On the History of Libraries and Scholarship: A Paper Presented Before the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association, June 26, 1979
There are signs that research into the history of libraries and research into the history of scholarship in the West are coming to be conceived as parts of a common enterprise. Generally this combined history can be summarized in terms of two great climacterics: the founding of the Museum and Library of Alexandria; and the refounding, in 1737 at the new Gottingen University, of the encyclopedic research library. This history has three constant and interlinked features: (1) the all-embracing yet dependent nature of the world of books considered as instruments for the attainment of absolute knowledge; (2) the interdependence of the world of libraries and scholarship and the world of politics, administration, and patronage; and (3) the link between the faltering of external support for libraries and scholarship and their internal loss of morale. A consideration of the current state of libraries and scholarship helps to validate this schematism. The way ahead for libraries may lie through the interaction between a constantly enlarging encyclopedic enterprise and a constantly enlarging critical reading public. A brief description of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress prefaces the pamphlet. (ESR)
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Alexandrian Library American Library Association ancien régime Aristotle August Boeckh Augustine Bibliotheque Britannica British Library British Museum British Museum Library Center century Clarendon Press climacteric Dain’s E. J. Kenney Ecce Homo edition Eighteenth-Century Eisenstein encyclopedic cohering encyclopedic research Encyclopédie episteme external support faltering of external ﬁelds ﬁn ﬁnal ﬁrst volume Georg Leyh German Gottingen System Gottingen University Henri-Irenée Henri-Jean Martin historia literarum history of libraries history of scholarship I. R. WILLISON inﬂuence inﬂuential intellectual interdependence L’Apparition du livre lecture Leibniz libraries and scholarship Library of Congress London loosely connected loss of morale Lucien Febvre Mallarmé Martin’s mathematical Max Weber McLuhan method and theme Nietzsche Oxford University Press Panizzi’s paper philosophical comprehension Plato political Principia mathematica Printed Books Printing Press Propaedia published Putnam’s Reﬂection research library scientiﬁc sequence of explanation serious reading public société a Paris tion tradition of chronicler unfocused scholarship Whitehead and Russell Wolfenbiittel world of books