Chemical Literature, Volume 7, Number 3, Fall 1955 Page: 3
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Hanna Friedenstein, Secretary
Symposium on Results of the Practical Application of Punched
Cards to Indexing
Gilbert L. Peakes, Presiding
1. INTRODUCTORY REMARKS. Gilbert L. Peakes.
2. ELEMENTARY PUNCHED CARD PRINCIPLES. Harry C. Zeisig, Jr.,
Spencer Chemical Co.
This is a brief review covering the elementary principles of transferring
information to and from punched cards. Punched card files are indexes
which are susceptible to mechanical sorting methods. Information to be
entered onto punched cards is usually first reduced to descriptive index
terms. These terms are then translated into codes which are punched into
the cards. The arrangements of these holes or slots permit subsequent
sorting of the cards by some sensing device such as long needles, pins, or
Two basic systems of punched card files are available--the manually
and machine operated. The former is characterized by cards which are
punched along the edge and by the simple equipment which is needed to
punch and sort the cards, whereas the latter requires holes punched into
the body of the cards and much more elaborate machines for its operation.
Generally, the edge punched card systems are satisfactory for small and
medium size files, while the machine operated systems are recommended
for larger files.
Basic codes, the preparation of cards, filing, sorting, decoding, and
several examples of commercially available equipment and supplies are
summarized and illustrated. The two basic systems are briefly compared
for their operations, advantages, limitations, and approximate costs.
3. AN INDEX OF CHEMICAL STRUCTURE. J. L. Marsh, Ciba Pharmaceutical
Products, Summit, N. J.
A deck of perforated cards is integrated into the research files at the
American pharmaceutical laboratories of Ciba, Ltd. This file is designed
for the efficient assembling of information regarding substances which
have specific chemical structures in common.
Each card in this file is punched with the number which identifies the
substance and with the coded designations of the structural categories into
which the substance falls.
A number composed of four digits serves as the code for each category.
The codes have been selected so that an ordered numerical presentation of
them constitutes a systematic arrangement of the categories. Space is allocated
on the card so that four types of functional group may be indicated
for each substance as well as three types of ring system (or other skeletal
The rapid selection of the cards representing a certain chemical type is
accomplished by the numerical collator, a business machine which can
segregate cards punched in several contiguous columns with a particular
arrangement of specified digits. The results of a search of the file are
compiled by the passage of the selected cards through an automatic typewriter
for listing of the substance numbers.
The resultant list serves as a key to all the information regarding substances
of the desired chemical type, since the central records of the
biological departments and those of the chemical departments are filed in
the order of the substance numbers.
This file has been in use since 1949. The major change which has been
made during this time has been the addition of new code numbers, as
structural types not adequately represented by the original code numbers
became of interest for chemotherapeutic investigation. The current list
comprises 170 categories.
This method of maintaining systematic access to compounds in large
numbers is compared with the more traditional ways of handling the problem.
4. THE USE OF PUNCH CARDS IN MEDICAL RESEARCH. Robert P.
Gage, Section of Biometry and Medical Statistics, Mayo Clinic,
At this institution three major uses of the punch card have evolved
during the past 20 years: in the routine cross-indexing of medical conditions,
representing a volume of more than 100,000 patients per year; in
routine, continuous research by the statistics section (special studies),
the volume being several hundred patients a year and accumulating to
thousands as the years pass by; and in research problems by the physicians,
representing a volume usually of 100, 200, or 300 patients per research
The proper design of the punch card is of fundamental importance, and
a description of the lay-outs for each of the aforementioned categories is
given. Specifically, the punch card is so designed that it will contain not
only the punches but the written material along with the appropriate
The codes used for the general cross index and special studies are discussed.
Examples of each are given along with a description of how the
finished product is obtained, including the method of checking. A brief
summary of the use of the punch card by the physician for the research
problem of relatively small volume is given.
5. STATISTICAL SURVEY OF CHEMICAL STRUCTURE. Karl F.
Heumann and Estaleta Dale, Chemical-Biological Coordination Center,
National Research Council, Washington, D. C.
As a result of the assembly and organization of information relating to
chemical structure and biological activity, the Chemical-Biological
Coordination Center now has in its files the structures of some 57,000
chemical compounds. These chemicals have been encoded and entered
on IBM machine-sorted punched cards. The code used is "A Method of
Coding Chemicals for Correlation and Classification", developed and pub
DIVISION OF CHEMICAL LITERATURE
AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY
Abstracts of Papers Presented at
Minneapolis, Minn., Sept. 11 to Sept. 16, 1955
Milburn P. Doss, Chairman
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American Chemical Society. Division of Chemical Literature. Chemical Literature, Volume 7, Number 3, Fall 1955, periodical, Autumn 1955; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5757/m1/3/: accessed September 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .