All over the world—in research laboratories, universities, factories, plantations, hospitals—there are people wanting information. All over the world, in those same places, there are people generating information. To direct the streams of information from its innumerable sources into central reservoirs, and then to channel it as required to those who need it—this is the problem we call ‘the communication of information’. Documentation is the transfer of information through the medium of documents, and it covers a large part, though not all, of the problem under discussion. This problem is not new: it has been with us for millennia. The librarians of Alexandria knew about it. The translation academies of Baghdad tackled it. Bibliographers down the centuries have kept track of recorded information. There are numerous well‐tried methods of transferring information. Why is there such a demand, now, for research into the problem?
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