Dec 9, 2022: Founder story – Meeting Dr Eugene Garfield

Dec 9, 2022: Founder story – Meeting Dr Eugene Garfield

It is natural for a student to dream of meeting his/her hero. In fact it is natural for this feeling to last much longer. It is a part of us that we don’t grow out of. So when I had the opportunity to meet Dr Eugene Garfield in person in the year 2013, on a day when I won an International Award and the day happened to be my birthday, it was like a triple bonus! How can one forget such days??

Dr Eugene Garfield (1925 – 2017), was an Information Scientist of worldwide fame. He had worked as a Librarian, and went on to produce top-notch information products like Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and several others. This was all under the organization “Institute for Scientific Information” which was later taken over by Thomson Reuters (and further to Clarivate Analytics).  For students of Library & Information Sciences courses, “Eugene Garfield” was a huge role model.

As a student of Information Sciences in 1989-90 and then as a freshly qualified librarian, I used to read his works with awe – wondering how one could be so brilliant! The “Essays of an Information Scientist” and his other columns in “Current Contents” – were publications I read with reverence. 

It was in May 2013 that I attended the Annual Conference of the Medical Library Association, USA. Earlier that year, I got the news that I had won an award instituted by the ICLC, UK. I was told that I would receive it at the MLA Annual event.

The Awards ceremony itself was awesome – organized perfectly going down to every minute detail. I learnt that Dr Eugene Garfield was present at the ceremony. I got a glimpse of him and wished that I could meet him, but that turned out to be difficult. I told myself that I had better be happy having at least seen him in person.

The same evening there was a special event for all award winners, at a venue away from the conference center. When I reached there, I was delighted to find that Dr Garfield and his wife were also present! The event being one with no fixed agenda, it was open for everyone to network and meet. I had ample time to chat with both of them and to tell them about QMed too. Dr Garfield’s wife was an Indian by birth and so we had several common topics to discuss. It was one of the best days in my life!

Later that year QMed started to raise funds via GlobalGiving – a US based crowd-funding platform. I wrote to Dr Garfield and made a request for a donation and we got a contribution of $500 from him (through the Thomson Reuters Foundation)! The wildest dreams of a student came true 🙂

Just four years later, in the end of February, we learnt that Dr Garfield passed away at the age of 91. We at QMed feel that good wishes and blessings of people like Dr Garfield keep us going and I hope he continues to shower his best wishes on QMed and all its beneficiaries, from the other world. After all, Eugene Garfield and I love the same domain – “Information Sciences”!

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