Amid emerging computing power and expanding networks revolutionizing scientific communication, OSTI pushed pedal to the metal to lead government search technology under the guidance of Walt Warnick. The OSTI Corollary: accelerating the spread of knowledge will accelerate discovery, has generated expansion of OSTI’s longtime commitment to development of superior access to quality content. OSTI championed relevancy ranking and federated search technology to increase access to research results. Soon after Dr. Warnick arrived at OSTI, the Information Bridge was launched and the public as well as the Department of Energy had online access to DOE full-text research results for the first time. Science.gov, WorldWideScience.org and the DOE Science Accelerator (along with its multiple resources) were also developed during Dr. Warnick’s tenure at OSTI. Walt Warnick championed an aggressive effort to capitalize on technological advances to provide groundbreaking information tools that made DOE information access quicker, cheaper, more convenient, and more complete than ever before. Dr. Warnick once said, “As the information technology revolution rapidly evolves, we at OSTI will continue to fulfill our mandate to make research information available. We are eager to increase the speed of discovery and help shape the future." In 2005, Dr. Warnick was elected an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellow in the Information, Computing, and Communication section. Warnick was also awarded the Department of Energy's Exceptional Service Award upon his retirement.
With the Internet emerging as a recognized tool for public dissemination of information, OSTI used the early 1990s to lay groundwork for the many changes to come. The first Department of Energy Home Page was created by OSTI staff and posted online in 1994. OSTI was cited by the Department in the Strategic Plan as a key factor in collecting, managing and making available the Agency’s and the world’s scientific and technical information. OSTI’s Office of Director/Manager was returned to the Washington, D.C. location and became an integral component of the DOE Office of Science Education and Technical Information. DOE Directives for the OSTI program were also redefined, resulting in a new collaborative effort between OSTI and DOE facilities to report and disseminate research results. A high priority was continued expansion of the Energy Technology Data Exchange. Elizabeth Buffum recently wrote of OSTI during those years: “It would be hard to single out one accomplishment during my tenure because it seems that all of us continued to build on the solid foundation established by the previous directors and nurtured by the OSTI family.” Buffum received the Meritorious Executive Award from President Clinton and the Interagency Committee on Information Resources Management Award for Management/Administrative Excellence. She left OSTI to work on the contract for the NASA Center for Aerospace Information (CASI) and was program director for CASI until retiring in 2006.
Reciprocity among nations was the order of the day, ensuring access to valuable scientific and technical information worldwide. In 1987, OSTI was instrumental in establishing the international Energy Technology Data Exchange, an implementing agreement under the International Energy Agency for the purpose of sharing non-nuclear energy information. OSTI has served as the Operating Agent for this agreement since its inception, which now has 16 member countries. During the 1980s, OSTI experienced a period of level or declining funding. Joe Coyne was a driving force behind ensuring that the unique value of OSTI’s role in managing and disseminating the Department’s research results was recognized. He championed the creation of an OSTI Program Office at the DOE Headquarters level giving OSTI more visibility and status. In June, 2007, Coyne wrote of those times: “OSTI employees consistently met the challenge by improving its management of the Department’s funded research (information), while adding to its coverage of other U.S. and international energy research results through productivity enhancement. The value of this was to provide the Department’s researchers with the best knowledge base possible for them to do their jobs.” In 1986, Coyne was honored with the Distinguished Service Award by Federally Employed Women, elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1988, and was awarded the Department of Energy's Exceptional Service Award.
Computer technology took root, education outreach grew, and international information exchange became a priority during Robert Shannon’s tenure. The Oak Ridger [exit federal site] wrote in an editorial on April 25, 1978, shortly after his death: “Bob Shannon, associated with the Manhattan Project as early as 1946, was in the forefront of developing techniques that would build the Technical Information Center into a model for not just technical information dissemination, but for all types of governmental information services. Many other government agencies, most notably the United States Military and NASA, copied the techniques and systems created under Shannon.” In 1962, the first booklets “Understanding the Atom” were published and in 1964 half-million were distributed at the NY World’s Fair. Computer processing of information began at the Division of Technical Information Extension (DTIE) as early as 1967. In 1969, the DTIE was instrumental in establishing the International Nuclear Information System. A motion picture library and loan service to academia and the public was established in 1975. During the “energy crisis” in 1977, more than 150,000 requests for information were serviced. Robert Shannon was a champion of the world renowned Nuclear Science Abstracts, published at the Technical Information Center since 1948. Upon ending the publication in 1976, he wrote: “… those volumes will rest in distinction for decades to come in the science libraries throughout the world …” (Vaden p 305) (31-MB PDF).
Education programs were firmly in place and expanded during Melvin S. Day’s tenure as chief of the Technical Information Service Extension. Information kits were distributed to high school and elementary school students and teachers across the country in response to thousands of inquiries. The Atoms for Peace traveling exhibits were viewed by more than 3 million people in 1956. With the launch of Sputnik, the public was clamoring for scientific and technical information, and industry access to technical reports was a high priority. Thousands of documents were declassified for public use, and service to domestic depository libraries continued to grow. The indexing of this declassified information later became known as “Nuclear Science Abstracts”. Melvin Day made significant contributions to initiate and improve scientific indexing techniques and guided implementation of initiatives that eventually would usher in the microfiche program. In 1958, Melvin Day left the Technical Information Service Extension to become Assistant Director, Technical Information Service in Washington, DC. Soon afterward, he joined the newly established National Aeronautic and Space Administration, where he headed the technical information program.
With the election of Dwight D. Eisenhower and the passage of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (1.8-MB PDF), the Technical Information Service Extension began a rapid expansion toward new initiatives, most notably in the international arena. Gregory Abdian oversaw preparation for this expansion, laying a solid foundation for a vigorous response to Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace program over the coming years. In addition, the information program’s role in the Atomic Energy Commission’s Depository Library System expanded during Abdian’s tenure. The U.S. detonation of the world’s first thermonuclear device in 1952 only heightened public demand for atomic information, to which the Technical Information Service Oak Ridge responded. Distribution of this information was greatly expedited with the addition of a new microcard printing and distribution system. Gregory Abdian left the Technical Information Service Extension in 1955 to join the Division of Organization and Personnel, Atomic Energy Commission Headquarters in Washington, DC.
Hired by AF Thompson Jr. to edit and publish the National Nuclear Energy Series at Oak Ridge, Dr. Brewer F. Boardman oversaw the rapid ramp-up of the Technical Information Division printing plant to accommodate the public surge of interest for access to information on all things nuclear. During his tenure, the first specific guidelines for control of report literature were issued and the Technical Information Division in Oak Ridge was designated a Class A printing plant for the Atomic Energy Commission. Before the Atomic Energy Commission’s transition to the Energy Research and Development Administration in 1975, the Oak Ridge facility’s printing plant would process more than 200 books, monographs, and conferences. Dr. Brewer, a long-time member of the AEC Technical Information Panel, left the Technical Information Division to head the technical information office for the National Reactor Testing Station in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
“In a very short period of time under his leadership, the erstwhile Manhattan Engineering District library and publications department had metamorphosed into a well-defined AEC technical information program” (Vaden pp. vii-viii) (31-MB PDF). Especially notable during AF Thompson’s tenure was the groundwork he laid for publication of the National Nuclear Energy Series (NNES), containing massive volumes of atomic energy research and development done under the Manhattan Project. NNES was considered an innovation in the field of printing and the first full-length book created by the use of IBM composing typewriters. Publishers Weekly said of the NNES, “one of the most significant projects in American scientific publication.” Alberto Thompson provided strong leadership from his position at Chief of the AEC Technical Information Service, Washington headquarters; as chair of the Technical Information Panel, and as Secretary of the Advisory Committees on Industrial Information and on Technical Information. In 1955, he left the Atomic Energy Commission to head the National Science Foundation’s science information program.
Last updated on Thursday 24 July 2014