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for storing information, such indexes can be continued and even expanded more economically. The innate limitations of such conventional a priori type indexes (5) should not blind us as to their present and continued usefulness for years to come. In combination with a posteriori indexing (5) exemplified by the Citation Index (3), conventional indexes, particularly if composited to form the Unified Index, will meet many day-to-day requirements of information retrieval. However, the Unified Index to Science provides one definite point of departure for more sophisticated scientific information processing.
The Unified Index Described
A unified index to science could take many physical forms. In a large centralized science information center, this H.G.Wells type of “World Brain” might be a 3 by 5-inch card file, a random access electronic storage device, or a searching device such as Minicard or Filmorex. In this paper an alphabetical printed index is assumed. Subject headings (rubrics) like those found in the Current List of Medical Literature (CLML) would be followed by modifying sub-headings or “modifications” (6) such as those found in Chemical Abstracts (CA), or Biological Abstracts (BA). Headings would be followed by complete references such as found in the Quarterly Cumulative Index Medicus (QCIM), as well as a Citation Index (CI) reference. A typical entry might be:
ADRENALINE, antagonists to,
Brown, H.A., J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 42:1145–7 (1958), CI 367.
On page 367 of the Citation Index the same reference would be followed by the following:
J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 42:1145–7 (1958)
CA 42:994b, BA 35:4578, BrA 24:AIII, 601.
This means quite simply that the article has been abstracted by CA, BA and British Abstracts (BrA). The Citation Index would also provide a listing of all related bibliographical descendants of the article (5). The Citation Index has been discussed in previously published articles (3–5, 15). However, this is the first time its use for consolidating references to and from the various abstracting services has been recommended. This feature of the Unified Index is significant. The significance of this feature can be illustrated by a concrete example. In Appendix I the differences between a CA and a BrA abstract for the same article are shown. The CA abstract is quite brief, whereas the abstract in BrA is more detailed. By the use of the CA subject index combined with the Cita-