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High school

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Growing up across the street from the New York Public Library
Eugene Garfield Scientist
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I think my interest in information was, sort of like, inbred in the sense that I was fortunate when I was a child to live across the street from a branch of the New York Public Library. And, my first experience with title scanning was in the library where I used to go in, in the forbidden section which was the adult part of the library, not the children’s section which I rarely visited, I didn’t read too many children’s books when I was a child, and I scanned the title of every book in the library. I still... in my head I can still see some of those books that would come to mind, even though I’d never read them. Anyhow, I...

[Q] Why did you do that?

Don’t ask me. I mean, it was something that... just a curiosity, kind of, a thing, you know, just... I, I remember the title, 40 Days of Musa Dagh always come to mind as one of the things that I saw and Red Badge of Courage, and so forth. I don’t... think that amongst my friends, when I was little, there was nobody that was really interested in, in going to the library. You know, other kids were, you know, playing baseball and, we’d spend the... every, every night at 10, 10 o’clock, or 10.30 on the corner, unlike most of the kids who were home, I would be out there on the corner discussing the results of the baseball games that took place. Every kid in New York, of course, knows, is mathematically inclined because he’s got to know the statistics of the game, of the players and everything. It’s amazing how much kids know about the, the statistics of baseball.

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: 2 minutes, 12 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2007

Date story went live: 23 June 2009