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Article
Publication date: 21 August 2007

Stephen J. Bensman

To analyze the historical significance of Donald J. Urquhart, who established the National Lending Library for Science and Technology (NLL) which later was merged into the British…

455

Abstract

Purpose

To analyze the historical significance of Donald J. Urquhart, who established the National Lending Library for Science and Technology (NLL) which later was merged into the British Library Lending Division (BLLD), now called the British Library Document Supply Centre (BLDSC). His significance will be considered from the perspective of the development of science as a whole as well as library and information science in particular.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a short history of the probabilistic revolution, particularly as it developed in Britain in the form of biometric statistics due to Darwin's theory of evolution. It focuses on the overthrow of the normal paradigm, according to which frequency distributions in nature and society conform to the normal law of error. The paper discusses the importance of the Poisson distribution and its utilization in the construction of stochastic models that better describe reality. Here the focus is on the compound Poisson distribution in the form of the negative binomial distribution (NBD). The paper then shows how Urquhart extended the probabilistic revolution to librarianship by using the Poisson as the probabilistic model in his analyses of the 1956 external loans made by the Science Museum Library (SML) as well as in his management of the scientific and technical (sci/tech) journal collection of the NLL. Due to this, Urquhart can be considered as playing a pivotal role in the creation of bibliometrics or the statistical bases of modern library and information science. The paper relates how Urquhart's son and daughter‐in‐law, John A. and Norma C. Urquhart, completed Urquhart's probabilistic breakthrough by advancing for the first time the NBD as the model for library use in a study done at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, connecting bibliometrics with biometrics. It concludes with a discussion of Urquhart's Law and its probabilistic implications for the use of sci/tech journals in a library system.

Findings

By being the first librarian to apply probability to the analysis of sci/tech journal use, Urquhart was instrumental in the creation of modern library and information science. His findings force a probabilistic re‐conceptualization of sci/tech journal use in a library system that has great implications for the transition of sci/tech journals from locally held paper copies to shared electronic databases.

Originality/value

This is the second part of an article describing the seminal contribution of Donald Urquhart to the development of document supply in the UK and internationally.

Details

Interlending & Document Supply, vol. 35 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-1615

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 December 2005

Meredith Downes and Gail S. Russ

The purpose of this paper is to examine the demise of Enron, one of the most curious aspects of which was that on the surface it appeared to be thriving, giving no one any cause

6566

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the demise of Enron, one of the most curious aspects of which was that on the surface it appeared to be thriving, giving no one any cause to question the company's governance structures.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides a detailed analysis of the composition of Enron's board of directors, demonstrating how directly observable traits are not the sole determinants of effective corporate governance.

Findings

The paper finds that collectively, the board's qualifications are less overt, and even more elusive are the ethics and morals that drive the governance process.

Originality/value

This case illustrates how ethics and morals are necessary, but that none is sufficient, to deter poor governance, and also underscores the far‐reaching impact of Enron's moral deficiencies.

Details

Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, vol. 5 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 March 1982

John A Urquhart and Stephen Vickers

In a recent article in Interlending Review on the use of serials at the British Library Lending Division it is stated that: ‘Lists of titles in rank order of use have been…

Abstract

In a recent article in Interlending Review on the use of serials at the British Library Lending Division it is stated that: ‘Lists of titles in rank order of use have been produced from both the 1980 and 1975 surveys. The amount of overlap between the top titles on each list is not great, and decreases as the number of titles increases. Of the top 5,000 titles on each list, only 2,591 (52%) are common to both lists.’ The conclusion was drawn that: ‘This inconsistency of rank lists overtime sheds doubt on the continuing value of core lists of serials, which might decrease substantially in validity over a relatively short period.’ At first sight the conclusion seems justified; for example, only 60% of titles occur in the first 100 on both occasions. Let us, however, look at the overlap in more detail.

Details

Interlending Review, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0140-2773

Article
Publication date: 1 March 1972

JOHN A. URQUHART and J.L. SCHOFIELD

This paper continues the reporting of the Unit's work on a method of investigating how often readers fail to find what they are looking for on the shelves, why they fail, and what…

Abstract

This paper continues the reporting of the Unit's work on a method of investigating how often readers fail to find what they are looking for on the shelves, why they fail, and what particular books they fail to find. The method used is a slight modification of the earlier one—readers were asked to record on a slip provided the details of the book or periodical they were looking for, or subject area they were looking in, their academic status, and the date, and then to place the slip in an adjoining box. From analysis of these ‘failure’ slips it was possible to determine the cause of the reader's failure, the individual book the reader was looking for, and the pattern of failure for different groups of volumes. A new development was surveys of samples of readers, carried out during the fortnight of peak demand. Answers to these surveys provided information on the effect of failure on a reader's work, what action he took after failing, whether he found adequate substitutes, how many books he found by browsing, and what proportion of the books he consulted he borrowed. Some of these answers could be checked by a direct count of the books used in, and borrowed from, the library. The investigations were carried out in three University libraries, each with its own characteristic library structure and teaching patterns. These differences were reflected in the results obtained. It is hoped that the methods of investigation used can be employed by librarians to investigate the effectiveness of some of the services in their own libraries.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Article
Publication date: 31 December 1971

JOHN A. URQUHART and J.L. SCHOFIELD

This paper is concerned with the availability of books known to be held by the Library. It outlines a simple survey method whereby readers record the non‐availability of books…

Abstract

This paper is concerned with the availability of books known to be held by the Library. It outlines a simple survey method whereby readers record the non‐availability of books which they are looking for. The survey has already been installed at four university libraries, but the results from only one library are considered here. These results show how a librarian can find out the degree of non‐availability or failure in any particular area of the library, the causes of failure, and even the particular items which are in heavy demand and not available. They also provide information on the degree of co‐operation by the readers, the number of titles failing once, twice, three times etc., the overlap of demand for popular books by different groups of borrowers, the waiting time for books that failed, the pattern of demand for particular books over a period of time, the relationship between failure and recall, the correlation of failure from one term to the next, and the relative use of books inside and outside the library. From the results it was possible to recommend certain changes in library procedure which should have reduced failure, and to compare the titles of books failing in the Main Library with the holdings of a departmental library. The time spent on the survey and the total cost of the survey are also given.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

Article
Publication date: 1 January 1982

O. Gene Norman

In this article, I have traced the literature of marketing libraries and information services from 1970 to the present. This period immediately follows Kotler and Levy's…

Abstract

In this article, I have traced the literature of marketing libraries and information services from 1970 to the present. This period immediately follows Kotler and Levy's introductory article in the Journal of Marketing (January 1969) which first suggested the idea of marketing nonprofit organizations. The use of the marketing concept for libraries and information services was an idea which did not appear until after that date. However, many articles on specific aspects of marketing, such as publicity and public relations, were published prior to 1970. These areas have been touched upon only briefly to show their connection with marketing.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

Article
Publication date: 1 November 1982

Montreal, October 1982 — Two recent potentially disastrous occurrences on international air routes near the site of volcanic eruptions have shown the need for new procedures to…

Abstract

Montreal, October 1982 — Two recent potentially disastrous occurrences on international air routes near the site of volcanic eruptions have shown the need for new procedures to warn pilots against the danger of volcanic ash.

Details

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, vol. 54 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0002-2667

Article
Publication date: 1 June 1972

C.D. Overton

There is a section entitled ‘Too much vs Too Little’ in Robert Townsend's book Up the Organisation (London: Michael Joseph, 1970) which has a direct bearing on the subject of this…

Abstract

There is a section entitled ‘Too much vs Too Little’ in Robert Townsend's book Up the Organisation (London: Michael Joseph, 1970) which has a direct bearing on the subject of this paper: ‘A tight budget brings out the best creative instincts in man. Give him unlimited funds and he won't come up with the best way to a result. Man is a complicating animal. He only simplifies under pressure. Put him under some financial pressure … then he'll come up with a plan which, to his own private amazement, is not only less expensive, but also faster and better than his original proposal which you sent back’!

Details

Aslib Proceedings, vol. 24 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0001-253X

Article
Publication date: 5 June 2007

Stephen J. Bensman

The purpose of this article is to analyze the historical significance of Donald J. Urquhart, who established the National Lending Library for Science and Technology (NLL) that…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to analyze the historical significance of Donald J. Urquhart, who established the National Lending Library for Science and Technology (NLL) that later was merged into the British Library Lending Division (BLLD), now called the British Library Document Supply Centre (BLDSC).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper presents a short history of the probabilistic revolution, particularly as it developed in the UK in the form of biometric statistics due to Darwin's theory of evolution. It focuses on the overthrow of the normal paradigm, according to which frequency distributions in nature and society conform to the normal law of error. The paper discusses the importance of the Poisson distribution and its utilization in the construction of stochastic models that better describe reality. Here the focus is on the compound Poisson distribution in the form of the negative binomial distribution (NBD). The paper then shows how Urquhart extended the probabilistic revolution to librarianship by using the Poisson as the probabilistic model in his analyses of the 1956 external loans made by the Science Museum Library (SML) as well as in his management of the scientific and technical (sci/tech) journal collection of the NLL. Thanks to this, Urquhart can be considered as playing a pivotal role in the creation of bibliometrics or the statistical bases of modern library and information science. The paper relates how Urquhart's son and daughter‐in‐law, John A. and Norma C. Urquhart, completed Urquhart's probabilistic breakthrough by advancing for the first time the NBD as the model for library use in a study executed at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, connecting bibliometrics with biometrics. It concludes with a discussion of Urquhart's Law and its probabilistic implications for the use of sci/tech journals in a library system.

Findings

By being the first librarian to apply probability to the analysis of sci/tech journal use, Urquhart was instrumental in the creation of modern library and information science. His findings force a probabilistic re‐conceptualization of sci/tech journal use in a library system that has great implications for the transition of sci/tech journals from locally held paper copies to shared electronic databases.

Originality/value

Urquhart's significance is considered from the perspective of the development of science as a whole as well as library and information science in particular.

Details

Interlending & Document Supply, vol. 35 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0264-1615

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 30 September 2020

Vincent Geloso and Michael Hinton

We construct a new consumer price index for Canada covering the period from 1870 to 1900. Unlike previous indexes, it includes prices of clothing and household furnishings. This…

Abstract

We construct a new consumer price index for Canada covering the period from 1870 to 1900. Unlike previous indexes, it includes prices of clothing and household furnishings. This is important because these previously neglected components accounted for roughly 20% of consumers' expenditures. Moreover, the price of cotton goods, the most important textile product used for clothing and household furnishings, fell by half between 1870 and 1900 (much faster than other components of the price level). This has ramifications for both the level and trend of Canadian GDP. Because the largest changes in estimation concern the 1870s, we show that the country grew substantially faster than generally believed. It outpaced the United States so much that it entered the twentieth century with an improved economic standing relative to its southern neighbor.

1 – 10 of 373