A preliminary report from David A. Pendlebury of the Institute for Scientific Information in which he uses his company's database to provide insight on the Unabomber case

To: Mr. Tony Muljat
Company: UNABOM Task Force, San Francisco
Fax: 415-553-7590
From: David A. Pendlebury
Company: Research Services Group, Institute for Scientific Information
Phone: 215-386-0100, ext. 1411
Fax: 215-387-1266
Date: 11/16/94
Pages: 7

Dear Mr. Muljat:

Here is my preliminary report on information in our database that may prove useful to the UNABOM Task Force.

Background: In early September 1994, Lindsay S. Stott of the Philadelphia FBI office came to ISI-the Institute for Scientific Information-to follow-up on a suggestion that someone in this company might usefully comment on the Kloppenburg letter of 1985 to McConnell. He spoke with Bonnie Lawlor, an executive vice president, who forwarded some background information brought by Stott to Dr. Henry Small and to myself In the Research Department. Dr. Small, the director of the department, and I, the chief analyst, are Involved in the quantitative analysis of the scientific journal literature, which is the material that ISI indexes. Additionally, Dr. Small received a Ph.D. In the history of science at the University of Wisconsin and has long been a member of the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S). After reviewing the material given to us, especially the Kloppenburg letter, both Henry Small and I strongly felt that the writer of this letter:

  1. had spent some time, probably as a graduate student, studying the sociology of science or

  2. copied the language in paragraph 2 of the letter from some other source, although we did not recognize the source.

We both think this language reflects some actual experience studying sociological questions in a university setting: although the research problem is rather open-ended, it rings true. The question is the type of work that could be pursued by a graduate student (an advisor would have the person sharpen the question, treat It within the context of a specific field). It’s not that we think this person actually pursued this question-only that he knew enough about the field to pose In a convincing way.

To us, the Kloppenburg letter suggests that the writer hasjscme acquaintance with university graduate studies. And, of course, University professors seem to be a focus of the UNABOMER.

About ISI: The Institute for Scientific Information is one of the world's leading sources of Information on the literature of the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Each year ISI indexes the contents of some 7,500 professional journals in these fields. In the sciences alone, we index some 650,000 individual papers and close to 13 million footnotes or references that appear in these papers.

The type of information captured for each paper is the following:

  1. all author names on the paper (surname and initials);

  2. all author addresses;

  3. title of paper;

  4. title of journal;

  5. Journal volume, page number, and year;

  6. references or footnotes listed In the paper;

  7. citations to the paper from other papers.

ISI Is unique In capturing these footnotes or references in a paper and these tie related documents together: the citation signals that one has made use of another's work and there is typically some meaningful Intellectual connection between a cited paper and a citing paper.

With our database, one can look up a paper or book and find papers published subsequently that drew upon the earlier work. This Is called a cited reference search; it Is another way (other that an author-name look up, or a title word look-up) that helps a researcher find what he or she needs. But in broader terms, it allows an analyst to find a community of individuals that are intellectually linked in some way.

In other words, our massive database is one of the best sources for tracking the activity of researchers (in the form of their publications, which are the tangible expression of their activity).

ISI Data for Use by UNABOM Task Force: After learning something about the background of the UNABOM case, and after seeing a fairly strong connection with university researchers and university settings, it seemed that by mining or dredging the 1SI database, we might be able to turn up some Information that would provide the Task Force with useful leads.

A simple way to start: focus on the Kloppenburg letter. The name Kloppenburg seemed unusual. On the assumption that is was not pulled out of the blue, Is there a (Cloppenburg in a university setting? Looking back in our database to 1980, we could not find a R.C. Kloppenburg. We did find, however, a J. or J.R. Kloppenburg and a J.T. Kloppenburg.

The J. or J.R. Kloppenburg was at Corneil University in 1983- 1985, and he was affiliated with the Department of Rural Sociology there. He wrote a few papers with titles such as "The agricultural ladder: agrarian Ideology and the changing structure of U.S. agriculture," and "The American agricultural research system: an obsolete structure." He also seems to have published In a journal called Insurgent Sociologist from 1980-84. He wrote a thesis at Cornell in 1985. He is now at the Department of Rural Sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

We have a record of the publications of J. or J.R. Kloppenburg . before and up to the time (1985) of the letter to McConnell. We can also teil who referred to any of these papers in their own writings, so that helps us to identify people who were tied to this Kloppenburg in some professional way.

J.T. Kloppenburg appears in the literature after 1985. He Is a historian at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts.

The following facts seemed to me worthy of note:

  1. Someone with the unusual surname Kloppenburg was writing a thesie or dissertation In or about 1985 (at Cornell, which Henry Small tells me was a "hotbed of radical sociology of science studies" In the early 1980s).

  2. This Kloppenburg was working as a sociologist on the reshaping of agrarian society in the United States, which has been significantly Influenced in several ways by technology.

  3. The UNABOM letter to McConnell uses the name Kioppenburg and focuses on "the way In which progress In a particular field of research influences public attitudes toward that field, etc. etc." It is not too difficult to see behind such general phraseology that there could be a specific interest in agricultural research, technology, and societal change. Moreover, by focusing on airlines, computers, and biotech representatives or researchers, the UNABOMER may be expressing outrage at how technology in all its forms has spoiled the pristine way of life in the U.S. as formerly embodied in the simple, agrarian way of life.

A few questions based on such observations:

Was there a student studying at Cornell during the period 1983- 85, perhaps from the Chicago area, who took some courses with Kloppenburg or knew Kioppenburg at Corneil? If so, was this person previously enrolled at Northwestern or U. Illinois-Chicago. Did McConnell's letter to colleagues about the new edition of his book go to someone at Corneil?

Was there an undergraduate or graduate student who took courses in both rural sociology and psychology--who had the opportunity to see the McConnell letter and to know Kloppenburg?

The above Is meant merely to show how a review of the publishing activity of certain individuals can suggest connections and possibilities. One could also review the individuals who by their citation to the papers of another reveal some professional connection or network. Of the people who cited the works of J.R. Kloppenburg (revealing a knowledge at least of this name and the nature of the work of this person), what do we know about them?

The second task that we are pursuing Is more Involved than simply gathering bibliographic references and citations on an ad hoc basis (for researchers named Kloppenburg, or for David Gelernter, etc.). This second task is a more Intensive data dredging project that takes ail the individuals who have been targeted and collects Information about their papers as well the papers that have cited their works. I received a listing of 16 Individuals from Frank A. Wlrlg on the 22nd of September this year. We have retrieved papers that carry these names or a variant of these names in the author field. We have been eliminating papers by people of the same name but not the people in whom you are Interested. This task Is almost complete.

From here we will build a database of the publications of these Individuals and the papers that refer to their works. The database will be In a relational format: each piece of Information (such as author name, author address, etc) will reside in a searchable field. The papers can be ordered chronologically, too. With the data in this form, one can look for similarities and connections that would otherwise be overlooked. One can generate all similarities and connection automatically-without first posing a question (as described above).