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Working at the Welch Medical Library (Part 2)

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Working at the Welch Medical Library (Part 1)
Eugene Garfield Scientist
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Now, the Welch experience was a, another turning point because the interesting thing is I had met my second wife, Winnie, while I was an undergraduate at Columbia. And, when I went to work at Welch Medical Library, took that job in ’51, she said, 'This is a' - she’d made up her mind- 'this was a decision point, either we... I go to Baltimore with you or we’re finished'. So, we decided she would stay and I went to Baltimore. And, Stefan was living with my sister. I had gotten a... my mother gave me a present for graduating, which was a lot of money in those days, and I gave the money to my sister to take care of Stefan. So, I went to Welch and at that project I started out... it turned out... San Larkey was a very, how shall I say, a, a first-rated alcoholic, if I could put it that way. He had a medical degree and also a degree in literature from Oxford and, sort, sort of, allegedly a medical historian, okay, so he’d... how he fell into the job as Director of the Medical Library, I do not know, but he, he did. I spent the next 2 years working for him on that project and essentially each day consisted of the two of us sitting across the table, it was located in one wing of the library, Welch Medical Library, and discussing... he would tell me all his, his war experiences as a medical, I don’t know what, how, what he did in the army, and we’d discuss subject heading analysis in terms of, you know, what we’re going to be putting in the subject heading authority list. That was 9 to 5, and at 5 o’clock he would go home and he and his wife had a big social life and she was a member of the Democratic National Committee, as I recall. And the evening was when I started to do the research. That was where I, you know, I got to know the people at the Army Medical Library and it became the Armed Forces Medical Library, and later, after I had left, it became the National Library of Medicine. And then I got to know Seymour Taine and Bob Hayne through - Bob Hayne was the subject heading authority editor, more or less, at... and, you know, Bob came to work for me later, much later. Then I met all, all sorts of leading librarians and scientists at that project. The... met Estelle Brodman was, was at the National Library. Dave Kronick was there. These were... I met all these people, and, you know, you meet enough bright people you learn quite a bit from meeting such a group. And, on top of which, the Welch Medical Library indexing project had an advisory committee of about 15 honorary consultants. Apparently serving on such a committee is, has some... people like to do this because, you know, they get to go to a meeting once every 3 or 4 months and they, well, get their expenses paid and they get to meet other interesting people, you know. It’s like we have an advisory committee here and you... why would somebody do that because it wasn’t, it wasn’t a financially rewarding thing, it was an intellectually rewarding thing, and that committee consisted of a lot of incredibly bright people. Mortimer Taube was on that committee. Chauncey D Leake was the Chairman, and that’s how Chancy and I became very good friends and he became a, kind of, mentor to me. And, Verner Clapp, the Chief Assistant Librarian at Congress was on the committee, Eugene Scott, it’s all recorded.

Eugene Garfield (1925-2017) was an American scientist and publisher. In 1960 Garfield set up the Institute for Scientific Information which produced, among many other things, the Science Citation Index and fulfilled his dream of a multidisciplinary citation index. The impact of this is incalculable: without Garfield’s pioneering work, the field of scientometrics would have a very different landscape, and the study of scholarly communication would be considerably poorer.

Listeners: Henry Small

Henry Small is currently serving part-time as a research scientist at Thomson Reuters. He was formerly the director of research services and chief scientist. He received a joint PhD in chemistry and the history of science from the University of Wisconsin. He began his career as a historian of science at the American Institute of Physics' Center for History and Philosophy of Physics where he served as interim director until joining ISI (now Thomson Reuters) in 1972. He has published over 100 papers and book chapters on topics in citation analysis and the mapping of science. Dr Small is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Honorary Fellow of the National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services, and past president of the International Society for Scientometrics and Infometrics. His current research interests include the use of co-citation contexts to understand the nature of inter-disciplinary versus intra-disciplinary science as revealed by science mapping.

Duration: 5 minutes, 2 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2007

Date story went live: 23 June 2009