By Amanda Nelson, Associate Archivist
“The more things change, the more they stay the same” – Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr
The June 1965 issue of Physics Today includes an article by Dwight E. Gray, “Science, technology, and the Library of Congress.” Gray was a physicist who headed the Library of Congress’s Science and Technology Division and the article gives a brief historical summary of the various divisions at the Library with scientific information and knowledge. The article discusses the services offered at the time and why the Library of Congress should be thought of when doing research in the physical sciences.
Though we now have the internet and numerous other search tools not available in 1965, this article rings true in how important science and technology resources at a library are, especially one as large and well known as the Library of Congress.
One of the missions of the Niels Bohr Library & Archives is to help find homes for physicists’ papers after their retirement or death. We work with many libraries and archives across the country and the world, including the Library of Congress. You can find all of these collections that we help place in our International Catalog of Sources (ICOS). It includes the over 120 results for physics related papers found at the Library of Congress’s Manuscript Division.
As always, this article is available as free content from Physics Today for the next six months. So, give it a look and see how much libraries have changed in 50 years, while still staying the same.
Abstract: The walrus' catalog of “many things” as reported by Lewis Carroll comprised a form of footwear, a mode of transportation, a resin‐turpentine mixture, a thick‐leaved member of the mustard family, a rank of male royalty, an aspect of oceanic temperature, and a possible anatomical aberration of swine. Although the “many things” dealt with by the Science and Technology Division of the Library of Congress are mostly different from those enunciated by Carroll's walrus, they are fully as varied and vastly more numerous. They have included, for example, aerospace and the Antarctic, permafrost and plastics, diodes and Diesel engines, magnetism and marine borers, lasers and Loran, photointerpretation and physiology, bioregeneration and blood flow, isotopes and infrared, catamarans and cloud seeding, and many others.