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Evolution of the Bibliographic Control Systems and Genesis of the Concept ‘Documentation’: Contribution of Paul Otlet and Henry la Fontaine in 19th C.

Author:

Wathmanel Seneviratne

Librarian, Open University of Sri Lanka, LK
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Abstract

The paper covers a review of evidence existing for documentation systems followed in the pre Christian literary history and during the 19th C. A special attention was given to the evidence of a most comprehensive cataloguing system followed in the Alexandrian library ‘the pinakes’ which had a great impact to cataloguing, indexing and documentation tradition thereafter. Even though the concept ‘documentation’ was not introduced at that time during the 1st century to date, many attempts were made to capture the knowledge by scientists, priests, publishers and librarians especially after the printing technology was introduced in 16th C. A special attention was paid to the most versatile and systematic documentation system designed and carried out in 19th C by two visionaries, Paul Otlet and Henry la Fontaine who were creators of the concept ‘documentation’. Evidence for this effort still exists in a card based archive in Belgium and its vision and design is now identified by computer scientists as the base structure of the World Wide Web and the base architecture of modern computer networks and search engines. The article provides a brief review of the structure and history of the bibliographic repertory of 18 million index cards.

Journal of the University Librarians Association, Sri Lanka, Vol. 17, Issue 2, January 2013, Page 136-162

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/jula.v17i2.6650

How to Cite: Seneviratne, W., (2014). Evolution of the Bibliographic Control Systems and Genesis of the Concept ‘Documentation’: Contribution of Paul Otlet and Henry la Fontaine in 19th C.. Journal of the University Librarians Association of Sri Lanka. 17(2), pp.136–162. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jula.v17i2.6650
Published on 02 Mar 2014.
Peer Reviewed

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