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Information and Intrigue:From Index Cards to Dewey Decimals to Alger Hiss

Cover Image Copyright Year: 2014
Author(s): Colin B. Burke
Publisher: MIT Press
Content Type : Books & eBooks
Topics: Computing & Processing ;  General Topics for Engineers
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Abstract

In Information and Intrigue Colin Burke tells the story of one man's plan to revolutionize the world's science information systems and how science itself became enmeshed with ideology and the institutions of modern liberalism. In the 1890s, the idealistic American Herbert Haviland Field established the Concilium Bibliographicum, a Switzerland-based science information service that sent millions of index cards to American and European scientists. Field's radical new idea was to index major ideas rather than books or documents. In his struggle to create and maintain his system, Field became entangled with nationalistic struggles over the control of science information, the new system of American philanthropy (powered by millionaires), the politics of an emerging American professional science, and in the efforts of another information visionary, Paul Otlet, to create a pre-digital worldwide database for all subjects. World War I shuttered the Concilium, and postwar efforts o revive it failed. Field himself died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. Burke carries the story into the next generation, however, describing the astonishingly varied career of Field's son, Noel, who became a diplomat, an information source for Soviet intelligence (as was his friend Alger Hiss), a secret World War II informant for Allen Dulles, and a prisoner of Stalin. Along the way, Burke touches on a range of topics, including the new entrepreneurial university, Soviet espionage in America, and further efforts to classify knowledge.

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      Front Matter

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Half Title, History and Foundations of Information Science, Title, Copyright, Dedication, Contents, Preface, Introduction View full abstract»

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      To Revolutionize Information, but Not the World

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      In Information and Intrigue Colin Burke tells the story of one man's plan to revolutionize the world's science information systems and how science itself became enmeshed with ideology and the institutions of modern liberalism. In the 1890s, the idealistic American Herbert Haviland Field established the Concilium Bibliographicum, a Switzerland-based science information service that sent millions of index cards to American and European scientists. Field's radical new idea was to index major ideas rather than books or documents. In his struggle to create and maintain his system, Field became entangled with nationalistic struggles over the control of science information, the new system of American philanthropy (powered by millionaires), the politics of an emerging American professional science, and in the efforts of another information visionary, Paul Otlet, to create a pre-digital worldwide database for all subjects. World War I shuttered the Concilium, and postwar efforts o revive it failed. Field himself died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. Burke carries the story into the next generation, however, describing the astonishingly varied career of Field's son, Noel, who became a diplomat, an information source for Soviet intelligence (as was his friend Alger Hiss), a secret World War II informant for Allen Dulles, and a prisoner of Stalin. Along the way, Burke touches on a range of topics, including the new entrepreneurial university, Soviet espionage in America, and further efforts to classify knowledge.

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      Raising a Perfectly Modern Herbert

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: A New Type of Quaker, An Ideal Enlightened Life, Even in Brooklyn, The Underground Railroad (and Other Movements) toward a Liberal America, Progressive but Not Red Radicals, A Modern Liberal, Indulged and Educated, Dealing with Impediments, The Museum and That New Kind of School, Just down the Street, That New Creature, the American Research University, Herbert Chooses a University and a Career View full abstract»

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      An Unexpected Library Revolution, at an Unexpected Place, by an Unusual Young Fellow Named Melvil Dewey

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: A Determined Young Man of Economy from the Revival District, A System for the People, Not the Researcher—Papermaking Advances, the Post Office, and A New Information Technology, The Consequences of Specialization—Where Should We Cast Our Bibliographic Fate? View full abstract»

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      The Great Men at Harvard and Herbert's Information “Calling”

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Herbert, Meet Edward Laurens Mark—Mentor, Innovator, and Star of a New Academic Breed, Herbert Becomes a Scientific Insider and Crusader at the Beginnings of the University System, Aaron and Lydia's Surprise: Hamilton's Desires, Herbert's Calling, The Problem of Information Plenty, No One, or Government, to the Rescue View full abstract»

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      Challenging the British “Lion” of Science Information

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Too Much Hubris?, Toward Centralized Solutions—Finding Dewey but Not Money, Postcards over Paper—Addressing New Problems of Distribution, Storage, Retrieval, and Access, Money, Money, Money, at the Price of a Scientific Career, The Economics of Information, Compromises to Reduce Cost yet Maintain Quality, The Politics of Information, Devils in the Details—In Paris and in Dewey's Decimals, Out with the Old “Abstract” Ways, Says Herbert, Classification, Dewey Style: The Library of Congress Challenge and Herbert's Allegiance View full abstract»

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      New Information Ideas in Zurich, Not Brooklyn or Paris

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Not Just Books or Articles but Ideas, Large-File Logistics and a Link to the Universal Decimal Classification, Letter from Paris: “To My Dearest Friend” in America, Retreating from Information Allies, Advancing the Center to Its Zurich Locale, The Fear of Information Nationalism, Reconnecting with Friends and Taking On the “Lion”, More Political Power: The Grand Documentalists' Dream View full abstract»

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      Starting an Information Revolution and Business, the Hard Way

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Labor Problems, Critics, and Herbert's Deep Pockets, Professional Setbacks and Poor Health, but Optimism, 1897–1898, The Hard-Won Achievement of User-Friendly Efficiency, Success and Failure in the World of (Information) Plenty: Making Dollars, Sense, and Promises View full abstract»

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      Sustaining the Concilium: Big Debts, Big Gamble, Big Building, Big Friends—and a Special Librarian

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: A Needed Boost and a Gamble: Building an Information Palace, The Era of “Big” Science: Important Contacts and “Bigger” Ideas, A Wannabe “Special Librarian”: The Concilium Takes on a New Man View full abstract»

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      On the Eve of World War I: Two Brothers, Two Callings—and Tests of Faith to Quaker Ideals, Business Plans, Family, and Friends

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Two Quaker Brothers, Two Different Callings, Herbert, Married with Children, Puts Quakerism to the Test, More Concilium Problems: A Decline in Users and a Faulty Business Plan, A Plea to Mr. Carnegie: The Concilium Is a Library for World Peace, Is Herbert His Own Worst Enemy?, Charity, or More Personal Debt?, The Swiss Connection: Establishing the Priority of Family over Information, A Bit of Optimism, Some Bad Advice, Mad Dogs: Rants, Outbursts, and Discouraged Friends, Failed Internationalism and Information Reformers Left Adrift: What Can a Quaker Pacifist Do in Wartime? View full abstract»

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      War and Its Aftermath: Working for Peace, Competing Ideologies, and the Beginnings of Intrigue with Allen Dulles

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Herbert, Meet Allen Dulles / Odd Intelligence Beginnings and Idealism at Its Highs and Lows, Juggling Family Crises and Working for Peace: Herbert's Stress and His Great Honor, Herbert the Agent: The American Peace Commission, Assessing Commitments at Versailles: What about the Concilium? View full abstract»

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      The Postwar Liberal Establishment and the Family in Postwar Decline

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Calling on Charlie Davenport, Grantsman par Excellence, Courting the National Research Council and the “Carnegies”, Fleeting Hopes Dashed: You Really Can't Go Home Again, A Gloom Grows In Brooklyn View full abstract»

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      To the Centers of Science and Philanthropy: Political Power in a New Information World

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Conundrum: Can Zurich's Concilium Be an American Operation and a Worldwide Center?, New Goals and Ambitions for the Academy, the Council, and the Service: Cosmos Club Connections, Designs on the Council: The McClung Plan, Courting Elihu Root and Carnegie's Endowment for Peace, Diplomatic Connections, Career Change, Opportunity Overlooked—and a Confrontation, On Behalf of the Concilium, Charlie Plans a Rescue and Herbert Appeals to Abraham Flexner View full abstract»

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      More Conflicts between Old and New Science

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Abraham Flexner: Setting New Education Standards in the Names of Reason, Science, and Internationalism, One Omission Compounds Others, The Great Nicholas, International Education and Stephen Duggan: A Link to the Future of Herbert's Children, Back to the Meetings of Late 1919: Other Misread Intentions, The Grand Visions Unveiled: Herbert Learns of Charlie's Plan and Wistar Compiles an Anatomical Index, Herbert's Grand Friendship Renewal Tour, A Critical Meeting with George Vincent: The Crisis Begins When a Gentleman's Honor Is Questioned View full abstract»

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      Information Science Infighting, Round 1—and Herbert's Final Struggles

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: James Angell: Another Take on Science Information and the Council, Herbert Faces Another Professional and Emotional Crisis, An Information Plan for the Forgotten Men of “Small Science”, More Bad Luck for Herbert, Beginning at Sea, The Rockefeller Managers Decide, then Dither, The League of Nations, Herbert's Dreams, and the Concilium's Needs View full abstract»

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      A Concilium without Herbert Field: Nina Field and the Rockefeller's Great Decisions

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Unraveling the Concilium Accounts: A Brief Financial Respite, Vernon Kellogg Begins a European Information Survey: Resurgent Protests and Supporting Roles, Back to the Concilium in Zurich and Barriers to International Systems, Johannes Strohl Ushers in a Rocky New Beginning for Herbert's Commitments View full abstract»

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      The Road to Intrigue, Revolution for the World before an Information Revolution

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      In Information and Intrigue Colin Burke tells the story of one man's plan to revolutionize the world's science information systems and how science itself became enmeshed with ideology and the institutions of modern liberalism. In the 1890s, the idealistic American Herbert Haviland Field established the Concilium Bibliographicum, a Switzerland-based science information service that sent millions of index cards to American and European scientists. Field's radical new idea was to index major ideas rather than books or documents. In his struggle to create and maintain his system, Field became entangled with nationalistic struggles over the control of science information, the new system of American philanthropy (powered by millionaires), the politics of an emerging American professional science, and in the efforts of another information visionary, Paul Otlet, to create a pre-digital worldwide database for all subjects. World War I shuttered the Concilium, and postwar efforts o revive it failed. Field himself died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. Burke carries the story into the next generation, however, describing the astonishingly varied career of Field's son, Noel, who became a diplomat, an information source for Soviet intelligence (as was his friend Alger Hiss), a secret World War II informant for Allen Dulles, and a prisoner of Stalin. Along the way, Burke touches on a range of topics, including the new entrepreneurial university, Soviet espionage in America, and further efforts to classify knowledge.

      View full abstract»

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      Information Science Infighting, Round 2—and a New Generation of Fields Comes of Age

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Nina Field's Endeavors to Provide the “Best,” Especially for Noel, Her Needy Son, Back at the Concilium: Strohl “Keeps the Faith” and Angers Kellogg, Paris, Not Zurich or Brussels: Nationalism or Internationalism?, Kellogg Extends Himself for the Concilium: Once More, Again, A Very Temporary Truce, then Wistar and Philadelphia Win, Kellogg Stays Calm and Conciliatory in the Face of Strohl's “Storm”, Alienating Kellogg, Outfoxing Charlie: The Concilium Suffers in More than Spirit, Capitalism Fails the World, and Science Information, Too, Noel to the Rescue? View full abstract»

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      The Information Consequences of “Capitalism's Disaster” and the Shift to Applied Science Information

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Jacob Schramm's Heroic Struggles in the Name of “Big Science,” Johannes Strohl's Last Requests, The Decline of Paul Otlet's Information Internationalism Crusade in Brussels, Universal Decimal Classification—a British Voice from Its Past and a Hint of Its Future—in the Race for Applied Science Methods, Adolph Voge Returns to the Library of Congress as a Special Librarian in the Name of Efficiency, A New Generation of “Specials” Contends with Military Projects and “Terms”, The Ideological Consequences of “Applied Science”: Evolution, Eugenics, and the Dilemmas of a New Generation, Ideological Convictions and Conflicts: Noel Field, Herbert's Friends, and Scopes Trial Perspectives View full abstract»

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      The 1930s Ideological Journey of the Fields and Their Liberal Friends

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Direct Ties to the Party and the Peaceniks: The Clark Family and Frederick J. Libby, Ramifications, Now and Later: Noel's Stammer and His Idealism, The Young Fields Come of Age: Modern Marriage for Noel, Adventure for Elsie, The Odd but Successful Couple: Quaker Pacifism and the Hiss / Duggan Connections, A Rising Star of “State”: Learning Secrets, Contacting Agents, Moving On: Noel, the League, and New Adventures, Hermann “Ties the Knot” to the Radical Clark Family, Educational Incubators for Intellectual Radicals View full abstract»

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      Intrigue's Beginnings, in Switzerland, England, and Cambridge

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Hermann the Ideologue, Jean the Radical: Shifts and an Eventual Split, Cultivating Friends of the Communist Party: Noel and the Fields, at Home and Far Afield, Noel and the Spanish Cause, Conflicts within the Ranks, Noel's Perpetual Job Search: From “Modern Saint” to Security Risk, Finally, for Noel: The East Coast Liberal Unitarians and the Stephen Fritchman Connection View full abstract»

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      New Loves in a Family of Agents, and Science Information in a New World War

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Stuck in Switzerland, Jean and Sali's Strange Adventures, Hermann and the Radical Side of the Thornycrofts: The Czech Connection, Hermann in America: On the “Left” Side of Architecture, Where Is Noel Field? Idealism Trumps Safety: The Unitarian Service Committee and Red Aid, Allen Dulles and the OSS, and a Dual Role in a Family of Agents, Librarians at War: The Left at the Library of Congress, Bits of Information, New Methodologies, and New Library Leaders, Sidestepping Science Information Barriers in the OSS, The National Defense Research Committee: A New Organization for Big Science, While America Spent Millions, the Soviets Got Science Information for Free View full abstract»

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      Postwar, Looking Forward: More Intrigue, More Big Science and Big Information Stories, and More Ideology

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Mismatched Desires of the New Scientists, The Fields Keep the Faith: Red Aid, Socialist Cities, Leftist Sympathies, and Hollywood Strikes, An Era of Ambivalence and Frustration, then Cold War, Shortsighted Predictions about Ideology and an American Information Century, New Information Movements, and a Greater New Link between Information and Intrigue View full abstract»

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      Notes

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      This chapter contains sections titled: Introduction, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, Chapter 7, Chapter 8, Chapter 9, Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15, Chapter 16, Chapter 17, Chapter 18, Chapter 19, Chapter 20 View full abstract»

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      Index

      Copyright Year: 2014

      MIT Press eBook Chapters

      In Information and Intrigue Colin Burke tells the story of one man's plan to revolutionize the world's science information systems and how science itself became enmeshed with ideology and the institutions of modern liberalism. In the 1890s, the idealistic American Herbert Haviland Field established the Concilium Bibliographicum, a Switzerland-based science information service that sent millions of index cards to American and European scientists. Field's radical new idea was to index major ideas rather than books or documents. In his struggle to create and maintain his system, Field became entangled with nationalistic struggles over the control of science information, the new system of American philanthropy (powered by millionaires), the politics of an emerging American professional science, and in the efforts of another information visionary, Paul Otlet, to create a pre-digital worldwide database for all subjects. World War I shuttered the Concilium, and postwar efforts o revive it failed. Field himself died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. Burke carries the story into the next generation, however, describing the astonishingly varied career of Field's son, Noel, who became a diplomat, an information source for Soviet intelligence (as was his friend Alger Hiss), a secret World War II informant for Allen Dulles, and a prisoner of Stalin. Along the way, Burke touches on a range of topics, including the new entrepreneurial university, Soviet espionage in America, and further efforts to classify knowledge.

      View full abstract»