VII.2 A Chart Illustrating Some of the Relations between the Branches of Natural Science and Technology

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H.J.T. Ellingham

Harold Johann Thomas (H.J.T.) Ellingham was a professor of chemistry at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London and a member of the Royal Institute of Chemistry. In 1948, he produced a hand-drawn map showing the relationships between the branches of natural science and technology. The work is premised on the distance-similarity metaphor, in which objects more similar to each other are more proximate in space. Additional relationships are indicated by the direction of the labels. Ellingham’s map is one of the earliest known examples of a visual frontend to a body of literature. Ellingham overlies the coverage of each of the available index and abstracting services in the United Kingdom onto the chart to indicate which areas of science the indexes covered. Overlay 1 features broad index and abstract services that cover large areas of science. Overlay 2 features more focused index and abstract services that cover specific areas of scientific research. Ellingham also intended that his two-dimensional map should be wrapped as if around a cylinder to show the continued relationships of topics on the extreme left side with those on the extreme right side.


Ellingham, H.J.T. 1948. “Divisions of Natural Science and Technology.” In Report and Papers Submitted to The Royal Society Scientific Information Conference. London: Burlington House.

Ellingham, H.J.T. 1948. A Chart Illustrating Some of the Relations Between the Branches of Natural Science and Technology. Courtesy of The Royal Society. In “7th Iteration (2011): Science Maps as Visual Interfaces to Digital Libraries,” Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and Michael J. Stamper.

Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.