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Claudio Todeschini

  • Born: August 14, 1937, Tripoli, Libya

  Interview Details

Interview no.: 0209
Interview Date: June 13, 2000
Location: International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria
Interviewer: W. Boyd Rayward
No. of pages: 33
Sponsor: Eugene Garfield Foundation
Eugene Garfield Foundation

  Abstract of Interview

Claudio Todeschini was born in Tripoli, Libya, and spent his childhood in Italy and South Africa. He received his first degree in civil engineering from the University of Capetown, South Africa. He began his graduate studies on concrete shell structures at the Imperial College, University of London. Todeschini received his DIC (Diploma of Imperial College) in 1961, and then went to the United States and became a Ph.D. research assistant at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He finished his Ph.D. work on thin-shell structures at the University of Illinois in 1967. Then, Todeschini accepted a professorship at the University of Maryland in 1966, and a year later, he added to his workload by becoming a part-time researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the U.S. Department of Commerce. While working on an information system for the Department of Commerce, Todeschini gained a strong interest in information storage and retrieval, and terminological relationships. In 1969, he joined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and began working on the INIS (International Nuclear Information System) information system. His involvement with the INIS project began with terminology work in Luxembourg, where he adapted and developed terminology from the pre-existing EURATOM information system. In fact, Todeschini focused on terminology throughout most of his career at the IAEA, which he discusses throughout the interview. Todeschini also discusses the INIS's decentralized input system, and the incorporation of abstracts into that system. He details how the INIS has been available in each member state, and how for profit organizations are able to host access for the system. In conclusion, Todeschini discusses the various heads of the INIS system and describes his most important personal contributions to the system.


1959 B.S., Civil Engineering, University of Cape Town
1961 DIC (Diploma of Imperial College) Imperial College, University of London
1962 M.S., Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, University of Illinois
1967 Ph.D., Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, University of Illinois

  Professional Experience

University of Maryland, College Park

1966 - 1969 Professor, Theoretical and Applied Mechanics

National Bureau of Standards

1967 - 1969 Part-time Researcher, Information Systems on Pneumatic Tires

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

1967 - 1969 Part-time Researcher, Theoretical and Applied Mechanics

International Atomic Energy Agency

1969 - 1976 Subject Specialist, Engineering and Mechanics

International Atomic Energy Agency

1976 - 1981 International Nuclear Information System (INIS) Thesaurus Specialist

International Atomic Energy Agency

1981 - 1992 Head, INIS Subject Control Unit

International Atomic Energy Agency

1992 - 1996 Systems Analyst

International Atomic Energy Agency

1996 - 1999 Head, INIS Section


1991 Distinguished Service Award, International Atomic Energy Agency

  Table of Contents

Title and Description Page

Family and Education 1

Spending his early life in Italy. His father's work in wine-making in South Africa. Earning his degree in civil engineering from the University of Capetown. Attending the Imperial College at the University of London. Working for Ove Arup and Partners. Becoming a research assistant at the University of Illinois. Accepting a job at the University of Maryland.

Early Work on Information Systems 4

Working at the Bureau of Standards. Information system on tire mechanics. Collaborating with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and using ideas from its information system. Early interest in terminology relationships. Applying for a position with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Working at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 8

Taking a leave-of-absence from the University of Maryland to work for the United Nations (UN) in Vienna. Joining the International Nuclear Information System (INIS) project. The political implications of UN work. Nuclear Science Abstracts and early U.S. views of the INIS project. Early champions of the INIS project. Assembling study teams for the INIS project.

The International Nuclear Information System Project 13

The state of INIS when he first arrived at the IAEA. The INIS's initial lack of abstracts. Adopting and adapting the EURATOM's terminology for the INIS. Creating study groups for the terminology of different fields of study. The relationships between terms in the INIS. Adoption of the INIS terminology relationships by the International Organization of Standardization. Rewriting the thesaurus maintenance program for the INIS. Pre-coordination and post-coordination of terms.

Associates at the United Nations 20

John Woolston's development of the INIS system. Edward Brunenkant. IBM and the STAIRS software. Accessing the INIS through hosts. Discontinuing Nuclear Science Abstracts in favor of the Atomindex. Harold Pryor's work on the INIS project. Hans Groenewegen.

Conclusions 26

The INIS philosophy. Global access to the INIS system. Personal contributions to the INIS system. Developing the Expert system.

Index 30

  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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