At first hearing the word standardization has a certain uncomfortable, authoritarian ring about it. The phrase international standardization may suggest a sort of levelling of all national and regional distinctions and the removal of most of the colourful things of life. And international bibliographical standardization represents to many an unwarranted attempt to control the presentation of the fruits of their personal intellectual toil, and even, by implication, the contents also. Yet without standardization, in its various forms, we should lack safety at sea and such safety on land or in the air as the internal combustion engine allows us, we should never know the time or the temperature, we should not know in which direction we were going, nor could we measure how far we had gone. At home we could neither use our electrical appliances in a different area from that in which they were bought, nor replace an electric light bulb without first tinkering with it. Every individual part of every machine would have to be specially made by hand though we have admittedly lost here in the disappearance of craftsmanship much of what we have gained in convenience. Sizes of shoes and other articles of clothing would be even more variable than they arc. In the intellectual sphere we have but to cite the outstandingly successful standardization of mathematical and musical notation.
Journal of Documentation – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 1, 1954
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