Building a foundation for information science
Garfield introduced the concept of citation indexing for the sciences in 1955 and ISI produced the first Science Citation Index (SCI)™ in 1964. Citation indexing revolutionized information retrieval. By recording and linking the cited references that authors attached to their papers, the SCI represented an “association of ideas index.”
It was an idea before its time, proving Garfield a visionary as well as an innovator. By organizing information through a network of citation connections, Garfield anticipated web hyperlinking and the Google Search algorithm by three decades.
From its foundation in 1960, ISI introduced a range of current awareness and information retrieval products and services covering the literature of the sciences, social sciences and humanities.
A Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI)™ was introduced in 1973 and an Arts & Humanities Citation Index (AHCI)™ in 1978. Several products focused on the chemical sciences, such as Index Chemicus, the ISI’s first offering in 1960.
The Journal Citation Reports™, introduced in 1976, collated journal-to-journal citations to help librarians and publishers understand the communication system of the science and social sciences literature, as well as the influence and prestige of specific titles. Among other indicators in the product, the most popular was the Journal Impact Factor™.
Other ISI products were designed to keep researchers up to date on new publications in their fields, such as Current Contents, a weekly bulletin presenting the content pages of journals, eventually issued in seven field-specific editions.
SCI data also served as a foundation for quantitative studies in the history and sociology of science and eventually gave birth to the field of scientometrics.