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Charles Rush chaired the ALA Committee on Photographic Reproduction of Library Materials in 1937-38 (ALA Bulletin 37, no. 9 (September 1937), p.486), but he was never a member of the Joint Committee, as listed in the annual reports of the Social Science Research Council.

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The new ADI took over the Bibliofilm Service and Auxiliary Publication Service operations of the DDSS and unexpectedly became involved in testing the copyright laws. This chapter first examines ADI’s structure and its membership, then looks at the institute’s activities from its early years through World War II.

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Davis continued to hold sway over the institute during this period. But outside forces, such as the expansion of microfilm technology, changes in institutions, and, most of all, World War II and the tremendous development of science and technology during the war had a decisive effect on the institute. ADI’s address remained with Science Service; first, at 2101 Constitution Avenue, the National Academy of Sciences, with the Bibliofilm laboratory at the Library of the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Independence Avenue. In 1942, when the National Academy had outgrown its space, Science Service moved into its own building on 1719 N Street, N.W.

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After the organization meeting in March 1937, Davis advised the board of trustees of Science Service, in a terse paragraph in his regular report, that “as a result of conferences called by Science Service, the American Documentation Institute has been organized. . . [to be] a broad, representative organization that can serve the scholarly world in any field of documentation.”1 But to the outside world, his announcements were less restrained:

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The American Documentation Institute has been incorporated on behalf of scholarly, scientific and informational societies to develop and operate facilities that are expected to promote research and knowledge in various intellectual fields. The first objective of the new organization will be to develop and apply the new technique of microphotography to library, scholarly, scientific and other materia1.2

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Early Years, Early Projects 77

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News announcements appeared in Agricultural Library Notes and Popular Astronomy, in HD Communications and School and Society. The letterhead of the new institute proclaimed that the ADI was founded “for the promotion and development of documentation in scholarly and scientific fields.”3

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Davis saw remarkable opportunities for the ADI:

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Without the burden of private profit, with control solidly vested in America’s organized intellectual world, A.D.I. will be able to administer, organize, or operate activities that would be uneconomical for any one institution. Significantly A.D.I. brings into the same community of interest sectors of the intellectual world that otherwise do not often cooperate; in its councils and activities physicists, astronomers, biologists, economists, librarians, historians, bibliographers, architects, and many other varieties of specialists come together to solve problems common to al1.4

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From an administrative point of view, the ADI had a better start than most organizations: it had an ongoing program, an organized office with money to operate for a few months, and considerable goodwill from national organizations. Interaction with the American intellectual world, however, was not as dynamic or as interactive as Davis described it; the structure of the ADI turned out to be an advantage but also a handicap for the institute. Through the prestige of its sixty to seventy members, its Science Service connections, and Davis’s adroit handling of matters, the ADI soon attained semiofficial status — permitting it to act and to receive cooperation “impossible either to a strictly private organization, or government bureau,” according to Cuthbert Lee, director of the ADI between 1938 and 1940.5

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ADI’s members, scientists, scholars, administrators of government bureaus, practicing librarians, and archivists represented most of the active research constituencies of the country. The members may have been leaders in their professions, but they did not transpose this dynamism into their ADI activities. The members with their diverse interests did not constitute a cohesive enough force to give direction to the institute. The two-step election to membership and lack of direct communication did not foster a strong personal commitment to ADI.

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Early Years, Early Projects 78

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Each agency on ADI’s official list nominated for a three-year term a representative who was then, pro forma, elected member at the annual meeting. Although the list of nominating agencies was expanded over the years, some private institutions — such as the Huntington Library, which held a remarkable book and art collection and was a pioneer in microphotography — never made the list. This selective nominating procedure kept some of the people working on documentation or microphotography projects from joining ADI, although those most interested in the institute were typically able to find an organization to nominate them. Vernon Tate, for example, was nominated either by the National Archives or by one of the professional organizations in which he was active; Eugene Power’s sponsor was the Bibliographic Society of America, even though he came from the commercial sector and his firm competed with some ADI projects. But Power, with his base in Ann Arbor, Michigan, did not feel part of the ADI community; despite the international orientation of its members, the ADI was essentially a group of Washington insiders.

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With the exception of Power, who founded University Microfilms in 1938 and whose business concerns were close to ADI’s, documentation and bibliography were at best of secondary interest to its members, who considered themselves primarily librarians, scientists, archivists, or scholars. The members seemed to have found the ADI interesting enough to accept reappointments, but in the midst of their activities and administrative obligations, undefined liaison tasks between the ADI and their nominating organizations fell by the wayside.

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Important as documentation issues may have been for the constituency of the nominating agencies, the organizations were committed only to submit once every three years a member’s name for election. With a few exceptions, the organizations were interested in ADI more in principle than in action. Thus, instead of firm links to the intellectual community of the country, ADI’s relationship to their organizations turned out to be a delicate web of contacts.

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In contrast to the membership, ADI’s first board of trustees was far from detached. The board wanted to broaden the program and “to cut it loose somewhat of Davis’s plans for a network of film copying services.” They also wanted to cut it loose of what they considered to be Davis’s narrow view of auxiliary publication and his focus on microfilm operations.6 Possibly because no new funds were forthcoming at the moment, the board agreed nevertheless that the immediate objective of ADI was to expand the Bibliofilm Service in the

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Washington area and to “engage in a whole spectrum of Auxiliary Publication.”7 Like the executive committee of Science Service, ADI’s board of trustees firmly objected to ADI’s selling or manufacturing equipment. They wanted ADI to concentrate on projects, not on marketing.8

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The board of trustees focused on the operations of the ADL not on developing its membership. Members were not included in planning the program of the organization but were treated more as an advisory council.

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Watson Davis, Robert Binkley, and Solon Buck were the three men most eager to get the ADI moving. Except for an international clearinghouse for microcopying that all of them wanted, each of them had different expectations from the institute.

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Davis expected to develop three operations as a result of ADI activities: “one big library,” a network of cooperating libraries to supply copies of needed materials for research workers; an auxiliary publication service that would be widely used; and a comprehensive bibliography. Binkley recognized that the “old notion of universal bibliography” had “about as much credit with American librarians as the search for perpetual motion” and also knew that Davis’s plan for a Bibliofilm loan network would encounter strong resistance among them.9

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Binkley’s main concern was the Joint Committee, organized to enhance scholarly communication. In his battle to ensure the right of scholars to copy materials important for their research he saw a special role for ADJ. Binkley expected the ADI to go to the “edge of no-man’s land and a little beyond” to provide a test case to challenge the copyright law. He also wanted the ADI to offer a variety of media in its Auxiliary Publication Service and not restrict it to standard microfilming, and to provide detailed data on microfilming operations for the use of the Joint Committee.

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Buck wanted to see a broad-based ADI, concerned with all aspects of documentation, and looked to ADI to establish a center for document preservation, using the techniques developed by the National Archives.

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The ADI suffered from the malaise of many volunteer organizations led by a board of goodwill. Noble intentions, regrettably, cannot replace setting specific long-term goals, determining and adjusting priorities based on these goals, or resolving the differences between various members of the board and the administration. Soon ADI lost several good trustees. Charles Rush, a pioneer in introducing microphotography to research libraries and a member of the Joint Committee, resigned in the summer of 1938 because of the demands of his new job as director of the Cleveland Public Library. Binkley

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withdrew in January 1939. Given the structure of the institute, he thought he could be of greater help to the ADI from without than from within. He was impatient because the ADI had not come through in the areas of greatest interest to the Joint Committee and had not been firm enough with the Library of Congress in its dealings with copyright matters. Then Buck resigned; one can only speculate why.

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When three of the most interested members of the board resigned within six months, leaving capable but less interested trustees to carry on, Davis remained the dominating influence in ADI until the end of the war. Without the involvement of deeply interested members, the ADI missed out on the benefits dissent can bring: the more far-ranging debates, consideration of more alternatives,. and negotiated compromises that bring about stronger programs and better organizations.

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A lack of funds was the most visible obstacle for ADL Davis’s optimism about ADI operations becoming self-sustaining was based on the experience of Science Service; Science Service, however, did have a reasonably large endowment at the start. The prevailing impression that Davis always managed to get money was far from the truth. As the country was slowly emerging from the deep Depression, foundations were still the only likely source for support, but the foundations’ income was also diminished while demand for funds continued to grow. Only Francis Garvan’s Chemical Foundation grants to DDSS had been unrestricted. But when Garvan died suddenly in November 1937, ADI was left without a benefactor in a precarious financial position.

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Carnegie Corporation and Rockefeller Foundation granted smaller sums to ADI in the next years, but the grants were given to cover existing deficits or were tied to specific projects. Both Frederick Keppel, president of the Carnegie Corporation, and David Stevens, director of the Humanities Division of the Rockefeller Foundation, stayed in close touch with the ADI projects they funded, but Keppel and Stevens were concerned with satisfying the priorities of their own institutions and not with the growth and welfare of the ADI. Membership in the ADI was free, but ADI’s projects brought in some money. The institute could continue to operate through the end of World War II because Science Service provided the overhead and Davis was carefully husbanding ADI’s funds to supplement its meager income from operations.

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Copyright Involvement

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Copyright was not among the projects Davis had listed in his plan, but rather unexpectedly in its first year ADI was drawn into the

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copyright controversy. With the covert yet powerful support of the Carnegie Corporation, the ADI became the copying agency testing the copyright law, helping establish a legal philosophy and developing safe practices for copying research materials that would not challenge publishers to bring lawsuits.

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Davis had not been concerned that the Auxiliary Publication and Bibliofilm services would violate the law of the land: the operations were dedicated to serve the needs of research workers, thus, technically falling under the cloak of the 1935 Gentlemen’s Agreement between the publishers and the Joint Committee. ADI’s involvement in copyright matters began in the fall of 1937, shortly after Binkley received a letter from a librarian asking whether a library could become liable if it allowed copying of copyrighted material.

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Binkley turned to Root, Clark, Buckner Ballantine (RCBB), the prestigious New York law firm with strong connections to the Carnegie Corporation, and they advised him that the situation was dangerous: if formal violation of the copyright law were proven, each violation would carry a fine of $250 (over $2,000 in 1990 dollars). If microcopying for research purposes were to proceed without a threat, a statutory amendment or “some good decisions in courts of record” were needed; negotiating with the publishers and, in the meantime, “riding along” on the Gentlemen’s Agreement was another option.1°

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Binkley persuaded Frederick Keppel to provide legal support for a library or microcopying service “to explore in practice, under constant legal advice, the field of permissible use” of microfilming copyrighted material, which could then become “a customary law.” If the practice were then challenged by a copyright owner, “it would be brought before the proper courts and the law would then be defined by judicial interpretation.”

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No organization could undertake such a high risk unless it were underwritten “by some agency interested in the general strategy.” Binkley suggested that the Carnegie Corporation employ counsel to give advice on developing the law and, should a suit be brought, underwrite the costs of carrying the suit to the federal courts; he also recommended Bibliofilm Service as the agency because it served a large number of scholars, its practice had been “most highly developed in the field,” and the service would be carried out on a large enough scale to yield useful information about the cost and economics of such copying services.

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Binkley and Charles Rush, Keppel’s recent adviser on library matters, developed the plan, suggesting that Bibliofilm Service move to the Library of Congress, where it would copy articles under careful legal advice.

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Keppel himself became involved in planning the strategy. Whenever the situation became sensitive, Elihu Root, senior partner of RCBB, joined Richard E. Manning, the attorney assigned to the case, to develop a plan of action. The deliberate speed with which the project was initiated, the people it involved, and the furtive yet powerful commitment of the Carnegie Corporation indicates how well Binkley could rally the right people to support the cause of scholarly publishing.

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The battle for the right of scholars to copy materials without a legal threat did not have the satisfying clang of swords, as the forces of good battled those about to oppress them. Some heated letters did appear in the press. But on the whole it was slow, painstaking work. Binkley, Manning, and Cuthbert Lee, when he became director of the ADI, exchanged letters almost daily. Even though Robert M. Lester, secretary of the Carnegie Corporation, handled all matters related to libraries, correspondence regarding copyright matters was carried out by Keppel.

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Binkley presented the plan for ADI’s board of trustees on November 29 at an arduous meeting. Garvan, whose generosity made the DDSS activities possible, had died suddenly a few days earlier, making ADI’s immediate future uncertain. ALA’s plan to publish the Journal of Documentary Reproduction was announced at the meeting, shutting out ADI from publishing its own journal. Now the institute was being asked to become an agent in testing the copyright laws, which heretofore had not been a primary objective of Davis and, therefore, of the ADI.

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The discussions were highly charged. The next day Binkley advised the director of the Social Science Research Council, one of the sponsors of the Joint Committee, to withhold becoming a nominating agency and appointing a delegate to ADI. At the meeting it had become evident, Binkley wrote, that Davis was “increasingly adamant and immovable” to a degree that the community at large was moving beyond his position. He was “no longer the pioneer he once was. . . . The Revolutionist of yesterday became the conservative of today, and quite without knowing it.”11

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Binkley, Manning, and Root analyzed the situation and determined that ADI needed a director who could operate its copying services with extreme care, avoiding provocation; counsel other copying services on points of detail; take a hand in publicity; and also influence the advertising of manufacturers, and the contents of articles in documentation journals 12

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By January 15, 1938, Cuthbert Lee, whom both Root and Keppel knew, was appointed director of ADI. Lee, a well-connected dilettante, was chosen primarily because he was thought capable of handling the delicate copyright situation. Lee, a Harvard graduate, had

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served in the diplomatic corps, and his scholarly writings covered art and banking law. The Carnegie Corporation granted $7,000 to the ADI, of which $5,000 was earmarked for Lee’s salary.

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At the same time the Carnegie Corporation also asked the National Committee of the United States of America on International Intellectual Cooperation to set up a special committee “to study the ways and means of improving international copyright protection.”13 With Waldo Leland, Binkley, Lydenberg, and T. R. Schellenberg of the National Archives as its members, it should not be surprising to find that the committee attempted to improve the domestic copyright situation as well.

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This work on copyright was handled like an undercover military operation. There is ample evidence that the Carnegie Corporation supported the activities of this committee and the ADI. Yet neither the annual reports of the Carnegie Corporation nor the official records of Committee on Copyright or the ADI give any hint of the corporation’s involvement. Even Davis, who was always eager to publicize the institute’s activities, in his public statements underplayed ADI’s intensive effort. Keppel, shocked by Binkley’s death in 1940, talked about him in his presidential report, saying that he was a man “rapidly coming into prominence as a bold and resourceful leader in educational and scholarly affairs with whom the corporation was looking forward to close collaboration in fields of common interest.”1-4 But even on this occasion their collaboration on copyright is not mentioned.

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Lee was responsible for Bibliofilm Service operations, and was also developing a legal philosophy on copying with Manning. He advised commercial copying services and manufacturers about the wording of their publicity to avoid arousing the anger of publishers. Despite RCBB’s backing, Lee wanted to “avoid provocative acts” so as not to incur a setback “to this invaluable form of documentation.” Instead of “going to the edge of no-man’s land, and a little beyond,” which Binkley would have preferred, Lee and Manning moved cautiously and concentrated on establishing practices that would become “customary law.” 15

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Binkley, Manning, and Lee also exercised surveillance of public statements made by librarians or scientists on copyright. When Herman Fussler was preparing a paper in 1938, Manning and Lee exchanged opinions before Manning provided a memorandum for Fussier on copyright matters. Later Manning was also asked to help ensure that “the right thing” would be said about fair use of copyrighted materials at an upcoming ALA meeting.

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Lee tried to discourage Atherton Seidell from publishing a short paper on Bibliofilm Service activities in which he also reviewed various aspects of microcopying and auxiliary publication. Seidell

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reached the conclusion that strong journals would not be affected by microfilm copying, although the more specialized journals could lose subscriptions. Lee thought the paper potentially dangerous and saw “no reason in the world for having the matter discussed and presented to the public,” he wrote to Manning.16

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ADI’s intense involvement with copyright activities came almost to a complete halt in 1940. The Committee for the Study of Copyright had staged a serious attempt to change the law. The bill was read into the Congressional Record and referred to the Senate Committee on Patents. Hearings were held but the bill was not debated on the floor.

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Lee took sick leave in January 1940 and did not return to the ADI; Seidell, who followed him as director for a brief period, was not interested in copyright matters. Binkley was stricken with lung cancer and died after a brief illness early that year. With the loss of two of the torch carriers, much of the spark was gone. Without Binkley’s drive, the role of the Joint Committee also diminished. The conflagration in Europe brought more pressing problems that overshadowed the copyright issues. Nonetheless, through the ADI, RCBB, and the concern of the Carnegie Corporation, Robert Binkley and the Joint Committee had strengthened scholarly communications by establishing a legal philosophy and developing practices that would go unchallenged for decades to come.

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One Big Library

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Davis was rather proud that with the exception of an incident in 1936, Bibliofilm Service was not even threatened with a lawsuit. When Bibliofilm Service operations started in 1934, microphotographic equipment was still being handcrafted, the Union Catalog was not yet completed, and interlibrary loan procedures were slow at best. The new service not only copied books and journals but went through great pains to locate them if necessary, providing a much-needed service.

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Interest in microfilm spread fast among librarians in the U.S., stimulated considerably by Davis and others concerned with the DDSS and later the ADI. The first microphotography symposium was held in 1936 at an ALA meeting, and a second printing of the proceedings had to be ordered within a month. The following year five hundred people attended the microphotography program and demonstration.17 After a demonstration at the Medical Library Association, the Army Medical Library (which eventually became the National Library of Medicine) was inundated with requests for copying journal articles and even

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entire books. The Special Libraries Association (SLA) and the ALA staged successful microphotography and documentation programs in the following years. Yet in 1938, Harrison Craver, who was also a member of ADI’s board of trustees, did not even refer to microfilm or to the ADI in his presidential address to the ALA.18 Albeit Davis wanted to work on the universal bibliography for science and he was aware that library directors objected to a network of Bibliofilm Services run by an outside organization, his mandate from the board of trustees of ADI was to expand Bibliofilm Service. And so he did, through organizational arrangements and through outright propaganda.

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As Dorothy H. Litchfield and Mary A. Bennett from Columbia University recalled, librarians “marveled at the number of library and other journals in which Dr. Watson Davis contrived to bring a fresh approach to his introduction of Bibliofilm Service.” The promotion of Bibliofilm Service “was a brilliant success,” keeping the scientific community aware of the existence of Bibliofilm to the extent that “the laity” soon began to use the term as a synonym to microfilm. Even in 1945, years after Bibliofilm Service ceased functioning, libraries still received requests to send “a bibliofilm of this article.”19

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Starting a Network

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The Army Medical Library was the first to join Bibliofilm Service in 1937. Soon thereafter an agreement was reached with Herbert Putnam, the Librarian of Congress. This was exciting news for the ADI activists; for research workers living in remote places this agreement opened up the gates of a treasury, making the rich collection of the library truly a national resource. But no camera was available and initiation of the service had to await Lieutenant Draeger’s return from Paris. Even without a formal network, by the fall of 1938 many libraries cooperated with Bibliofilm Service. At the USDA library, three staff members edited the requests, carried out searches, and telephoned other institutions to locate the needed volumes. Messengers carried books between Washington libraries and government bureaus or institutions. Books from Baltimore were sent by mail and arrived the following day for copying; when necessary, orders were also sent to other cities. About one hundred libraries filled copying orders or forwarded them to the USDA library when they could not fill the request. A batch of orders could run to 250 requests. Soon Bibliofilm Service was copying twenty thousand pages a month for over a thousand research workers, with no complaints about copyright infringement.20

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Every step of the copying process was carefully reviewed and guided by the best available legal advice. For the protection of the Library of Congress, Bibliofilm Service operated the library’s copying service. Thus, in case of a lawsuit, Bibliofilm Service rather than the library would be sued. But the Library of Congress, advised by the registrar of copyrights, took an even more conservative stand: it allowed copying of only partial pages of books and restricted copying of all other items. To ensure that copying could continue without interruption, the board of trustees of ADI approved a highly unfavorable arrangement: Bibliofilm Service would risk copying only copyright material and would turn over all other orders to the Library of Congress.

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Bibliofilm Service subsequently turned over thousands of orders for noncopyright material to the library, but soon the library breached its agreement and denied ADI permission to copy any material on its premises. By then, however, with the aid of a Rockefeller Foundation grant, the library had its own photoduplication service and also set up a revolving fund for its benefit.

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Not only did Bibliofilm Service give up a sizeable portion of its income to the Library of Congress, fulfilling the remaining requests for copying had become more cumbersome and thus more costly. The needed materials had to be tracked down and copied wherever they were found. A number of libraries were unwilling to cooperate because they were concerned about copyright infringements or because they needed the materials for their own users. In one case, permission to copy was denied for eighteen out of nineteen requests. Participation in copyright matters extracted a high price from the ADI.

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Despite these problems, Bibliofilm Service operations extended beyond the borders of the country. U.S. scholars could obtain copies of materials from collections in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, and other cities in Europe, as well as in Latin America, Japan, and India, through Davis’s personal contacts and arrangements through the Cultural Relations Division of the Department of State and with occasional help from the diplomatic corps.

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ADI had contributed to the change that was reported in the Saturday Review of Literature with the kind of excitement that greeted on-line data bases at a much later time. Now, U.S. scholars of “all subjects for which printed or manuscript materials are needed” were better off than their European counterparts, read the article. An American scholar could now tap enormous resources that hitherto had been difficult to access, and “he can do this in the peace of his study with all of his notes about him at a fraction of the expense which the European tour would cost.”21

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In the fall of 1940, Davis could report that, even without the Library of Congress, Bibliofilm Service had direct access to 968,000 volumes

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through the network of the Army Medical Library and the libraries of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Geological Survey, and the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Technology and Standards). But within another year Bibliofilm operations almost ground to a halt.

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As microphotographic equipment was starting to come to the market in the late 1930s, microfilm activities increased in libraries. The librarians who had expressed concern at the documentation conference and at the organization meeting that ADI’s microfilm operations would be subsidized did in fact subsidize their own microcopying operations, which Power considered unfair competition for his fledgling commercial company.

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The management of the Army Medical Library first welcomed Bibliofilm Service, but gradually it looked with growing irritation at this “invasion.” They felt that Bibliofilm Service looked out for its own interests and was more like a commercial undertaking than a scientific institution. Davis and Lee were so intent on carrying out their tasks that they were unaware of the alienation of their former allies. The library’s management felt that the library did not have control over its operations and that they could not prevent “that the back of our books did not break; that sometimes valuable old bindings are not damaged; and that a good part of our service activities does not slip out of our hands.”22 The management of the library was frustrated that neither Bibliofilm Service nor the scientists who did their own copying left copies for the institution — actually, those who copied materials were complying with the Gentlemen’s Agreement, which allowed making only single copies for research purposes.

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Davis “did not have any inkling” of the library’s dissatisfaction, but as soon as he heard about it, he dispatched Seidell, who had replaced Lee as director of Bibliofilm Service, to contact Col. Harold W. Jones, director of the Army Medical Library, and Claudius Mayer, his deputy, to find out what could be done to remedy the situation. At their meeting, Davis learned later, Seidell proposed to Jones that the Army Medical Library start its own microfilm service and that Seidell “personally as an individual should operate it.”

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Seidell had played an important part in setting up the Bibliofilm Service in 1934 and, later, in starting a similar service at the Institute Pasteur in Paris, now offered to run an independent service at the library. Mayer and Jones were impressed by him and felt that this service would provide “increased aid to medical research.”23

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Over the years Seidell had written with deference and admiration of Davis’s activities. At this sudden reversal he declared that numerous independent units would serve the various branches of

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science better than a centralized agency and hoped that Davis would not consider his action as disloyalty.24

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Davis was distressed. Establishing the microfilm service Seidell had proposed to Jones “would be a great misfortune and a step in the wrong direction.” Davis feared that it would promote “the dissolution of the essential network of libraries cooperating in Bibliofilm Service which you have done so much to bring about.”25

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Davis asked Seidell to invite all cooperating librarians and responsible members of the ADI staff to discuss what should be done. Seidell never arranged such a meeting.

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But Jones had wanted to make a change for some time “and while it may have been sudden to you it was not so for myself,” he wrote to Davis. Jones was ready to accept Seidells offer, as he always wanted to have an independent service and believed that such personal service would be superior to the “centralized impersonal service” now furnished. In the end all libraries would have their own services, and “any arrangement with Bibliofilm Service or with Dr. Seidell is merely a means to an end.”26

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All capable librarians preferred to have their own microfilm services, since microfilm copying was but “a perfection of the service for which special librarians exist,” Seidell wrote to Davis. Librarians could not be expected to approve a “super organization to place the resources of libraries at the disposal of the public.” Instead he suggested that ADI should “encourage libraries to adopt microfilm service as an integral part of their activities.”27 Microfilm technology had arrived.

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For some time Davis had tried to bring the various government organizations involved in microfilming under one umbrella. He now saw the structure he built falling apart just as he was trying to persuade other libraries to join the network.28

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Seidell established the Medicofilm Service of the Army Medical Library in September 1940. Davis suggested that the institute give the Army Medical Library its full cooperation but stated with remarkable restraint that “it might be an anomalous situation” to accept Seidells suggestion that Seidell continue to direct Bibliofilm Service.29

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Soon the USDA library followed. When Claribel Barnett retired, Ralph Shaw became its librarian. Like Jones, Shaw wanted full control of microphotographic activities operating in his institution. Davis was coming to terms with the changes in library services that would affect Bibliofilm Service further. Already in August 1940, he spoke of the concept of a microfilm network with ADI as a coordinating rather than a major operating agency for microfilming. Davis did not fight the decision.

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In May 1941 the USDA library took over the microcopying operations; USDA was to use ADI’s equipment, and, in turn, the ADI would

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receive microfilm copies as needed. The ADI still provided service for the Geological Survey and National Bureau of Standards libraries and routed orders to the Library of Congress and the Army Medical Library.

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Thus the Bibliofilm Service, started in 1934, an operation of the Documentation Division of Science Service since 1936 and the major activity of ADI, came to an end.

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The founders did not intend ADI to become primarily a microcopying service. With the copyright involvement, so much of the institute’s effort was being expended on these operations and issues related to copying that in 1939 Keyes Metcalf, by then a member of the board of trustees, raised the question whether Bibliofilm Service had too large a place in ADI’s interests.30 The following year, shortly before his fatal illness, Binkley wrote unsentimentally to Tate, who had expressed concern about the future of Bibliofilm Service: in the worst case “the Bibliofilm Service would fold up much as the International Film Book [that distributed Microfilm at the 1937 ALA meeting] folded up, and ADI would be left with nothing but a name, a membership, and a corporate charter.” This would be harmful in the long run only if some developments “materially narrowed the range of freedom for copying in respect of literary property rights.”31 ADI activities were greatly diminished by the loss of Bibliofilm Service, but they continued even during the war.

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Because of its Bibliofilm Service experience, the Committee on Scientific Aids to Learning of the National Academy of Sciences invited the ADI to explore the possibility of copying entire runs of periodicals. The committee was established in 1937 by the Carnegie Foundation to be a “learning house” of all “scientific tools to learning,” especially radio education microphotography, the use of “so- called business machines in educational activities, and certain aspects of the motion picture industry.”32 The members of the committee were among the leading scientist-administrators of the country, among them Vannevar Bush of MIT, who soon became president of the Foundation; Ludvig Hektoen, chairman of the National Research Council; and Irvin Stewart, former vice-chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, who became its director. The ADI was to ascertain what “copyright free” material of interest to scientists was available in sufficient demand to defray the cost of microfilming, to estimate the probable demand based on polling possible purchasers, and to calculate the amount of money needed to prepare the negatives

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for sale and the number that would have to be sold to recover the cost, including the cost of the preliminary inquiry.

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The project was better defined than executed. Still, despite its inadequate design and built-in biases, the study is of interest because it is one of the few attempts to understand the information needs of scientists in the late 1930s.

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The results showed that the largest and most persistent demand was in chemistry and that the interlibrary loans at the USDA library decreased as a result of Bibliofilm Service, which had been Barnett’s original objective.

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A sampling of unspecified Bibliofilm users showed that library support for their research was poor: 15 percent depended completely on Bibliofilm Service, while all others showed partial dependence. The largest portion of the twenty thousand pages Bibliofilm copied per month were in the field of chemistry. But most unexpected was the finding that Chemical Abstracts was the reference source for every one of the papers requested in chemistry.33

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Even this flawed study showed that a relatively small number of journals satisfied a high proportion of the requests. This distribution was similar to that discovered earlier by Bradford34 and since that time reported intermittently in the literature. Comparing how many articles were requested per journal, the Bibliofilm study found that single articles were requested from over twelve times as many journals as the number of journals from which several articles were requested, as shown in Table 2.35

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The Committee on Scientific Aids to Learning provided a small grant for copying entire runs of a journals identified by the ADI project. The volumes ADI planned to copy had no copyright restrictions, were abstracted in Chemical Abstracts, and were either unavailable in the country’s collections or were in such demand that they were difficult if not impossible to borrow on interlibrary loan. Journal copying remained a low-key but continuing operation for the next

81 0

Table 2
ADI Study on Journal Use

No. of Requests


No. of Journals













3 or more


( 6%)


; ;


82 0

Early Years, Early Projects 91

83 0

decade. Orders were coming in from as far as South Africa; by the end of 1941 over half a million pages of twenty-five journals were copied on microfilm, and nearly two hundred thousand pages per year were serviced.

84 0

Microfilm for scholars and scientists had been promoted by a number of remarkable people; scientists had expressed the need to gain access to the selected foreign journals; nonetheless, the demand for copies was never as great as expected.36 One of the reasons was that using microfilm was uncomfortable: even if the film copy was clear, the reading equipment was usually poor; scanning long papers, comparing tables, or just reading an extensive report was, and still is, fatiguing.

85 0

Today research materials can be obtained through formally arranged interlibrary loan services, and copying of documents has become routine. But only during the brief existence of Bibliofilm Service could someone drop an order blank with a title into a mailbox and expect that, no matter what effort it took to locate the work, a copy of the needed material would be delivered to his desk at the standard minimum charge.

86 0


87 0

When the auxiliary publication service started in 1936, as discussed earlier, Davis made a great effort to ensure that the U.S. Patent Office, as well as the scientific community, would acknowledge as publication scientific works appearing first on microfilm. Science editors were delighted that they could now supplement published papers with useful background information. Binkley and the Joint Committee saw a special niche for the new service in the arena of scholarly publishing.

88 0

Binkley, who had continued his study of copying methods that could be used for low-volume publishing and his work on setting up criteria for selecting one method over another, saw serious disadvantages in restricting auxiliary publication to microfilm. Davis, who typically was careful to solicit Binkley’s opinion, continued to resist Binkley’s usually persuasive arguments without publicly contradicting him.

89 0

Microfilm at that time was thought to be extremely stable, which could not be said for other alternatives to traditional publishing. Furthermore, using only one publishing medium simplified storage problems, eliminated the uncertainty of having to gauge the likely demand for a work to select the most appropriate medium, and provided administrative shortcuts.

Early Years, Early Projects 92

In 1926, Slosson and Davis thought of Auxiliary Publication as a channel through which scientists could provide — or receive — detailed background information that amplified published papers rather than as a substitute for primary publication. Chemical Abstracts, cooperating with this venture, noted ADI numbers at the end of published abstracts if supplementary material had been deposited with the Auxiliary Publication Service. Interested readers could then order the supplementary material from the service for five cents per page.

90 0

By July 1939, three and a half years from the start, the Auxiliary Publication Service had published about 300,000 pages of material that otherwise would not have been available.37 Because of a technology breakthrough at the Bibliofilm Service laboratory, color film could now be used for microcopying. Thus for the first time pictures of barley, for example, became available on a film strip for only one dollar. Before, only written descriptions of barley were available.

91 0

The Auxiliary Publication Service reproduced Darwin’s Origin of Species and Robert Hooke’s Micro graphia, first published in 1665; a mathematical dissertation submitted to the University of Beirut; tree ring photographs; and also Ralph Carruthers’s “Microphotography: An Annotated Bibliography.”

92 0

Root Clark Buckner Ballantine extended their vigilance also over the Auxiliary Publication Service. Manning and Lee explored the legal implications. Instead of library copying, their concern in connection with nontraditional publications was protecting authors’ rights. Manning and Lee believed that sending a manuscript to ADI did not imply that an author dedicated his or her work to the public, and they developed procedures that would ensure that these works were protected by the copyright law. This accomplishment did not please Binkley, who hoped for a clear-cut case for testing the Gentlemen’s Agreement and the limits of the law.

93 0

The Auxiliary Publication Service remained a continuing ADI operation, but the number of deposited documents grew at a much slower rate than its advocates had expected. There may have been several reasons why the Auxiliary Publication Service was not widely used. One may have been the vanity of authors, who did not want to have their work published in miniaturized format, as one of SII’s critics had suggested earlier. Very likely, research workers realized that scientists did not really want to work their way through unedited or poorly organized information. Also, restricting announcements of highly specialized works to distribution of lists was not sufficient to reach a segmented market.

94 0

The discomforts of working with microfilm and the difficulty of coping with foreign languages may explain the low use of the foreign

Early Years, Early Projects 93

journal copying service. By the 1930s, scientists and scholars felt overwhelmed by the professional literature, and, as we since have learned, people are willing to put up with physical or psychological discomforts, but only if they have some indication — from a literature reference, a hint from peers, a review publication, or just gut feeling — that their effort will pay off.

95 0


96 0

Because Davis prepared business plans, talked about marketing, and was a propagandist for Science Service, the ADI, and its various operations, the more scholarly librarians considered him rather “commercial.” Yet the ADI projects during Davis’s presidency were carried out with remarkable nonchalance about finances and with an abandon seen only in charitable organizations. The arrangements with the Library of Congress were detrimental to ADI’s budget yet continued despite heavy losses until other events brought Bibliofilm Service to a halt.

97 0

The ADI could barely handle its main operations yet was willing to take on a leading role in a newspaper copying and indexing project in the state of Ohio.38 After a major newspaper placed its own microfilm copies under restrictive proprietary holding, the Ohio project was carried out to ensure that newspapers on microfilm would remain in the public domain. The project was to demonstrate how to handle the copyright problem, establish legally “correct” policy for newspaper copying, solve technical and administrative problems, and establish standards for such work. The funds ADI eventually received from the Rockefeller Foundation for its technical work could not make up for the time involved in coordination or for having to get by without its best camera and its most experienced technician.

98 0

More in line with ADI’s original objectives was ADI’s effort to make available some elusive works to research workers, such as doctoral dissertations and translations. Lee estimated that just in 1937 alone, two thousand dissertations had not been published. The ADI was willing to “go through whatever trouble it required” to find a copy of the work and photograph it at regular Bibliofilm Service rates.39 Costly as this may have been for the ADI, the service spared scholars from having to search for the dissertations, correspond with various organizations, and negotiate for permission to copy them. Yet, even with ADI’s very reasonable rates, a commercial service, University Microfilms, gradually became the supplier of microfilm dissertations.

99 0

Early Years, Early Projects 94

100 0

The ADI became a resource and a clearinghouse for translations, which it made available through the Auxiliary Publication Service. Toward the end of the war the alien property custodian, who licensed copying of foreign journals, agreed to license the reproduction of translations through the ADI “to assist in the dissemination of foreign scientific materials needed in the war operations of science and industry.”40

101 0


102 0

Through ADI’s earlier translation work Davis became aware that the Japanese medical literature was not included in the French, German, or English indexing or abstracting publications and was thus inaccessible to Americans who could not read the original. He believed that an “Oriental Science Literature Service” would be valuable and could become self-supporting. After some difficulties finding start-up funds and after changing the name of the publication, he was able to initiate the “Far Eastern Science Bulletin” in 1941. The mimeographed abstracting journal was edited by Joseph Yoshioka, a U.S. trained scientist who was born in Japan and who because of his nationality could not now get an appointment at the National Institute of Health or other government laboratories. As with other of Davis’s literature projects, this publication was welcomed by some but not used as widely as expected. In March 1943, the “Far Eastern Science Bulletin” had to be discontinued because of other war activities. Through the war and beyond, ADI’s operations were just about reduced to the Auxiliary Publication Service, its translation service for Chinese, Japanese, and other scientific literature and its foreign journal copying.

103 0


104 0

One activity remained: the annual meetings of the institute, which brought together the small community interested in documentation and microfilm activities. Between 1938 and 1945, the annual meetings of the ADI were small gatherings of members and invited guests at the National Academy and, after its move to N Street, at the Mayflower Hotel. At the short business meetings the new members nominated by the various organizations were elected and the nominating committee presented a single slate for trustees, who in turn elected officers.

105 0

The technical programs brought in people from various intellectual communities. In 1941, for instance, Tate chaired a “Symposium on

Early Years, Early Projects 95

Microfilming for Scholarly and Scientific Purposes.” Among the thirteen speakers were Herbert Kellar, McCormick Historical Association; Keyes Metcalf, Harvard University; Carl Milarn, ALA; Timothy Murphy, Bureau of the Census; Eugene Power, University Microfilms; Llewellyn Raney, University of Chicago; and George A. Schwegman, National Archives, with Davis concluding the session.41

106 0

As the war progressed the character of the meetings changed; most of those who attended, whether or not they were in uniform, were involved in the war effort and could not report on the work carried out by their organizations.

107 0

The meetings were successful because Davis invited all who could contribute to the meeting, even those who had personal conflicts with him or the ADI. This permitted wide ranging discussions of technical advance and development of bibliographic work, which was increasingly recognized as important for the national well being.

108 0

“It was a great satisfaction to be associated with the various groups of people who are devoting so much time and thought to the problems of promotion and dissemination of knowledge,” wrote the librarian of the National Bureau of Standards.42 E. J. Crane, who came in from Columbus, Ohio, thought his trip was “very much worth while,” mostly because of “the opportunity which this occasion provided for seeing and talking with a considerable number of people with interests like my own. . . .Thank you for a productive and pleasant day.”43

109 0

The annual meetings of the ADI brought together a group that shared a common interest in an expanded aspect of library work and bibliographic work, which then, for a lack of a better term, was called documentation. The annual meetings of the institute provided continuity and established a meeting ground for discussing new developments and existing challenges. These interactions provided the seed from which a membership organization could later emerge.

110 0

The ADI was a new institution when World War II started. It had come about because of Davis’s zeal to provide research information to scientists and his determination to harness a new tool, microfilm technology, for this purpose. Although his entrepreneurial style did not appeal to the more scholarly librarians, as an outsider he was able to engage their interest and introduce innovations.

111 0

The strong strain in the American character of utilitarianism, or rather pragmatism, to which Jesse H. Shera referred when discussing American librarianship, is also evident in the early ADI activities. All of its projects responded to the practical needs of users of documentation in an immediate problem-solving manner. No attempts were made during ADI’s first decade to explore philosophical implications or to develop theoretical underpinnings for this work.

112 0

96 From Documentation to Information Science

113 0

ADI — typically, for many organizations at the time — operated without a longer-range plan or even a strong philosophical base to guide its activities. As circumstances forced changes in ADI’s operations, Davis began to view the institute as a coordinator of activities that were either interdisciplinary or not profitable enough for commercial interests.44 Without adequate financial support even pilot projects are difficult to manage, and the massive operations Davis envisioned could not possibly have been carried out by ADI. The role of ADI was that of a catalyst. The projects ADI started constituted a significant contribution to the country, particularly the scientific and technical community, and were later taken up by others.

114 0

Davis’s drive toward perfecting microphotographic copying of articles and his effort at publicizing the importance of the work to the top scientific administrators in the nation proved to be a great asset during World War II. In 1943 Crane wrote to Davis:

You have the right to feel much satisfaction in the developments which A.D.I. (you really) initiated and has fostered and in particular the developments in microfilm copying which have proved so useful during wartime. You have contributed much to the war effort by this development. We would be much handicapped if you had not brought it about in advance of this special wartime need.45

115 0

Neither the Bibliofilm Service nor the Auxiliary Publication Service turned out to be as significant as Davis had hoped. Bibliofilm Service, the best-known ADI activity, but short-lived, like a flame of a candle, served a purpose at a time when other tools were not yet available to carry out its tasks. Gaining intellectual access to information has become more sophisticated, but document delivery is still an intensive worldwide concern.

116 0

The model of the Auxiliary Publication Service turned out to be a major contribution of the early ADI. The government applied this model to make masses of technical reports available to the public after World War II. The Auxiliary Publication Service proved to have been a pilot project, which pointed the way to the National Technical Information Service that now provides worldwide the results of research sponsored by the U.S. government.

117 0

The strength of ADI was in its membership and in its programs, thought Davis. Both of these, however, proved elusive. Forces outside the institute would bring about deep-seated changes and a new start.

118 0

Early Years, Early Projects 97

119 0


120 0
  1. “Information Memorandum on Progress of Science Service, 23 March 1937,” Washington, D.C. (Mimeographed), p. 3, SA.
  2. “For Publication,” Doc. 324,20 April 1937 (Mimeographed), SA.
  3. ADI stationery, used during the period covered in this chapter. The letterhead also indicated that ADI was “a non-profit corporation, with members nominated by scholarly and scientific agencies.”
  4. Davis, “Project for Scientific Publication” (see chap. 2, n. 3).
  5. Cuthbert Lee to Keyes Metcalf, 28 September 1939, KDM Collection.
  6. Binkley to Crane (see chap. 4, n. 14).
  7. ADIBT, 10 April 1937 (Mimeographed).
  8. Binkley to Crane.
  9. Binkley to Crane (see chap. 4, nn. 10, 14).
  10. Binkley, “Memorandum on Copyright 26 October 1937” (Ditto), SA. RCBB is mentioned in chap. 2; and Binkley to Frederick Keppel, 26 October 1937 (Carbon), also cited in the two following paragraphs.
  11. Binkley to Crane, 30 November 1937 (Carbon), JCMR Collection, Box 33 “Crane.”
  12. “Notes on Luncheon Conference, December 3, 1937. Mr. Root, Mr. Manning and Mr. Binkley,” 6 December 1937 (Carbon), SA. Very likely typed by RCBB.
  13. Edith E. Ware, “Character of the Proposed Copyright Bill,” SA; “Presented to Congress June 8, 1940,” in E. E. Ware’s handwriting. Leland became chairman of the Copyright Committee; Binkley, Lydenberg, and T. R. Schellenberg (of the National Archives) were members; Ware was executive secretary.
  14. Keppel, “Report of the President,” (1940), 27 (see chap. 1, n. 3).
  15. “ADI Report of Progress. Sept. 15, 1938,” prepared by Cuthbert Lee. Of the documents examined, this is the most open statement in an official ADI document about the role of ADI in this Carnegie project.
  16. Cuthbert Lee to Richard E. Manning, 23 January 1939 (Carbon), SA. Atherton Seidell did publish the article: “Microfilm Copying of Scientific Literature,” Science 89 (10 March 1939):219-20.
  17. M. Llewellyn Raney, “Microphotography Round Table,” ALA Bulletin 31 (15 October 1937):808-13; and American Library Association, Miocro photography for Libraries, papers presented at the Microphotography Symposium at the 1936 Conference of the American Library Association, ed. M. Llewellyn Raney (Chicago: American Library Association, 1936).
  18. Harrison B. Craver, ALA Bulletin 32 (July 1938):413-19.
  19. D. H. Litchfield and M. A. Bennett, “Teaching Microphotography to Librarians,” Library journal 70 (1 September 1945):734-37.
  20. Atherton Seidell, “Microfilm Copying” (see n. 16).
  21. R. D. Jameson, “The Scholar and His Library,” Saturday Review of Literature 20 (26 August 1939):10.
  22. Claudius F. Mayer, “Experiences and Activities of the Army Medical Library in Microphotography,” 24 May 1940, in American Council of Learned Societies, “Conference on Microcopying Research Materials in Foreign Depositories: Suggestions and Memoranda Submitted in Advance of the Conference,” Washington, D.C. (Mimeographed), p. 15, SA.
  23. Davis, Memorandum to Trustees, 21 August 1940, SA.
  24. Seidell to Davis, 19 July 1940, SA. Also cited in the next paragraph.
  25. Davis to Seidell, 24 July 1940 (Carbon), SA.
  26. Harold W. Jones to Davis, 30 July 1940, SA.
  27. Seidell to Davis, 7 August 1940, SA.
  28. Davis to Jones, 12 August 1940 (Carbon), SA.
  29. Davis, Memorandum (see n. 23).
  30. Metcalf to Binkley, 30 January 1939.
  31. Binkley to Tate, 24 January 1940.
  32. Carnegie Corporation (1937), 27-28 (see chap. 1, n. 3).
  33. Lee to Warren Weaver, 9 August 1939 (Carbon), SA.
  34. S.C. Bradford, “Sources of Information on Specific Subjects,” Engineering 26 January 1934, p. 85.
  35. Lee to Weaver (n. 33).
  36. Ross Cibella, “The Use of Microfilm in the Research Library,” journal of Chemical Education 20 (December 1943):599.
  37. Cuthbert Lee, “Report of Progress,” 12 July 1939 (Mimeographed), SA.
  38. Robert C. Binkley to David H. Stevens, 20 December 1938 (Carbon), SA; and Robert C. Binkley, “Newspaper Indexing for WPA Projects,” JDR 2 (March 1939):46-47.
  39. Lee to Metcalf, 19 December 1939 and 27 December 1938, KDM Collection.
  40. Howland H. Sargeant and Watson Davis, Form Letter, 15 April 1944 (Mimeographed), SA.
  41. “Agenda-American Documentation Institute Annual Meeting,” 30 January 1941 (Mimeographed), SA.
  42. Sarah Ann Jones to Davis, 29 January 1943, SA.
  43. E.J. Crane to Davis, 30 January 1943, SA.
  44. Davis, “Annual Report of the American Society for Information Science, 1940,” SA.
  45. Crane to Davis (see n. 43).