From its launch the IIS Council was determined to share relevant articles, meetings, talks, and research with members, considering this a key responsibility.
The Institute was established towards the end of 1958 and the need to be able to communicate with members was quickly recognised. The first issue of the Bulletin was written and manually copied by Jason Farradane in April 1959 and ran to seven typed pages. This format was continued up to the fifth issue in August 1961. In 1962 Volume 2 appeared with a printed cover and the adoption of offset-litho printing which resulted in a significant improvement in readability. It has to be remembered that by this stage the Institute already had around 250 members so the workload in preparing the Bulletin for postal distribution was quite considerable.
The Information Scientist
The Information Scientist was launched in 1967. It was A5 in format, offset printed, and typically ran to 40-50 pages. The cover was a rather unusual mustard yellow colour, which tended to vary a little from issue to issue. It was positioned (on the cover) as ‘the Journal of the Institute of Information Scientists’. The first editor was Philip Colinese, at that time working at Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB). The editorship passed to Peter Vickers, who at the time was also on the staff at CEGB, before moving on to Aslib. At this time Alan Gilchrist became Associate Editor. Although in no way could the Information Scientist be regarded as a peer-reviewed primary journal, informal peer-review by the editor ensured that the quality of the articles was consistently very high, with a strong focus on presenting lessons learned from information services implementations.
A typical issue was a mix of case studies of information departments and increasingly the use of information technology, reports on Institute activities and also the formal report of the AGM and the election of officers. It should be noted that it was printed by Adlard and Son Ltd, based in Dorking, who also took on the printing of Inform in due course. The December 1970 issue carried the index to Volumes 1-4.
In the July 1979 issue of the Journal of Librarianship there is an interesting and very insightful commentary on Information Scientist from Norman Roberts:
“The Information Scientist is the journal of the Institute of Information Scientists. It struggled into existence in 1967 and through dint to dedicated editorial effort, established itself to such good effect that, from 1980, the journal will appear under the international banner of Elsevier. This is a success story that must have seemed unlikely to the editors in the early 1970s as they struggled to fill the space at their disposal with suitable material. Information Scientist began life in the manner of Aslib Proceedings; carrying reports of meetings and papers read etc. Most of the printed contributions were of a practical descriptive kind. During these early years both the Institute and its journal were at their most introspective.”
The commentary goes on to note:
“But a course was plotted, the number of submitted papers increased, advertising revenue increased and gradually the quality and coverage improved. Sensibly, given their limited resources, reviewing was left to larger circulation journals though the occasional special review was included. But now the interest in the Information Scientist lies not with its past but with its immediate future. How will it fare at the international level against such established publications as Journal of Documentation and the American giants?”
Which leads neatly to the launch of Journal of Information Science (JIS).
Journal of Information Science (JIS)
It would be wrong to see the Journal of Information Science as just a commercial version of the Information Scientist. Council felt that the Institute should establish a peer-reviewed journal in which there was a mutual benefit for both the publisher and the Institute of the journal being published over the imprint of the Institute. Negotiations began in 1977 with seven publishers being approached. The eventual agreement with Elsevier North Holland was quite remarkable as it was negotiated (primarily by Alan Gilchrist and Alan Blick) in a way that the Journal would never cost the Institute any money but could, if sales were sufficient, generate a healthy income.
Under the agreement, Elsevier supplied 2000 copies at ‘run-on’ cost for members, and the Institute received a royalty on sales to non-members. These two items were netted off. If the result was a deficit, i.e. the cost of the copies was more than the royalty due, Elsevier bore the cost. If the result was a surplus, the Institute received the surplus. The result was always a deficit. This meant that effectively the IIS received 2000 copies free of charge and paid run-on cost only for all the additional copies it needed. The typical print run was around 2600 copies.
JIS was launched with the sub-title ‘Principles and Practice’ with the idea that academics and practitioners would submit articles – but this was naïve, and the subtitle was later dropped.
The first issue was published in 1979, so marking the 20th Anniversary of the founding of the Institute. The Editorial Board that agreed to serve was a remarkable group of highly respected information professionals in academia, the public sector and industry.
|India (New Delhi)
|UK (Beechams Pharmaceuticals)
|UK (City University, London)
|UK (Institute for Scientific Information, London)
|USA (Santa Maria, California)
|Luxembourg (DG13, European Commission)
|UK (Department of Trade and Industry, London)
|UK (The Chemical Society, Nottingham)
|USA (Rockville, Maryland)
|UK (University of Sheffield)
|W. A. Martin
|Italy (European Space Agency)
|D. E. Smith
The Editor was Alan Gilchrist and the Associate Editor was Peter Taylor (Aslib). There was a hiatus between the final issue of JIS published under the Elsevier contract (1994) and the subsequent acquisition by Sage Publishing. Elsevier closed its information science portfolio and the IIS went through a period with a small publishing company in East Grinstead managed by Geraldine Turpie before ending up with Sage. When the IIS merged with the LA, JIS was passed on and Sage made all its LIS publications available online to CILIP members.
This is Alan’s Editorial in the first issue under Sage Publishing:
“Fourteen years ago, Elsevier Science Publishers (at that time the North-Holland component) helped the Institute to launch the Journal of Information Science, successor to The Information Scientist. During that time, the editorial team has enjoyed excellent relations with Elsevier and is grateful for their support over such a long period. In particular, we should like to thank the successive desk editors: Willem Dijkhuis, Laval Hunsucker, Heleen van Gelderen and, finally, Lilian van der Vaart. So why terminate such a harmonious relationship? The Publications Committee and Council had to face the fact that the contract with Elsevier became due for renewal (or termination) at the end of 1993 and was not going to be continued on the same terms. Consequently, the Institute went out to tender, and after much deliberation, a new contract was agreed with Bowker-Saur Ltd, part of Reed International. Somewhat ironically, just after negotiations opened, it was announced that Reed International and Elsevier had agreed to merge into the huge conglomerate Reed Elsevier, so in a sense the Journal is merely crossing the corridor”
Alan Gilchrist was the editor of JIS from launch to 2004 (and became Editor Emeritus after that). Adrian Dale was the editor from 2004 to 2016 and he was followed by Allan Foster and Pauline Rafferty (2017-). This is a remarkably small number of editors over more than 40 years’ existence.
The headline on the very first issue of Inform, published in April 1975 as a 4-page A3 broadsheet, was ‘Institute breaks the communications barrier.’ The genesis of Inform can be traced back to a request published in the Information Scientist by Peter Vickers, at that time Chairman of the Publications Committee. The IIS was looking for some assistance for Alan Gilchrist, the editor of the Information Scientist. Martin White had experience of newsletter publishing at school, university and his first position as an information officer at the British Non-Ferrous Metals Research Association. At the time he was a member of Development Committee which, under the Chairman Rex Cooke, had discussed the balance between the papers published in the Information Scientist and the increasing amount of news being included (albeit with a delay) about the growing range of activities of the Institute.
As a chemist by training Martin was regularly reading Chemistry and Industry, published by the Society of the Chemical Industry. This used to have a supplement in each monthly issue about SCI news that did not have the long publication process of the main articles. Over a lunch with Alan Gilchrist the idea of having a separate member newsletter started to take shape. Alan put forward a proposal to Council that eventually ended up with Martin being invited to be the Founder Editor, despite having only been an Institute member for three years at that time.
One of the first questions to resolve was what the title of the newsletter should be. The view of Council was that ‘newsletter’ was as good as anything. Fortunately Judith Collins (a member of the Aslib Research Department along with Peter and Alan) came up with Inform. The outcome was the launch of Inform in April 1974 as a bimonthly newsletter with Martin White as Editor. Martin typed the content, which was keyed by Adlards (which also printed the Information Scientist) who sent back gummed galleys which then had to be painstakingly arranged onto the template sheets.
In 1974 Martin moved to the Zinc/Lead Development Association in Berkeley Square. Ross Stubbs, the Chief Executive, was very supportive and permitted his secretary to spend time typing the text on an IBM Selectric (golfball) typewriter to an outstanding level of accuracy. Over the next few years he was equally supportive in allowing Martin to attend meetings and conferences which had little to do with zinc and lead but a lot to do with the development of the Institute.
Another challenge was to get IIS Branches and Committees to produce reports. From time to time Council would become concerned that so much of Inform seemed to be written by the Editor. When it was pointed out that this was because no one from Council contributed, concerns mysteriously melted away. Inform never took itself seriously and was more than capable of raising an eyebrow at IIS activities. In December 1976 Mike Shields, at that time at the Motor Industry Research Association, started a column which readers either loved or hated.
A feature that appeared in October 1975 cleverly predicted the delays affecting the building of the new British Library Building.
“I wish to announce that the library due to start in Bloomsbury in 1972 will not start from St. Pancras in 1980. The Library may be subject to delay and cancellation”.
The Queen opened the British Library building in 1998!
Inform was relaunched in February 1978 and the typography was substantially enhanced. This meant that the Institute diary could now be printed on the front page, along with a contents list. April 1977 saw the first advertisement, from Nigel Oxbrow at the London Business School Bookshop. Another early advertiser was the Institute of Scientific Information, owned by Gene Garfield, who was a very committed supporter of the IIS from his location in Philadelphia. In addition Tony Cawkell, UK Head of Research for ISI was at that time on the IIS Council. These adverts basically paid for the costs of printing Inform.
Carol Wilmot took over the Editorship in 1979. Carol improved the format, adopting the Institute ochre colour that had been used for Information Scientist as a highlight colour to good effect. Martin briefly returned to the role in late 1981 before the title was taken over by Pamela Harling.
The Editors of Inform were
1974-1979 Martin White
1979–1981 Carole Wilmot
1981-1983 Pamela Harling
1983-1986 Monica Blake
1986–1992 Brian Clifford
1992–1997 Jon Ritchie and Sheila Webber
1998–2001 Jason Thomas Williams
Inform ceased publication with issue number 242 in March 2002, when the merger to form CILIP took place.
The Chronology (Appendix 4) lists the Informs in the possession of the authors.
An initial discussion about whether the Institute should be publishing monographs took place in 1964 but it was not until early 1972 that John Campbell, one of the most distinguished of Institute members, took the matter in hand. He was concerned that there were no good textbooks available for students on Institute-approved courses and that it was incumbent on the Institute to take the initiative. John Campbell had a good connection with the publisher Andre Deutsch Ltd and worked extremely hard during 1972 to develop a list of nine potential monographs with John himself acting as the series editor.
There was also the fundamental problem that if the monographs were going to be written by practitioners then they needed the time to write, especially as most were first-time authors and needed a lot of advice and encouragement. This came naturally from John but not from the publisher. John retired from his role in 1979 and Fytton Rowland took his place.
Only four titles were ever published:
- Information work with unpublished reports (1976), A.H. Holloway
- The management of the information department (1977), Denis V. Arnold
- Systems analysis for information retrieval (1978), Helen M. Townley
- Profit from information: a guide to the establishment, operation and use of an information consultancy (1981), Martin White
According to Inform August 1978 sales of Holloway’s book were 1055 and of Denis Arnold’s book 1648.
Sourcefinders were launched in 1978 as short guides to sources of information on specific industries. At the time Butterworths Scientific were publishing very high-quality books which had a similar objective. However, the rate of change of information sources in the post online era of the late 1970s meant that they were often somewhat out of date by the time they were published. The concept of Sourcefinders was proposed by Reg Nightingale, at that time Information Manager at British Petroleum and a member of the Development Committee. The initial branding was as Factfinders but this was changed as the emphasis was on sources of information.
The initial five titles were:
- The plastics industry
- North Sea oil and offshore engineering
- The construction industry
- The petroleum industry
- The pharmaceutical industry
All were written by highly respected members of the Institute with considerable expertise in the sector. Each was around eight pages long and was priced at 50p each. In the first year, sales amounted to £313 and that was quite a substantial amount for the Institute in 1979.
- Journal of Information Science, 1994, 20 (1), 1 ↵