What is The Bibliography of Sciencific and Industrial
The Bibliography of Scientific and Industrial Reports (BSIR) is a catalog of documents made available by the Federal Government after World War II. In late 1945, President Truman set up a program to distribute the fruits of government and government-supported research which had been kept secret during the war. Shortly afterward the program was expanded to include distribution of knowledge gained by exploitation of German, Japanese, and other foreign military and industrial technology.¹
The Office of the Publication Board was ogranized to distribute those documents. Beginning in 1946, The Bibliography of Scientific and Industrial Reports (BSIR) was issued periodically to announce the reports available. A typical BSIR citation is shown below.
The PB-number series used for technical reports originated with the Publication Board. For those of you who are accustomed to working with lengthy PB-numbers, like PB2009107129, I am including the citation for PB 1 below. It was listed on Page 1 of Issue 1 of Volume 1 of BSIR issued on 11 January 1946.
A small number of the early PB number documents are available online. This is a link to one of the few available online:
Link to PB 356.
The technical reports system pioneered by the Publication Board evolved into the National Technical Information System, and Government Reports Announcements & Index is a continuation of BSIR. Our concept of what a technical report is is based on what was found in Government Reports Announcements and other successors to BSIR over the years However, BSIR listed a large number of documents which would not be thought of as technical reports today, including military manuals, intelligence and interrogation reports, and articles from journals.
The early PB-number reports include documents critical to the understanding of the history of modern electronics, aeronautics, and chemistry, and to the understanding of technology transfer from the former Axis powers after World War II. Some may still be useful today to researchers dealing with topics like synthetic fuels. Many important figures in the history of science and industry participated in preparation of the early PB-number reports. I have resolved to make the Bibliography of Scientific and Industrial Reports available on the Web. I hope that increased awareness of those documents will encourage others to digitize the PB-number documents themselves.
I began my efforts to digitize Bibliography of Scientific and Industrial Reports with a pilot project. I digitized Volume 1 Issues 6 and 7. That project proved that my approach does work. Therefore, I have decided to launch a systematic effort to index BSIR. I will add the citations for each page as they are digitized, beginning with Page 1.
¹ The establishment of the Publication Board is discussed by Earl Ziemke in
The U.S. Army in the Occupation of Germany, 1944-1946
(Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1975) p. 317.