Wow! EDUCAT is really mean; it made me make up a new subject line ....

So I got several responses about a dissertation about Dorcas Fellows, and that's great. What I meant to say was:

I have a thousand of these ideas every day. What if we had a school devoted to these questions? What if I had doctoral students who were interested in studying how we got here? Do you think FRBR sprang full blown from the head of Zeus? It is the logical outcome of the movement Otlet began (even if it is empirically flawed). And, then we have to ask, did Otlet begin that movement? Where did he get his idea? And so forth ....

Today I was looking at Egan and Shera's Prolegomena for the first time in awhile. I had completely forgotten it opens with an engineering reference to "control" as something that regulates a machine. There's a whole dissertation! Where did that come from? What was happening at GLS, in Chicago, at UChicago, in the US, in the world at that moment that led two library professors to write about catalogs in engineering terms? And how is that on a trajectory with where we are now?

Dorcas was a fascinating character, and an incredibly influential disciple of Dewey, and yet we know next to nothing about her. Why?

So, for all of you who want PhD's in cataloging, to you I say find a professor with some good ideas and sign yourself up. And then enjoy the ride!


Richard P. Smiraglia, Professor
Editor-in-Chief, Knowledge Organization
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
Long Island University
720 Northern Blvd.
Brookville NY 11548 USA
(516) 299-2174 voice
(516) 299-4168 fax
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