The Organization of Knowledge and the System of the Sciences

The Organization of Knowledge and the System of the Sciences

The Organization of Knowledge and the System of the Sciences

The Organization of Knowledge and the System of the Sciences

Excerpt

Most of us, even those who use libraries constantly, think of them, I imagine, mainly in reference to our own personal needs. We take them for granted, and judge them by their practical efficiency in supplying us with what we want when we want it. Mr. Bliss's monumental work comes as a shock to this narrow personal attitude. That the problem of the organization of libraries connects on the one side with the scientific and educational organization of knowledge and on the other side with the promotion of social organization this book makes impressively clear. It includes, moreover, the questions of psychology concerned with effective, growing assimilation of knowledge and the logical and philosophical questions involved in the problem of the unity, interrelations, and classifications of science.

On the other side, the social side, it also makes clear that our practical activities are more and more dependent upon scientific discoveries, intellectual progress and the diffusion of genuine knowledge. Social organization depends increasingly on ability to utilize organized knowledge competently, and decreasingly on tradition and mere custom.

Underlying the treatment is a sound philosophy of the relations of the special and particular to the comprehensive and general, of theory to practice, of organization and standardization to freedom and to the needs imposed by constant growth and change. The range of solid scholarship which has been drawn upon will be obvious even to the casual reader. But the learning and the philosophy are handled as effectively as the style and treatment are clear and direct.

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