The Mechanization of Biological Abstracts/BIOSIS

  • William Campbell Steere


Mechanization came slowly to Biological Abstracts, more through unawareness of new developments and new technologies than by intent. Exactly the same manual procedures for all aspects of preparing each issue for the printer were still in effect for more than twenty years after the first issue was published. In his annual reports during the 1940s, Flynn mentioned rather casually that he had contemplated changing from the traditional letterpress printing techniques to offset reproduction of abstracts from camera-ready manuscript, but that he also each time rejected the idea. However, the post-World War H inflation was so shocking in its enormity that printing not only more than doubled in cost but it also became extremely unreliable in terms of scheduling. As a consequence, late in 1948 Flynn finally decided to make the change, with warm encouragement from the board of trustees. The necessary IBM typewriters were purchased—but much delayed in their delivery—and the first issue of Biological Abstracts for 1949 was produced by the offset method. This first step to modernize methodology did serve the purpose for which it was intended, as it reduced the cost of printing nearly 50 percent. Also, the preparation of manuscript in the central office ready for offset printing gave infinitely better control over printing schedules to the editor in chief. Unless Flynn had adopted this relatively new technology, and gained the advantage of the economies that ensued, Biological Abstracts might very well have had to suspend its activities or curtail them drastically for lack of adequate funds.


Magnetic Tape Subject Index Cross Index Walter Reed Army Institute Tape Drive 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Biosciences Information Service of Biological Abstracts 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Campbell Steere
    • 1
  1. 1.New York Botanical GardenUSA

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