Black and white photograph of a seated Eugene Garfield (1925-2017) holding an open copy of Current Contents. Eugene Garfield was a prominent American information scientist and pioneer in the field of scientometrics. He was the founder of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), a renowned academic publishing service that offered scientometric and bibliographic database services and specialized in citation index and analysis. Garfield was also the inventor of the Science Citation Index (SCI), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Current Contents, and Arts and Humanities Citation Index. These inventions provided an objective and quantitative basis for analyzing information flow in scientific communication and fostered the growth of the field of scientometrics.
At a time without online databases or the internet, Garfield initiated a simple solution. He began to publish small weekly journals, titled Current Contents, in which he compiled tables of contents from key scientific journals to make current scientific information available to researchers. Instead of browsing the print issues, readers could now quickly locate and look up the journals’ table of contents. This pocket-sized publication ran series for agricultural, biological, and environmental sciences; arts and humanities; clinical practice; engineering, technology, and applied sciences; life science; physical chemical and earth sciences; and social and behavioral sciences Nearly every issue of Current Contents included an essay by Garfield, accompanied by his picture. These essays were later collected in a 15-volume series under the title Essays of an Information Scientist.
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