Since this made a significant contribution to furthering my career, I will
be eternally grateful to Wiley, Becker and, especially, Jesse. Jesse was
an information specialist with some government agency, but I no longer
remember which. Very fortunately for me, he had attended a workshop or
short course I had given in the area of evaluation.
F. Wilfrid Lancaster
My "biggest moment" in the field of information science
occurred in 1968 when I discovered that my first book had been accepted
for publication by John Wiley. Following work on the Aslib Cranfield Project,
and various evaluation studies for Herner & Co., I had recently completed
a large-scale evaluation of MEDLARS (published in 1968). The book was based
primarily on my experience in these various evaluation studies.
It is never easy for a relatively unknown author
to find a publisher, and my experience was no exception. I first submitted
the manuscript to Columbia University Press and later to McGraw-Hill, Both
sat on the submission for several months before they eventually declined.
At that point I was ready to give up on the whole
thing and was beginning to feel that the book was perhaps not worth publishing
after all. Quite by chance, I mentioned the situation to a professional
colleague, Jesse Ostroff. He said that he was quite friendly with Joe Becker
who, at that time, was very influential in Wiley's publishing in information
science. Jesse gave a copy of my text to Joe, who liked it. John Wiley
made a rapid decision to publish.
There are other people, of course, who profoundly
influenced my career, and I owe all of them a debt of gratitude: Cyril
Cleverdon, who led me to the field of information retrieval; Saul Herner,
who brought me back from England; and Herbert Goldhor, who offered me a
full time faculty position at Illinois and rewarded me by rapid promotion.
There have been many notable events in my career
(which, incidentally, I do not regard as completely over), including many
important awards from ASIS, but getting my first book published was definitely
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