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Technical Reports and Standards

photo: attached brownstone buildings
19 S Street, N.W. (left), Dupont Circle area, Washington, DC, was ADI headquarters.

By AgnosticPreachersKid, via Wikimedia Commons

American Documentation Institute Reports


In 1937, the American Documentation Institute (ADI) established the Auxiliary Publication Program, which during its 30-year history released nearly 10,000 documents covering a wide range of subjects. In 1968 the ADI became the American Society for Information Science (ASIS) - at which point it ceased using the ADI classification. ASIS later changed to the American Society for Information Science and Technology and in 2013 became the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T).


ADI: A Brief History
TRS Collection
Publications From ADI & ASIS


ADI: A Brief History

In 1937, the American Documentation Institute Auxiliary Publication Program was organized by leading scientific and professional societies, foundations, and government agencies. The program enabled authors in the fields of physical, natural, social, historical and information sciences to publish and distribute research papers that were either too long, typographically complex or expensive to be published in journals using existing technology. Journal editors who accepted a paper for publication printed a summary or abstract. They included a note that the research data could be acquired - for a fee - by using the ADI number. As the ADI explained: "A journal editor can publish as much or as little of a technical paper as he wishes...and appends to the notice or article a note saying that the complete article with diagrams, pictures or other descriptive material can be obtained by remitting the specific price and specifying the document number under which the complete article has been deposited."


Photo:  man holding a rack of microfilm. Developing microfilm. Library of Congress, 1942.
Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

By 1946, the American Documentation Institute Catalog of Auxiliary Publications in Microfilms and Photoprints had indexed over 2,000 documents. The topic areas included Animal Feeding; Antarctic Expedition; Chemical Technology; Diatoms, Economics; Forestry; Genetics; History of Science, Light Radiations; Meteorology; Plant Diseases; Public Health and Safety, and Vitamins. Some of the reports were originally published in the 1800s, and decades later were issued with an ADI number. Journal publishers in the program included those from the United States, Canada, France, Germany and Switzerland. Many of the foreign language publications were deposited with the ADI under the Translation Clearing House Project.

The collection grew to 3,000 documents by 1953 and then doubled eight years later. Supplementary materials such as tables, graphs, charts, etc. were also added. Some of these publications were cataloged and put in the general stacks. The following Library of Congress catalog record provides an example for the type of research covered under the ADI program and how it was documented.

Personal Name:   Rothman, Esther P.
Main Title:   Some aspects of the relationship between perception and motility in children.
Notes:   "A more detailed form of this paper (or extended, or material supplementary to this article) has been deposited as Document number 6416 with the ADI Auxiliary Publications Project, Photoduplication Service, Library of Congress."
  Bibliography: p. 101-102.
Subjects:   Perception.
LC Classification:   LB1101 .G4 vol. 63


Photo: boy adjusting a wire while up high on a pole.
Victory Corps boy learning to use the school's weather vane in weather forecasting, as part of his pre-aeronautics training in meteorology. Benjamin Franklin High School, NY, NY 1942.

A related goal of the ADI Auxiliary Publications Depository Program was to demonstrate the usefulness of microfilm both as a storage medium and as a way to easily disseminate scientific and technical literature or data. As the Science News Letter reported from the first World Congress of Universal Documentation in Paris held August 16 - 21, 1937, "One of the resolutions of the Congress urged the establishment of microfilm copying services in the libraries of the world so that a scholar or scientist of any country may obtain a microfilm of any of the material on file in all these storehouses of knowledge." (October 9, 1937, p. 228). Watson Davis, a founder of the ADI program, went on to explain in more detail: "One of the newer and most promising tools of documentation is the microfilm. Compact, to an extraordinary degree, promising to outlast our omnipresent paper, and capable of reproducing anything the eye can see, even in natural colors, microfilms promise to hurdle some of the present barriers to easy and effective interchange of intelligence in many fields" (Science News Letter October 9, 1937, p. 230).

The ADI early on worked toward the development of microfilm readers and cameras. Their first microfilm laboratories were located in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Library in Washington, DC and the Institute distributed materials through the newly created Bibliofilm Service. In 1954, the Photoduplication Service at the Library of Congress took over the operation and became the source point for distributing ADI materials. In many respects, the ADI goal for the easy dissemination of information was a precursor to housing data sets and related content in digital repositories accessible via the Web.

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TRS Collection

The ADI collection was transferred to the Library of Congress' Photoduplication Service (now called Duplication Services) in 1953 and found a permanent home in the Technical Reports and Standards Unit in 2009. Sample titles from the 10,000 hardcopy and microfilm documents in the ADI collection include:

  • Meteorological Data from Iran. Dr. Henry Field, 50 p. (ADI Doc. 1495).
  • Collective Bargaining in the United States, 1917-1918. Edwin Young, 48 p. University of Maine Studies, 1942. (ADI Doc. 1638)
  • Heavy Hydrogen, Isotype of Hydrogen, and Heavy Water. Georges Champetier. 31 p. Bul. de la Soc. d'Encouragement pour l'Ind. Natl., April 1936. (ADI Doc. 1136).
  • Jane Austen's use of Social Amusements in her Novels. Constance Lowell Hedin. 119 p. University of Maine Studies, December, 1945. (ADI Doc. 2077).
  • Air Attack! How Shall I Act? Ake Kretz, 30 p. Gothenburg, 1940. (ADI Doc. 1855).
  • Concerning the Present Condition of the Cancer. Otto Warburg, 15 p. Die Naturwissenschaften (ADI Doc. 1024)

The reports and data run through June 1968. Most of the hard copy documents are in reasonably good condition and have been placed into archival storage boxes to prevent further deterioration (oversize materials however have not fared well and some of those reports are missing). In cases where the paper is too flimsy, microfilm versions of the content may be available.

In 1968, ASIS announced that future publications would be available through the National Auxiliary Publications Service (NAPS) from the Microfiche Publication Division of Microfiche System Corporation.

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   Publications From ADI & ASIS:

Name Search for:

American Documentation Institute
American Society for Information Science
American Society for Information Science & Technology.

Background Information:

American Documentation Institute. Catalog of Auxiliary Publications in Microfilms and Photoprints.1946. 51 p. (PDF)

American documentation; a quarterly review of ideas, techniques, problems and achievements in documentation.
LC CALL NUMBER: Microfilm 02408

Davis, Watson. How Documentation Promotes Intellectual World Progress. Science News Letter, October 9, 1937, pp. 229 - 231.

Documentation Congress Step Toward Making "World Brain." Science News Letter, October 9, 1937, pp. 228-229.

Farkas-Conn, Irene Sekely. From documentation to information science : the beginnings and early development of the American Documentation Institute-American Society for Information Science. New York : Greenwood Press, 1990. 229 p.
LC CALL NUMBER: Z673.A623 F37 1990

Historical studies in information science. Edited by Trudi Bellardo Hahn and Michael Buckland. Medford, NJ : Published for the American Society for Information Science by Information Today, 1998. 326 p.
LC CALL NUMBER: Z665 .H574 1998

Schlessinger, B. S., H. J. Ackermann, T. M. Manning, and R. E. Maizell. A New Approach to Indexing Technical Reports in an Industrial Information Center. J. Chem. Doc., 1969, 9 (1), pp 51–53.


United States Copyright restrictions prevent copying entire copyrighted documents. However, the fair use provision does permit reproduction of relevant portions (small parts) of these documents. Photocopiers, microform reader/printers and computer terminals are available for patron use in the Science Reading Room. TRS materials are non-circulating and are not to leave the Science Reading Room area.

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   November 14, 2022
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