibliogmphy.
            Bskinrore, MD: Medicsf Library Association, 1954. 226p.
34. Dmcker P F. The age of discontinuity. New York: Harper& Row, 1%9. 402p.
35, Giuffeld E. The impact of hospital libraries on the quality and cost of health csre delivery.
            Current Contenti (8):5-10, 21 February 1983.
36. -------------- Bxcerpta Medics—rrbstracting the biomedical literature for the medlcsl specialist.
            Essays of an information scientist. Phifadelpbia: 1S1 Press, 1981. Vol. 4. p. 522-7.
            (Reprinted from: Cument Content, (28):5-10, 14 July 1980.)
37. Rogers F B. Obituaries: Scott Adems. Bull. Med. Libr. Assrr. 71(2):245-8, 1983.


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