Online from: 1945
Subject Area: Library and Information Studies
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|Title:||A new history of ASLIB, 1924-1950|
|Author(s):||Dave Muddiman, (School of Information Management, Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK)|
|Citation:||Dave Muddiman, (2005) "A new history of ASLIB, 1924-1950", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 61 Iss: 3, pp.402 - 428|
|Keywords:||Document management, History, Professional associations, Special libraries, United Kingdom|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/00220410510598553 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
Purpose – ASLIB – the Association of Special Libraries and Information Bureaux – was founded in 1924 with the aim of co-ordinating the activities of specialist information services in the UK. This article seeks to present a new history of the first quarter-century of the Association.
Design/methodology/approach – This is a historical study based substantially on two collections of primary documents: ASLIB's own records, held at Aslib Headquarters, London; and the papers of Edith Ditmas, held at the National Library of Wales.
Findings – The paper explores the origins of ASLIB, and its roots in the “science lobby” of the time; it then traces the development of ASLIB as both a “national intelligence service” for science, commerce and industry, and as a quasi-professional association with international significance. It concludes that the first of these two functions was the Association's fundamental
Research limitations/implications – The research is limited to study of ASLIB in the period 1924-1950 and an obvious continuation would be a history of “corporate” ASLIB (1950-1997). More generally, the paper reveals that the history of UK documentation and information science in the twentieth century is underexplored: there is scope for future research focused on key pioneers and ideas, as well as institutions such as ASLIB.
Originality/value – As far as is known, this is the first historical study of ASLIB to be based on contemporary records: it should therefore be of value to both historians of information and library science and practitioners interested in their professional heritage.
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