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Author: Cummings, Martin Marc, 1920-2011
Title: The Public/Private Issue in Information: The Perspective from the National Library of Medicine, 1982
Occasion: Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science, Columbus, OH.
MMC Commentary: This speech presented the library's arguments for being a source of free medical information to scientists, educators, and practitioners. It based many of its arguments on several important federal reports dealing with the subject of science, government, and information. The Weinberg Report written by the director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory called for the provision of information services to disseminate freely information derived from research and science. The second report was written by the President of the Bell Laboratories, Director William O. Baker, who reported essentially that science was not complete until the results and findings were made public. The National Library of Medicine and other federal information services thus had some obligation to fulfill their roles in disseminating information gained through taxpayer supported research activities. Both the Weinberg and Baker Reports were powerfully important in stimulating federal agencies to improve their provision of services to the scientific community and the public at large. It may be noted that Dr. William O. Baker was a member of the NLM Board of Regents and provided extraordinary insights into advanced technologies that might be applied to the NLM's research efforts. For example they gave us clear insights with regard to potential use of fiber optics for cabling and communications broadly. He was a consultant to least three U.S. Presidents, including General Eisenhower, President Nixon, and President Kennedy. He is highly regarded in the field of physics and communications engineering, but had an uncanny insight and knowledge about biology and chemistry. Here is clearly one of the geniuses of industry and science at the end of the last century.
Subject terms:
Access to Information
Computer Systems
Information Dissemination
Information Storage and Retrieval
President's Science Advisory Committee panel
Weinberg, Alvin Martin, 1915-2006
National Commission on Libraries and Information Sciences' Public Sector/Private Sector Interaction in Providing Information Services