The Computerization of Biological Abstracts

  • Phyllis V. Parkins


Phyllis Parkins was the right person in the right place at the right time. In making hers one of the last appointments in his career as editor in chief of Biological Abstracts, Dr. John Flynn, who was “in the doghouse” with the board of trustees, and especially with its president, Dr. Maurice Visscher, submitted no less than three memoranda concerning it to the executive committee, all within a matter of three weeks. The first memorandum, of April 17, 1953, is the most important one, as it covers Parkins’ background of education and experience, with enthusiastically favorable recommendations from five sponsors, all written in the highest possible terms. She had been recommended originally for the position by IDr. Robert Gaunt, for many years secretary of the trustees of Biological Abstracts, and a long-time friend of Dr. and Mrs. Parkins, going back to their graduate student days together at Princeton an at Cold Spring Harbor. In the light of more recent events, the first memorandum is especially illuminating, particularly the “Excerpts from letters of recommendation,” as it is rare indeed for one individual to be recommended in such glowing terms by so many people. As things turned out, these five sponsors were fully correct in what they said; they all stressed her high professional qualifications as a biologist, her ability to get along with people, and a “high order of intelligence, adaptability, and enthusiasm.” Gaunt himself has recently said (1974), “I will take credit for having recommended Phyllis Parkins to the staff.”


Executive Director Executive Committee Task Group Chemical Abstract Indexing Service 
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© Biosciences Information Service of Biological Abstracts 1976

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  • Phyllis V. Parkins

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