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REVIEWS

REVIEWS Serious contributions to library history are all too rare, and the series of studies now being issued from the University of South Africa Department of Librarianship under the collective title of Mousaion is to be welcomed. It is proposed to publish six numbers of this journal annually in English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish. The first number dealt with Les Bibliothques Ptolmennes d'Alexandrie, and this is followed by two volumes comprising in the author's words a methodological prolegomena to library history. The term encyclopaedia in the title is used in the sense of a technical discipline of historical librarianship. The project is formidable, and it is attacked with meticulous and laborious thoroughness so laborious indeed that one sometimes has the impression of an elephant cracking a hazel nut. In history, overcomplication is as misleading as oversimplification, and the scientific historian occasionally seems to introduce his own complexities into a problem for the sheer pleasure of disentangling them. Professor de Vleeschauwer is right in saying that in this field of library history the time for anecdotes has gone though properly employed the anecdote has its uses. He is equally right in condemning the amateurishness of much that has passed for library history, and the lyricism as he calls it of works such as Parsons's The Alexandrian Library. But is he right in supposing that the only alternative is to bring into action the whole armament of deductive logic and scientific method, in his anxiety to make his picture philosophically complete, with no term undefined and no particle of it unclassified or unorganized His guns are too heavy for his target. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Documentation Emerald Publishing

REVIEWS

Journal of Documentation , Volume 12 (2): 15 – Feb 1, 1956

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0022-0418
DOI
10.1108/eb026227
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Serious contributions to library history are all too rare, and the series of studies now being issued from the University of South Africa Department of Librarianship under the collective title of Mousaion is to be welcomed. It is proposed to publish six numbers of this journal annually in English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish. The first number dealt with Les Bibliothques Ptolmennes d'Alexandrie, and this is followed by two volumes comprising in the author's words a methodological prolegomena to library history. The term encyclopaedia in the title is used in the sense of a technical discipline of historical librarianship. The project is formidable, and it is attacked with meticulous and laborious thoroughness so laborious indeed that one sometimes has the impression of an elephant cracking a hazel nut. In history, overcomplication is as misleading as oversimplification, and the scientific historian occasionally seems to introduce his own complexities into a problem for the sheer pleasure of disentangling them. Professor de Vleeschauwer is right in saying that in this field of library history the time for anecdotes has gone though properly employed the anecdote has its uses. He is equally right in condemning the amateurishness of much that has passed for library history, and the lyricism as he calls it of works such as Parsons's The Alexandrian Library. But is he right in supposing that the only alternative is to bring into action the whole armament of deductive logic and scientific method, in his anxiety to make his picture philosophically complete, with no term undefined and no particle of it unclassified or unorganized His guns are too heavy for his target.

Journal

Journal of DocumentationEmerald Publishing

Published: Feb 1, 1956

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