The Royal Society Scientific Information Conference of 1948 was a top level attempt to look at scientific and technical information in the light of the post‐war growth of the literature. Some of the large number of recommendations have been made irrelevant by advances in technology, and some, for example those relating to bibliographic control of books and comprehensive collecting of scientific literature, have been overtaken by action. Most recommendations, however, are unfinished – some unfinishable – business. The recommendations relating to control over the number and format of journals and co‐operation between abstracting journals were never realistic. Issues that are still live include library co‐operation and copyright. The 1948 conference may have had few direct effects, but it helped to create a climate where improvements were easier to make. Political and technological changes in the world since then have led to a very different environment, in which information is held to have a commercial value, the private sector plays a greater part, and market forces rule. A similar conference in 1998 would have a very different agenda.
Journal of Documentation – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 1, 1998
Keywords: Conferences; Information; The Royal Society
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