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Meadows analysed the citations appearing in the 1963–5 volumes of the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, eliminating duplicate citations from consideration. He concluded, with certain assumptions, that a library of the twelve top‐ranking journals (which I assume to be ranked by number of citations per title), each held in a fifteen‐year back‐run, would meet approximately two‐thirds of the British demand for astronomical articles.
The term ‘obsolescence’ occurs frequently in the literature of librarianship and information science. In numerous papers we are told how most published literature becomes…
The term ‘obsolescence’ occurs frequently in the literature of librarianship and information science. In numerous papers we are told how most published literature becomes obsolete within a measurable time, and that an item receives half the uses it will ever receive (‘half‐life’) in a few years. ‘Obsolescence’ is however very rarely defined, and its validity, interest, and practical value are often assumed rather than explained. Before reviewing studies on ‘obsolescence’, therefore, it is necessary to look at the concept and to identify the reasons why it should be of interest.