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The Theory of National and International Bibliography (With Special Reference to the Introduction of System in the Record of Modern Literature)

Nature volume 54, pages 617618 | Download Citation



“WHAT is history,” said Napoleon, “but a fiction agreed upon.” … “The only point on which librarians are united is that classification is a question disagreed upon.” So writes Mr. Campbell, and the quotation is an apt illustration of our present position. At a time, therefore, when the cataloguing and indexing of the literature of the mathematical and natural sciences is being so seriously taken in hand, and it is agreed that it shall be carried out by international co-operation, he is doing a considerable service by issuing in a collected form his various published papers on the theory of bibliography together with others not previously printed. Many of the suggestions made by him are undoubtedly of great value; it is a little unfortunate that his views are not presented in a more coherent, collected form, either at the commencement or end of the book, as it is not easy to extract the pith and marrow of his arguments, although it must be gratefully acknowledged that he has adopted the unusual course of trying, by means of darker type, to aid the eye as much as possible to discern the leading points in the several essays—thereby setting an example which it is worth while to carefully take note of.

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