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History of Science Abstracts and Inspec

For over 100 years, Inspec has been helping the scientific and research community to find the right information. Originating with the Science Abstracts journals in 1898, Inspec has been through some interesting times.

Science Abstracts

The Inspec database is the world's largest and most comprehensive English-language bibliographic database, in physics, electronics and computing. Developed from 'Science Abstracts', first published in January 1898, Inspec now scans over 4,000 journals (and other serial publications) worldwide, 2,000 conference proceedings and numerous books, reports, articles and dissertations, for inclusion in the database. From 1969 to the present day, the size of the database has grown to ten gigabytes of data and contains almost 12 million records.

Centenary Inspec 100 years of Science Abstracts logo from 1997

1998 was a very significant year in the history of Inspec. January of that year was the centenary of the publication of the first issue of Science Abstracts (the journal from which the Inspec database developed). That first issue contained just 110 abstracts with a total of around 1,500 abstracts being published by the end of the first year of publication, and today the annual total has reached over 600,000!

The History of Science Abstracts (see downloads link to right of page) was produced for the centenary, detailing the landmark developments of the service from 1898 to 1998, and showing photographs of many of the significant contributors to Inspec's success throughout the years.

Read the history of the Science Abstracts and Inspec.