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In the nineteenth century, the comparative method was seen as essential, if not fundamental, to growth and production of knowledge in the human sciences. However, over…
In the nineteenth century, the comparative method was seen as essential, if not fundamental, to growth and production of knowledge in the human sciences. However, over time the categories that formed the basis of nineteenth century comparative research (civilized: savage for example) were discredited. And so, in time, was the comparative method itself.
Putting together a volume of Advances is an interesting effort that combines a little planning and a lot of serendipity. In the years that we have been editing this annual, Ed Garten and I have spent considerable time searching through tools like Dissertation Abstracts for research studies of interest, tracking people who are doing interesting work, and commissioning articles in contemporary areas of interest. But, as often as not, some of the best of our articles have come about as a result of a chance meeting at a conference, a consulting gig, a conversation with a colleague, or some other happenstance. The papers included here are no different, reflecting both heavy scholarship and more practical information about how we as a profession administer our libraries, the programs we offer, and the work we do. As in past volumes, the context is international in scope, and the strength of the volume may be that it reinforces the idea that, while libraries (and other organizations) in Sweden, Thailand, Canada, South Africa and the United States are very different, the challenges faced and techniques used by managers are not. As a result, we the editors present these articles to you in hopes that they provide some grist for the mill as you try to bring order to your part of the world.