August 29, 1962

	Dr. Hewson Swift
	Department of Zoology
	The University of Chicago 
	Chicago 37, Illinois 

	Dear Hew: 

	Thank you for consulting me about the questions that you raised in your 
	letter of August 10. I started to frame a specific reply and then realized 
	I might be able to save time for similar occasions in the future by writing 
	it up in more general terms, so I have done this in the form of the enclosed 
	sheet entitled "Addendum to SCITEL". Also enclosed is the SCITEL proposal 
	and a page or two of some other notes I have written on the information prob- 
	lem from time to time. 

	If there is an opportunity to do some bold experimentation in scientific 
	communication, I hope you will take advantage of it - I was glad to notice 
	your own sensitivity about "complicating the biological literature with yet 
	another journal". 

	At the foot of "Miniscitel" I refer to the probable necessity of subcontracting 
	the managerial work of such an experiment. I am doing all that I can to push 
	the recognition of this as a governmental responsibility, and perhaps some 
	year we may have some real help in that direction. Meanwhile, the AIBS and 
	even Biological Abstracts seem to me very feeble indeed, and I have been chan- 
	neling some of my own effort through Gene Garfield's company, the Institute 
	for Scientific Information (which you may know as Current Contents) as one of 
	the more imaginative and energetic activities in biological documentation. 
	Handling the "Miniscitel" for cell biology is perhaps a little out of the usual 
	line for Garfield, but he does have all the basic resources for it, and I 
	would be glad to add my own persuasion to urging him to consider a proposal 
	from you, if that were the direction you decided to take. 

	You might note that the physicists have a system somewhat analogous to a 
	repository in the way they handle Physical Review and Physical Review letters. 

	You asked about our video spectrometry system. A couple of weeks ago we 
	turned on the video sensing and ratio analysis segment. This compares video 
	lines from any two specified points on the target plate, delays one with 
	respect to the other so that they can be superimposed, logs each channel, and 
	displays the difference as the log of the ratio between the two video lines. 
	It actually works! So we are using this as a double beam ratio recording 
	spectrophotometer by projecting spectra onto the target plate, half the field 



	being reserved as a reference. The first full scale application in hand will 
	be a rather heavy terrestrial one -- we are just installing an analytical 
  	Spinco ultracentrifuge and are mounting the video head for on-line analysis 
  	of DNA spinning in casium chloride gradients. The microscope spectrometry 
  	is coming along too, but Caspersson is promising some improvements in the 
  	Sales optics, particularly from the standpoint of chromatic. 


                                  	         Joshua Lederberg 
                                  	         Professor of Genetics 

   	Cc: Dr. Heinz Herrmann 

   	bc: Dr. Garfield