Madeline M. (Berry) Henderson
DuPont; MIT; Battelle Labs;NSF; NBS
Chemist, E.I. DuPont, 1944-45; researcher, C.S. Batchelder Co., 1945-46; research associate, MIT, 1946-52; consultant, 1953; Battelle Labs, 1953-56; research analyst, National Science Foundation, Office of Science Information Service, 1956-62; analyst, National Bureau of Standards, 1964-79; independent consultant, 1979-91. A fairly complete biography of Henderson appears in the following source: Robert V. Williams, "Madeline M. Henderson: From Chemical Information Science Pioneer to Archtect of the New Information Science." Libraries and the Cultural Record 45(2), 167-184.
1989 Watson Davis Award (ASIS); Fellow, American Institute of Chemists; Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
AAAS Secretary 1978
A few personal and professional papers are in her possession; most of her professional papers reside in the various agencies noted above.
Conversation with Ms. Henderson, July, 1997.
Chemical Heritage Foundation.
Oral history interview conducted by Robert V. Williams, 14 July 1997 for the CHF.
CHF Web site, Historical Services Dept.
A CAREER MEMORY FROM MADELINE HENDERSON
Madeline M. (Berry) Henderson
In the early- to mid- 1950s there were three innovative approaches to the task of managing science information resources. In one, Calvin Mooers called for the application of "descriptors" to documents, and their coding by random numbers and superimposed punching on edge-notched cards. The random number codes and superimposed punches would cut down on false drops. Mortimer Taube proposed the use of unit terms, found in documents, to be recorded on individual cards, with document numbers listed on the appropriate term cards. Searches involved combining or coordinating terms to define desired subjects, and matching common document numbers on the selected cards. James Perry and his team of Perry, Berry, and Kent believed that the meanings of index terms or subject headings needed to be made explicit, and proposed expressing the semantic elements or "factors" of such terms. They also described use of brief "telegraphic" abstracts to express document contents.
Each of the three innovators documented their approaches: Mooers issued Zator Company Technical Bulletins, while Taube published five volumes of his Studies in Coordinate Indexing. But neither matched the output of Perry, Berry, and Kent. We appeared in Chemical and Engineering News and in American Documentation, we conducted conferences and edited their proceedings, we published books on machine literature searching and on the use of punched cards. We were so prolific that we inspired Si Newman to compose a limerick. (Simon Newman was a chemist at the U. S. Patent office, active in early efforts to automate patent searching procedures.) Si wrote:
Perry, Berry, and Kent
Reannounce the self-same event.
Their abstracts in miniature
Cover the world's literature
Recently doubled by Perry, Berry, and Kent!
It was a fun time, an exciting time to be active in the field, and I am glad to have been part of it.