Science Fortnightly 1(14):4(1964)

From The Reviewers

Genetics Citation Index
Eugene Garfield - Director
Irving H. Sher - Project Director
Institute for Scientific Information, Philadelphia
864 pp. $100

Three years ago, the Institute for Scientific Information began a research investigation that was to culminate in publication of this immense index of cited references to genetics papers.

Judging from this volume's more than 400,000 citations, processed from more than 100,000 source articles published in 1961 in 613 multidisciplinary and specialty journals, the labor and money (over 400,000) spent on preparing this book andits companion, the 1961 Science Citation Index, were well justified.

The Genetics Citation Index, in a sense, works in reverse. It is a directory of references cited during 1961, with each reference accompanied by a list of referring sources. The source papers are listed alphabetically by author's name and then chronologically by date of publication. Its outstanding advantage is that the user interested in a particular subject can start with only one author's name and a "target reference paper." From this, he can work forward in time to subsequent papers (related by having cited the earlier one) in a list that follows directly after the target author's name. The listing is expected to reduce searching time to minutes. If one chooses, he can then explore the citing papers to see where they have been cited, and thus examine all ramifications of a subject.

At the very least, and aside from its uses in current research, the material should be invaluable in preparing historical introductions to scientific papers and in the writing of reviews and books. Perhaps even more frequently it will be used to trace new applications of theories, methods, instruments, and chemicals, and to locate corrections, refutations, etc.

At $100, the price may seem high -- but to those who can use this index, it could pay for itself in time alone, to say nothing of its value in supplying new leads. This latter will probably be its chief value, for, unlike other indexes which supply only the information specifically sought (if that), citation indexing can lead in unsuspected directions to unforeseen relationships.