Scott Adams, 72, a retired deputy director of the National Library of Medicine here and a participant in a number of programs for the international exchange of scientific information, died of a lung ailment Oct. 3 at the Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Ky.

Mr. Adams was a former president of the Medical Library Association and the American Association for Information Science.

He published more than 100 papers in technical journals. In 1981, his book, "Medical Bibliography in an Age of Discontinuity," a history of the exchange of medical knowledge since World War II, won the president's award of the Medical Library Association.

He was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Mr. Adams was born in Agawam, Mass. He graduated from Yale University and earned a master's degree in library science at Columbia University.

He moved to Washington in 1945 and joined the staff of the Army Medical Library, part of Walter Reed Army Medical Center and now called the National Library of Medicine. In 1950, he became librarian of the National Institutes of Health.

In 1959, he was named director of foreign science information at the National Academy of Sciences and helped arrange the translation of a number of Slavic-language books and journals into English.

In 1960, he joined the National Library of Medicine as deputy director. He was involved in the development of MEDLARS, a computerized bibliographic retrieval system. He retired from the library in 1970.

Mr. Adams was appointed the U.S. representative to a UNESCO project for the exchange of scientific information between developed and underdeveloped nations.

In 1975, he moved from Arlington to Louisville. For the next two years he taught international education at the University of Louisville. He later was a consultant to the Agency for International development and UNESCO.

Mr. Adams was a member of the Cosmos Club and the Mayflower Society.

His marriage to Barbara W. Adams ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife, the former Joan Titley, of Louisville; a daughter by his first marriage, Susanna Adams, of Burlington, Vt.; two sisters, Frances and Barbara Adams, both of Agawam and New York City, and one grandson.