A Brief Autobiography

Issac D. Welt

     I left Montreal, Canada, where I had grown up and newly married, enrolled in the Yale Graduate School where a received a Ph.D in Biochemistry. After several years of published basic research in Intermediary Metabolism and an Associate Professorship at Baylor University Medical School in Houston, I moved to Washington, D.C. to enter the then-new field of Information Science at the Chemical-Biological Coordination Center, where using IBM cards and a primitive IBM mainframe, we attempted to correlate the chemical structure of numerous candidate drugs with their biological activity. This possibility was the main reason for my choice of Information Science as my future career in which I was active for some 38 years as a University Professor and research scientist.
    As a result of a long-term, liberal research grant from the National Heart Institute, I organized and directed the Cardioivascular Literature Project, whose goal it was to collect and exhaustively INDEX the effects of chemical substances on the Cardiovacular System of Humans an Experimental Animals. An MD colleague and.1 then set up a non-profit organization called "The Institute for the Advancement of Medical Communication" which, unfortunately lasted only a few short years.
    I became quite active in ASIS and attended most of its conventions. Since I had ample travel funds, I also attended meetings of the Division of Chemical Documentation and published in its journal, the Medical Library Association and the Special Libraries Association, I was one of the founders of the Drug Information Association which has grown to a very large society.
    These were instrumental in teaching me some of the facets of Information Science since I never had a formal course in the subject. For a number of years, I served as the Associate Editor of our Journal of the American Society for Information Science, which was also a valuable learning experience.
    In 1964, after a few years of teaching as an adjunct member of the Faculty, I was appointed to a tenured position as a full Professor in the Center for Technology and Administration of American University in Washington, D.C. This group was a national pioneer in the teaching of Computer usage to prospective managers at the Master's degree level and was where I "picked" up enough about Computer Science (again, without formal course work). Later this group became the nucleus of American University's Department of Computer Science. I was most fortunate in being permitted to develop an entire curriculum in what could be termed "Computers and Scientific and Technical Information". I am most proud of the 10 mature, adult practitioners whom I guided to their succesasful Ph.D.s
    I retired in 1992 as "Professor Emeritus of Scientific and Technical Information" which, to the best of my knowledge, is a truly UNIQUE designation.

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