It would indeed be pleasant to be able to begin this paper with the relation of many striking and significant advances made since I last spoke on the topic to Aslib, at the 1965 Annual Conference at the University of Keele. Such, alas, is not possible; it would not be too much to say, of the social sciences as a whole, what R. B. Joynson has recently said of Psychology: ‘The present sub‐divisions of Psychology are not, for the most part, the fruit of any agreed and deliberate analysis. They are historical flotsam—a haphazard collection of topics … brashly inflated by a hand‐to‐mouth empiricism into one great blooming buzzing confusion.’ Although there are a few bright patches of orderliness, I fear that much of our subject presents something of the same confusion; while I am certain that the same hand‐to‐mouth empiricism is earnestly providing classification and indexing with more than its fair share of historical flotsam.
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