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Author: Cummings, Martin Marc, 1920-2011
Title: The Computerized Library, 1965
Occasion: Presented at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, University of California, Berkeley, Ca.
MMC Commentary: This paper was given to the nation's largest science organization. It may be of interest to some to learn that some years later I was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and enjoyed a relationship with the editors of Science magazine, the world's largest circulating science journal. It was as a member of the AAAS Board of Directors that I enjoyed participating on a science mission to the People's Republic of China after President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger agreed to send a representative group of American scientists there to establish a relationship with the science community of China. The trip was fascinating in so far as the U.S. delegation was able see the deteriorated state of Chinese science. Regrettably some members of our delegation became sick and as the only physician on the American team, I was engaged from time to time in looking after their health. I, therefore, missed some of the Chinese places of interest. This was resolved by a later visit, when, accompanied by my wife, I was able to see some of the places that I previously missed. An amusing anecdote that I recall stems from the Chinese hosts asking for guest speakers from our delegation to indicate the size of the audience they wanted. The sociologists on our team requested an audience of 500 people. When I attended the meeting I was surprised to find that there were 500 people in the audience, all of them in military uniform, obviously ordered to fulfill their obligation. I had the opportunity to meet with about 25 to 30 scientists who were interested in computers and library technology. The most impressive memory in the library field was visiting the library established by the Rockefeller Foundation, the only Western-style medical school library in China. There I found students waiting in line for a seat to be able read the new foreign books that had been allowed to enter the country after the replacement of the Gang of Four. The Gang of Four was led by Chairman Mao's wife and other leading politicians of the time, who attempted to take control of the Communist government in place at that time.
Subject terms:
National Library of Medicine (U.S.)
Library Automation
Library Services
Abstracting and Indexing
Computer Systems
Hollerith, Herman, 1860-1929
Jacquard, Joseph Marie, 1752-1834
Billings, John S. (John Shaw), 1838-1913
Electronic Tabulating Machine
MEDLARS Decentralization
Demand Search
Graphic Arts Composing Equipment (GRACE)