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'So wide and varied': The origins and character of British information science

Robinson, L. & Bawden, D. (2013). 'So wide and varied': The origins and character of British information science. Journal of Information Science, 39(6), pp. 754-763. doi: 10.1177/0165551513492257


This paper examines some characteristics of the ‘British School’ of information science. Three main forces driving the development of the new subject in Britain are identified: the documentation movement; special libraries; and the need for better treatment of scientific and technical information. Five characteristics which, taken together, distinguish the early British approach to information science from those adopted elsewhere are identified: its subject-based nature; its broad approach to information and information science; its status as an academic subject with a strong professional remit; its involvement with, but distinction from, information technology; and its involvement with memory institutions. Lessons are drawn for the future development of the information sciences.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: Documentation, information science, British, information science history, special libraries, subject specialization
Subjects: Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Library & Information Science
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