School of Information
  (Previously School of Library & Information Studies)

  Michael Buckland

  Herbert Haviland Field, 1868-1921: Concilium Bibliographicum Founder

Herbert Haviland Field, 1868.-1921: Osnivač Concilium Bibliographicum (Vijeće bibliographicum), Croatian translation by Milica Novak, Apr 2021.
Herbert Haviland Field, 1868-1921: Neuvoston perustaja bibliographi, Finnish translation by Elsa Jansson, Nov 2020.
Herbert Haviland Field, 1868-1921: Concilium Bibliographicum alapítója, Hungarian translation by Elana Pavlet.
*New* 허버트 하빌랜드 필드(Herbert Haviland Field), 1868-1921: 콘실리움(Concilium Bibliographium) 설립자, Korean translation by PlayerAuctions, Dec 2022.
Herbert Haviland Field, 1868-1921: Fundador del Concilium Bibliographum, Spanish translation by Ibidem Group, Mar 2020.

    Herbert Haviland Field founded and operated one of the largest science information services on the early twentieth century, the Concilium Bibliographicum. He also undertook intelligence work for Allen Dulles during the First World War.     Born in Brooklyn on April 25, 1868, the same year as his rival and collaborator Paul Otlet, Herbert Field was a gifted zoologist and a Quaker idealist. An early recipient of a Harvard Ph.D he also received French and German doctoral degrees. Committed to social idealism and international peace, he dedicated himself to improving bibliographical access to biological literature and founded the Concilium Bibliographicum in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1895, the same year Paul Otlet and Henri LaFontaine founded the International Institute for Bibliography in Brussels, Belgium.     Herbert Field married Nina Eschwege, a British woman of German descent, and they had four children, two of whom, Noel and Hermann, became famous for their connections with Communist espionage activity and for being kidnapped by Soviet intelligence in 1949 and held captive for some five years as they were used as sources for the bloody purges in the Soviet bloc.
    At the Concilium Bibliographicum, initially financed from his personal and his family's funds, Field aimed at completeness of coverage in all languages, precise classification using the Universal Decimal Classification, card files, but no abstracts, which were copied and mailed to subscribers. Although he was unable to make his service financially self-sustaining, by the 1903 some 13,000,000 cards had been sent to over 600 subscribers.
    Field died of the influenza on April 04, 1921, in Zurich Switzerland. The Concilium Bibliographicum continued with great difficulties until it closed in 1940 amid wartime difficulties and both it and Field were almost completely forgotten.
    See also Concilium Bibliographicum.
The only detailed account is: Colin B. Burke. Information and intrigue: From index cards to Dewey Decimals to Alger Hiss. MIT Press, 2014.
Additional sources are listed on Colin Burke's website
with an extensive bibliography at
- Colin B. Burke and Michael K. Buckland. Herbert Haviland Field (1868-1921): Bibliographer of Zoology. Bulletin of the Association for Information Science and Technology 42, no 6 (August/September 2016): 10-14. pdf
- Michael K. Buckland and Colin B. Burke. Precise Zoological Information: The Concilium Bibliographicum, 1895-1940. Bulletin of the Association for Information Science and Technology 42, no 6 (August/September 2016):15- 19. pdf.
Also Wikipedia: Herbert Haviland Field and Concilium Bibliographicum.
Go to History, or to Michael Buckland's Home Page.