Susanne Humphrey Announces Her Retirement

Susanne HumphreyAfter 43 years at the National Library of Medicine (NLM), Susanne Humphrey, information scientist in the Lister Hill Center (LHC), retired on January 2, 2009. 

Susanne performed research in the area of knowledge-based systems for indexing and retrieval and lead the Journal Descriptor Indexing (JDI) project. The JDI system automatically indexes documents according to a set of Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) descriptors used for indexing journals according to discipline in the List of Journals indexed for MEDLINE. A JDI-based system, known as Semantic Type Indexing (STI), automatically indexes documents by a set of broad subject categories in the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) Semantic Network. Her research resulted in the Text Categorization (TC) project, which makes available Java-based tools that perform JDI and STI, for public interactive use on the Web and distribution as an open-source package ( Prior to JDI, she developed MedIndEx (Medical Indexing Expert), a knowledge-based, computer-assisted indexing prototype.

Susanne joined NLM in 1965 as a Medical Literature Analyst in the Index Section in the Division of Library Operations (LO). For fifteen years she worked under LO in various phases of NLM's MEDLINE indexing and retrieval system (known as MEDLARS in the beginning), including indexing, searching, database management, user training, and thesaurus management, the last ten years in the MeSH Section. She joined LHC in 1981.

She has authored numerous publications on her research as well as a textbook, Databases: a Primer for Retrieving Information by Computer (Prentice-Hall, 1986), and has contributed chapters to several books. She received the 1988 Best JASIS Paper award for a paper on MedIndEx.

Susanne is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, cited for her "research and professional contributions in the area of information science, particularly in knowledge-based expert systems, database indexing, and information retrieval." She has been active in ASIST, including primary founder of the SIG/CR (Classification Research) Workshop, held as a pre-conference at the ASIST Annual Meeting; she was primary editor of the first volume of the workshop proceedings in Advances in Classification Research, which won 1991 ASIS Best SIG Publication, and 1990 chair of SIG/CR. Her other affiliations include the Medical Library Association (senior member of the Academy of Health Information Professionals), Association for Computing Machinery, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and American Chemical Society.