• Edwin A. Hill publishes his system for ordering molecular formulas in an index. It is first used by the Classification Division of the U.S. Patent Office.


  • Hollerith designs a keyboard for his machine, replacing the moveable hand for punching data (Norberg, 1990).


  • W. A. Noyes assumes editorship of JACS and advocates the publication of a more comprehensive abstracting journal.


  • First edition of the Universal Decimal Classification is published (Emard, 1976).


  • Paul Otlet (Belgium) proposes the use of standardized microfiche for documentation work (Buckland, 1996).


  • Patent for a marginal card system is granted to W. M. Stretch (Reichman, 1961).
  • First issue of Chemical Abstracts (CA) is published, edited by William A. Noyes, Sr., in the United States, using volunteers as abstractors (a continuing tradition in CA until the 1960s).


  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers is founded and begins publication of its transactions.


  • Austin M. Patterson, professor at Ohio State University, assumes editorship of CA, and its offices are moved from the University of Illinois at Urbana to Columbus.
  • Special Libraries Association (SLA) is formed. Special librarians in the field of chemistry are the first professionals to specialize in chemical information science (Skolnik, “Milestones,” 1976).


  • Extensive use of tabulating devices in business and government takes place between 1910-1920. By 1920, Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company (CTR) has 1,400 tabulators and 1,100 sorters on lease at 650 locations (Norberg, 1990).


  • Hollerith sells his Tabluating Machine Company to a group, which Charles Flint heads. New company is CTR. Later is called IBM (Norberg, 1990).
  • James Powers, former Census Bureau employee and modifier of Hollerith’s machine used in the census, forms the Powers Accounting Machine Company. Later is called the Sperry Rand Corporation (Norberg, 1990).
  • Wilhelm Ostwald founds Die Brücke, an international institute for the organization of intellectual work but fails in his attempt to establish a special international institute to document the field of chemistry.


  • Patent for edge notched card is granted to E. C. Molina (Reichman, 1961).


  • The Powers Accounting Machine Company introduces a printing tabulator (Norberg, 1990).
  • First known use of an optical coincidence subject card system by Horace Taylor, Brookline, MA. Patent describes its use for identification of birds (Thompson, 1961).


  • Editor Evan J. Crane publishes first CA decennial index (1907-16), which includes a new means of naming and indexing compounds developed by Austin M. Patterson and Carleton C. Curran (Skolnik & Reese, 1976).
  • Abstracts of Bacteriology begins publication.


  • The Beilsteins Handbuch der Organischen Chemie makes possible substructure searching.
  • Botanical Abstracts begins publication.


  • Chemical Abstracts adds annual formula index, first to be used in an abstract journal. These formula indexes did not indicate molecular structures, or functional groups, but served as very broad screens for searching purposes (Perry, Kent, & Berry, 1956).
  • Herbert E. Soper (UK) receives US patent for subject based optical coincidence system for use in statistical recording (Thompson, 1961).


  • IUPAC establishes commissions on chemical nomenclature to formulate rules for naming chemical compounds systematically (Perry, et al., 1956).
  • Science Service, at the National Academy of Science in Washington, DC, is established to disseminate scientific information. Edward E. Slosson is the first director (Schultz & Garwig, 1969).
  • CA publishes its first chemical formula index (Weisgerber, 1997).
  • International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation, under auspices of the League of Nations, is established (Werdel & Adams, 1976).


  • April: The Union of American Biological Societies is established with principal purpose of publishing a unified abstracting service for bio-sciences (Steere, 1976).


  • French patent for use of subject based optical coincident system is issued to Bourgeaud and Liber. System incorporates some aspects of Boolean searching. This patent forms the basis of theJ. Cordonnier system of aspect cards (Thompson, 1961).
  • Eighth edition of Gmelin Handbuch der Anorganischen Chemie published, under sponsorship of Deutsche Chemische Gesellschaft.
  • The Powers Accounting Machine Company introduces a tabulator with alphabetic capacity (Norberg, 1990).
  • First use of a facsimile transmission between NY and Cleveland. Results are printed in The New York Times (Emard, 1976).
  • November: Rockefeller Foundation makes grant of $350,000 to cover expenses for a ten year period for creation of Biological Abstracts. Rockefeller eventually contributes a total of $723,000 for the publication (Steere, 1976).


  • By this time, the use of tabulating machines has achieved a conventional makeup that is to stay pretty much the same until the 1950’s: punch, tabulator, sorter, and, occasionally, a verifier, interpreter, and printing tabulator. Almost every large company has a “Hollerith” department by this time.
  • Alfred Perkins (England) receives a US patent for his edge-notched card (previously patented in the UK; not sure of date). Earlier edge-notched cards are crude compared to his. This is the first generally applicable system. US rights to the patent are sold to the McBee Corporation in 1932 (Reichman, 1961).
  • Paul Otlet (Belgium) and Robert Goldschmidt (Belgium) describe the advantages of a microphotographic library consisting of a portable cabinet and a pocket sized viewing device capable of holding as many as 18,759 books of 350 pages each (Buckland, 1996).
  • Emmanuel Goldberg (Germany) demonstrates microfilm reduction potential by placing entire text of the Bible 50 times over on one square inch of film (Buckland, 1996).


  • Carnegie Corporation funds the establishment of the Graduate Library School at the University of Chicago. Principal purpose of the school is to be research oriented and to operate a Ph.D. program in library science (Buckland, 1996).
  • Watson Davis and Edward Slosson propose a method for disseminating information via a “miniaturephotographic” process. Davis (?) coins the term microfilm (according to Schultz & Garwig, 1969).
  • British Chemical Abstracts begins. Becomes British Chemical and Physiological Abstracts in 1938 and British Abstracts in 1946.
  • In the United States Biological Abstracts is first published (Steere, 1976).


  • Emmanuel Goldberg (Germany) develops process for applying electronic signals to selection of data on microfilm. US patent is applied for in 1928 and is granted 29 December 1931. This development has significant influences on work of Vannevar Bush in early work on the Rapid Selector (Jahoda, 1961).
  • Nippon Kagaku Soran, a Japanese chemical abstracts journal, is published.
  • International Federation of Library Associatons (IFLA) is established. This is a direct descendant of the International Library and Bibliographic Committee, founded in 1926 (Werdel & Adams, 1976).
  • The Powers Accounting Machine Company becomes Remington Rand.


  • IBM, the old CTR, introduces the 80 column punched card.


  • First known use of optical coincidence cards for literature searching by R. Preddek (Germany). Various names for the name of the optical coincidence cards, by language are: French: fiches superposables; German: sichtlochkarten; English/US: Peek-a-Boo, optical coincidence, feature cards, aspect cards; English/UK: optical coincidence and Batten-Cordonnier (Reichman, 1961).
  • Vannevar Bush, MIT, develops an analog machine that uses gears powered by electricity (Emard, 1976).


  • IBM introduces an electro-mechanical circuit design principle in its new multiplying punch (later labeled the 601). By this time, IBM is the clear leader over Remington Rand, producing units in a 16 to 1 ratio over Rand. Arthur L. Norberg (1990) implied that this was because of the electromechanical nature of IBM’s equipment.
  • IIB becomes the Institut International de Documentation (IID).
  • University of Chicago’s Graduate Library School is established and publishes first issue of Library Quarterly, a journal to be devoted to the “scientific” aspects of the field of library science (Buckland, 1996).


  • Watson Davis becomes Director of Science Service (Schultz & Garwig, 1969).


  • Samuel C. Bradford, mathematician and librarian at the Science Museum in London, develops his “law of scattering” regarding differences in demand for scientific journals. This work influences bibliometrics and citation analysis of scientific publications.
  • 15 November: Davis, Atherton Seidell (National Institute of Health (NIH)), R. H. Draeger (Naval Medical School), and Claribel R. Barnett (Librarian, USDA) announce the beginning of Bibliofilm Service, operating out of the USDA Library. The Service offers to provide microfilm copies of the literature of science as well as microfilm readers (Schultz & Garwig, 1969).


  • A $15,000 grant from the Chemical Foundation allows Watson Davis to establish the Documentation Institute as part of Science Service and to operate the Auxiliary Publication Service for science librarians. These initiatives lead indirectly to the establishment, in 1937, of the American Documentation Institute (ADI), the predecessor of the American Society for Information Science (ASIS).
  • Davis develops original ideas for a mechanized literature searching machine.
  • Reported use of IBM punched card equipment at Boston Public Library. (Reported in Ethel Fair’s Jan. 15 article in Library Journal.)


  • Davis creates the Auxiliary Publication Service of Science Service focusing on dissemination of scientific information via microfilm. Announces to journal editors how the publication process will work. The Bibliofilm Service (which is officially moved to Science Service in January, 1936) begins the Auxiliary Publication Service to promote three basic concepts: a network of libraries to cooperatively support the copying of articles; one “big journal” of scientific literature; the creation of a “world brain” through acquiring and indexing the knowledge of the world (Schultz & Garwig, 1969). A microfilm development lab is established in the USDA Library and is used for the technical operations of the Bibliofilm Service. Estimated to cost about $25,000 (Redmond, 1985).
  • ALA Commitee on Documentary Reproduction is formed to study and promote documentary reproduction. Later publishes the Journal of Documentary Reproduction in 1938 (Shera & Cleveland, 1972).
  • February: Ralph Parker, University of Texas at Austin, uses punched card equipment for library circulation work (Emard, 1976; Becker, 1976).


  • Committee on Scientific Aids to Learning is established in the NAS. This committee is influential in the study and development of technical innovations of the time, such as microphotography and business machines (Buckland, 1996).
  • 13 March: Group headed by Davis, of Science Service, NAS, forms the American Documentation Institute. Membership is restricted to member organizations (originally 45).
  • August: World Congress on Documentation is held in Paris. US attendees include: Davis and Herman Fussler. This meeting features H.G. Wells’ presentation on the “World Brain.” Otlet and Goldberg also make presentations (Buckland, 1996).
  • December: Biological Abstracts suspends publication because of lack of funds. Resumes publication five months later (Steere, 1976).


  • Claude Shannon applies the principles of Boolean logic and binary algeba to the design of electronic circuits (Smith, 1993).
  • IID becomes the Federation International de Documentation (FID).
  • Journal of Documentary Reproduction begins publication (ceases in 1943) (Shera & Cleveland, 1972).
  • Conrad Weygand, a German chemist, proposes a method for classifying chemical reactions based on the breaking and forming of bonds during a reaction.
  • 22 October: Chester Carlson makes the first xerographic image in his lab in Astoria, Queens, NYC.


  • ALA publishes Emily Miller Danton’s edited book, The Library of Tommorrow. (Includes Frederick Keppel’s essay on bibliographic searching using Hollerith cards.)
  • W.E. Batten (UK) develops the first large scale system using feature (optical coincidence) cards for use in indexing patent literature. Much of the later interest in optical coincidence cards stems from his writings about them (Thompson, 1961).
  • Bell Labs produces the first remotely operational, electromagnetic relay calculator. Name: Bell Labs Model 1 (Stibetz Complex Calculator).
  • Bush constructs a prototype of the Microfilm Rapid Selector (MRS) at MIT. Uses only A=A search logic. Is announced publicly in 1940. Uses photoelectric cells. Machine is generally considered a failure (Jahoda, 1961).
  • Fussler begins teaching a course on microfilm at the Graduate Library School, University of Chicago (Buckland, 1996).
  • France’s Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique is established with chemical information science among its fields of research.


  • The Ring Index, by Austin M. Patterson and Leonard T. Capell, is first published.
  • Bulletin Signalétique, a French abstract journal, is first published.
  • Montclair (NJ) Public Library begins using punched cards in a circulation control system. Reports on this appear in library literature in 1941 (Jahoda, 1961 ; Becker, 1976 ).
  • Library of Congress installs the first punched cards machines in the Card Division to help with accounting operations ( Gull, 1953 ).
  • W.E. Batten develops aspect cards based on optical coincidence retrieval . (Williams, 2002 )


  • First fully functional, automatic, programmable, general purpose digital computer. Dr. Konrad Zuse develops. Name: Z3.
  • Commercial television broadcasting begins in the US with the FCC issuing first commercial license ( Emard, 1976 ).
  • Army Medical Library Friends group begins publication of Current List of Medical Literature, to assist users of the Medicofilm Service (Schullian, 1958 ).


  • First functioning prototype electronic digital computer in the US. Name: Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC computer).
  • Ralph Shaw patents the Rapid Selector.
  • USDA Library begins publication of the Bibliography of Agriculture (Emard, 1976 ).
  • National Registry of Rare Chemicals established by the Armour Research Foundation in Chicago.


  • The Army Medical Library begins a free microfilm service of copies of materials. Free to federal agencies and other institutions.
  • First programmable, electronic digital code-breaking computer is developed during Allied wartime efforts at Bletchley Park, England. Name: Colossus .
  • Howard Aiken demonstrates MARK I, the first operational program-controlled computer in the US (Emard, 1976 ).
  • Technical Library Techniques Symposium is held at an ACS meeting, and the Chemical Literature Group is formed as part of the Division of Chemical Education.
  • John F. Langan, Chief of the Pictorial Records Division of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) designs and implements the microfilm aperture card.  He received a patent for the invention in 1950 but sold the rights to Atherton Richards and W.J. Casey who incorporated the Film N’ File Corporation, later Filmsort, Inc. ( Cady, 1999 )
  • National Microfilm Association (NMA) is formed Jesse H. Shera said that the microfilm adherents in ADI were losing influence so they formed NMA ( Shera & Cleveland, 1972 ).


  • Howard Aiken and others develop the first large-scale, automatic, electromechanical computer. Name: Harvard Mark I (aka IBM ASCC).
  • Fremont Rider proposes that the text of books be put on the back of library catalog cards in microformat, calling them “microcards” (Gull, 1953; Buckland, 1996 ).


  • Vannevar Bush authors Science, the Endless Frontier: Report to the President on a Program for Postwar Scientific Research. Bush is Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) at the time ( Pinelli, Henderson, Bishop, & Doty, 1992 ).
  • Article by Gerald J. Cox, Charles F. Baily, and Robert S. Casey in Chemical and Engineering News, “Punched Cards for a Chemical Bibliography,” is first to bring punched cards to attention of chemists (Skolnik, “Milestones,” 1976 ).
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is founded.
  • June: Publication Board is established (to succeed OSRD) in the Department of Defense (DoD) for handling of US scientific and technical reports. Responsibilities include declassification of classified reports and dissemination of all reports. Later is established as part of the Department of Commerce as the Office of Technical Services (OTS). This agency is the precursor of the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) (Brownson, 1953 ).
  • July: Vannevar Bush’s article “As We May Think” appears in Atlantic Monthly. Buckland (1996) said the article was actually written in the late 1930’s, when Bush was actively working on his Microfilm Rapid Selector).


  • John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert develop the first large scale, general purpose, electronic digital computer. Name: ENIAC . This machine is a “peculiar hybrid of punched card machine and electronic circuitry” Sponsored in part by the US Army Research Lab (Norberg, 1990 ).
  • John von Neuman, Arthur Burks, and Herman Goldstine publish a preliminary description of the logical design of an electronic computer (Emard, 1976 ).
  • ADI publishes the first edition of the Catalog of Auxiliary Publications in Microfilms and Photoprints (Redmond, 1985 ). Lists approximately 2,000 documents as well as microfilmed sets of journals deposited with ADI.
  • USDA Library offers to furnish copies of all articles cited in CA to subscribers and members of the ACS. Project is halted in 1956 because of copyright issues (Adkinson, 1976 ).
  • Royal Society (London) Empire Scientific Conference, Cambridge, holds conference and discusses need for improved scientific information systems. Recommends that a special Royal Society conference on this issue be held at a later date. This special conference is held in 1948 (see below for details).
  • ACS board establishes a Board Committee on Punched Cards, with James W. Perry as chairman. The committee’s activities are financially supported by the ACS with additional funds solicited from industry. Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Scientific Aids to Learning continues this work with a grant from the Carnegie Corporation (New tools, 1954).
  • The Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker is founded, replacing the Deutsche Chemische Gesellschaft and the Verein Deutscher Chemiker.
  • G. Malcolm Dyson presents a paper before London’s Royal Institute of Chemistry on his notation system, which seeks to represent chemical structures uniquely and unambiguously in a linear sequence of letters and numbers. IUPAC provisionally recommends the Dyson system (Skolnik, “Milestones,” 1976; Weisgerber, 1997).
  • The Publications Board (PB) of the US government begins publication of Bibliography of Scientific and Technical Reports (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Chemical Biological Coordination Center (CBCC) is established in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council (NRC). Begins a punched-card system to organize complex information files (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Federal medical science agencies begin exchanging information on their research plans and programs to aid in more effective management and to avoid duplication of research. These agencies establish the Medical Sciences Information Exchange in 1950 (Bourne & Hahn, in press).


  • Calvin Mooers establishes the Zator Company, a private firm for work in the area of information retrieval.
  • William E. Batten, Imperial Chemical Industries in Great Britain, reports on the use of optical coincidence cards for information retrieval.
  • John von Neuman converts the ENIAC concept of external programming to stored programming in development of the EDVAC (Emard, 1976).
  • Preparation of the CA fourth decennial index (covering 1937-46) requires 1.6 million index cards, five miles of one-column galley proofs, and several years to produce.
  • First volume of first edition of Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology is published.
  • US Department of Commerce OTS issues contract for development of a Rapid Selector, based on the ideas in Bush’s Rapid Selector, to Engineering Research Associates (ERA), St. Paul, MN. Development of the machine is to be under general supervision of Ralph Shaw, USDA Library. The machine employs photoelectric cells to scan coded information (usually in dots) on reels of microfilm at a high rate. The reels of microfilm can contain citations, abstracts, or the full text of the retrieved documents. Development of refinements to the machine, variations on it, etc. continued for the next 12 years (according to Jahoda, 1961 ). A number of different patents are issued on the Rapid Selector.
  • “Steelman Report” is issued, calling for the White House to appoint a scientific liaison for scientific affairs and to review current developments in scientific information (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Technical Information Service begins. Publishes Weekly Title List . Later is named Nuclear Science Abstracts (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • September: The Library of Congress and the Office of Naval Research sponsor a three day conference on “Bibliographical Control of Government Scientific and Technical Reports.” More than 40 agencies, mostly military, are represented. Recommend development of a special committee on technical information to deal with all issues discussed. This special committee is established, and later the NSF Office of Scientific Information and Armed Services Technical Information Agency (ASTIA–see 14 May 1951) takes over its functions (Brownson, 1953).
  • November: Atomic Energy Research Establishment sets up an experimental punched card indexing system. Discontinues in November 1949 in favor of a “visual” system (Perry, et al., 1956 ).
  • Mortimer Taube and Cloyd Dake Gull (both on the staff of the Library of Congress) visit Mauchley, ENIAC developer, at the University of Pennslyvania. They ask him if the ENIAC could handle the alphabet. Mauchley says yes, but with difficulty ( Gull, 1987 ).
  • H. P. Luhn, IBM, develops an early prototype of the “Luhn Scanner” for use of the CIA in information retrieval.
  • US Army Medical Library awards contract to Welch Medical Library of Johns Hopkins University to study the problems of medical bibliography, with the emphasis on application of machine methods. Sanford Larkey heads the project. The report recommends continuing work in the area, which eventually leads to the MEDLARS system. Project also studies the merits of medical subject headings and is an early step in the development of the MeSH (medical subject headings) language. Participants in the project are (at various times): Larkey (Director), Robert Hayne, Seymour Taine   Thelma Sharon, Helen G. Field, Willamina Himwich, John Whittock, and Eugene Garfield (began working in 1951).
  • Jacques Samain (France) develops information retrieval system using Hollerith/IBM punched cards sorted by electrical circuits. (US patent is received in 1952 on a modification of the system using photo-electric cells.) Jahoda (1961 ) said that the development was not pursued and that Samain later developed the Filmorex system based on the Rapid Selector by Shaw.


  • Welch Medical Library Indexing Project at Johns Hopkins University begins. Sponsored by the Army Medical Library (now the National Library of Medicine (NLM)), it is one of the first efforts to study medical and chemical nomenclature and indexing and to apply machine technologies to this information.
  • Various individuals at Manchester University, England develop the first prototype, electronic stored program computer. Name: Manchester Mark I .
  • The Haloid Company and Battelle Labs announce the development of xerography.
  • The School of Library Science, Western Reserve University (WRU) offers the first courses on documentation in the US. Helen Focke teaches the courses (Shera & Cleveland, 1972 ).
  • DoD study recommends that the Army Medical Library become the joint armed forces medical library.
  • Calvin Mooers develops the concept of Zatocoding, using “descriptors” and random coding on mechanically sorted edge-notched cards (Mooers, 1976 ).
  • Royal Society Scientific Information Conference convenes in London (Emard, 1976 ).
  • ACS’s Division of Chemical Literature is formed and the next year begins publication of Chemical Literature . In 1975 name changes to Division of Chemical Information.
  • Gmelin-Institut für Anorganische Chemie und Grenzgebiete of the Max-Planck Institut commences editing and publishing Gmelin Handbuch .
  • James W. Perry and G. Malcolm Dyson discuss with Thomas J. Watson, IBM President, the need to develop a machine to handle large volumes of scientific information, particularly chemical information. Watson agrees to work on the problem and assigns Hans Peter Luhn to the project (Mechanized, 1952 ).
  • Norbert Wiener publishes Cybernetics.


  • George Willard Wheland, professor at the University of Chicago, develops basic concept of the connection table to represent chemical structures.
  • William J. Wiswesser introduces Wiswesser Line Notation.
  • First large scale, fully functional, stored program electronic digital computer begins operation as a regular computing service; developed at Cambridge University, England. Name: EDSAC .
  • The first xerographic copier , Model A, was introduced.
  • At Sharp and Dohme, Claire Schultz employs Calvin Mooers’ superimposed coding using the Zator system (edge-notched cards).  In early 1950 she begins using the Remington Rand punched-card sorter to perform chemistry searches. In 1951 she begins using the IBM 101 (machine sorted cards) to perform Boolean searches.
  • Science Information Exchange begins operation with six government agencies cooperating (Pinelli, et al., 1992 ).
  • Austin M. Patterson receives first A. M. Patterson Award for Documentation in Chemistry from ACS’s Dayton Section. In 1975 the award is expanded to honor E. J. Crane and becomes the Patterson-Crane Award.
  • J. Forrester and others at MIT develop the first real-time processing computer. Name: Whirlwind I.

Early 1950s

  • First operation or public demonstration of Filmsort Aperture Cards, usually IBM punched cards with a microfilm insert. Are used mostly in engineering documentation applications (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Jonkers Termatrex, Inc. develops its information retrieval system–an optical coincidence system using punched cards and a variation on descriptors.
  • Emik Avakian develops AMFIS (Automatic Microfilm Information System).


  • US Army Medical Library issues first annual catalog: Army Medical Library Author Catalog , with subject index, which replaces the Index Catalogue , started in 1880. Current Index to Medical Literature is improved and is made monthly, under the editorship of Taine.
  • Library of Congress announces plans to compile the Union List of Serials using punched cards (Gull, 1953).
  • “Berkner Report” on scientific and technical information in the US is issued (Emard, 1976).
  • An official act establishes the National Science Foundation (NSF) . NSF is assigned responsibility for exchange and coordination of scientific and technical information among US scientists and between the US and other countries (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • The Technological, Scientific, and Engineering Information Act, PL 81-776, authorizes the Department of Commerce to establish a central clearinghouse for scientific and technical information. This broadens the responsibility of OTS (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Shaw describes the Rapid Selector in presentation at the University of Chicago’s Graduate Library School’s conference on “Bibliographic Organization” (Shera & Cleveland, 1972). Shaw receives a $20,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation to build cameras and processors for use in libraries (Schultz & Garwig, 1969).
  • Hans Peter Luhn devlops prototype of the Luhn Scanner for IBM. Its technology is based on IBM punched cards, run vertically through a specially adapted scanner, using photo-electric cells. It does not require fixed-field searching. It is first demonstrated at the World Chemical Conclave in New York City, September 1951 (New tools, 1954).
  • Polaroid begins to photograph CRT displays, leading to computer output microfilm (COM) (Emard, 1976).
  • The four major US federal documents centers (Central Air Documents Division, Dayton, OH; Navy Research Section of the Library of Congress; Technical Information Service of the AEC; Division of Research of the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics) begin cooperation on the standards and practices in the handling of technical reports (Brownson, 1953). This work led eventually to COSATI?
  • American Documentation, official publication of ADI, begins publication. Vernon Tate is first editor.  (Note: Dr. Eugene Garfield is in the process of compiling a complete bibliographic record and citation index to American Documentation and its successors; the period 1956-2004 is now listed at: http://garfield.library.upenn.edu/histcomp/jasis-t/ )
  • ADI establishes headquarters in the Library of Congress. (Schultz & Garwig, 1969).
  • BA receives contractual funding of $22,000 from the Office of Naval Research to speed up publication of delinquent indexes (Steere, 1976).
  • Medical Sciences Information Exchange under the aegis of NAS-NRC is established (Bourne & Hahn).
  • The Information for Industry Index to U.S. Patents (IFI/Plenum) begins publication using Mortimer Taube’s Uniterm system for index terms.
  • Smithsonian Science Information Exchange (SSIE) is established in Washington, D.C. (Bourne & Hahn).
  • 30 August – 6 September: In a paper delivered at the International Congress of Mathematicians at Harvard, Calvin Mooers uses (for the first time?) the term information retrieval. Title of paper is: “Information Retrieval Viewed as Temporal Signaling” (Mooers, 1976). Paper is published in Proceedings, International Congress of Mathematicians, Cambridge, Mass., USA, Aug. 30-Sept. 6, 1950 (Providence, RI, American Mathematical Society, 1952, pp. 572-3.)
  • Scott Adams develops the concept of a clinical librarian, which advocates personalized service to users of medical information.
  • IBM develops the Electronic Statistical Machine, Type 101. This is a punched card machine that is used in a wide variety of indexing and information retrieval projects over the next few years. First use of the machine for literature searching may have been at the US Patent Office. The Welch Medical Library Project also uses it (See below for details.) (Jahoda, 1961). [Jahoda lists other projects that used it prior to 1961.]


  • King County Public Library (Seattle, WA) issues the first (?) machine produced book catalog. Produced from punched (?) cards and is printed on an IBM Tabulator (Becker, 1976).
  • James W. Perry and Robert S. Casey publish Punched Cards: Their Application to Science and Industry. A second edition appeared in 1958 with Madeline Berry and Allen Kent as co-authors.
  • Mauchley and Eckert develop the first commercially available computer. Also the first to use stored programs and a compiler. First one delivered to the US Census Bureau. Name: UNIVAC I.
  • At Johns Hopkins University’s Welch Medical Library, Eugene Garfield develops machine methods for compiling Current List of Medical Literature (later merged with Index Medicus) and applies the IBM 101 punched-card sorter to search this database.
  • In Great Britain, Derwent Publications, Ltd., begins patent abstracting services with Central Patents Index. Punched cards are used to construct the indexes.
  • Taube offers a course on documentation at Columbia University’s Library School (Taylor, 1976).
  • IUPAC Commission adopts the Dyson notational system on a provisional basis.
  • January: Mooers publishes an article on Zatocoding concept in AD (Gull, 1987).
  • 14 May: US DoD establishes ASTIA. This is the first major attempt to consolidate DoD information functions. This agency combines two existing document processing centers: Central Air Documents Office (formerly Documents Research Center) at Wright Field in Dayton, OH, which had the responsibility of processing captured German documents, and the Library of Congress Technical Information Division (formerly the Science-Technology Project) (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • 4 September: Mortimer Taube and Alberto F. Thompson of the AEC Technical Information Service present “The Coordinate Indexing of Scientific Fields” before the Symposium on Mechanical Aids to Chemical Documentation sponsored by the ACS’s Division of Chemical Literature. This paper contains the first use of the term coordinate indexing (Smith, 1993).
  • October: Yehoshua Bar-Hillel reports on the present status of research in mechanical translation (Perry, et al., 1956).
  • 30 December: AAAS holds a session at its annual conference in Philadelphia, PA on “Operation Knowledge.” Saul Herner ( 1976 ) called this the first US based gathering of scientists, librarians, and documentalists to discuss the emergence of documentation/information science.


  • Garfield publishes the first issue of Contents in Advance, a compilation of the contents pages of library and documentation journals. It ceases publication in 1954 or 1955 (Garfield, 1983).
  • NSF establishes the Office of Scientific Information (OSI) to fund research related to the dissemination of scientific information (Altman, 1993).
  • University of Chicago holds a conference on the “Communication of Specialized Information.” Discussion centers on changes taking place in librarianship and whether library schools and professional library organizations can encompass the interests of documentalists (Schultz & Garwig, 1969).
  • US Army Medical Library officially becomes the Armed Forces Medical Library.
  • Dr. Jacques Samain (France) publishes illustrated booklet on his new system. Filmorex; booklet issued by Unesco. System uses discrete pieces of microfilm and complementary coding for selection. Pieces of microfilm contain code and full text; duplicates can be prefiled in various arrays to reduce search time (Taube & Wooster, 1958).
  • The Institute of Scientific Information is established at the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow, and in the following year begins publication of Referativnyi Zhurnal, Khimiya, a chemical abstracting journal. In 1955 the institute becomes the All-Soviet Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (VINITI), the centralized abstracting and indexing service for all scientific fields.
  • Karl Heumann and Raimon Beard report on the U.S. National Research Council’s (NRC) Chemical-Biological Coordination Center (CBCC) survey of the use of punched cards, classification systems, etc. in documenting work in the chemistry and biology fields.
  • February: National Research Council issues a call for the comparative study of the best chemical notation systems for structural formulas (Perry, et al., 1956 ).
  • Spring: Taube founds Documentation, Inc. Gull (1987) called it the “first private organization anywhere devoted to research and development in the field of documentation…”. Firm begins with USAF contract sponsored by ASTIA. Gull joins the firm in July, 1952.
  • June: Symposium on “Machine Techniques for Information Selection” is held at MIT, June 10-11. Perry (?), IBM , organizes the conference. Luhn presents the first version of the “Luhn Scanner” (referred to as the IBM Electronic Information Searching System).
  • September: Robert A. Fairthorne writes an article on the operations of various types of automatic machines (could be a good summary of what is happening in the UK?) (Perry, et al., 1956 ).
  • 26 September: ADI opens membership categories to individuals.


  • Garfield begins work on his idea about a citation index for science, basing his idea on discussions with W. C. Adair, former VP of Shepards Citations .
  • Biological Sciences Information Service is established in the NRC. Is transferred in 1954 to Smithsonian (Pinelli et al., 1992).
  • ASTIA issues Title Announcement Bulletin . Later title is Technical Abstract Bulletin (TAB). This is the first consolidated announcement medium for DoD documents (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • First IBM electronic digital computer. Name: IBM 701.
  • First British electronic computer in regular commercial use. J. Lyons Co., England, develops. Name: LEO.
  • The Medical Science Information Exchange continues to expand its scope and amount of work which leads to its transfer (in 1953) to the Smithsonian Institution and its re-designation on BioSciences Information Exchange (Bourne & Hahn).
  • 3 March: Symposium on “Machine Methods in Scientific Documentation” is held at Johns Hopkins University, Welch Medical Library. Garfield presides at the meeting. Attendance at 300. Those in attendance include: Clapp, Saul Herner, Luhn, Mauchley, and Shaw. Demonstrations are given of the IBM 101 (Garfield, 1987).
  • August: Bailey, Lanham, and Leibowitz report on an experiment in mechanized searching of patent files, using punched cards in medicinal compositions, at the Patent Office.
  • September: G. Miles Conrad is appointed Editor of BA (Steere, 1976).
  • ASTIA Reference Test is conducted comparing coordinate indexing and subject headings (Gull, 1987).


  • In France, Jacques-Emile Dubois does initial work on the DARC (Description, Acquisition, Retrieval, and Correlation) system.
  • UNIVAC I becomes commercially available.
  • Optical scanners are introduced.
  • American Bar Association forms a Technical Aids to Law Committee to study the use of punched cards, computers, etc. for use in legal research (Perry, et al., 1956).
  • US Naval Ordnance Test Station, China Lake, CA, develops a post-coordinate, batch-oriented retrieval system using the Taube Uniterm system on an IBM 701 calculator on an ASTIA file of 15,000 documents. It mimicks a manual search of a Uniterm card file. It can add new information, delete information on discarded documents, match search requests against a master file, and produce a printout of document numbers. Only able to do Boolean ‘and’ search strategy. Uses coordination of document numbers listed under descriptors (Kilgour, 1970). Gull (1987) called this the first subject search ever made by a digital computer.
  • US Patent Office reports that research and development on photographically recorded disks storing digital information in binary code form is taking place at several organizations. Jahoda (1961) briefly summarized these, mentioning: Recall Film Index System by Recall, Inc.; Film Library Instantaneous Presentation by Benson-Lehner Corporation; Automatic Micro-Film Information System (AMFIS) by E.A. Avakian; Magnavox Film Data Recorder by Magnavox, Inc.
  • The first demonstration and instance of computer-based searching of a bibliographic file on a regular basis occurrs at the Naval Ordance Test Station (NOTS) at China Lake, CA.
  • January: Garfield reports on his analysis of the IBM 101 statistical punched card machine for use in information handling. Is published in American Documentation (Perry, et al., 1956).
  • January: Report in American Documentation on use of the UNIVAC Fac-Tronic machine for use in doing library reference work. Concludes that it will work but too expensive (Perry, et al., 1956).
  • Fall: VINITI publishes Referativnyi Zhurnal: Biologiia (Soviet Union). By 1957, it is publishing 108,000 abstracts annually (Steere, 1976).
  • November: Eastman Kodak announces the development of the Minicard System. System uses 16x32mm pieces of photographic film on which coded areas and image (document) areas appear. Photoelectric cells complete the searching. System receives considerable attention because of its claim for handling large volumes of information (Jahoda, 1961).
  • Wiswesser develops his line notation system (WLN), which is used in the CROSSBOW (Computerized Retrieval of Organic Structures based on Wiswesser) system (Weisgerber, 1997).


  • Chemical Abstract Services (CAS) establishes research and development unit.
  • Hoover Commission recommends that the Perry becomes director of the Center for Documentation and Communication Research (CDCR), NSF. He assists in the design and building of theWRU Searching Selector , a prototype of a computer program to perform literature searches based on encoded abstracts (Perry, 1977). During its development the Selector is called the WRU System, the ASM-WRU System, the Perry-Kent System , and the ASM Mark I System. The database used for the project consisted of metallurgical literature (Bourne & Hahn). Project also involves development of “telegraphic abstracts.” Hardware used in the Searching Selector include: Flexowriter, circuit panels, punched paper tape. Jahoda (1961) summarized the system and evaluations of it as of 1961.
  • Garfield publishes the first issues of Management’s Documation Preview . Title is changed in 1956 to Current Contents of Management and Social Sciences. Also has separate contract with (Garfield, 1987).
  • The Ford Foundation establishes the Council on Library Resources (CLR) (Heilprin, 1988).
  • First supercomputer is delivered to the US Naval Weapons Lab. Name: NORC: Naval Ordinance Research Calculator (Emard, 1976).
  • Bureau of the Budget assumes responsibility for supervision of federal paperwork management. Pinelli, et al. (1992) said this established the principle for the control of federal information in the executive branch.
  • October: The WRU Searching Selector is demonstrated for the first time in public at the National Metal Exposition. The Selector performs “serial Boolean searches of the punched paper tape database, with up to five (later expanded to ten) concurrent searches of the coded telegraphic abstracts” (Bourne & Hahn).


  • Robert Cahn, Christopher Ingold, and Vladimir Prelog present a nomenclature system for the unambiguous specification of stereoisomers.
  • 1956 –First scientific study of the library use of periodicals done at the Science Museum Library (SML), South Kensington, London, by Donald J. Urquhart in preparation for the establishment of the National Lending Library for Science and Technology (NLL), the forerunner of today’s British Library Document Supply Centre. Brief summary of the paper published in proceedings of the 1958 International Conference on Scientific Information. Urquart later called his findings, “Urquhart’s Law.”


  • First fully solid-state business computer. Name: NCR 304 .
  • (Altman, 1993). Begins series (4 issued) titled: “Nonconventional Information Systems in Current Use” describing operating information retrieval/processing systems and “Current Research and Development in Scientific Documentation,” which summarizes research and development in the field. (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • IUPAC approves rules for chemical nomenclature that are subsequently issued in book form-the famous Red, Blue, and Green Books, dealing with inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry, respectively.
  • Eugene Garfield Associates, Inc., begins project with Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association to scan and index the current literature on steroid compounds.  The coding sheets produced are then used by the U.S. Patent Office to make punched cards for searching by patent examiners to find current literature.  This project leads indirectly to Index Chemicus.
  • NLM , is convinced that microfilming and rapid copying techniques have advanced well enough to permit responses to request for copies through copying on microfilm rather than ILL to the requesters library. This is done using movable microfilm cameras in the NLM stacks and then shipping the copy to the requestor.
  • Taube’s Uniterm system evolves from single word usage to roles and links to “concept coordinate indexing” (Conrad, 1976, Rush, 1985, Emard, 1976).
  • Remington Rand Univac develops and markets the Univac Tape Search writer, a freestanding tape search system, which is intended for “random retrieval of information from a large tape file without requiring the scheduling and running of a job on an organization’s main computer system.” Is used, for example, to find license numbers in a motor vehicle file or policy information in insurance company files (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Noam Chomsky publishes his Syntatic Structures monograph, which initiates the cognitive revolution in theoretical linguistics and was heavily based on information theory.  This work has significant effects on the role in linguistics in information science research. A brief historical sketch is at: http://www.cogsci.princeton.edu/~geo/Miller.pdf.  A summary specific to information science is: http://www.nodali.sics.se/bibliotek/kval/info_science/KVAL77-11/KVAL77-11.htm
  • Magnavox Research Laboratories with the aid of the Air Force create the Magnacard System for high-speed handling of magnetic cards. (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Robert Fugmann and co-workers at Farbwerke Hoechst, West Germany, develop Generic Retrieval by Magnetic Tape Storage (GREMAS), a high-performance fragmentation coding, storage, and retrieval system for low molecular weight organic compounds.
  • Cranfield Project I, testing the comparative efficience of indexing systems, established by Aslib (UK), under the direction of C.W. Cleverdon .  Major finding is that all systems were of approximately equal effectiveness. Cranfield II begins in 1963. (Foskett, 1977)
  • Rand Corporation charters SDC (Bourne & Hahn).
  • January: First author indexes to BA are produced using IBM punched cards. BA and Psychological Abstracts begin a program of joint abstracting. John Crerar Library agrees to provide photocopies of original articles abstracted in BA (Steere, 1976).
  • April: CDCR begins pilot searching with questions from members of ASM (Bourne & Hahn).
  • 15 – 17 April: Symposium on “Systems for Information Retrieval” is held at the School of Library Science (Shera & Perry, 1957).


  • Beginning of “second generation” of computers (using solid state circuitry, stored programs, and user oriented programming languages) (Emard, 1976);(Jahoda, 1961).
  • SDC designs and implements the Q-32 computer ( Bourne & Hahn).
  • With consultation help from Gull , General Electric Aircraft Gas Turbine Division, Evendale, OH, installs a Uniterm indexing system using IBM 704 computer. It is able to print out author, title, and an abstract of reports but only able to do ‘and’ Boolean searches. Uses coordination of document numbers listed under descriptors (Kilgour, 1970).
  • “Killian Report,” Strengthening American Sciences, is issued. Recommends the establishment of Federal Council for Science and Technology (FCST) to promote closer cooperation among federal agencies. Eisenhower accepts the recommendation (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • “Baker Report” on improving the availability of US scientific and technical information is submitted to the US President’s Science Advisory Committee (Emard, 1976). The NSF Office of Science Information Service (OSIS) is the eventual result (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • National Defense Education Act (NDEA) becomes law. First general federal aid to education since the Morrill Act of 1862 . Title 9 creates the Science Information Council (SIC), and NSF OSIS is the eventual result (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • U.S. Patent Office and National Bureau of Standards develop the experimental HAYSTAQ (Have You Stored Answers to Questions) system using a Standards Electronic Automatic Computer (SEAC) for use in searching patent files, with particular focus on chemical information (Jahoda, 1961).
  • International Conference on Scientific Information (ICSI) is held in Washington, D.C.; chief organizer is Alberto Thompson .
  • National Federation of Science Abstracting and Indexing Services is founded.  In 1972 it becomes National Federation of Abstracting and Indexing Services (Bourne & Hahn).
  • First operation or public demonstration of Kodak’s Minicard , which is developed for the US Air Force to handle intelligence information. USAF Rome Air Development Center contracted (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Peter K. Worsley of the Benson-Lehner Company in Los Angeles, CA, designs the FLIP (Film Library Instantaneous Presentation) system. This system can search 1200 ft rolls of 16-mm microfilm, searching up to 600 frames per second (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Kagaku Gijutsu Bunken Sokuho (Alerting Service of Scientific and Technical Information) by Japan Information Center for Science and Technology is published. Covers world science literature.
  • Hans Peter Luhn (IBM) and Herbert Ohlman (System Development Corporation) display first key word in context (KWIC) indexes at ICSI.
  • Eugene Garfield Associates publishes first issues of Current Contents /Life Sciences, covering life sciences, pharmacy, and chemistry in a format that was prototyped in 1952.  Garfield also begins work on his algorithm for converting chemical names into molecular formulas.
  • Beilsteins Handbuch adopts CIP (for Cahn, Ingold, Prelog).  CIP is now used nearly universally.
  • IBM 350 , a random access disk storage computer, is demonstrated on the IBM 305 RAMAC system for the first time (Bourne & Hahn).
  • April:BA publishes the first computerized subject index (Steere, 1976).
  • 27 May: At special dedication ceremony for the IBM Special Engineering Products Division Plant in San Jose, CA, Luhn announces the development of the SDI (selected dissemination of information) concept and system for the IBM Library (Schultz, 1968; Kilgour, 1970).
  • 16 – 20 November: IBM displays new special purpose equipment for information retrieval: the 9900 Special Index Analyzer and the Universal Card Scanner. (Schultz, 1968; Schultz & Garwig, 1969; Jahoda, 1961).
  • ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) is established in the US Dept. of Defense.  Created as a response to the “Sputnik crisis” to pursue defense related research that promised significant advances. (Abbate, 1999)


  • Federal Advisory Committee on Science Information (FACI) is established to advise OSIS on policies and programs to coordinate federal science information activities. It is abolished in 1961.
  • An Executive Order establishes the Federal Council for Science and Technology (FCST). Is abolished in 1973 (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Ascher Opler (Dow Chemical Company) reports on the use of a light pen for graphical entry of chemical structures into a computer.  Later used by Chemical Abstracts Service for input of data.
  • DEC develops the first mini computer. Name: PDP 1 .
  • The Haloid Xerox Company announces the 914, the first plain paper copier.
  • In Wellesley, Massachusetts, the Computer Control Company Inc. develops the Index Searcher (AN/GSQ-26) , which can quickly search a large index to document representations on a one inch magnetic tape and supply reference listings meeting complex search criteria. The first user of the system is the USAF Rome Air Development Center. The system can store up to 68,000 references on a single 2400 foot roll of tape and search the tape in approximately 4.5 minutes (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Doug Englebart develops the Augmented Human Intellect (AHI) program at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Jules’ Own Version of the International Algebraic Language (JOVIAL), named after the developer Jules Schwartz, is created as a high order programming language for Prosynthex, an early version of Synthex (Bourne & Hahn).
  • September: Synthex project organized. The projects aims to be similar to Memex as proposed by Vannevar Bush (Bourne & Hahn).


  • NASA Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is established (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • ASM is the first organization to offer machine-readable bibliographic records for others to search using their own computer equipment (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Institute for Scientific Information, formerly Eugene Garfield Associates, publishes first issues of Index Chemicus (briefly called Current Abstracts of Chemistry ), a monthly alerting service to new chemical compunds and reactions. It features a computer-based molecular formula index constructed from chemical names.
  • CAS publishes first five monthly samples of Chemical Titles ( CT); bi-weekly issues begin in 1961. CT is first periodical to be organized, indexed, and composed almost completely by computer and to use Hans Peter Luhn’s KWIC method.
  • First standardized business computer programming language. Name: COBOL , CODASYL (Conference on Data Systems Languages) develops.
  • Charles Bourne’s article summarizes the last 10 years of developments in mechanized information retrieval. Noted the following: 1). USAF had funded most of the research in the area; 2). Edge punched cards were being used extensively in retrieval systems and antcipated even greater use in next few years. Chief among these are the EAM (electronic accounting machines) of IBM (he listed some of these); 3). Computer equipment and magnetic media were finding extensive use in generating catalogs and indexes for manual systems. Bourne listed several magnetic media systems in use at the time; 4). Image storage systems were being used to some extent, with the Filmorex and Kodak Minicard systems being most extensively used (others were listed) (Bourne, 1961).
  • L. R. Bunnow, Douglas Aircraft Company implements a machine readable record that produces multiple products, notably, catalog cards and subject bibliographies, using machine searching. Kilgour (1970) considered this a major breakthrough in the use of machine techniques in libraries and information centers.
  • Mooers founds the Rockford Research Institute to do research in information science. Develops the TRAC computer language as part of this work.
  • BioSciences Information Exchange is expanded and is renamed Science Information Exchange of the Smithsonian Institution. Later is renamed Smithsonian Science Information Exchange Inc. (SSIE). SSIE is given federal funding to provide a mechanism to document and to inform those interested and qualified to receive information about unclassified federal-funded R & D projects. This effort is hoped to help avoid R & D duplication (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Rese Information Systems develops the FINDAFACT 2510 which is made for the Department of Office Procedures and Data Processing at a GE faciltiy in Philadelphia. The system is created for file maintenance and searching. It is compatible with the IBM 1401 and uses magnetic tapes and IBM punched card equipment for query input and search output (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Heatwole Associates in Washington, DC develops the Heatwole H-44. It can search at least 1,000 documents per minute (Bourne & Hahn).
  • FMA, Inc. of El Segundo, CA, develops the commercial version of the Rapid Selector. By mid 1963, this system is installed at the US Navy Central Research Section of the Bureau of Ships and at the RADC Laboratory in Rome, NY (Bourne & Hahn).
  • ASM’s Review of Metal Literature (Metals Abstracts Index) is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • First demonstration of computer searching of full text information at the University of Pittsburgh (Bourne & Hahn).
  • CAS and the Union of American Biological Societies (later, its information service known as (BIOSIS–BioSciences Information Service of Biological Abstracts) agree to exchange abstracting services to avoid duplication of efforts.
  • U.S. National Science Foundation begins funding research and development on new information handling projects at CAS, then led by Dale B. Baker, director, who is soon joined by Fred A. Tate, director of the research department .  These projects include the Chemical Registry and a comprehensive national computerized chemical information system and by 1974 this funding exceeds $23 million.
  • SATIRE (Semi-Automatic Information Retrieval) developed by SDC’s Strategic Air Command Control System Department (SACCS) (Bourne & Hahn).
  • January: BA and CA agree to an exchange of abstract reprinting services as well avoid duplication of efforts. First data processing center is established at BA (previously contracted with IBM for earlier work) (Steere, 1976).
  • January: ASM begins offering their Metals Documentation Service (ASM/MDS), which is based on research work completed at CDCR about the coding and searching of metallurgical literature as well as pilot searching (Bourne & Hahn)
  • March: Semi-Automatic Information Retrieval (SATIRE), a system using punched cards for a in-house library, is described at an IBM information retrieval workshop in San Jose, CA, by creator John Roach, (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Early in the year, ASTIA installs a Univac Solid-state 90 computer system to assist in the file-searching operations of DoD technical reports (numbering in excess of 650,000).  Collection uses Uniterm headings.  By late 1960, the system is searching magnetic tape files of the records, handling as many as 10 simultaneous searches using a maximum of four retrieval term coordinations for each search. (Bourne, 1963)
  • May: Synthesis of Complex Verbal Material (Synthex) proposal is submitted to ARPA.  Synthex is an analog to Vannevar Bush’s Memex (Bourne & Hahn).
  • May: First editon of the ASTIA (Armed Services Technical Information Agency) Thesaurus issued. Used to index Technical Abstract Bulletin . (Foskett)
  • October: ADI hires its first full-time executive director, John B. Kaiser (Redmond, 1985).
  • 5 – 7 October: ASTIA holds a conference on ” Controlling Literature by Automation ” (Bourne & Hahn).
  • December: Robert Morgan, business law professor at Oklahoma State University, demonstrates “Points of Law” approach at the annual Oklahoma Bar Association’s annual meeting (Bourne & Hahn).


  • J.C.R. Licklider carries out studies on libraries of the future, funded by the Council on Library Resources.
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers publishes Chemical Engineering Thesaurus, derived from the DuPont Technical Information Thesaurus, developed by Mortimer Taube as a consultant to the DuPont Company’s Engineering Information Center.
  • Saul and Mary Herner’s study of the coverage of federal scientific and technical reports concludes that very few are covered by non-governmental abstracting and indexing services (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Committee on Scientific Information (COSI) is established within FCST to coordinate federal information activities. COSI is predecessor to COSATI (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Rapid Selector is installed at the BuShips Publications and Information Retrieval Branch and by late 1963 is installed at the Data Processing Systems Division of NBS (Bourne & Hahn).
  • First operation or public demonstration of Magnavox’s Magnavue, an outgrowth of the Magnacard system (Bourne & Hahn).
  • First operation or public demonstration of Ferranti-Packard’s Rapid Access Lookup system–a quick catalog lookup system (Bourne & Hahn).
  • The WALNUT system is first demonstrated publicly although development of the system started in 1957 at IBM. “It is a high speed mechanical storage and retrieval system that stored and moved a large number of photographic or page images on separate film strips at high speeds and then retrieved those images by record number” (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Magnavox develops and first demonstrates its MEDIA (Magnavox Electronic Data Image Apparatus) system, which involves high speed handling of film strips containing photographic images (Bourne & Hahn).
  • The Avco Corporation develops the Verac 903, which uses film sheets instead of film chips or roll film like other systems of the decade. According to Bourne, “no complete Verac system was ever installed and used in an operational setting”  (Bourne & Hahn).
  • February: BA publishes its millionth abstract (Steere, 1976).
  • 5 October: Navy Libraries hold 6th Meeting of the Council of Librarians of the East Coast Navy Laboratories (Bourne & Hahn).
  • July: Q-32, a single file, single terminal military computer with 64K word core memory, arrives at SDC in Santa Monica, CA, in 12 flatbed trucks (Bourne & Hahn).
  • 15 October: Subject index of BA (called BASIC–Biological Abstracts Subjects in Context ) issue of this date is prepared using the KWIC indexing system. At first, BASIC is issued as a free separate journal but later on a subscription basis (Bourne & Hahn).
  • November: The Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS) is first demonstrated (Bourne & Hahn).
  • AAAS Gordon conferences on “Scientific Information Problems in Research” are initiated (Emard, 1976).
  • “Science Information Specialists” conferences are held at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Emard, 1976). Robert S. Taylor (1976) said that this was the first time that a distinction had been made between specialist and scientist and between information technology and information science. He also said that these conferences had a significant impact on the establishment of the School of Information and Computer Science at Georgia Tech, the Center for the Information Sciences at Lehigh University, and the program in Information Science at Drexel University.


  • Based on earlier work done by Donald J. Gluck and colleagues at Dupont, CAS’s Harry L. Morgan develops an algorithm to translate two-dimensional structural diagrams into a tabular form (or connection table) that can be manipulated and searched via computer. This algorithm becomes fundamental to the CAS Chemical Registry System (Skolnik & Reese, 1976).
  • April 21-October 21: LIBRARY-21, an ALA sponsored exhibit at Seattle’s World’s Fair, is visited by 1.8 million people. LIBRARY-21 includes a UNIVAC Solid State 90 computer, which allows storage of personalized bibliographes from 8,400 annnotated book titles, quotes from 74 authors, and gazetteer information on 92 nations of the free world (Bourne & Hahn).
  • ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) of the US Dept. of Defense, establishes the Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO).  IPTO becomes a significant force in several areas of computing research, notably graphics, artificial intelligence, time-sharing operating systems, and networking. (Abbate, 1999)
  • Paul Baran, RAND Corporation, studies how the US military could maintain its command and control system network after a nuclear strike.  The objective was to build a decentralized system that would enable communications between locations, even if some were destroyed.  Final report by Baran described several ways to accomplish this including a recommendation for a packet switched network.
  • The Monsanto Information Center, St. Louis, MO, produces a bookform catalog for its seven libraries using a computer based system. May be the first computer produced union library catalog? (Kilgour, 1970).
  • Luhn implements his proposed SDI system in the IBM Library at Oswego, NY (first proposed in 1958). System is based on processing new acquisitions in the library so that personalized service can be provided to users (Bourne & Hahn).
  • SDI system is implemented at Douglas Missile and Space Systems Division using a single machine readable input from catalog cards, new acquisitions, etc. (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Telstar I, first communications satellite, is placed in orbit (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Depository Library Act, PL 87-579, becomes law. Requires all federal agencies to submit list of publications to GPO for possible distribution (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • ASTIA issues Thesaurus of ASTIA Descriptors , 2nd ed.
  • “Crawford Report” on scientific and technical communications in government is submitted to US President’s Special Assistant for Science and Technology (Emard, 1976). Recommends that each federal agency have one office responsible for science information and that government-wide clearinghouses for federal R&D be created (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Fritz Machlup publishes his Production and Distribution of Knowledge in the US. Includes an economic analysis of knowledge production, the various methods of producing knowledge, and the various occupations associated with the industry (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • USDA Library is designated the National Agricultural Library (NAL) (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • The Benson-Lehner Corporation develops the COMAC MARK II, which sells for approximately $20,000 ( Bourne & Hahn).
  • The Aeronutronic Division of Ford Motor Company develops the Aeronutronic File Search Evaluator, one of the last special purpose magnetic tape searching systems. This system is designed under a contract with the USAF Rome Air Development Center and is known as the Search Evaluator AN/GSQ-38. Search speed of 45,000 cps (Bourne & Hahn).
  • The Information Retrieval Corporation and Litton Systems, Inc. develop and build the CRIS (Command Retrieval Information System) system. This system is an outgrowth of earlier work which Garfield and Avakian completed. The system cannot perform subject searches and can only retrieve using a CRIS image location number (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Robert E. Maizell (Olin Corp.) and Charles N. Rice (Eli Lilly) begin using CAS tapes to produce in-house alerting service for chemists. Similar program is developed for students by Purdue University at about the same time.
  • April: First (?) reported computerized circulation system at Picatinny Arsenal using an IBM punch card system.
  • July: SDC begins Centralized Information Reference and Control (CIRC) (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Fall: IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center implements automated circulation system.
  • Xerox acquires University Microfilms (Eugene Powers develops the company).


  • “Weinberg report” (US President’s Science Advisory Committee) issues report on federal scientific and technical information. Notes that: “government agencies must accept responsibility for the transfer of information in the same degree and spirit that they accept responsibility for research and development itself” (Shera & Cleveland, 1972).
  • SRI establishes data communication link to operate between it and the SDC (approx. 400 miles) (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Kessler develops the concept of bibliographic coupling
  • First reliable commercial use of VDT’s for computer display. DEC develops in PDP-1.
  • First issues of Science Citation Index are published. Garfield calls this the “most risky decision of my business career” (Garfield, 1983).
  • MEDLARS (Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System), an off-line batch service, begins operation from the National Library of Medicine (Kilgour, 1970).
  • University of Sheffield Postgraduate School of Librarianship and Information Science is founded and two years later begins extensive research program in computerized retrieval methods for chemical and textual databases.
  • George E. Vladutz, a Soviet chemist, enunciates the basic idea for a computerized retrieval system for chemical reactions.
  • With funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) publishes the first issue of Genetics Citation Index ( GCI) and the prototype ofScience Citation Index ( SCI ), relying on computer indexing. While GCI is not continued, SCI is first offered commercially in 1964.
  • Air Force Cambridge Lab Library catalog cards in upper and lower case using a computer-like device, the Crossfiler, from paper tapes of card images. The Friden Flexowriter is used to print the cards (Kilgour, 1970).
  • With NFAIS sponsorship, Robert Heller and Associates publish a report, “A National Plan for Science Abstracting and Indexing Services,” proposing an “organization X” to act as a buffer between discipline and mission oriented services (Kilgour, 1970).
  • Walter Reed Army Institute of Research develops the Army Chemical Typewriter, which enables the input of chemical structures to a computer using a paper tape punching machine (Weisgerber, 1997).
  • First (?) computer time-sharing system is developed and is used at Harvard University (Mooers, 1976).
  • For the first time, the ADI annual conference proceedings are computer-produced prior to the annual conference. Luhn chiefly responsible for development (Heilprin, 1988).
  • The Computer Department at GE develops the Search Computer in 1961, but it is not publicly demonstrated until 1963. Searches magnetic tape and can search 180,000 words per minute (Bourne & Hahn).
  • First operation or public demonstration of the Recordak Corporation’s (a subsidiary of Eastman Kodak) MIRACODE (Microfilm Information Retrieval Access CODE). This system is an indexed microfilm product and is used mostly for business record collections (Bourne & Hahn).
  • NASA’s database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Defense Documentation Center’s (DDC) Technical Abstracts Bulletin (TAB) is made available for second-party use–but restricts its availability (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Aslib’s Cranfield II experimental indexing evaluation research project begins, under direction of C.W. Cleverdon (Foskett, 1977).  (For a useful explanation of the Cranfield, and other, indexing experiments see the following site: http://www.ercim.org/publication/ws-proceedings/CLEF2/vorhees.pdf  )
  • A remote online search system is publicly demonstrated for the first time by SRI.  The public sees a mouse for the first time (Bourne & Hahn).
  • March: John Roach describes SATIRE while attending an information retrieval workshop in San Jose, CA (Bourne & Hahn).
  • May-December: Bourne demonstrates prototype online retrieval system at Stanford Research Institute (Bourne & Hahn).
  • 26 – 30 May: Library of Congress, NSF, and CLR hold the conference on “Libraries and Automation” (Bourne & Hahn).
  • June: SDC’s begins operation of its TSS-0 time shared system (Bourne & Hahn).
  • 10 – 11 June: ARPA and SDC hold a symposium on “Development and Management of a Computer-Centered Data Base” (Bourne & Hahn).
  • September: SDC’s Command and Control Division in operation (Bourne & Hahn).
  • October: John Roach describes SATIRE at the ADI annual meeting.  He says the system us upgraded, replacing EAM equipment with an IBM 1401 (Bourne & Hahn).
  • November: The Technical Information Project (TIP) moves from operating in batch mode to a MAC system time-share (Bourne & Hahn).


  • First MEDLARS products are issued: January 1964 issue of Index Medicus. By end of the year, the Demand Search Service is started where searches of the file are done in response to requests. MEDLARS consists of: computer system for bibliographic organization and analysis; rapid composing unit that was computer controlled– GRACE: Graphic Arts Composing Equipment; analysis and revision of the medical literature indexing system [See pictures of the computer equipment in Adkinson’s Two Centuries of Federal Information , pp. 68-69).] (Adkinson, 1976).
  • Martin M. Cummings becomes director of NLM. Adkinson (1978) gave him significant credit for development of the MEDLARS system and development of the library as an international center for biomedical communication.
  • Carlos Cuadra publishes his “Key Contributions in IS…” article in AD and concludes that you cannot use textbooks, bibliographies, or citations to identify the key contributors in the field. Advised the field that this had important implications for teaching IS ( Cuadra, 1964).
  • Douglas Englebart develops the mouse as an input device. Used shortly thereafter for manipulation of chemical structures in input and searching at the Lister Hill Center of the National Institutes of Health.
  • Meyer Mike Kessler, of Massachusetts Institute Technology, develops Technical Information Project (TIP), an experimental online searching system.
  • Science Policy Research Division, LRS, is established in the Library of Congress to overview STI policy research for reports to Congress. Later is developed into Congressional Research Service (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Committee on Science Informtion (COSI) becomes US Committee on Scientific and Technical Information (COSATI), with broadened scope to include standard and policies. Pinelli, et.al. (1992) noted that it provided effective leadership for 10 years.
  • CAS inaugurates Experimental Chemical Registry System, assigning unique numbers to each new substance.
  • Responsibilities of NSF and the President’s Office of Science and Technology (OST) are clarified: OST will take responsbility for coordinating federal STI services and organizations and NSF will deal with non-federal STI services and organizations. Both will provide assistance and funds for development of storage and retrieval systems (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Office of Education within DHEW establishes Educational Information Services. This is the first stage in the development of the ERIC system (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Thesaurus of Engineering Terms, 1st ed. (Engineers Joint Council, NY, 1964).  Later revised and titled Thesaurus of Scientific and Engineering Terms (TEST), 1967.  (Foskett)
  • University of Tulsa’s Petroleum Abstracts database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Derwent Publications’ Ringdoc, Plasdoc, Agdoc, Farmdoc, and Vetdoc databases are made available for second-party use (think in 1964?) (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Moderately Advanced Data Management (MADAM) and Support of User Records and Files (SURF) developed at the SDC in Santa Monica, CA (Bourne & Hahn).
  • TIP, the first search system that uses a database of over 25,000 records, is the first online system that can retrieve citations by bibliographic coupling or cited references and allows a searcher to save output, provide online output or provide offline printing.  TIP allows left-truncation searches and Boolean searching (Bourne & Hahn).
  • PRIME is used at the IBM Technical Information Retrieval Center (ITIRC) (Bourne & Hahn).
  • IBM’s QUIKTRAN system is demonstrated.  It allows for remote entry and output of batch programs (Bourne & Hahn).
  • The first bibliographic research service, called Law Research Service, is made commercially available (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Data Corporation, which later evolves into Lexis Corporation, is established in dayton, OH (Bourne & Hahn).
  • January: GE-Valley Forge creates an online system that uses Boolean logic search queries for retrieving bibliographic records (Bourne & Hahn).
  • March: Synthex software successfully demonstrated.  The Synthex QUEST program (stored on magnetic tape) made available on-demand. (Bourne & Hahn).
  • April 22-October 17: The New York World’s Fair offers public viewing of online bibliographic retrieval at Library/USA.This is the first time the general public sees bibliographic information and interacts remotely with librarians through a computer using standard telephone lines. This is the first online system to allow for simultaneous users for one database using search software.  Joe Becker is the main producer and reporter of this event (Bourne & Hahn).
  • May: MIT’s Myron “Mike” Kessler and Bill Mathews publicly demonstrate TIP’s capabilities for the first time ( ).
  • September: Florida Atlantic University Library produces bookform catalog in upper and lower cases. Format used is essentially a catalog of cards (Kilgour, 1970).
  • October: BioSciences Information Service of Biological Abstracts (BIOSIS) becomes official name of corporate body publishing BA (Steere, 1976).
  • TIP demonstrated at the FID Congress (Bourne & Hahn).
  • December: CAS establishes the Experimental Chemical Registry System. This is called the Registry I system. Initial input is via punched cards processed by an IBM 1410 computer. Converted to paper tape punching system in 1965.


  • Charlie Bourne given Award of Merit by ADI (later named ASIS) (Bourne & Hahn).
  • MADAM is implemented on IBM 1401 computer with 8k of storage space and four magnetic tape units (Bourne & Hahn).
  • NSF awards funds to Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and OSU to establish programs in information science (Altman, 1993). Also begins to fund, along with DoD and NLM, professional scientific societies (CAS, American Institute of Physics, etc.) to help them improve their literature services (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Chemical Notation Association is founded in the United States.
  • Federal Library Committee (FLC) is established to coordinate federal library services and activities. Predecessor to the Federal Library and Information Committee (FLIC) (Pinelli et al., 1992).
  • Clearinghouse for Federal Scientific and Technical Information (CFSTI) is established in NBS. Replaces OTS in the Department of Commerce. Begins to issue a consolidated index to federal reports. Predecessor to NTIS (Pinelli et al., 1992).
  • The Medical Library Assistance Act sets up regional medical library system and makes MEDLARS available to these libraries. [Note: C.J. Austin, MEDLARS: 1963-1967 , Washington, DC: USGPO, 1968, 68pp. Is a candid description of the strengths and weaknesses of MEDLARS during this time.]
  • CAS offers batch (off-line) access to users of the Chemical Titles file (Maizell, 1987).
  • CAS provides online searching of its structure files for the National Cancer Institute.
  • Computer processing of CA is introduced on a rudimentary scale. CA indexes are running about 22 months behind the close of a volume period at this time.
  • Licklider publishes Libraries of the Future (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1965) describing library technology systems and search systems.
  • Roger Summit develops RECON (Remote Console) project, which NASA sponsors, at Lockheed Palo Alto Research Labs. System becomes operational in 1969 and is apparently the first large-scale, online, retrieval system (Lancaster, 1977). Predecessor to Dialog, which becomes operational in 1967 (Bourne, 1961).
  • SDC develops COLEX system for US Air Force.
  • ADI sponsors the Working Symposium on Education for Information Science (the Airlie Conference). Proceedings are published as Education for Information Science (Redmond, 1985).
  • NSF grants $40,000 (eventually extended to $60,500) to ADI to initiate the publication, Annual Review of Information Science and Technology (ARIST). Work is subcontracted to SDC . First volume is published in this year. Carlos Cuadra edits the first 10 volumes (Redmond, 1985).
  • Partially funded by National Institutes of Health, Chemical Biological Activities (CBAC) is introduced by CAS. It was published simultaneously in printed form and on computer tape and was the first computer-produced service to include full text, searchable abstracts.
  • Imperial Chemical Industries in Great Britain begins work on a project named CROSSBOW (Computerized Retrieval of Organic Structures Based on Wiswesser).
  • CAS works with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the Food and Drug Administration to develop computer-based substance identification techniques. NLM uses the CAS Registry techniques to develop the Chemical Dictionary Online (CHEMLINE) and Toxicology Information Online (TOXLINE) databases.
  • Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre is established by Olga Kennard in the Department of Chemistry at Cambridge University.
  • CAS markets microfilms of all abstracts published since 1907.
  • ISI initiates ASCA(Automatic Subject Citation Alert) service, the first commercial personalized SDI service for scientists.
  • Ampex produces Videofile, which uses stored images on videotape. First operating installation is at the Southern Pacific Company in San Francisco, CA. Can only search on 10 digit identification numbers, not by subject (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Subsidized by grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and the Office of Science and Technology, CAS Chemical Registry System begins. At first the system is only available for use in-house at CAS.
  • American Petroleum Institute’s Index to Abstracts of Refining Literature database is made available for second-party use ( Bourne & Hahn).
  • Prosynthex I and Prosynthex II are further developed (Bourne & Hahn).
  • TEXTIR is the first system that that uses synonyms for searching, ranks output and offers a query relevance score.
  • Chemical Information Data System (CIDS) is the first online system to demonstrate chemical struture online searching.
  • TIP allows wild card character searching and allows storage of searches that can be later combined with other search queries (Bourne & Hahn).
  • BOLD first demonstrates term postings as a default feature (Bourne & Hahn).
  • January: BIOSIS installs an IBM 1410 computer (Steere, 1976).
  • University of Colorado is the first operational NLM regional search center (Bourne & Hahn).
  • April: BIOSIS begins experimental program with Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) to deliver a customized service of the biological literature. Initially, the project (called Project Expert) uses a Electrowriter-Dataphone set to the WRAIR library and BIOSIS. Abstracts are delivered via microfilm. Service is later computerized (Steere, 1976).
  • 2 – 5 May: AFOSR and SDC hold the AFOSR/SDC Workshop on Working with Semi-Automatic Documentation Systems (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Summer: LAWSEARCH, a legal database delivered online or in batch mode, is developed at the Univ. of PA Law School using Multilist and the Moore School Problem Solving Facility (Bourne & Hahn
  • July: BIOSIS begins publication of Biological Titles. Name is changed to BioResearch Titles in September (Steere, 1976).
  • July: Automatic Direct Access to Information with the On-Line UDC System (AUDACIOUS) started at Syracuse University’s School of Library and Information Science (Bourne & Hahn).
  • August: Prosynthex II (a.k.a. LEARN) is reported as an experimental conceptual program with 47K core memory on the Q-32 military computer  (Bourne & Hahn).
  • August: TIP becomes publically available for the Project MAC community, which consists of approximately 500 people. A total of 30 simultaneous users is allowed (Bourne & Hahn).
  • September: Information Transfer Experiments (INTREX) project planning report filed. (C. Overhage and R. Harman, eds., INTREX: Report of a Planning Conference on Information Technology Experiments , MIT Press, 1965.) (Bourne & Hahn).
  • 20 – 21 September: ARPA, SDC , and Air Force Systems Command, Electronic Systems Division hold the 2nd Symposium on “Computer-Centered Data Base Systems” (Bourne & Hahn).
  • December: Myron “Mike” Kessler writes the TIP User’s Manual and later revises it in October 1967 (Bourne & Hahn)
  • Ted Nelson coins the term ” hypertext.”


  • SURF is programmed in MADAM and ready for use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • NLM sets up the Toxicological Information Center.
  • Chemical Society Research Unit in Information Dissemination and Retrieval is established at the University of Nottingham under the directorship of Anthony K. Kent. In 1969, it becomes the U.K. Chemical Information Service.
  • MARC (machine readable cataloging program) is initiated at the Library of Congress
  • SDC issues a report, “A System Study of Abstracting and Indexing in the US.” Overviews and makes recommendations regarding both federal and private indexing and abstracting recommendations regarding both federal and private indexing and abstracting services (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • NSF awards over $6 million to various professional societies to develop computerized information retrieval systems in various disciplines. By 1968, another $17.7 million is awarded for these systems (Altman, 1993).
  • Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) becomes law (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • COSATI issues standard for cataloging of federal STI reports (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Library of Congress’ LC MARC-1 (MARC Pilot) database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • US Atomic Energy Commission’s Nuclear Science Abstracts database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • University of Southern California/National Information Center for Educational Media’s (NICEM) NICEM database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • The International Council of Scientific Unions establishes the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) to improve the quality and accessibility of scientific data collected worldwide.
  • Time-Shared Data Management System (TDMS, later called Tactical Data Management System) for use by the U.S. Air Force) developed at the SDC (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Protosynthex III used on the Q-32 time-shared system (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Textile Information Retrieval Project (TIRP) , an online bibliographic system, is developed by Roger A. Roach at MIT.  His was the first sytem that uses major and minor descriptors in the search process and automatically display alternate terms when the first search is unsuccessful.  Users can identify and remove duplicate records from searches (Bourne & Hahn).
  • University of Chicago’s bibliographic database operates in batch mode (Bourne & Hahn).
  • July: Xerox announces Direct Access to Reference Information (DATRIX), which consists of doctoral dissertations (Bourne & Hahn).
  • 1 October: SDC-Santa Monica wins a contract bid to conduct the CIRC On-Line Experiment (COLEX) (Bourne & Hahn).
  • December: BIOSIS installs an IBM Series 360 Model 30 computer.
  • American Petroleum Institute’s Index to Abstracts of Refining Patents database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).


  • Dialog, nationwide online retrieval systems, becomes operational.
  • Data Central system, designed for text searching for legal materials, begins. The OBAR (Ohio Bar Automated Research) systems uses this software. The LEXIS database also uses this software (Lancaster, 1977).
  • NLM sets up a R&D program in medical communications.
  • “Carter Report” on national document handling systems for scientific and technical information is published (Emard, 1976).
  • CAS introduces the hetero-atom-in-context system in its chemical formula index.
  • US DoD establishes mechanisms for SSIE to create reports of current R & D and technology efforts into the DoD Research and Technology Work Unit Data Bank System at DDC. In 1967, this system includes approximately 30,000 reports and produces over 3,000 information reports to user requests (Bourne & Hahn).
  • CAS’ s Polymer Science and Technology – Journals (POST-J) and Polymer and Science Technology – Patents (POST-P) databases are made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Engineering Information Inc.’s COMPENDEX (Plastics section, Electrical/Electronics section) database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • DATRIX (Direct Access to Reference Information: a Xerox service) is the first commercial search service to search a database of over 120,000 citations to dissertations, which University Microfilm Incorporated film (Bourne & Hahn).
  • West Germany’s Internationale Dokumentationsgesellschaft für Chemie is founded with the cooperation of German chemical companies.
  • General Purpose ORBIT developed and made available by SDC-Dayton (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Ohio State Bar Association decides to provide a full-text legal database (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Data Corporation’s Data central Online System is the first online bibliographic search system that supports multi-file access and offers arithmetic searching (Bourne & Hahn).
  • NASA and USC Graduate School of Administration establish the non-profit organization WESTRAC DATACOM (WESRAC) (Bourne & Hahn).
  • January: Prosynthex I is translated to SDC’s IBM 360 time-sharing system (Bourne & Hahn).
  • January: Lockheed provides online service to NASA Ames Laboratory for two hours per day (Bourne & Hahn).
  • June: Karolinska Institutet (School of Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden) becomes a regular customer of NLM (Bourne & Hahn).
  • July: OCLC (at this time it stood for Ohio College Library Center) incorporated in Ohio (Bourne & Hahn).


  • SDC begins operation of the ORBIT online retrieval system developed by Cuadra .
  • Information Industry Association is founded by Eugene Garfield, Saul Herner, and others.
  • CA Condensates, an alerting service covering the full range of documents abstracted and indexed by CAS, commences. This is the first publicly available computer file to forthcoming issues of CA.
  • NLM becomes a bureau of NIH and takes over responsibility for the National Medical Audio-Visual Center in Atlanta. PL 90-456 sets up the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications in Bethesda, giving the NLM major new responsibilities (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • MEDLARS II contract let and experiments begin to search remote files. Also additional experiments on MeSH .
  • F. W. Lancaster performs evaluation of the MEDLARS demand search service (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Stand-alone CRT displays are perfected by this date (Emard, 1976).
  • Crowell-Collier MacMillan Information Corporation’s PANDEX (Current Index to Scientific and Technical Literature) database is made available for second-party use (Hahn & Bourne).
  • CAS’s CA Condensates (CAC) and Basic Journal Abstracts databases are made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • ASM’s World Aluminum Abstracts database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Association of Information and Dissemination Centers is established by various private and public national and international organizations to deal with production, distribution, and use of electronic products and services.
  • AUDACIOUS is the first online system to demonstrate and allow searches to use online decimal classification (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Managerial On-Line Data System (MOLDS), an online bibliographic system using batch retrieval,  is developed (Bourne & Hahn).
  • RADCOL is developed at Griffiss AFB in Rome, New York (Bourne & Hahn).
  • 1 January: ADI changes name to American Society for Information Science (ASIS).
  • 1 January: The Auxiliary Publication Service is transferred to Crowell Collier Macmillan but still under policy direction of ASIS (Redmond, 1985).
  • March: Bell Labs implements the BELLREL system, an online, real-time circulation and loan system using a database of the library’s online catalog database. Uses IBM 1050 terminals for access.
  • April: Syracuse University’s School of Library Science uses MOLDS in a demonstration called MARC on MOLDS (Bourne & Hahn).
  • March: COLEX is the first national, widely shared online search system to use time windows to manage databases.
  • Spring: TDMS is first demonstrated (Bourne & Hahn).
  • June: CCM Information Corp., a subsidiary of Crowell Collier Macmillan, acquires PANDEX (Bourne & Hahn).
  • June: NLM awards Computer Services Corp. (CSC)the MEDLARS II contract, which is later given to SDC (Bourne & Hahn).
  • July: INTREX prototype demonstrated in West Berlin (Bourne & Hahn).
  • August: AUDACIOUS demonstrated at the Technical Library of Denmark (Bourne & Hahn).
  • August: Library Education Experiment (LEEP), a search system that operates in batch mode, begins at Syracuse University’s School of Library Science (Bourne & Hahn).
  • 18 October: Formal dedication ceremony for SUNY BCN, the first widely available longterm online search system.  It consists of 500,000+ records, the largest ever, with in-depth monograph indexes.  It is the first to incorporate library holding information with specific output records.  SUNY BCN is the first service to host annual user conferences (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc. of Boston, MA (BBN) awarded Packet Switch contract to build Interface Message Processors (IMPs), predecessor to the Internet. An interesting and useful history of the Internet, including links to Internet pioneers, appears at: http://www.whoishostingthis.com/resources/history-of-web/ 
  • Tymnet goes into service as a part of Tymnshare, Inc., creating a nation-wide online commercial computer network.


  • The US NASA issues the “SATCOM Report” on scientific and technical communication (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • The U.K. Consortium on Chemical Information, the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, and CAS form a partnership to develop and operate a common, computerized information system for chemistry and chemical engineering.
  • Skolnik introduces his “multiterm” indexing concept, a combination of Taube and Luhn (Skolnik, “Milestones,” 197 6).
  • U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) begins offering online search service RECON (remote console) to NASA facilities. Uses DIALOG software developed by Lockheed Missiles and Space Corporation.
  • NASA software, which Lockheed develops, is used as testbed for ERIC system.
  • Lockheed Information Retrieval Service is established. Software is based largely on the NASA RECON project. Generally is considered to be the first commercial large scale online system (Pinelli, et al., 1992) .
  • NAL makes CAIN (Cataloging and Indexing) tapes available to state and other agricultural libraries ( Pinelli, et al., 1992)
  • U.S. Department of Defense implements ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) to demonstrate how communications between computers could promote cooperative research among scientists ( Pinelli, et al., 1992). Bolt, Beranek, and Newman (BBN) constructed the first four-node network.
  • August-September: Delivery of first IMPs to UCLA and Stanford Research Institute (SRI), making the ARPANET a reality. Larry Roberts, principal developer (sometimes called “father of the ARPANET.”)
  • Excerpta Medica Foundation’s Excerpta Medica database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Defense Documentation Center (DDC) begins work on a multilevel, secure, remote online retrieval system, later named DROLS (Defense RTD&E Online System), which became operational in 1972.
  • Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) issues first report (AD 696-200)on the Machine Aided Indexing (MAI) project, which began in 1967.  Developed incrementally over the next few years and became fully operational in 1978; used as a adjunct to manual indexing.  Paul H. Klingbiel, project manager.(Wallace, 1995)
  • Institute of Textile Technology’s Textile Technology Digest database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • US Department of Education’s ERIC database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Great Britain’s Chemical Notation Association is founded.
  • Chemisches Zentralblatt ceases publication.
  • Elias J. Corey and W. Todd Wipke of Harvard University develop the OCSS-LHASA (Organic Chemical Synthesis Simulation-Logic and Heuristics Applied to Synthetic Analysis) synthesis planning system. Beginning with a molecular structure input by light pen or mouse, the system suggests starting materials and reactions to produce the molecule.
  • Japanese Information Center for Science and Technology begins online service of its database. Hand-drawn chemical structures were used by CAS prior to this time.
  • On an experimental basis, U.S. National Library of Medicine begins offering online access service, known as AIM-TWX (Abridged Index Medicus Accessed by Teletypewriter Exchange Service), to the MEDLARS database.  Uses ORBIT software developed by System Development Corporation.
  • TDMS used with the online thesaurus FTD project  as well as the CIRCOL project (Bourne & Hahn).
  • DATRIX demonstrated at the ASIS annual meeting (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Syracuse University’s School of Library and Information Science is the first academic institution to introduce and use online searches in their classroom instruction (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Syracuse University Psychological Abstracts (SUPARS) is introduced on campus  in order to study users’ search patterns and preferences (Bourne & Hahn).
  • ERIC is first demonstrated online (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Data Corporation is one of the earliest online systems to demonstrate word proximity searching (Bourne & Hahn).
  • International Labour Office (ILO) starts News In-House Search Service (ISIS ) system, an online search service (Bourne & Hahn).
  • BALLOTS system operational at the Stanford libraries (Bourne & Hahn).
  • March: BIOSIS initiates BA Previews, a machine-searchable tape service on a lease basis.
  • 26 March: The New York Times decides for the first time to allow outsiders access to its research files through a planned online search system called New York Times Information Bank (Bourne & Hahn).
  • September: ESRO/RECON online system is operational (Bourne & Hahn).
  • The Space Division of GE develops and actively markets the GESCAN Rapid Search Machine (RSM), a high speed tape search system. It “searched linearly on natural text with word and phrase searching at a rate of about one million words per minute” (Bourne & Hahn).


  • European Association of Information Services is established to coordinate and advance the interests of operators of computerized data services.
  • First multiple windows user interface. Englebart and the Augmentation Research Center (ARC) develop.
  • First large scale implementation of electronic mail. Englebart and the ARC develop.
  • US National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) is established to deal with national plans for library information services (Emard, 1976).
  • Airlie House Conference on Interlibrary Communications and Information Networks is held. This is a major conference that set new and important directions for development of computer and communications networks in the US. Joseph Becker is chairman of the conference and editor of the proceedings (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Clearinghouse for Federal Scientific and Technical Information (CFSTI) is renamed National Technical Information Service (NTIS) and is given responsibility as major clearinghouse for STI and statistical information (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Institution of Electrical Engineers’ INSPEC database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Excerpta Medica Foundation’s Epilepsy Abstracts database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • AIP’s SPIN (Searchable Physics Information Notices) database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • CFSTI’s US Government Research and Development Reports (USGRDR) database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Edgar F. Codd , IBM San Jose Research Lab, writes his landmark paper (which had been preceded by internal IBM reports) on his basic ideas for a relational database system. (For additional background and a summary development history see: http://www.nap.edu/readingroom/books/far/ch6.html )
  • NAL’s Bibliography of Agriculture (CAIN) database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • IAEA/AEC’s INIS/AEC database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • NTIS’s NTIS (USGRDR) database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Charlie Bourne becomes President of ASIS (Bourne & Hahn).
  • INTREX is the first online system that allows for input-output displays on a single screen (Bourne & Hahn).
  • SUPARS, combined with Psychological Abstracts, makes online abstracts regularly available campus wide (17,000 people) for searching as well as output (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Data Central is the first online system that highlights search output terms, use key-word-in-context (KWIC), and allows searches to page backward to page backward in the search output. Data Central’s OBAR is the first large scale use of online text searching that retrieves full text statutory and case law (Bourne & Hahn).
  • NASA’s Lewis Research Center in Ohio creates Lewis-NASA Line Information Storage and Retrieval (LISR) system, which is also known as NASA-LISR, and makes it serviceable (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Justice Retrieval and Inquiry System (JURIS) pilot is available at the Justice Department in Washington, DC (Bourne & Hahn).
  • January: ASIS begins operation of the US Office of Education funded ERIC/CLIS clearinghouse, with responsibility for the acquisition and processing of documents related to libraries, information centers, information technology, etc. Contract is funded at cost of $180,000 annually. Contract is held until 1974 (Redmond, 1985).
  • April: BIOSIS, CAS, and Engineering Index begin study of overlap of journal coverage (Steere, 1976).
  • April: Atomindex, a bibliographic system for the peaceful applications of nuclear science, is distributed by the International Information System (INIS) in Vienna, Austria (Bourne & Hahn).
  • 31 May: AIM-TWX becomes operational at the MLA conference (Bourne & Hahn).
  • June: AUDACIOUS demonstrated at the Zentralstelle fur Maschinelle Dokumentation in Frankfurt (Bourne & Hahn).
  • July: Batelle Automated Search Information System (BASIS) is operational (Bourne &Hahn).
  • August: BIOSIS announces the availability of batch-oriented retrospective search service (Steere, 1976).
  • December: Ohio State University’s catalog records are converted to an automated circulation system. This is an early effort for online campus cataloging (Bourne & Hahn).
  • NAL’s Agricola database is made available for second-party use (Bourne & Hahn).


  • U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Environmental Protection Agency announce the establishment of the Chemical Information System.
  • Japan Association for International Chemical Information is founded to increase the international flow of chemical information.
  • First commercially available microprocessor. Intel develops as the Intel 4004.
  • First regular use of a 8 inch floppy for magnetic storage by Alan Shugart at IBM.
  • UNESCO Intergovernmental Conference for the establishment of a World Science Information System (UNISIST) is held (Emard, 1976).
  • COSATI is transferred from the President’s Office of Science and Technology (OST) to National Science Foundation (NSF). This is a loss of influence by COSATI, and it is abolished in 1972 (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • NASA, Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • U.S. National Library of Medicine’s MEDLINE (Medical Literature Online) becomes operational (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Varian ADCO in Palo Alto, CA develops the Varian ADCO-626 system which rapidly retrieves information from a microfilm file. Do not know of any operational use of this system (Bourne & Hahn).
  • ORBIT II replaces General Purpose ORBIT, which was developed at SDC-Santa Monica (Bourne & Hahn).
  • DIALOG and CCm Information Corp. are the first to use license agreements and require royalty payments for their online database (Bourne & Hahn).
  • April: MEDLARS fully operational in Australia (Bourne & Hahn).
  • May: OCLC first demonstrates its online search system (Bourne & Hahn).
  • June: NLM awards SDC MEDLARS II contract (Bourne & Hahn).
  • 26 August: OCLC begins first online operation (Bourne & Hahn).
  • September: LEADERMART (LEADER “MART” for the Mart Science and Engineering Library at Lehigh University) becomes fully operational.  It is the first online service made available to any interested user and charge for use by the hour (Bourne & Hahn).
  • September: PANDEX  becomes the first publically available online search service through Lockheed Corp.(Bourne & Hahn).
  • November 8-December 17: SUPARS II in operation at Syracuse University (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Ray Tomlinson of BBN invents email program to send messages across a distributed network. The @ symbol was developed shortly thereafter, March, 1972. By July, 1972, Larry Roberts had developed a process for managing e-mail.


  • “Greenberger Report” on making scientific and technical information more available and useful is submitted to the US Federal Council for Science and Technology (Emard, 1976).
  • Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) Act, PL 92-484, is passed and is created to study and assess impacts of technology and make recommendations (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Predicasts’ Predicasts database is made available for second party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Commercial online systems, ORBIT (System Development Corporation) and DIALOG (Lockheed Missiles and Space Corporation), become available in the United States.
  • INPADOC (International Patent Documentation System) is founded by the World Intellectual Property Organization and the government of Austria. Later integrated into the European Patent Office.
  • NLM, SDC MEDLINE and TYMNET are the first to provide a publically available data communication network online search service (Bourne & Hahn).
  • ESRO adds METADEX (Metals Abstracts), GRA ( U.S. Government Reports Announcements), COMPENDEX, and NSA databases (Bourne & Hahn).
  • JURIS available for in-house work at the Department of Justice (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Petroleum Abstracts Search System (PASS) is started at the University of Tulsa (Bourne & Hahn).
  • 26 March: The New York Times decides for the first time to allow outsiders access to its research files through a planned online search system called New York Times Information Bank (Bourne & Hahn).
  • 31 March: DDC online system is operational (Bourne & Hahn).
  • May: OCLC amends its articles of incorporation and offers non-profit organizations full membership status (Bourne & Hahn).
  • June: Karolinska Institut receives MEDLINE (Bourne & Hahn).
  • June: Lockheed Retrieval Service formally announced at the Special Libraries Association annual meeting (Bourne & Hahn).
  • August: Pittsburg Information RETrieval System (PIRETS) is operational at the University of Pittsburgh University Computer Center (Bourne & Hahn).
  • October: TOXicology Informational Conversational On-Line Network (TOXICON) made available online (Bourne & Hahn).
  • October: Data Corporation renamed Mead Technology Laboratories (MTL) (Bourne & Hahn).
  • SPIRES-2 in service (Bourne & Hahn).
  • November: New York Times Information Bank is operational  (Bourne & Hahn).
  • November: BALLOTS II in production (Bourne & Hahn).


  • Henry Small and Irina Marshakova independently develop the concept of co-citation analysis .
  • NATO’s Computer Representation and Manipulation of Chemical Information is held at Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands.
  • “Anderla Report” from OECD forecasts information needs in member states in the year 1985. Report has significant impact on development of the information industry in the US and Europe (Emard, 1976).
  • Lexis provides full text records of US court opinions in an online retrieval system.
  • First fully functional personal computer complete with monitor. Name: ALTO, Xerox PARC develops.
  • ABI/INFORM’s ABI/INFORM database is made available for second party use (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Dialog is the first online search service to provide a regular newsletter and to advertise in journals (Bourne & Hahn).
  • BASIS is the first online search system that allows simultaneous users to search over one million records (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Eli Lilly’s MEDDOC, a medical documentation service, operates in-house (Bourne & Hahn).
  • 12 February: OCLC activates the extended search function (Bourne & Hahn).
  • February: New York Times Information Bank becomes publicly available (Bourne & Hahn).
  • February: CHEMCON is made publicly available on SDC’s Search Service (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Spring: CANadian On-Line Enquiry (CAN/OLE), which is possibly the first bi-lingual online search system,  is established through the joint efforts of the Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI) and the Computation Centre of the National Research Council (Bourne & Hahn).
  • March: OCLC extends service to regional libraries outside Ohio (Bourne & Hahn).
  • 2 April: LEXIS becomes available to the public (Bourne & Hahn).
  • April: TOXICON renamed TOXLINE (Bourne & Hahn).
  • April: Cybernet Timesharing Ltd. in London develops an online experimental service called RETROSPEC-1 (Bourne & Hahn).
  • May: The Defence Scientific Information Service (DSIS) of Canada launches RETRO, which is perhaps the first bilingual online system (Bourne & Hahn).
  • May: The first issue of Chronolog, DIALOG’s newsletter, is published (Bourne & Hahn).
  • May: Bob Metcalfe and David Boggs, who at the time were researchers at the legendary Xerox Palo Alto Research  Center (PARC), develop Ethernet.
  • September: AEC/RECON in daily operation (Bourne & Hahn).
  • September: DDC Online is redesigned and renamed DROLS (Defense RDT&E On-Line System) (Bourne & Hahn).
  • October: SPIRES-2 is serviced at Stanford University libraries (Bourne & Hahn).
  • November: BALLOTS-2 production begins at Stanford (Bourne & Hahn).
  • December: Wisconsin Information System for Education (WISE) is made available (Bourne & Hahn).


  • Federal Paperwork Act, PL 93-556, establishes the Commission on Federal Paperwork to study procedures related to federal government information gathering, management, and use (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Privacy Act, PL 93-579 , is passed. Regulates federal agency use of information regarding individuals (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • First widely marketed personal computer kit. Name: Mark-8, Jonathan Titus developer.
  • QL Systems Limited at Queen’s University, Canada, is the first Canadian commercial online retrieval service (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Informatics gets an exclusive license to market Excerpta Medica (EM) database in North America (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Dow Jones News/Retrieval is servicable to brokers and investors (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Information Retrieval by Interactive Search (IRIS) is established at ICI Ltd., U.K. (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Traitement de Textile Universelle et Selective or Textile Information Treatment Users’ Service (TITUS) uses a multilingual thesaurus and automatically translates results into four languages (Bourne & Hahn).
  • MEDUSA, later known as RETROMEDUSA, becomes an experimental online search service (Bourne & Hahn).
  • SPIRES/BALLOTS online display terminals publicly available at Stanford University libraries (Bourne & Hahn).
  • The Washington Library Network bibliographic system operates in batch mode (Bourne & Hahn).
  • LEXIS is the first online search service that offers discounted online access for instructional use at academic institutions (Bourne & Hahn).
  • January: Informatics offers CHEMLINE, the first publicly available online chemical dictionary (Bourne & Hahn).
  • January: Information Dynamics Corp. (IDC) in Reading, MA, offers their online bibliographic system to U.S. librarians.  Their database, LIBCON, is available through the SDC Search Service (Bourne & Hahn).
  • February: Subject-Content -Oriented Retriever for Processing Information Online (SCORPIO), developed by the LC Computer Applications Office, is available online (Bourne & Hahn).
  • February: The University of Toronto Library Automation System (UTLAS), a Canadian bibliographic cataloging information system,  is made available (Bourne & Hahn).
  • March: SDC’s ORBIT III is the first to publicly offer online document orders (Bourne & Hahn).
  • September:  TOOL-IR in operation at Tokyo’s University Computer Center (Bourne & Hahn).
  • October: OCLC identifies Lockheed’s DIALOG, SDC’s ORBIT, and Batelle’s BASIS as the only systems that can perform subject searches (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn publish “A Protocol for Packet Network Interconnection” which specified in detail the design of a Transmission Control Program (TCP).
  • BBN opens Telenet , the first public packet data service (a commercial version of ARPANET).


  • Lockheed establishes Dialog online retrieval system.
  • First digital microcomputer available for personal use. MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems) develops.
  • CA annual author and keyword subject indexes are computer produced.
  • First mass produced and marketed personal computer (kit and assembled). Name: Altair 8800, Roberts, Yates, and Bybee developers.
  • First “IBM Personal Computer,” the IBM 5100 . Sales and marketing of this are not successful.
  • “Chartrand Report” on the role of NSF in federal management of scientific and technical information is prepared for the US Senate (Emard, 1976).
  • NLM accepts SDC’s MEDLARS II (Bourne & Hahn).
  • The Information Industry Association (IIA) awards Lockheed (and in turn, SDC) the Information Product of the Year Award (Bourne & Hahn).
  • West Publishing’s West Computer Law Retrieval System is publicly available (Bourne & Hahn).
  • ESRO provides, for the first time, online search capability in Arabic through the National Documentation Centre in Rabat, Morocco (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Dow Jones News/Retrieval is possibly the first online search system to provide real-time updates (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Info Globe, the online information division for Canada’s Globe and Mail, begins service (Bourne & Hahn).
  • January: American Energy Commission (AEC) changes its name to Energy Research and Development Association (ERDA) (Bourne & Hahn).
  • February: OCLC adds online indexes that allow one to search by ISBN, ISSN, and CODEN codes.  The average response time is 20 seconds, considered considerably long (Bourne & Hahn).
  • June: BALLOTS teminal made available to the public for the first time (Bourne & Hahn).
  • June: SDC is the first organization to offer a toll-free 800 number for its DIALOG users (Bourne & Hahn).


  • First highly successful personal computer is marketed. Name: Apple II.
  • NSF OSIS becomes Division of Science Information. Focus of the office is now on promoting information science research instead of STI related services (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Herman Skolnik becomes the first recipient of the Skolnik Award of the ACS Division of Chemical Information.
  • CA Search, a file of CA references and indexing, is introduced and soon becomes the most widely used chemical database in the world.
  • CAS ONLINE becomes operational on a pilot basis.
  • BCN-2 started as a non-profit national educational organization in Illinois (Bourne & Hahn).
  • Public access to the DOE/RECON online service (Bourne & Hahn).
  • ILO/ISIS is possibly the first online search system to allow input in one language and output in another (Bourne & Hahn).
  • University of Dortmund uses DOBIS software in order to support online cataloging. It makes the sotware available to major libraries worldwide (Bourne & Hahn).
  • BALLOTS is renamed Research Libraries Information Network (RLIN) (Bourne & Hahn).
  • OCLC offers dial-up capability to its users (Bourne & Hahn).
  • April: West Computer Law Retrieval System is renamed WESTLAW (Bourne & Hahn).
  • April: Japan Information Center of Science and Technology (JICST) provides an online search servicec called JOIS-I (JICST Online System-I) (Bourne & Hahn).
  • April: IDC files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy (Bourne & Hahn).
  • 31 May: The European Space Agency (ESA) is established (Bourne & Hahn).
  • October: The Boston Globe, through its contract with MTL, becomes the first newspaper to automate its library (Bourne & Hahn).
  • December: SDC announces its first volume discount plan (Bourne & Hahn).


  • Molecular Design Limited, a supplier of computer software for chemical and pharmaceutical companies, is founded by Stuart A. Marson, Steve Peacock, and Wipke.
  • Aspen Systems of Rockville, MD, provides ASPENSEARCH V online (Bourne & Hahn).
  • OCLC becomes OCLC, Inc. (Bourne & Hahn).
  • October: ERDA changes its name to the Department of Energy (DOE) (Bourne & Hahn).


  • NSF Division of Science Information becomes the Division of Information Science and Technology (Altman, 1993).


  • White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services (WHCLIS) is held (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • Info Globe, the online information division for Canada’s Globe and Mail, is publicly available (Bourne & Hahn).


  • The Chemical Society, the Royal Institute of Chemistry, and other organizations merge to form the Royal Society of Chemistry in Great Britain.
  • NSF awards grant to Fritz Machlup to study “Information Science: An Analysis of Methodological Issues and Interdisciplinary Relationships.” Report is issued in 1984 (Altman, 1993).
  • Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, PL 96-511, is passed. Designates the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as major agency to coordinate federal information. Establishes the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in OMB (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • The ACS publication, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, is made available in full text on an experimental basis on the (BRS) Bibliographic Retrieval Service online system.
  • Gmelin Handbuch begins transition from German to English.


  • First successfully marketed IBM personal computer, the IBM PC.


  • Fachgruppe Chemie-Information is founded within the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker.
  • Great Britain’s Chemical Structure Association is established.
  • Chemical Abstracts issues a collective index for 1977-1981.


  • Division of Chemical Information and Computer Science is founded within the Chemical Society of Japan.
  • CA File, the most complete online equivalent of CA, is introduced.
  • U.S. National Science Foundation incorporates ARPANET into its new INTERNET (interactive network) (Pinelli, et al., 1992).


  • CAS ONLINE is incorporated, along with non-CAS databases, into Scientific and Technical Network (STN) International, a joint operation of CAS, Japan Science and Technology Corporation, and Fachinformationzentrum Karlsruhe.
  • Journal of Biological Chemistry becomes first journal to ask authors to reference an electronic database, in this case of nucleotide sequences.


  • NSFNET (National Science Foundaton Network) is established. Implements a high-speed data communications network to link the National Supercomputing Centers and their networks (Pinelli, et al., 1992).
  • NSF Division of Information Science becomes the Division of Information, Robotics and Intelligent Systems (Altman, 1993).


  • First International Conference on Chemical Structures held in Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands.
  • Teleosophy System (early precursor project for multimedia browsing on distributed file servers) begins at Bell Labs by Schatz (Schatz, 1997).


  • National Center for Biotechnology Information founded to oversee the information components of the Human Genome Project.


  • First International Conference on Chemical Information held in Montreux, Switzerland.
  • Tetrahedron Computer Methodology, edited by W. Todd Wipke, becomes the first journal published in electronic form only, available on floppy disks.
  • March: Tim Berners-Lee (CERN) prepares internal paper titled “Information Management: A Proposal,” describing a proposed information system for CERN. W3C history considers this an important document in the development of the Web. (Contains interesting similarities to proposals by IST professionals for information services.)


  • DIALOG Information Services files $150 million lawsuit against CAS, charging violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act for attempting to monopolize control of the chemical literature.
  • CAS responds to DIALOG lawsuit and countersues for $30 million, charging DIALOG with breach of contract and fraud.
  • October: Tim Berners-Lee begins work on a hypertext GUI browser on the NeXT environment.  Coins the term “World Wide Web” as a name for the program.
  • November: First Web page, developed by Tim Berners-Lee, appears on the CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research)Web server.  This program ran on the NeXT operating system and not many people used it.
  • Archie (short for “archiver”) software (which indexes ftp sites) released by Peter Deutsch, Alan Emtage, and Bill Heelan at McGill University.
  • Hytelnet (a worldwide directory of FTP sites) released by Peter Scott (Univ of Saskatchewan)


  • Gmelin Database is made commercially available.
  • The CORE project, to create a prototype of an electronic library of ACS journals, is established cooperatively by ACS, CAS, Bellcore, OCLC, and Cornell University.
  • US High Performance Computing Act (sponsored by Sen. Al Gore) establishes the National Research and Education Network (NREN)
  • Wide Area Information Servers (WAIS), invented by Brewster Kahle, released by Thinking Machines Corporation. An indexing system for documents that indexes the full text of the documents, and scores searches on the basis of the relevance of its vocabulary to the search terms.
  • Gopher released by Paul Lindner and Mark P. McCahill from the Univ of Minnesota.  This an easy-to-use menu system for exploring the Internet.  Named for the Univ. of Minnesota mascot.


  • January: Internet Society is established.
  • Veronica, a gopherspace search tool, is released by Univ of Nevada.  This gopher-based search engine worked with an index of gopher menus around the world and was the “work-horse” of early users (including librarians) of the Internet.  The name supposedly stood for Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Netwide Index to Computerized Archives but more likely matched the earlier archie and jughead names, referring to comic strip characters.
  • April: Finnish “ERWISE” GUI client for X released.
  • May: Pei Wei’s (Univ. of California, Berkeley) Viola GUI browser for X test version released.
  • July: WWW client software released by CERN
  • November: First sites (about 23 servers) appear on the World Wide Web.


  • DIALOG and CAS settle lawsuit and promise further cooperation; terms not disclosed.
  • March: WWW (Port 80 HTTP) traffic measures 0.1% of NSF backbone traffic.
  • February: NCSA (National Center for Supercomputer Applications) releases first version of “Mosaic for X” developed by Marc Andreessen.
  • April: CERN declares that WWW technology would be freely available to anyone for development.
  • September: WWW (Port 80 HTTP) traffic measures 1% of NSF backbone traffic. NCSA releases working versions of Mosaic for all common platforms: X, PC/Windows and Macintosh.
  • November: First webcam, XCoffee, appears online.
  • December: first extensive publicity (New York Times, etc.) on WWW.
  • US National Information Infrastructure Act.


  • March: Marc Andreessen and colleagues leave NCSA to form “Mosaic Communications Corp., later Netscape Communications.
  • May: First International WWW Conference, CERN, Geneva.
  • October: World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) founded.
  • Beilstein CrossFire, a user-friendly interface with the Beilstein database, is launched.


  • SciFinder, a client server for scientists, is marketed by CAS.
  • CAS Registry System records over 1 million new substances this year (Weisgerber, 1997).
  • CAS begins Internet coverage of chemical science resources on the Internet that are only available in electronic form.
  • STN Easy opens World Wide Web access to a set of STN files.
  • September: Domain name (.com, .gov., etc.) registration is now fee-based, except for .edu and .gov. Previously subsidized by NSF.


  • ACS creates ChemCenter, a web service to access a wide variety of chemical information. Includes full text of 26 ACS journals.
  • US Communications Decency Act (CDA) becomes law. This law prohibits distribution of indecent materials over the Net. Most of the law is later declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court.
  • Brewster Kahle co-founds the Internet Archive.


  • At the end of the year, the Registry file contains 17.2 million substances. The Registry database contains over 23 million names.