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July 28, 1978

Essays of an Information Scientist

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago

JAMA. 1978;240(4):393-394. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290040071034

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Eugene Garfield will perhaps be remembered most for his development of Current Contents and the Science Citation Index (SCI). The latter is based on the observations that, when articles are cited by other articles, they tend to be related by subject, and the number of times they are cited is a general indicator of the quality of the author's work. Thus, besides being an effective retrieval instrument, the SCI has provided a new and powerful breakthrough for exploring and mapping the progression of science.

Essays documents 14 years of Garfield's insights and activities as he progressed from the concept of a unified index in science through its consummation in the biological, physical, and social sciences. There are few important issues in communication in the era of Big Science that he does not address. The essays are seminal ("Citation," "Indexing," "Historico-bibliography," and "The Sociology of Sciences"), whimsical ("If Secrecy Is