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The Expansion of Bibliography : Dog-stone, Antelope, and Evidence

Michael K. Buckland is an emeritus professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information and co-director of the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative.
Dr. Buckland’s professional experience as a librarian and his work on the design of information services, especially bibliography, the design of library services, and support for online discovery, are reflected three books : Library Services in Theory and Context, 2nd ed., (Pergamon, 1988), Information and Information Systems (Praeger, 1991), and Redesigning Library Services (ALA, 1992). He has also written extensively on the history of information services, including a biography of the designer of the first electronic search engine, Emanuel Goldberg and his Knowledge Machine (Libraries Unlimited, 2006). A new book, Information and Society (MIT Press, March 2017), provides a very concise introduction to a complex area.


This text is a translation of a slightly revised version of a lecture presented on May 16, 2018 while Visiting Scholar at the École nationale supérieure des sciences de l’information et des bibliothèques (Enssib) in Lyon, France (Buckland 2018). I thank Enssib and Professor Pascal Robert for their hospitality.


Bibliographical techniques to provide sophisticated access to printed publications were developed long ago. Access to other media has been slower to develop. Two anomalies with respect to the scope of bibliography are considered. Donald F. McKenzie wrote that bibliography should be extended to all media including culturally significant landscapes, for example a stone associated with a legend. Librarian Suzanne Briet and her student Robert Pagès asserted that an animal in a cage can be a document. These examples are examined in relation to the history and theory of bibliography, the relationship between bibliographies and other reference works and their powers (affordances). It is concluded that for some areas of bibliography these examples are irrelevant. But these examples call into question the limitation of bibliography to printed materials.
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