[Letters to Editor]

Abstract

IN the very interesting and important leader of your issue of June 9, dealing with the co-operative indexing of periodical literature, attention is mainly confined to the natural sciences, but whatever is said as to the necessity for some new co-operative effort there in order to render more accessible the contributions in what you call the non-homogeneous class of periodicals, the need is even greater in another field of knowledge. May I venture to point out that in the field of one of the political sciences, if history and its allied subjects can be included in such a term, co-operation is even more urgently needed, and may be profitably undertaken along similar lines and in close concert? In very few fields of historical investigation do workers possess the advantages that are afforded by comprehensive bibliographies of recent publications, and practically nowhere are there to be found abstracts such as are familiar to their colleagues in chemistry, physics, and other natural sciences. The “Lists of Writings on American History” that have been published since 1902 under the auspices of the American Historical Association, and the bibliography of “Publications relating to the History of Canada”, published at Toronto, show that it is entirely practicable to undertake such work with success. At the approaching conference of Anglo-American Historians, to be held in the University of London on July 11–16, various schemes for co-operative effort are to be considered, and among them may possibly be projects for co-operative lists of periodical publications. It is hoped by many of those who are taking part in the conference that some concrete results will arise from these discussions. May I, therefore, suggest that when any steps are taken to summon a conference such as you propose for the extension of the bibliographical equipment of the sciences opportunities should be afforded to the historians to take part? It would be an inestimable boon if the principle of co-operative and co-ordinated action on common lines could be extended as widely as possible in the fields where the scientific method can be profitably employed.

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NEWTON, A. [Letters to Editor]. Nature 107, 551 (1921). https://doi.org/10.1038/107551a0

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