Eugene Garfield Today's Visionary is Eugene Garfield, Ph.D., President and Editor–in–Chief of The Scientist. For almost four decades, Dr. Garfield has been a leader in the science of information.

In the 1950s, he worked on the Welch project which transferred 30,000 medical literature references from card catalogues to computer punch cards. In 1958, he founded the Institute for Scientific Information ® (the ISI). In 1964 Garfield, through the ISI, began publishing the Science Citation Index (the SCI), designed to help researchers find links among related publications. In 1986 he founded The Scientist, a bi-weekly newspaper for research professionals, one of the longest running periodicals on the Internet.

» More Visions

» Acknowledged Web Posting Is Not Prior Publication. [commentary in The Scientist, published June 7, 1999]

» Essays of an Information Scientist, 1962-1993. [Full Text, many in .pdf format]

» Commentaries in The Scientist [1990-1999]

» The ISI Essays [with descriptions]

By Eugene Garfield, The Scientist More Visions »

I see a new Renaissance
On June 19, 1962 information scientist Dr. Eugene Garfield published this editorial in Current Contents®. At a time when the United States was just passing beyond the red scare, and the whole world was darkened by the shadow of nuclear world war his Ideal Library, what he called The Informatorium, offered an optimistic, even inspirational, view of a future world brought closer together by a universal hunger for scientific knowledge. Recently, Dr. Garfield has commented in retrospect that “whether the entire population of the world is thirsting for scientific knowledge is debatable”, but there can be no doubt that his was one of the very first visions of cyberspace. [ed.]
The Informatorium
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The World Brain
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“There is no practical obstacle whatever now to the creation of an efficient index to all human knowledge, ideas and achievements, to the creation, that is, of a complete planetary memory for all mankind.”

“World Brain: The Idea of a Permanent World Encyclopaedia” by H.G. Wells, 1937.

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       This is the first of a series of short editorial reports on various aspects of science in information, its retrieval and dissemination, that will be written by me, ISI staff members, and others. After five years of self-restraint, I feel I can no longer resist the opportunity to preach the gospel of scientific information. Since we haven't missed a publication deadline in five years, I now feel we can justify devoting some time and energy to such projects as this series of articles.

       The title, The Informatorium is taken from a paper I wrote several years ago as the first Grolier Society Fellow at Columbia University. In it I theorized on what I thought “the library of the future” would be like in 2045 –– 100 years from the end of World War II. With the rapid increase in science information in the last several years, The Informatorium might come into existence sooner than I expected. I think the title is especially apt for this series of articles, since most topics discussed here will be aimed at making The Informatorium a reality.

       As I see it, the ideal library must be able to supply information instantaneously. As an ideal library facility, The Informatorium will have to satisfy a wide variety of information requirements for a population that will be highly intellectual and scientifically trained. In my paper, I predicted rather optimistically and hopefully, that by the turn of the millennium there would be “a new Renaissance during which the entire world will be thirsting for knowledge.” I think that age is already beginning in spite of, if not because of, threats of atomic destruction.

Excerpted from "Essays of an Information Scientist, Vol:1, p.1, 1962-73"
Current Contents, June 19, 1962
©Eugene Garfield, used by permission

 Copyright © 1999, 2000

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