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Michael W. Hill

  • Born: July 27, 1928, Wye, Hereforshire, United Kingdom

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0203
Interview Date: July 26, 2000
Locations: Oxford and Cambridge Club, London, United Kingdom
Interviewer: W. Boyd Rayward
No. of pages: 36
Sponsor: Eugene Garfield Foundation
Eugene Garfield Foundation

  Abstract of Interview

 

Michael W. Hill begins his interview by discussing how he was first drawn to the information and documentation side of chemistry. While at Lincoln College, Hill planned to become a chemist. He received his B.S. and M.Sc. there, under the tutelage of Rex Richards, by researching applications of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. After graduating, Hill started his career at Laporte Chemical Company in Luton, then moved to London to become head of Morgan Crucible Group's physics laboratory. Eventually Hill left the competitive world of industry to work as assistant keeper in the National Reference Library of Science and Invention, a new national science library being setup by the British Museum. Hill soon advanced to the post of deputy librarian at the Patent Office Library. Next he became the head of the National Reference Library of Science and Invention, first as part of the British Museum, then from 1973 as part of the British Library's Reference Division, which was renamed the Science Reference Library. Hill also joined Aslib, became a fellow of the Institute of Information Scientists, as well as vice president, and eventually became president of the Federation for Information and Documentation Congress. He was also elected vice president of the International Association of Technological University Libraries. Hill concludes his interview by hypothesizing about the future impact of information science.

  Education

1941 King Henry VIII School, Coventry
1947 Nottingham High School
1953 M.A. and M.Sc. Lincoln College, University of Oxford

  Professional Experience

Laporte Chemical Company

1953 - 1956 Research Chemist

Morgan Crucible Group

1956 - 1958 Laboratory Head, Chemistry, Physics and Physical Analysis

Morgan Crucible Group

1958 - 1962 Assistant Process Control Manager, Carbon and Sintered Metals

Morgan Crucible Group

1962 - 1963 Manager, Telephone Granules Production

Morgan Crucible Group

1963 - 1964 Group Technical Editor

British Museum

1964 - 1965 Assistant Keeper, National Reference Library of Science and Invention

British Museum

1968 - 1973 Keeper, National Reference Library of Science and Invention

Patent Office Library

1965 - 1968 Deputy Librarian

British Library

1973 - 1986 Director, Science Reference Library

  Honors

1969 - 1973 Member, Organizing Committee for the British Library
1969 - 1974 Member, Advisory Council on Scientific and Technical Information
1969 - 1974 Chairman, Online Information Services Committee
1970 - 1986 ad hoc U.K. Delegate to World Intellectual Property Organization
1971 - 1974 Member, Executive Committee, National Central Library
1973 - 1980 U.K. Delegate, EEC, DGXIII, WP on Patent Information
1974 - 1979 Honorary Secretary, Association for Information Management
1974 - 1977 Board Member, U.K. Chemical Information Service
1974 - 1993 Various official consultancies to foreign official bodies
1976 - 1980 U.K. Delegate, EEC, DGXIII, WP on Information for Industry
1976 - 1981 Vice President, International Association of Technological Universities Libraries
1977 - 1979 Chairman, Circle of State Librarians
1979 - 1981 Chairman, Association for Information Management
1980 - 1984 Vice President, Federation for Information and Documentation
1980 Joint Founder of Western European Round Table for Information and Documentation
1983 - 1987 Member, Advisory Committee, Scottish Science Reference Library
1984 - 1990 President, Federation for Information and Documentation
1990 - Present Honorary Fellow, Federation for Information and Documentation

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Education and Early Experiences in the Chemical Industry 1

Early work at Lincoln College under Rex Richards. The value of good research techniques. Receives M.Sc. for application of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Enters industry at Laporte Chemical Company in Luton. Moves to London to be head of physics research laboratory at Morgan Crucible Group.

Entrance into the World of Information Science 2

Applies and receives position as assistant keeper in the National Reference Library of Science and Invention, the British Museum's national science library.

Career Growth and Advancement at the British Museum 4

Transfers to post of deputy at the Patent Office Library. Becomes a civil servant. Manages the daily operations of the library. Advances to head of National Reference Library of Science and Invention.

Personal Involvement in Information Committees and Conferences 7

Joins Aslib as a fellow of the Institute of Information Scientists, then as honorary secretary. Attends Federation for Information and Documentation [FID] conference in Rome.

Further Professional Recollections 15

Works to establish proper FID mission and improve FID financial situation. Attends FID council in Moscow. Helps FID cut financial and political dependence to UNESCO.

Future of Information Science 25

Changes due to development of compact discs and the World Wide Web. Pitfalls of the World Wide Web. Growth of the information field and availability of information. Profit and cost involved in the information field.

Notes 30

Index 31

  About the Interviewer

W. Boyd Rayward

W. Boyd Rayward is a research professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Chamapaign. He turned to librarianship after graduating in English literature from the University of Sydney. He received his Ph.D. from the Graduate Library School at the University of Chicago in 1973. He has held positions in the University of Chicago (where he became Dean of the Graduate Library School). He served as professor and head of the School of Information Library and Archive Studies and Dean of the University's Faculty of Professional Studies at the University of New South Wales in Sydney where he is now professor emeritus. He has published two books related to Paul Otlet, Belgian documentalist and internationalist, and a great many articles on history of national and international schemes for the organization and dissemination of information.

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