Chemical Information Bulletin, Volume 48, Number 2, Spring 1996 Page: 1

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Life at my workplace, the American Cyanamid Agricultural Research Center near Princeton, New Jersey, has
been a series of major upheavals recently. Two years ago, we were up to our eyebrows in the acquisition of the
Shell agrochemical products and brushing up on our conversational German just in case we had to interact with
our new research associates in Schwabenheim, Germany. Just as we were starting to get used to the idea of being
a global research organization, we were involved in the merger with American Home Products Corporation.
Throughout this process, members of the Cyanamid Technical Information center staff launched new information
services; modified our work procedures to increase productivity; evaluated new information resources; and developed
new partnerships with the scientists and managers in our research organization.
Commenting on so much change happening in such a short period of time, one of my associates asked me,
"When do we get back to normal?" My answer: "Welcome to the new 'normal'."
Change is happening at a head-spinning rate everywhere. No surprise here: Information technology also is advancing
at a rapid pace. It seems like only yesterday that I was using a 300 baud Texas Instruments Silent 700
terminal to connect to my favorite online database. Do you remember the foam rubber cups for the acoustic modem?
I don't use a "terminal" any more. I use a personal computer. Although I still connect to my favorite online
databases, I also "surf the net" to find useful information.
Increasingly, these changes will have an impact on the role of the information professional. My personal vision is
that information professionals will have a bigger role as information coaches. Rather than serving as an intermediary
between the information provider and the information consumer, many of us will have important roles as explorers
of new information territories. We will use this new knowledge to guide others as they seek to use these
new information resources.
Does this mean that the traditional information centers and information resources no longer are necessary? One
of my associates in another company reports that one of that company's managers suggested getting rid of their
technical information center. Said the manager, "We don't need a library; we can get all the information we need
for free from the Internet." Obviously, it would be foolish to get rid of the traditional resources that still are the core
of any information service.
One of the most important benefits of your membership in the Division of Chemical Information is your contact with
other chemical information users and information professionals who face these same challenges. All of us have to
cope with change in our professional lives; change in our business relationships; change in the way that we obtain,
organize, and distribute information. Change in the way we view our profession. And change in the way we are
viewed and valued by others. By working together, we share our strengths. We learn from the success or failures
of others, and can adapt the experiences of others to our own circumstances.
I look forward to working with each of you as we face these challenges together.
David S. Saari, Ph.D.


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American Chemical Society. Division of Chemical Information. Chemical Information Bulletin, Volume 48, Number 2, Spring 1996, periodical, Summer 1996; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ( accessed January 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library,; .

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