Re: Recent Comments by Albert Henderson

From: Albert Henderson <chessNIC_at_COMPUSERVE.COM>
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2001 21:42:13 -0500

on Mon, 22 Jan 2001 Ken Rouse <krouse_at_LIBRARY.WISC.EDU> wrote:
> In a recent comment Albert Henderson said the following:
> --
> The bottleneck in science communications is based on the theory that
> researchers can locate useful materials through
> databases and citations in the literature.
> The databases have reduced their coverage, also
> thanks to stingy budgets. The National Library
> of Medicine bibliographies, which in early days
> attemped to be comprehensive, covered less than
> ten percent of the biomedical literature according
> to the centenery essay by Martin Cummings. Analyses
> of other discipline-wide databases reveal similar
> shortcomings. Like the libraries themselves, the
> secondary information services are shrinking in
> comparison to the totality of publication.
> I would like to see Mr. Henderson's "Analyses of other discipline-wide
> databases...." This is certainly not the case with Chemical Abstracts,
> the major, comprehensive index for all the varieties of chemistry.

        Thank you for asking. You will find them in ELECTRONIC
        DATABASES AND PUBLISHING (Transaction 1997 ISBN 1-56000-967-5)
        which I compiled from articles that I edited in PUBLISHING
        RESEARCH QUARTERLY. The most interesting summary statistics
        are to be found in the article by Richard Kaser of NFAIS.

        The precise citation for the NLM analysis is

                Mary E. Corning, and Martin M. Cummings. Biomedical
        communication. Advances in American Medicine, edited by
        John Z. Bowers and Elizabeth F. Purcell. New York: Josiah
        Macy, Jr., Foundation 1976. vol. 2. p. 729ff.

        Corning and Cummings wrote:

        "A comparison of citations in the 1879 Index Medicus with
        those in 1973 is revealing - the number has increased
        tenfold (Table 3). The 20,169 articles in 1879 represented
        essentially the totality of the biomedical literature,
        whereas the 217,485 in 1973 were published in only 12 percent
        of the world's biomedical literature." (p. 729)

        At the risk of stating the obvious, the budgets affecting
        NLM's coverage were handed down through the government
        bureaucracy rather than from customers.

        A further analysis was made by L. L. Deitz and L. M. Osegueda,
        who found only half the existing references in a survey of
        seven online databases. (Effectiveness of bibliographic
        databases for retrieving entomological literature: a lesson
        based on the Membracoidea (Homoptera). Bulletin of the
        Entomological Society of America. 35:33-39)

        You are right about the continued comprehensiveness of
        CAS, which is not dependent upon academic libraries
        only thanks to a robust industry customer base.

Best wishes,

Albert Henderson
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:45:59 GMT