The development of technical information services in the United Kingdom in the past has depended to a great extent upon the faith and evangelical approach of a small band of people. Relevant facts were difficult to find and were sometimes invented or erroneously deduced from scattered data. The oft‐repeated tale that half the world's scientific achievements have been lost because the papers recording them were never abstracted is an example of this. Such tales may have achieved some support for technical information services in the past, but this particular tale is now so widely disbelieved amongst the scientific community that those repeating it have often appeared to the working scientist as ‘cranks’. The old approach to technical information services is, however, changing. This paper is an attempt to review the present position. The opinions expressed are my own and are not necessarily those of my Department.
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