AIP History Center Newsletter
Volume XXXV , No. 1, Spring 2003


Physics Translations Database

A number of key articles by important physicists have been translated into English (and sometimes from English to other languages), but the results are scattered through many books and journals. The Physics-Astronomy-Math Division of the Special Libraries Association is creating a database to help students and historians locate these useful materials. The starting point is information compiled in Resources for the History of Physics, edited by Stephen G. Brush (University Press of New England, 1972), now long out of print, and other items are being added. The Web data will be expanded from those in the 1972 book; for example, the site will include full journal titles (and abbreviated titles), ISBN/ISSN where available, and page numbers for translations which appear in books. Because of the need for quality control (e.g., the use of name authority control), only a limited number of people will input data, but the production Web site will solicit comments and suggestions of other translations to be added. A preliminary search design may be seen at where a number of items are already to be found (click the “search” button with nothing entered in the boxes to see the whole list).

The database will be searchable by title, surname, source title, and publication year, and there will be an authority file for author. The entries will indicate whether an item is a translation or a translation of a translation. Like the book, the database will include translations into languages other than English, though English will be the principal language. Eventually the database is to be expanded to include fields related to physics, such as geophysics, biophysics, mathematics, and chemistry. At this point there is no timeframe for project completion. Comments and suggestions on the project are welcomed; also, volunteers are needed to help input data. Please send comments and offers of assistance to

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AIP History CenterCenter for History of Physics
Phone: 301-209-3165
American Institute of Physics 2003American Institute of Physics, One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740-3843. Email: Phone: 301-209-3100; Fax: 301-209-0843