I love this cartoon about the exchange of information between scientists, from word of mouth and written letters, to the first scientific journals and, some time later, information overload. Forty years after this was created we are still plagued with a growing number of science and technology journals and are challenged with making full use of the literature.
One of the strategies in the 1960s from the mind of Eugene Garfield and the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) was to cover a selective but important portion of the world’s journals.
Thus what we now know of as Web of Science was born as the Science Citation Index. Garfield also introduced citation indexing by including the authors’ references to previous publications making it possible to see the links between papers.
If you are interested in the history of Web of Science there are two additional parts to this film (live action) from 1972 that I would recommend watching:
Apart from the groovy 70s music these videos have a lot to offer. They illustrate how much thought and effort went into the production of indexes from ISI’s modern headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.