Oral history interview with Eugene Garfield

Oral history interview with Eugene Garfield

  • 1997-Jul-29

Eugene Garfield begins the interview with a discussion of The Johns Hopkins University Welch Library indexing project. Garfield joined this project in 1951, during which he became involved in machine methods for indexing and searching literature. He worked on automating Current List of Medical Literature and experimented with punched cards and zato coding. During his tenure there, he helped to organize a symposium to demonstrate the project's work, at which he met many pioneering information scientists. Also while at the project, Garfield developed his idea for Contents in Advance. He discusses his relationship with Sanford V. Larkey, and his decision to attended library school at Columbia University.

After graduating, Garfield joined Smith, Kline & French as a consultant. He eventually set up his own company, DocuMation, Inc., and worked on many projects, including a Genetics Citation Index for the NIH and Management's DocuMation Preview. Garfield discusses the development of Current Contents, the growth of his business, and the challenges he encountered. In the 1960s, he launched Science Citation Index, a concept that was later expanded to include other fields of literature. Garfield was also involved in many professional organizations throughout his career, including the Information Industry Association (IIA). He addresses the evolution of his company, Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), his colleagues, and his decision to sell ISI. Garfield concludes the interview with a discussion of his experience with VINITI, changes in library education, and the future role of the Internet.

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Original file type PDF, MP3
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  • 102 pages
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Rights In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
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  • Science History Institute
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  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

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Cite as

Eugene Garfield, interviewed by Robert V. Williams in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 29, 1997. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0165. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/8s45q9683.

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Transcript (Published Version)

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

9 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads