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Bibliographic activities in the country were teeming; the appearance of the first computers and increased automatic data processing led to exploring the fundamentals of information and mechanizing information retrieval in smaller collections. The challenge of setting up and operating large-scale bibliographic operations and establishing new technical information centers brought together librarians, technically trained people, administrators, and a few academics intent on discussing technical developments and management problems with others who shared similar experiences. Yet the ADI remained virtually motionless until the end of 1950.

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Tate considered himself an interim president, carrying on until ADI’s future was decided. In the next three years the board of trustees met only a few times, usually discussing what to do about FID; ADI’s finances, still limited to the income of its microfilm copying operations, and possible expansion of ADI’s membership.

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During this period, the board of trustees decided to increase the number of nominating agencies, to approach the agencies for “annual voluntary contributions,” and to set up new committees.

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As agreed at the Conference on Documentation in 1948, five advisers — who did not have to be members of ADI — were named to the board of trustees to broaden the base of the institute. Among the advisors were leaders of the opposition, Waldo Leland and Keyes Metcalf; also Robert Shaw, who had been an early advocate of reviving the ADI; and Verner Clapp, for the librarian of Congress. Later, Tate appointed Norman T. Ball — an outsider to the old boys’ club — in

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appreciation for his work for ADI. Ball was a patent attorney and executive director of the Special Committee on Technical Information of the Research and Development Board of the Department of Defense.1

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Several committees were established, but the new committees were inactive, except for the committee on classification, chaired by Ball. The members of this committee represented the broad spectrum of documentation: Vernon Tate; James W. Perry, chairman of the Punched Card Committee of the American Chemical Society; Alberto F. Thompson, chief, Technical Information Branch, Atomic Energy Commission; Eugene Scott, executive secretary of the Inter­departmental Committee on Scientific Development; Jesse H. Shera with Margaret Egan as associate, Graduate Library School, University of Chicago; library administrators Verner Clapp, Spencer Stanford, and Raynard Swank; Esther Potter, director of the Dewey Decimal Classification; S. W. Cochran, classification examiner of the U.S. Patent Office; and Fred G. Fassett, director of publications of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The committee, which changed its name to the Committee on Organization of Knowledge, started to compile extracts from articles and books on Keysort cards, regularly scanned certain periodicals, and prepared abstracts of pertinent articles.2 The bibliography prepared by the committee became a regular feature of the journal, American Documentation, started in 1950.

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The board of trustees decided to forego the 1949 annual meeting and to hold elections by proxy. But when word was received that the Carnegie Corporation awarded a three-year grant to start American Documentation, Tate, David, and Power met informally with Clapp, Metcalf, and Ball, three advisers to the board, during ALA’s midwinter conference in Chicago. Tate was to become editor of the journal and felt that he could not continue as president. In the ensuing discussion Ball made the inspired suggestion of asking Luther Evans, the librarian of Congress, to become president of ADI. Evans was interested but, with his numerous responsibilities, was not ready to commit himself. Tate wrote enthusiastically to Davis:

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If Dr. Evans can be induced to assume the Presidency I believe that his tenure in that position will be one of the greatest forward steps that ADI has yet taken, and feel that ADI can give him support in his international Program with UNESCO and other projects. . . .3

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With the membership drive and the financial program launched, with American Documentation ready to start, and with the possibility

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of enlisting Evans’s powerful aid, Tate was excited about the progress made.

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Davis congratulated Tate on the Carnegie grant but was wary about the meeting with Evans; “[W]hether I shall be useful in connection with the meeting with Luther is questionable,” he wrote. He would be glad to participate in a discussion of what could be done practically to serve American scientists and scholars. In a tone that seemed petulant, Davis wrote that their group was “spending a good deal of time on administrative ritual rather than operation.”4 Nonetheless, Davis recognized that Evans was “an excellent operator and administrator, and his cooperation in any capacity with ADI will be very worth while.” Evans agreed to accept the presidency, but, not having been a member of ADI, his election had to be postponed until the annual meeting in 1950.

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When the board of trustees of the ADI finally met in November 1949, it became apparent that change was in the air. Evans attended, together with Clapp and Raymund Zwemer, executive secretary of the National Research Council, who was about to take over the newly established Science Division at the Library of Congress.

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Funds for international documentation activities were at a postwar low. The United States was represented by Norman Ball and an MIT professor who were in Europe at the time. FID, plagued by financial and administrative problems, was too weak to carry out the wider range of activities planned by its council. UNESCO was interested in many aspects of documentation represented by FID, but Duyvis, weighted down by his duties at the Dutch patent office (NIDER), was unable to carry out the administrative responsibilities of FID. W. J. van Weerden, who was taking over much of Duyvis’s work at NIDER, was interested in the International Patent Organization (IPO) and cared little about FID. A move was afoot to move FID to another country, but organizations in other countries were not ready to provide the administrative overhead NIDER was contributing. According to Ball, not only in the United States but also in parts of Europe “there was little active interest . . . in the type of work represented by both ADI and FID.”5

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Charles David, chairman of the international relations committee, who had not been able to carry out the ADI program for FID that he had outlined the year before, was distressed about ADI’s disgraceful record of payment to FID but conceded that “so far as it is known no benefits of any real consequence had been received by us from FID” — a view shared by Ball. In the meantime, Milton Lord, president of ALA and vice-president of IFLA, who still hoped to bring about closer cooperation between these two frail organizations, had urged Tate that the ADI not take steps that “might prejudice the position” of the

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United States as the likely host country for IFLA’s Third International Congress, in which FID might participate.

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ADI’s board of trustees, in view of the larger picture, voted to pay the FID membership dues at once, despite their ambiguous feelings about the value of national membership to the institute. In the end, the joint IFLA-FID congress did not materialize — funds did not become available in the United States for supporting the Europeans’ trave1.6

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Despite earlier hopes, foundation moneys were not forthcoming to the ADI. ADI’s treasury increased slightly under Davis’s careful management but not enough to offset the annual FID dues or to provide for a secretariat. The membership committee expanded its list of nominating agencies; David had managed to write letters of solicitation to the sixty-five nominating agencies and received a total of $525 from sixteen of them. Letters of invitation were sent to other organizations as well, but none joined. The board had voted to allow individuals to join as “elected Individual Affiliates” for an annual membership fee of two dollars. Shortly thereafter, Ralph Shaw, Jesse Shera, and Margaret Egan joined as individual members.7

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ADI’s finances were further affected by Shaw’s decision to end the long-standing agreement between the USDA library and the ADI. Arrangements were made with Clapp and the administration of the Library of Congress to service all of ADI’s microfilm collections. Documents deposited through the Auxiliary Publication Service, which were the responsibility of ADI, would be deposited in the library. As it had done a decade earlier, the library decided to copy only journals that did not have copyright restrictions, thus reducing ADI’s income even further.

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ADI again sought funds for a secretariat that would allow it to function better, but not until 1960 did funds for an office became available.

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By 1950, major changes were occurring. The substantive program Clapp planned for ADI’s annual meeting in February included a review of documentation in the social sciences, the natural sciences, and the humanities. Norman Ball, who was considered for the post of executive secretary, and Luther Evans, the new president of ADI, discussed the institute’s potential role.

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Ball defined documentation as “the organization of recorded communication” or “knowledge in perspective”; he expounded on the subject:

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Documentation provides communication on an economical basis on a larger scale than is possible with the ideal individual spoken word. It also provides for transmission of this idea at a

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distance and for effective storage of communicated ideas for a selective use at a future time. Just as mass methods have made manufactured products available on a large scale, they can likewise bring ideas to a larger audience on an economically feasible basis.8

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The ADI should not compete with library associations, since the “library groups were very effective in their general and specific fields,” Ball believed. The ADI had already become a “nerve center” providing guidance on the purposes and activities of various groups and a point of contact with documentation activities in other countries. Ball suggested that the ADI could become an umbrella organization providing services for many associations with common interests and common problems. ADI could carry out documentation services for government agencies — a plan not too far from Davis’s ideas. Surprisingly, Ball, a patent attorney himself, did not suggest patent search services as possible ADI activities, considered earlier by Power and Clapp.

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Evans talked about the relationship of documentation work — and thus ADI — to the interests of the Library of Congress, which “was becoming increasingly enmeshed in so many activities which are popularly termed ’documentation’.”

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Evans told of having become interested in problems of bibliographical control and microfilming, leading to his participation in the organization of the ADI in 1937. When he had been responsible for registering and organizing archival materials, he had learned that problems of bibliographic control and other problems of documentation were “among the most insistent and persistent problems which all sciences and all the humanities have in common.”9 As librarian of Congress, Evans found that problems of scholarly activities and reproduction of source materials were experienced around the world, and, as he helped to develop UNESCO’s program, he realized the close relationship of the Library of Congress to the interests of ADI.

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Evans delineated ADI’s role more narrowly than others had: ADI should not become involved in the areas which were traditionally responsibilities of libraries and library associations; other groups should deal with barriers to communications; and, even though ADI’s interests touched on archives, the institute should not become concerned with archival science per se.

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Instead, Evans believed, the ADI should be involved in technical developments in the fields of documentation and should report on problems of research in documentation and the progress achieved by the operating organizations. The institute could become an effective coordinating body, laying plans for basic strategy, and carrying out

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liaison work to persuade others to accept assignments and to carry out objectives. “We must recognize to a greater extent than we have done heretofore the responsibility of certain Federal agencies for action and the responsibilities of industry and many of the professional societies.”

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Despite calls for “vigorous action” the ADI did not start to move until December 1950.

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The small subvention from the Carnegie Corporation finally allowed ADI to launch a journal devoted to documentation. There was no American journal similar to FID Communicationes (soon to be renamed Review of Documentation) or ASLIB’s Journal of Documentation, started in 1945. The Journal of Documentary Reproduction, concerned with at least a limited aspect of documentation, had been discontinued during World War II. The ALA was not interested in restarting the journal but was not willing to relinquish copyright until late 1949.10

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The new journal, American Documentation: A Quarterly Review of Techniques, Problems and Achievements in Documentation, was to become “an independent, impartial critical journal whose editors and publishers are motivated only by the spirit of scientific inquiry and service to users of documentation.” Among the first group of associate editors were documentalists and librarians: Norman Ball, James Perry, Eugene Power, Herman Fussier (University of Chicago library), Ralph A. Carruthers (New York Public Library), Ralph Shaw (USDA library), and Henry M. Silver (New York office of the ACLS). The editor of the journal, Vernon Tate, defined documents as “recorded knowledge in any format” and used FID’s definition for documentation, “the creation, transmission, collection, classification, storage and use of documents.”11

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The journal was going to include all material of interest to documentation; to serve as a clearinghouse for information about documentation; to publish original research in the field and report on “new mechanisms, techniques or devices for documentation and their applications”; to assist in the development and adoption of basic standards; to provide bibliographic control of the literature; to serve as a medium for national and international cooperation and exchange in documentation; to “discuss new ideas and approaches — including physical and philosophical considerations as yet only dimly perceived”; and to publish material originated by the ADI.

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The publication of American Documentation was of symbolic significance for ADI for two reasons: the institute finally was publishing

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its own journal, and the new journal signalled that collection, organization, and retrieval of information had indeed extended beyond library and bibliographic practices.

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Tate brought together a remarkably well balanced publication. For today’s readers American Documentation provides an overview of matters that were important to information workers at the time. Yet, eliciting papers of a high enough caliber for the new journal was difficult for the first editors. The field of documentation was changing rapidly, but the practitioners, immersed in daily operations, did not have time to settle back and reflect on what was significant in their work.

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In its first decade American Documentation described mechanical devices and issues of international interests but included few research papers. The typical paper, as Claire K. Schultz and Paul L. Garwig found, was “the tutorial (non-critical, non-comprehensive, but somewhat documented) review and. . . the ’wisdom’ paper, which stated opinion only, making no pretense at being unbiased” and was usually not documented.12 Even the scientists and scholars who became information workers did not base their papers on empirical or historical data. Priding themselves on rational, scientific approaches to information problems and feeling superior to librarians who did not have such training, they often based their arguments on a combination of experience and speculation. Tate was especially impatient with authors who adopted a trendy pseudo mathematical style, using abstract symbols to describe everyday library operations just to appear scientific. For many years editors were criticized on one hand that the journal was not substantive enough and, on the other, for being too theoretical.13

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Delays in publication were so great that the journal could not become an effective medium of communication for the widely dispersed members of the evolving documentation community. Davis, who was responsible for administration of subscriptions, became concerned that readers would lose faith in ADI when the promised issues failed to arrive.14

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Possibly to overcome the problems caused by delays in publishing American Documentation, in February 1951, Luther Evans started a “President’s Newsletter” in which he reported on a breadth of matters of interest to members and provided news about the institute.

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Despite its problems, the journal became a forum for those interested in the various aspects of information management. Tate extended the scope of the journal to cover a wide spectrum of information work. For example, it was in American Documentation that the first overview of mechanical translation research in the United States was published.15 The paper and printing of the journal were

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impeccable, reflecting Tate’s high standards but also diminishing the small Carnegie grant at too rapid a rate.

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Soon Mortimer Taube took over the editorship of the journal, but substantive contributions were still hard to come by. Thus, issues of American Documentation contained papers from symposia or from the annual meeting, detailed minutes of meetings of the board of trustees, and, at times, the entire issue of the “President’s Newsletter.”

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Not until late 1950 did Evans begin to set ADI activities in motion; he may have been stimulated by his discussions with a group of European documentalists. Eighteen documentalists from eleven countries, predominantly technically trained information officers, came to the United States in November-December 1949 under the auspices of the Organization of European Economic Cooperation (OEEC).

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The European documentalists, according to D. J. Urquhart, chief scientific officer, of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), in the United Kingdom, did not see any documentation services in the United States that could not be found in Europe. The approach to services, however, was different.16

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The British believed that technical inquiries were best answered by subject specialists, not by bibliographers, and preferred “human selection” to mechanical retrieval of information. Possibly because the Europeans did not have the funds for automated equipment, Urquhart asserted that, in contrast to Americans, he saw little need for mechanical selection if the subject indexing system was adequate. Having seen the new punched card machines and other extensive equipment at the major documentation centers and the ACS, Urquhart wondered whether “any developments in the field were necessary.”

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He was surprised that Americans were not familiar with some recent European developments in microfilm technology and that they were not interested in classification, which usually evoked intense discussions among European documentalists. Implied in Urquhart’s report is the question whether Americans, in the midst of large-scale operations, were giving sufficient consideration to the basic philosophy of documentation issues, a question raised by Europeans in other meetings. Urquhart was also surprised that the training opportunities in the United States were inadequate. Few scientists were attracted to what the Europeans call postgraduate schools in library science, and courses in the United States had too little scientific

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content for librarians who were to serve users in scientific and technical fields.

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Setting Gears in Motion

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Once Evans decided to move ahead he drew in some of the outstanding people who worked under him. He asked Dan Lacy, deputy chief assistant librarian of the Library of Congress, to review the ADI and FID situations. Verner Clapp and others followed through on the decisions made by ADI’s board of trustees meeting. Evans and Clapp read all ADI and FID correspondence, irrespective of which one of them received a letter or report. Both Clapp and Lacy were involved in other major projects and were not particularly interested in ADI, but once they were assigned to ADI-related tasks, both worked on the projects with their usual flair. So seamless was the approach of the staff of the Library of Congress that some doubted that Evans was the one bringing about changes in the ADI. Others, however, recalled that Evans thought the ADI had a larger role to play and had a personal interest in it at the time.

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As librarian of Congress, Evans was interested in FID matters and, through his position at the library and UNESCO, he received copies of much of FID’s correspondence. During Evans’s presidency, payment of membership dues and the cost of sending representatives to FID congresses were covered by the library. Miles Conrad, who later became director of Biological Abstracts, was assigned to handle the secretariat for FID’s work on “technical means of documentation” and to report to FID from time to time on U.S. developments in these areas.

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Lacy analyzed the ADI situation for Evans and made suggestions on how to handle the problems and recommended that a new slate of committees should be appointed.17 What to do about American Documentation was more difficult to figure out: publications were delayed, its finances were in dire condition, and Lacy thought it would be difficult to find a new vigorous editor to take on this onerous job without payment. Also, ADI’s income had to be increased, which only could come about by increasing its copying activities. Lacy suggested ways in which Davis and the Library of Congress could cooperate in asking publishers for permission to copy their journals and at the same time avoid conflicts with UNESCO and “Power’s programs.”

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With respect to a general reform of the ADI, Lacy saw the core problem as a “basic confusion of purpose,” similar to that of sociologists:

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 [Sociologists] always wanted sociology to be a comprehensive science of society, of which economics and political science are specialized branches. In practice, however, it has been the discipline dealing with the gaps in social science not occupied by earlier established disciplines — e.g., social pathology or penology.

He continued insightfully,

we have wanted in documentation to be the general science of organizing and knowledge and making it available: but in practice it’s dealt with gadgets and processes not adequately dealt with by librarians and archivists.

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As Lacy saw it, the question was whether documentation should be allowed to develop along the lines of current dominant interests — like those of John Green, head of OTS, who was using techniques not adequately developed by librarians — “to organize the vast flow of technical knowledge in ways useful for industrial and Government technical work, or whether we will make a resolute effort to keep the focus of attention on documentation as a whole.”

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Lacy concluded his astute analysis of the situation by recommending a “general philosophical inquiry,” which required more time than was available. Such an inquiry could determine where it would be best for ADI to seek funds. The current resources were inadequate — and in view of the copyright issues and the library’s conservative stance — “of questionable propriety.” Lacy thought that ADI might get some contracts from major government documentation centers or that some industrial interests might give ADI the paid staff it needed. He did not hold out high hopes for foundation subsidies, which could be obtained only if “relevant councils and associations” could be persuaded to join with ADI in support of the request. Rallying such support would, however, require too much time and effort and would also take considerable persuasion.

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Lacy’s suggestions were carefully considered in developing the agenda for the December 1950 meeting of the board of trustees and advisers, also attended by five men from the top echelon of the Library of Congress, and in planning the program for the subsequent annual meeting.

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The annual meeting took place in February 1951 at the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress. For the first time the meeting was planned by a committee, which was chaired by Zwemer, and included Davis, Taube, Perry, and Sanford Larkey, director of the Welch Medical Library at the Johns Hopkins University, who was then involved in a major documentation project. Twenty organizations

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participated in an “Exhibit of Modern Methods of Searching, Copying and Transmission of Documents.” Seventy people attended the meeting and found the program so interesting and the afternoon so short that it was decided to extend the meeting to two days the following year to allow more time to conduct ADI business and also allow time for papers, discussions, and seminars.18

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At the meeting of the board of trustees several issues were resolved. Evans and Taube received permission to appoint an ad hoc membership committee; other committees were reactivated in a way that allowed more people to participate in ADI. It was agreed that the papers from the United States would be published in American Documentation and ADI would transmit copies of that issue to the congress. Four people would be sent to FID: Taube and Power as representatives, and Dwight E. Gray of the NRS at the Library of Congress and Milton 0. Lee, chief executive officer of the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (FASEB) and director of the American Physiological Society, as rapporteurs.

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The revitalization of the ADI would have been difficult, if not impossible, without the backing of the Library of Congress, although the arrangements for the director of the Photoduplication Division of the library to take over ADI’s copying activities later turned out to be a financial disadvantage. But, during Evans’s presidency, the ADI could draw on capable people who otherwise would not have been involved in the institute, thus making up for these losses. One such individual was G. Miles Conrad, a documentation specialist, who was elected secretary of ADI to enlarge its board of trustees. On Conrad’s recommendation the administration of the institute became more formal, a development which helped stabilize its course.

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Completing the Organization

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The ADI was changing. Names now known within the institute — but not among librarians or technical information officers — appeared on rosters of committees. In July 1951, as a step toward democratization, the secretary of ADI was instructed to distribute the minutes of board meetings to all members and to ask them what “items of Institute business should be considered by the Trustees at their future meeting.” 19

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The October 1951 meeting of the board of trustees signaled critical changes when Eugene Jackson presented the recommendation of the membership committee to the board. Taube, then with the AEC, was the chairman of the committee; Larkey (Welch Medical Library),

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Lowry (Army Library, the Pentagon), and Jackson (NACA) were the other members.

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Interestingly, both Taube and Jackson, who were campaigning for the changeover of ADI, were also active members of SLA’s recently established Documentation Committee.20° Since Taube had been the first chairman of the SLA committee and Jackson was its current chairman, they must have found that the SLA group could not satisfy the professional needs of documentalists. Jackson now reported to the board of trustees of ADI on behalf of the membership committee that the majority of the committee recommended that ADI reconstitute itself as a professional society of documentalists and information officers and that it accept institutional members from professional societies.21

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The committee was divided on how best to revitalize the institute: while some thought that all ADI needed was an adequate program and an adequate committee structure to operate the programs, others advocated making ADI into “a professional society of professional documentalists or technical information officers.” They believed that

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. . . in recent years a new profession has emerged out of the peripheral fields of library work and scientific research.. . .The men and women who are working in this new field need a professional society to represent them; a curriculum in a recognized university or universities; an effective journal as an instrument of communications; and, finally, recognition by Civil Service and other job classification systems of the nature of this new profession.22

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Taube, Lowry, and Jackson, managers working in information centers, constituted a majority in the committee. They maintained that a strong professional society could “make important contributions to advance documentation services and . . . become one of the major national bodies responsible for bibliographic planning and coordination.”

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Sanford Larkey, a physician and director of a major medical library, strongly dissented: the ADI had an important role to play in the United States because ADI’s membership, “made up of most of the leading associations and other bodies involved in various aspects of documentation,” might be “the only organization constituted to deal with this problem on a national level.”

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True, ADI’s relations with its members was problematic. Larkey suggested that in the future, ADI’s program would have to be coordinated with the programs of the nominating organizations, and, also,

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the representatives of those organizations would have to be “interested and actively engaged in the field of documentation” and would need to understand how documentation relates to their organization. But Larkey saw no reason to reconstitute ADI.

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I am not convinced that at the present time a new professional society is desirable or necessary. While it may be true that a new profession of documentation is emerging, I do not believe that the potentialities of existing professional societies have been sufficiently explored.

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The five members of the board of trustees, Evans, Davis, Tate, Zwemer, and Shryock (ACLS), were divided in their reaction to Jackson’s report. Was there indeed a new profession? At least two members of the board believed “that such a profession did exist” and that “ADI would be derelict in its duty” if it did not recognize the fact and provide individual memberships with full privileges. At least one trustee sided with Larkey’s dissenting opinion and thought that the institute could be of greatest service if it remained a federation of corporate bodies representing a wide range of professions. But Jackson made such a strong case showing that there existed a group of documentatlists who carried out professional work that this trustee changed his opinion, agreeing that ADI should grant membership to individuals to avoid the establishment of an independent new organization of documentalists.

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Still another trustee, presumably Davis, thought ADI’s structure entirely satisfactory. A new class of membership, “to be known as Fellows,” could be established for individuals who wished to join: fellows could be admitted “upon evidence of professional interest in this field” and would pay annual dues of ten dollars.

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The board of trustees examined the constitution and bylaws of the organization and found that only one restriction, limiting the ADI to two hundred members, would have to be removed to accommodate the proposed changes. After considerable discussion, they agreed to bring up the membership issue at the next annual meeting, scheduled for February 26, 1952.

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But Taube and several others were not satisfied with this state of affairs and now made determined plans to establish a new organization of documentalists. In late November, the “provisional executive committee of The Documentation Society” invited Clapp to serve on a provisional national organizing committee of the society. The committee was by and large a Washington group of information center managers, which claimed to have taken this step only after it was convinced “that no existing society was willing or

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able to represent properly the professional interests of the persons active in the field of documentation.”23 The letter used almost the same phrases as ADI’s membership committee report in its rationale for organizing the society. The objectives proposed for the society were:

  1. Establishing recognized professional standards for practices associated with the production, organization, dissemination, and utilization of recorded information.
  2. Establishing recognized professional standards for persons engaged in the practice of documentation.
  3. Providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences in the field of documentation.
  4. Stimulating original thinking, research, and publication in the science of documentation.
  5. Encouraging competent and promising personnel to enter the field of documentation.

This development of a new field of professional activity out of related fields is a regular occurrence in the history of intellectual endeavor, and it is largely the failure of existing professional societies to provide adequately for the interests in this new profession which justifies the establishment of The Documentation Society.

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The letter was signed by Taube as secretary, and Eugene Miller as chairman, but it was Taube who led this move.

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When Taube was at the Library of Congress, he and Clapp shared ideas and worked closely together. Although Clapp later lent his name to the committee, at first he was reluctant to participate in establishing a new organization while attempts were being made to convert ADI “to the purposes contemplated by [the] Committee.”24 His name appears on a list of thirty-two people advocating the organization. The list included several librarians; Jesse Shera, the only library school faculty member; and several scientists involved in nonlibrary information work, like James Perry and Karl Heuman.

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Yet another counter organization was proposed at the December 1951 AAAS meeting in Philadelphia, where eminent scientists, librarians, and information specialists discussed scientific information problems and how scientists gathered information. At the end of the sessions of the “Operation Knowledge” symposium, cosponsored by seven AAAS sections, the Chemical Literature Division of the ACS, as well as the SLA and ALA, questionnaires were distributed to determine the interest in starting a new organization.25

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Thus, as the annual meeting of the ADI was approaching, political issues were brewing. Evans wanted all members to understand the

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issues involved and, in January 1952, issued the second “President’s Newsletter,” which concentrated on ADI matters. It included the recommendations of the membership committee and Larkey’s dissenting opinion and announced that the annual meeting would feature substantive symposia on microfacsimile publication and rationalization of subject controls, as well as an exhibit of “equipment and services of interest to documentation.” Evans reviewed the state of ADI and discussed concisely the issues on which the membership had to vote.26

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Emotions surfaced in mid-February, when Davis sent out a letter to members of the ADI in which he supported Larkey’s position and suggested electing fellows to broaden the ADI rather than transforming it into a membership society. Davis urged the members who could not attend to give their proxy to ADI’s secretary and provided voting instructions, which favored retaining the old structure with ADI’s power residing in the board of trustees.27

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This action riled the opposition. Verner Clapp, Milton Lee, Eugene Scott, Ralph Shaw, and Mortimer Taube — all respected members of the library or science information community — recommended in their letter to the members that, contrary to Davis’s suggestion, members should wait and make their decision only after hearing the discussions at the annual meeting. They, in turn, urged that those who could not attend the meeting give their proxies to someone who would and whose judgment they trusted.

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The arguments seemed to hinge on democracy versus domination by trustees. Would the activities of ADI be best carried out by people “nominated by various more-or-less interested agencies to whom the group never reports” or by people or organizations “freely associating together to forward a common interest?” Could the ADI best engage in activities as “a group of non-dues-paying individuals, associating in a body without assured financial resources” or as an association with dues-paying members willing to contribute both money and effort to achieve its objectives? Furthermore, could the ADI “best engage in such activities as a group without authority to write its own rules to elect its own officers or even to have a voice in the nomination of its governing board, or as an association of people and organizations who had individual authority in the affairs of the institute?”28

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Davis cast the issues in a different light in a second letter:

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The prime question is whether the unique and effective membership organization (members representing and nominated by the leading scientific and learned societies) shall be abandoned for just another professional society.29

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ADI’s membership provided a national organization by “cutting across fields” and carrying out tasks cooperatively that no single group could do.

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Don’t be misled by the argument that if you don’t pay dues You are not interested. The present organization is fundamentally democratic in the sense that Congress is representative of the American People. If a small group of practitioners of documentation take over the prestige and considerable resources of ADI, it will be a misfortune.

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Members were not without a voice, Davis pointed out: “When it is proposed that the membership instruct the trustees to make such sweeping changes as have been proposed, the argument is obviously spurious.”

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The election of trustees, typically a rubber-stamp matter, was being carefully staged. It was still a single slate — Davis, Evans, Power, Lee, and Shaw, none of them newcomers to ADI. This time, however, a short description of their positions and achievements was mailed to the membership. Also included were personal notes: the presence of Davis would provide “continuity of experience with ADI” during the transition period; Evans’s experience with UNESCO made him an effective compromiser, which would be “vitally important in bringing conservative and liberal elements in the ADI to a common meeting ground”; Power, with his enthusiasm and interest in all phases of documentation, including research, was not “a mere purveyor of rolls of film”; Lee was a respected and beloved member of the scientific information community, and, according to the letter, he represented “the liberal elements of the membership and the profession” who believed that a reformed ADI — rather than two competing national societies or the Documentation Society — could offer more to the field of documentation; while Shaw’s background and activities, as well as his boundless energy and his “phenomenal” ability “to deliver whatever he promises” made him “an ideal nominee.”

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In his letter to the members, most likely drafted by Clapp, the chairman of the nominating committee wrote about strong pressures for opening the ADI membership to all interested individuals. To illustrate how inadequate ADI’s organizational structure was, he pointed out that more than half of the forty-two individuals serving as officers or committee members were not members of the institute.30

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On the afternoon of February 27, the second day of the annual meeting, forty-six members instructed the new board of trustees to meet within ten days to amend the bylaws, to put into effect the decisions taken at the meeting, to start a membership campaign, and to call a general meeting of the membership as soon as one hundred

A Threat, a Shift, and a New ADI 183

persons and organizations signed up to become dues-paying members on the new terms.

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The 1952 annual meeting turned out to be a key event not only for ADI but also for the National Microfilm Association (NMA). Power, who had been NMA’s president, persuaded Davis and Evans to extend the ADI exhibit at the Library of Congress for another day and arranged a meeting for those interested in microfilm services. The NMA was organized in 1943, stopped functioning shortly thereafter, and was revitalized on February 28, a day after ADI’s annual meeting.31 The two events were so close that they gave rise to speculation that the “old microfilm people,” (like Davis and Tate), when defeated by the young Turks, bolted out to start their own group on the same pattern and the same principles as the “old” ADI, leading to some misconceptions about Davis and the old guard. The raison d’être of NMA, however, was different from that of the ADI. The NMA was an organization of providers of microfilm services; thus, in spite of apparent similarities, the NMA was not organized to be a reactionary competitor of the restructured ADI.32

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The board of trustees made every effort to carry out the instructions of the membership. The board made the necessary changes in the certificate of incorporation, eliminating the ceiling of two hundred members and placing the powers of the institute in the membership. But it was not until summer that one hundred members had signed up.

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By the time of the general meeting, at the end of September 1952, the membership tally passed two hundred. This was a farewell meeting for Evans, who was to become secretary general of UNESCO in 1953. For the meeting Evans prepared for discussion a list of possible ADI activities, which, on the surface, was not all that different from the lists Davis had prepared in 1937. This time, education of documentalists headed the list of topics. Important as it was, the ADI did not participate in formal educational programs for decades to come.

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On September 26, seventy-six members met, reviewed, amended, and adopted by majority vote the new constitution and bylaws of the ADI and announced its new objective: “to advance the principles and techniques of the communication of recorded information.” For the first time, in its fifteenth year, ADI’s officers and council members were elected directly, from a double slate; Eugene Miller became president and Milton Lee, president-elect.

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The ADI was now an organization of documentalists. To Watson Davis and about one-fourth of the old members, it was the end of the ADI that they had attempted “to make an effective instrument on behalf of the scientific and scholarly organization of the nation.” Davis now saw ADI as “just another library association.”33 But it was not — it had a broader mission to fulfill.

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A Threat, a Shift, and a New ADI 184

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As Arnold J. Toynbee writes in A Study of History, schism in the body social cannot be resolved by returning to old ways or programs projecting an ideal future. Without continuous renewal only a rebirth can conquer death.34 And so it was for the ADI. The tired organization could not go on. A new organization emerged from its shell. A new, vital force came from the people who found that traditional library and bibliographic methods were inadequate for the management of scientific and technical information and who now needed a gathering ground to bring the community together.

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92 0
  1. ADI BT, 24 May 1948.
  2. Norman T. Ball, “Summary of the Work of the ADI Committee on Organization of Knowledge,” 25 October 1949,(Mimeographed); ADI BT, 7 November 1949, Appendix 4; and ADI BT, 14 February 1950, LC Collection, Administration.
  3. Tate to Davis, 5 February 1949, LC Collection, Administration 5-3, A.D.I.
  4. Davis to Tate, 10 February 1949 (Carbon), SA.
  5. Norman T. Ball to Tate, 29 September 1949 (Mimeographed), ADI BT, 7 November 1949, Appendix 2; and Ball to W. J. van Weerden, 29 September 1949 (Carbon), LC Collection, Administration 15-6-21.
  6. ADI BT, 7 November 1949; Ball to Tate; and Milton E. Lord to Tate, 4 November 1949 (Mimeographed), ADI BT, November, Appendix 3.
  7. ADI BT, 14 February, 24 May 1948, and 7 November 1949, Appendix 5.
  8. Norman T. Ball, “A Program for the American Documentation Institute,” American Documentation 1 (Spring 1950): 61, also cited in the next paragraph.
  9. Luther H. Evans, “ADI’s Tasks,” reprinted in Library of Congress “Information Bulletin,” 9 (13 February 1950):10-13.
  10. John Mackenzie Cory to Tate, 24 June 1947 (Carbon), marked “copy,” ACLS Collection, Box B36, “Documentation”; and Tate to Cory, 30 June 1947 (Carbon), marked “copy,” ACLS Collection, Box B36, “Documentation.” Cory later became ALA’s executive secretary.
  11. Vernon D. Tate, Editorial, American Documentation 1 (Winter 1950):2, cited through the next paragraph.
  12. Claire K Schultz and Paul L. Garwig, “History of the American Documentation Institute — A Sketch,” American Documentation 20 (Apri1 1969):156.
  13. Vernon D. Tate, Jesse H. Shera, interviews with author.
  14. ADI BT, 25 July 1951; and Davis to Evans, 19 October 1951, LC Collection, Administration 5-3, ADI.
  15. Yehoshua Bar-Hillel, “The Present State of Research on Mechanical Translation,” American Documentation 2 (Fall 1951):229-37 (appeared in 1953).
  16. D. J. Urquhart, “American Impressions,” American Documentation 2 (Spring 1954100-102, cited to the end of this section; W. Kenneth Lowry, “Trends in United States Documentation Research,” Special Libraries 48 (October 1957):336.
  17. Lacy to the Librarian [Evans], 15 December 1950,4 pp., LC Collection, Administration 15-6-21. On it is a note in Evans’s handwriting: “ VWC for an immediate conference with you and Lacy. LHE 12/16/50,” cited throughout the next 5 paragraphs.
  18. ADI, “Exhibit of Modern Methods of Searching, Copying and Transmission of Documents” (Mimeographed), SA; Library of Congress, “Information Bulletin,” 10 (19 February 195412; and ADI BT, 30 March 1951.
  19. ADI, Office of the Secretary, 10 September 1951 (Mimeographed), ADI HQ.
  20. “Documentation,” Special Libraries 42 (October 1951):305-6, report of the 6 February 1951 committee meeting.
  21. ADI Membership Committee to the President and Trustees of ADI, Memorandum, 9 October 1951; and “Minutes of the Committee on Membership and Organization of the American Documentation Institute,” 12 September 1951; both attached to ADI BT, 17 October 1951.
  22. ADI BT, 17 October 1951, also cited in the following 7 paragraphs.
  23. The Provisional Executive Committee to Clapp, n.d., L. C. Collection, also cited in the two paragraphs below.
  24. Clapp to Taube, 3 December 1951 (Carbon), L. C. Collection, Administration. 5-3 A.D.I.; and Eugene Miller, interview with author.
  25. “Reports of Sections and Societies,” Science 115 (15 February 1952):182; “Questionnaire — A Proposed Organization of Communication Scientists,” n.p., n.d. (Duplicated), L. C. Collection.
  26. “ADI President’s Newsletter,” January 1952, reprinted in American Documentation 2 (Fall 1954185-201.
  27. Davis to the Membership of the American Documentation Institute, 13 February 1952 (Mimeographed), SA.
  28. Clapp, Milton Lee, Eugene Scott, Shaw, and Taube to Members of the American Documentation Institute, 18 February 1952 (Duplicated), L. C. Collection. A note in Evans’s handwriting reads, “2/18/524:30 pm. first knew of this”; also cited in the next paragraph.
  29. Davis to Members of the American Documentation Institute, 23 February 1952 (Mimeographed), ASIS HQ, cited also below.
  30. To “Dear Dr. ,”[sic], n.d. (Carbon), LC Collection, 3 pp., Administration 15-6-21, draft. Clapp’s initials are on the top and a note: “Orig. sent by messenger to John Graf-11:20 2/14/52.”
  31. Eugene B. Power, interview with author; and Power, “The Annual Meeting — National Microfilm Association, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 28 February 1952,” 10 pp., E. B. Power Collection.
  32. Laurence B. Heilprin, interview with author, College Park, Maryland, 26 October 1977; Jesse H. Shera, Eugene B. Power, Scott Adams, and Eugene E. Miller, interviews with author; Heilprin, “On the Core Goal of Our Society,” Bulletin of the ASIS 4 (April 1977):21; and Shera, “Librarianship and Information Science,” in Machlup and Mansfield, 380 (see chap. 7, n. 1).
  33. Davis to “Old Friends of the American Documentation Institute,” 19 November 1952 (Mimeographed), L. C. Collection, Administration 5-3, A.D.I.
  34. Arnold J. Toynbee, A Study of History, vol. 4 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1934), 169-75.