What is Documentation?
I. A Technique of Intellectual Work
From the very beginning, Latin culture and its heritage have given to the word document the meaning of instruction or proof. RICHELET’s dictionary, just as LITTRÉ’s, are two French sources that bear witness to this. A contemporary bibliographer concerned about clarity has put forth this brief definition: “A document is a proof in support of a fact.”
If one refers to the “official” definitions of the French Union of Documentation Organizations [l’Union Française des Organismes de Documentation], one ascertains that the document is defined as “all bases of materially fixed knowledge, and capable of being used for consultation, study, and proof.”
This definition has often been countered by linguists and philosophers, who are, as they should be, infatuated with minutia and logic. Thanks to their analysis of the content of this idea, one can propose here a definition, which may be, at the present time, the most accurate, but is also the most abstract, and thus, the least accessible: “any concrete or symbolic indexical sign [indice], preserved or recorded toward the ends of representing, of reconstituting, or of proving a physical or intellectual phenomenon.”
Is a star a document? Is a pebble rolled by a torrent a document? Is a living animal a document? No. But the photographs and the catalogues of stars, the stones in a museum of mineralogy, and the animals that are cataloged and shown in a zoo, are documents.
In our age of multiple and accelerated broadcasts, the least event, scientific or political, once it has been brought into public knowledge, immediately becomes weighted down under a “vestment of documents” [vêture de documents] (Raymond Bayer2). Let us admire the documentary fertility of a simple originary fact: for example, an antelope of a new kind has been encountered in Africa by an explorer who has succeeded in capturing an individual that is then brought back to Europe for our Botanical Garden [Jardin des Plantes]. A press release makes the event known by newspaper, by radio, and by newsreels. The discovery becomes the topic of an announcement at the Academy of Sciences. A professor of the Museum discusses it in his courses. The living animal is placed in a cage and cataloged (zoological garden). Once it is dead, it will be stuffed and preserved (in the Museum). It is loaned to an Exposition. It is played on a soundtrack at the cinema. Its voice is recorded on a disk. The first monograph serves to establish part of a treatise with plates, then a special encyclopedia (zoological), then a general encyclopedia. The works are cataloged in a library, after having been announced at publication (publisher catalogues and Bibliography of France3). The documents are recopied (drawings, watercolors, paintings, statues, photos, films, microfilms), then selected, analyzed, described, translated (documentary productions). The documents that relate to this event are the object of a scientific classifying (fauna) and of an ideologic [idéologique] classifying (classification). Their ultimate conservation and utilization are determined by some general techniques and by methods that apply to all documents––methods that are studied in national associations and at international Congresses. The cataloged antelope is an initial document and the other documents are secondary or derived.
GUTENBERG’S invention has created such a voluminous and intense typographical production, especially in the last one hundred years, that the problem of the conservation and utilization of graphic documents4 became acute. Since the seventeenth century, the abundance of written documents has required a scientific method of prospecting [prospection] and of classifying books and manuscripts –– bibliography. Louise-Noelle MALCLÈS5 has defined “bibliography” thus: “Bibliography is the knowledge of all published or copied texts. It is based on the research, the identification, the description, and the classification of documents, in view of organizing services or building instruments that are aimed toward facilitating intellectual work. One particular technique unites these different steps…the four successive operations constitute the technique, or the science, of bibliography, and they result in catalogues that are themselves called bibliographies. … It appears necessary, then, to separate two senses of the word and to distinguish a bibliographical theory which establishes rules of research and of classification, and a bibliographical practice which applies such rules to the production of tools of research, which are themselves bibliographies.”
The central reserves which constitute the great national libraries (Paris, 7 million imprints, Washington, 8,700,000) could not dominate –– or, we would gladly say, tame –– their riches and place them at the disposal of a wider and wider public without the help of tools which allow access to the documents which are collected there. Current catalogues, retrospective catalogues, and union catalogues are obligatory documentary tools, and they are the practical intermediaries between graphical documents and their users. These catalogues of documents are themselves documents of a secondary degree.
With the specialization of studies and the multiplication of all kinds of activities that we see proliferating throughout our society, relations and points of view have taken on greater mobility and more variety (BLISS6). “Knowledge and studies, science and practice could not exist without the efficient exploration of documents and a rigorous organization of documentary work.”
Out of such a need appear centers and departments of documentation, which are the most dynamic agencies of documentation. Directories of documentary agencies have appeared in many countries. (France 1935, 1942, 1948, 1951; Great Britain 1928; the Netherlands 1937; Belgium 1947; Switzerland 1946).
Thus, a new profession is born––that of the documentalist––that corresponds to the functions of the person who documents others. The documentalist is that person who performs the craft of documentation. He must possess the techniques, methods, and tools of documentation. It is now possible for this person to become a licensed technician: a state diploma exists in France since the establishment of the National Institute of Documentary Techniques [InstitutNational des Techniques de la Documentation (INTD)], attached to the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts [Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers), (Decree of December the first, 1950).
Little by little, the theory of documentation has grown since the great period of the typographical explosion that began in the third quarter of the nineteenth century, which corresponds to the development of the historical sciences as the progress of technique. OTLET had been its magus, the international leader, with his Institute of Bibliography in Brussels, his universal decimal classification system, his Council of Scientific Unions, and his Mundaneum. Others, less ambitious––or, more prudent––plowed the furrows of a culture that failed, in Otlet’s circle, to descend from the clouds. Documentology7lost nothing in alleviating itself of a Universal Bibliographic Catalog [Répertoire Bibliographique Universel––RBU], which everyone had considered a dream and which did not offer a comparable attraction to the most localized of union catalogues.
While the book, originally issuing from the leaf, presently tends to burst in its constitutive elements because of the need for mobility, other documentary forms appear through modem inventions and enrich the collection of human tools thanks to documentographies8. One is no longer content with the book, with the printed fragment, the review article, the newspaper clipping, the archival copy. One transfers an entire work with its illustrations onto micro- films, microfiches, and onto “microcards.”A thick binder, microfilmed, can fit into a vest pocket. An entire library is contained in a handbag. The scientific quest extends itself to documentary items of all types, iconographic, metallic, monumental, megalithic, photographic, radio-televised. The selection of documents annexes to itself the newest techniques. “Pre-documentalist” professions, themselves, set off along this race toward documents. The young generations of archivists and museum specialists decipher ancient texts with the microfilm “reader” and create photo-fiches where the image of the museum piece sits next to its scientific description, as at the Documentation Center for Egyptology and at the Carnavalet Museum. The most venerable libraries annex to themselves offices of documentation and photographic laboratories, such as the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, which shows its productivity in the areas of microfilm and color photography. Enormous collections of films and photographs are amassed in Washington at the Library of Congress and at the State Archives.
Documentary unity tends to get close to the elementary idea, to the unity of thought, while the forms of documents grow, the amount of documents increase, and the techniques of the documentalist craft are perfected.
Documentation for oneself or for others has appeared in the eyes of many people as “a cultural technique” of a new type.
This technique has prospered, first of all, in the area of scientific research, properly speaking, that is, in the sciences and their applications. The human sciences adopted it more belatedly. One can easily understand the reasons for this. Indeed, in the fields of science and technology [technique], documentation is almost constantly renewed, in a very narrow time span; this or that invention or discovery have become outmoded facts, and thus, too well known to be used as the object of new studies. In contrast, in the fields of the hu- man sciences, documentation proceeds by accumulation: literature, history, philosophy, law, economics, and the history of the sciences itself are tributaries of the past. Erudition is conservative. Science is revolutionary. The evolution of human knowledge is a permanent compromise between two mental attitudes. Invention and explanation, reflection and hypothesis divide the field of thought. Documentation is their servant: blithe as a milkmaid9, or sumptuously dressed according to the wishes of its masters, the scholars.
The evolution of intellectual work manifests itself on the scholar’s worktable. The conditions and the tools of mental work today are very different from what they previously were. MONTAIGNE retired in his round tower, BOSSUET to the bishop’s garden, DESCARTES in his secret dwelling, EDISON locked himself away. Spinoza only had sixty books. In Louis XIV’s France, only seventy books a year were published. Now there appears an average of l2,000, not counting reprints. In 1947, five million volumes had been published in the United States, of which 40 percent were textbooks. Seven million diverse documents come in each year to the Library of Congress in Washington. Important centers of documentation receive and regularly abstract between 100 and 2,000 journals. The entries in the Bulletin de Documentation Bibliographique, the current French bibliography of bibliographies, amount to about 2,000 to 2,500 per year.
800,000 periodical articles had appeared before the last world war. The Periodical Department10 handles more than a million French and foreign items a year, some of which duplicate those in the French legal deposit.
Tabelle 1 (von S. 14)
BRADFORD has shown that the analyses of scientific articles find themselves redone in several periodicals, most often two or three times, while missing from the important proportion of half of the periodicals. The same BRADFORD (thanks to some statistical surveys which allowed him to formulate the so-called “Bradford’s law”) has had the merit of specifying the percentage (33%) of noteworthy articles on a particular subject that could be found in journals specializing in another subject. Moreover, a detailed study of the work of analytical journals led him to the conclusion that, in principle, two-thirds of the collections of specialized documentation agencies did not directly relate to the profile of the agency, and that nonetheless, the totality of the documentation of interest to the specialty couldn’t be found anywhere.
The cumulative documentation at the disposal of the human sciences overwhelms in importance and in quantity the figures, however impressive, of scientific production, per se. It seems that an Ariadne’s thread may be still more important to a humanist than to a scientist.11 The immense libraries with which the scholar surrounds himself, and those which he consults beyond his abode, are for him a field of exploration, partly untapped. The systematic use of witnesses of the past is not possible. The investigation, here, is in a freer manner than in the scientific domains. “The margin for personal choice” is larger (PAGÈS12).
Still, the tools of intellectual work have deeply transformed the attitude of the scholar, whatever his specialty may be. The factors of space and time intervene much more than in the past. The hourly calendar, the telephone, the microfilm reader, the typewriter, the Dictaphone, and the teletype give to intellectual work a different rhythm.
“At the beginning of knowledge there is the examination of facts,” said BACON. CARNEGIE13 advised to never undertake an enterprise “before having thoroughly examined all the works” which may have already been done on the subject in question. The problem may be, rather, of selecting the best works. It is upon this problem that a competency is necessary. It is there that a rigorous method comes to the rescue of the researcher. “Order is the rarest of things in the operations of the mind” said FÉNELON. Order, marking, selection: three essential steps in intellectual occupations. In the task of “collectivizing” knowledge, which is truly of our time, the documentary analysis or “abstract”14 has appeared as one of the most rapid and most reliable means of announcing and communicating thought. It is the role of specialized libraries, of centers of documentation, and of technical journals to put on the desk of the specialist an analytical and sometimes critical resume of new things that interest him, and which permit him to detect the sources that he can, if he so desires, utilize by way of reading the material directly or by way of photographic reproduction. Data processing responds to the needs of a research that works upon masses of documents with easily codified statistical indices.
At the forefront of scientific and technical research, modern documentation has become one of the most effective factors of productivity throughout all areas. It will suffice to take two examples: that of the CNRS15 and that of NEYRPIC.16 The National Center of Scientific Research [CNRS], with its teams of abstractors and specialized translators, with its journal collections and its microfilm service, has established itself in the minds of our scholars as an institution that one would not know how to do without. The NEYRET-PICTET firm, with its documentation service very strongly related to the activities of the laboratories, of the shops and of the research units, made immense progress in the application of hydraulics throughout the world.
Orientation guides have made known those possibilities that are available through conservators and distributors of documentation or information. They have been nationally established for all scientific interests and activities, or for a group that is more or less widespread throughout a country. Manuals of Documentary Research have been created in France to point the researcher to the best works, periodical article, centers and associations, libraries and museums, and specialized publishers.
Scientific research has become aware of itself in nearly all fields. In order to leave behind “chaos” and documentary bottleneck, collective undertakings of research and documentation were organized. The documentalist has become a “team player” (VERNE17). He has played his role in solving the problem that consists in “giving free rein” to the “individual and subconscious investigating capabilities of each, while placing at the disposal of all the documentation which interests a group of researchers” (WIGNER18). The documentalist freed the individual labor of the scientist from ponderous servitude. Under any circumstances, this requires that the documentalist know the specialty that he professionally assists and it requires that he gather the bibliography, or better, the documentography accumulated by the researchers themselves. Files on the competencies, interests, and gaps of the researchers may be of the greatest interest (documentation on persons and possibilities for collective research). Documentation, while it is intimately tied to the life of a team of workers or scientists or scholars-or while it participates in an industrial, commercial, administrative, teaching activity, etc., can in certain cases end in a genuine creation, through the juxtaposition, selection, and the comparison of documents, and the production of auxiliary documents. The content of documentation is, thus, inter-documentary.
There are other problems of documentation that scholars lately have underlined with a certain vehemence. Namely, in regard to the speed of service and to the completeness of documentary information. The American professor, BURCHARD,19 while recognizing the dynamism and efficiency of librarians in his country, reckons that science found its Waterloo in libraries. According to him, interlibrary loan is a process of delayed action. The union catalogue entails a long waiting period. For several years, even if one is in a better position to rapidly obtain a photo or microfilm, the time factor still remains no less formidable for the time-pressed scholar. The ephemeral nature of scientific information imposes upon the worker in this area a certain intellectual behavior and it demands adequate tools. As ever, the scholar obtains information by his personal relations, by his readings, and by the bibliography that he finds there. But more and more, he becomes informed by abstracts20 and by reports. Microfilm brings to the scientific researcher in his laboratory, onto his writing table, the document itself, as a small volume and in its entirety.
Is the scholar confident of having the power to locate the entirety of that documentation which interests him? The centers and offices of documentation read it for him. Documentary work is organized collectively. However, an important part of scientific documentation remains secret, in certain areas at least. Jean THIBAUD21 has recently translated [a traduit] the anxiety of scholars regarding the fact that “science” now appears “as the most essential of warlike activities in a time of peace.” The great EINSTEIN has given the cry of alarm: “the field of information unceasingly shrinks under the pressure of military necessity.” Secret documentation is an insult inflicted upon documentation.
The moment has arrived to prove that the exercise of documentation, with all its possibilities and all its perfected means, effectively constitutes a new cultural technique. Documentation is becoming more and more technical, as a specialized skill. M. Le ROLLAND22 has told us that the hand provides for thought, just as a task which is partly manual serves culture, that is to say, it enriches man. He cites Julian HUXLEY23: The hands receive a precise tactile image from the materials they handle, the eyes receive a precise image from what they see….The most complete definition of objects by conceptual thought has been followed by their most complete mastery by means of tools and machines.” The hand has served the mind; the tool has developed the brain. The brain in turn guides the hand. Such is the omnipresence of intelligence. “Documentation is to culture as the machine is to industry” (PAGÈS).
It is not too much to speak of a new humanism in this regard. A different breed of researchers “is in the making.”24 It springs from the reconciliation of the machine and the mind. Modern man cannot repudiate any aspect of his heritage. Relying on the rich experiences of the past that have been passed on to him, he resolutely turns toward the world of tomorrow. The constant development of humanity requires that the masses and the individual adapt. Here, technology [technique] is thẻ symptom of a social need. “One characteristic of modern documentation is that of the coordination” of diverse “sectors in the same organization.”
Thus, documentation appears as the corrective to ever advancing specialization. Closed within the more or less spacious limits of his specialty, the researcher needs to be guided through the frontier regions of his particular domain. Orientation along the margins of a subject, prospecting some of the sources in an area of research, determining expertise––these are the many requirements involved in the coordination of diverse activities.
(Translators’ Note: In the original printing of the following chart, the alignment of terms between columns is not exact. The following constitutes our best reading of Briet’s chart.]
(Tabelle 2, S. 18-19)
II. A Distinct Profession
For Louis RAGEY25
“Homo documentator” is born out of new conditions of research and technology [technique).
While in certain countries, such as Great Britain, the archival trade is treated with good reason as a “new profession,” modern archives are more and more closely similar to, properly speaking, centers of documentation, as RAGANATHAN has not failed to point out. Most administrative papers are distributed in the form of type or print. Most official publications take a periodical form. The file, the memorandum, the report are treated as documentary elements, and not as library books. Libraries, deprived of the more mobile forms of documentation (printed, typed, photographed, etc.) remain the distributors of documentation of the past, but they see research at all its stages escape from them, retaining only the exhibition of acquired facts. Major instruments in the preservation and conservation of culture, general libraries follow with inevitable slowness the progress of knowledge and the progress of the technical approach to documents. Specialized libraries are much closer to the centers of research, and for the most part they tend to transform into centers of documentation, with or without the name. The “information” or “intelligence officers,”26 that one has seen multiply in the industrial centers of Great Britain or the United States, are the first cousins of French documentalists.” Trained or not in library schools, they are born out of the same specialized cultural environment as the institution of which they are part. They satisfy all the requirements of the creed by which the documentalist is: first, a subject specialist, that is to say, that he possesses a cultural specialization related to that of the institution where he is employed; second, understands the techniques of the form of documents and their treatment (choice, conservation, selection, reproduction); third, respects the documents in their physical and intellectual integrity; fourth, is capable of proceeding to an interpretation and selection of the value of the documents which he is responsible for in view of their distribution or documentary synthesis.
Robert PAGÈS has put forward that the professions of the librarian, archivist, and museum curator were “pre-documentalist” professions and, that the librarian was becoming in our time “a particular kind of documentalist.” This is absolutely not about precedence. Graphic documentation being much more voluminous in the present as in the past, the traditional techniques of preservation and of the history of book collections and assimilated documents will maintain for a long time still a preeminence that is beyond dispute. But already for the great collections of the past the word “bibliography” is no longer appropriate, even if one could give it a meaning large enough to cover catalogs of all types. For the presence in a library of busts, medals, geographical maps, and personal memorabilia demand that one henceforth use the word documentography.”
It is not rare that the documentalist is found at the head of an establishment that contains a specialized library, a research section, an analytical and/or bibliographical newsletter, a photo-microfilm service, an exhibition hall, press clippings, and translations. Archivist, librarian, collection curator––our documentalist is all these at once. He thus needs––beside his initial cultural specialization––to be knowledgeable about the professions he actually comes close to. Moreover, he creates secondary documents out of the originals, which are appropriately called primary documents. The documentalisttranslates, analyzes, recopies, photographs, publishes, selects, compares, and coordinates such documents. He is a “team player” in the organization of research and in the implementation of actions that are foundational for a nation. His profession, half intellectual, half manual, is that of an auxiliary to practical research; that is, of being a ‘servant to the servants of Science.”
SIMONS has compared libraries to a storehouse of fertilizers that specialists would be responsible for spreading on the fields so as to make them fertile. We could say that documentalists are the technicians of an improved fertilization of areas that are close or distant from scientific culture. While public reading is for the masses, documentation addresses selected specialists. Documentary work––based on cultural specialization––corresponds to an activity whose specificity no longer has to be demonstrated. What we call “documentary technique” is a combination of techniques that are originally combined and then multiply applied. It goes without saying that one would not require for the student of documentation the curriculum of the École des Chartes27 and of the Diplôme supérieur de bibliothécaire.28 If it is necessary to teach cataloging in fifty hours in a library school, one would be satisfied with five hours, for example, in a course designed for documentalists.
The preservation, exhibition, and. maintenance of documents will have their place reduced in the curriculum. On the other hand, the standardization, classification, the organization of work within an institution, and the dissemination [of documents] to users, will occupy many more hours than in the neighboring programs.
It is necessary to underline here that the aptitudes and the tasks are not the same at the levels of the assistants and the documentalists; this very useful distinction guides the professional training and the status of assistant documentalists and that of documentalists.
Let us proceed from an analysis of the programs of instruction to an analysis of the content of the profession. Instruction pertains to the methods and instruments of documentation. The methods are: standardization, documentary prospecting, bibliography, cataloging, filing, classification, dissemination, and exposition. The instruments or means of documentation are found in the catalog and its cards, files, newspaper clippings, typewriters, calculators, sorting machines, photography, microfilm, and remote transmission [la télétransmission].
It happens that the methods of documentary work are borrowed from old or neighboring techniques. All those that one may group under the common heading of collection or conservation, and more particularly, of cataloging, come from pre-documentalist professions. In regard to standardization, or general rationalization, only those specifications recommended in the field of documentation have been kept. Filing and classification are of the greatest importance in the dynamic work of the documentalist. But it is in documentary distribution and what is conventionally called documentary pro- duction that there is a genuine professional creation. Orientation toward resources, organizations, and competencies gives to the totality of documentary activities its impulse of a turning wheel and its circular diffusion to the four points of the compass.
Documentary tools, like documentary methods, originate from independent inventions that have found their full employment in the new profession.
Let us now say a word on each of the methods and means that documentation employs. Standardization has been interested in the methods and means of documentation from the eve of the last war. The International Association of Standards (ISA) has done a study in some of its Bulletins (nos. 22 and 23) on the form of bibliographic references, the presentation of periodicals, the summary of reviews, and the formats of cards and papers. (The French Association of Standards [Association Française de Normalisation––AFNOR] has done its own study of the consequences on the national level of directives of the ISA. This effort has led to the establishment in 1940 of the French Commission of Documentation, which having been restructured and subdivided into sections after the war, is dedicated to terminology, bibliographic references, the presentation of periodicals, to the furniture and tools of documentation agencies, and to the presentation of papers.
One subcommittee of the Code of cataloging, located at the Bibliothèque Nationale, has led, with the attentive involvement of librarians, bibliographers, and documentalists, to vast and minute works on the cataloging of common imprints, of engravings, of music, and of geographic maps. Some original texts have been finalized by this commission. Let us name among others: congresses, exhibitions, official publications, posters, and liturgical works. In 1945 AFNOR submitted to public inquiry the first results of this work under the form of a provisionary edition of the Code and of important fragments of the presentation of author entries, journal article entries, analytical entries, etc. AFNOR has furthermore accredited a text of Madame CHAUVIN on the rules of the alphabetical arrangement of commercial di- rectories, whose needs are different from those of library catalogs, and whose utilization in banks, industrial, and commercial establishments is now assured. In 1930 the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation29 published a Code of periodical title abbreviations that AFNOR adopted for France with some changes in 1944. These different decisions were examined during an international meeting of the ISO (the organization that replaced the ISA) in May 1950. Thanks to an international agreement, some national secretariats have been established in order to solve different issues.
The standardization of card formats has considerably simplified documentary work. Thus, the international card size (75 x 125 [mm]), which is an American invention (NFq 31-003), has now been adopted under the appellation of the library card in all countries, including those that have adopted particular standards for their paper formats. Now, the library card format is a unique format, not related to any initial paper standard. This inconvenience, relating to the French metrical standard (or DIN) dating back to the Convention,30 did not prevent the United States from creating a union catalog on a continental scale. Photography and microfilm have an equal need for standardization. Central and Northern Europe have understood all the advantages and economy that the metrical format can give them. The formats of French paper NFq 02-001 are similar to the Anglo-Saxon formats without, however, being identical.
Documentary prospecting [prospection] is principally performed through bookstores and through bibliography. The book is still the principal source for the research of scholarly documents, and the publisher or bookstore catalogs are the most certain means for detecting interesting works. New and second-hand works are offered in catalogs with their price. Current national bibliographies (Biblio,31 Bibliography of France) make known those recent publications that have been legally deposited in the properly designated preservation center. Periodicals as well as books are included. Retrospective, national, or specialized bibliographies, organized by author or by subject, allow research by titles and feature particularities of editions. Periodicals themselves play an important role in discovering new publications by their critical articles and by means of their columns on current bibliography. The indexes or abstracts of periodicals, obtained by the merging and accumulation of the summaries and of tables of contents of these periodicals, allow the easy finding of articles written by a given author or of diverse studies on a particular subject. Sadly, there aren’t indexes for all countries, or exhaustive periodical indexes for all disciplines. The International Conference of Bibliography, organized by UNESCO in Paris in November 1950 has noted, among other gaps, the insufficient periodical indexing for the totality of countries represented at the conference.
If the contacts between researchers remain the most vibrant manner for learning about what they’re interested in––works in progress, unedited manuscripts, forthcoming works, etc.––bibliography is the most important source for information on documentary resources. It is necessary to distinguish three types of instruments: bibliographical catalogs or monographs, reviews of current bibliography, and the great catalogs of libraries. The last ones tend to stand for universal bibliographies. By juxtaposing major catalogs, such as those of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the British Museum, the Library of Congress, and the Gesamtskatalog [sic],32 one would approach a universal bibliography. While certain less developed countries did not succeed in including recent publications or national patrimony within their national bibliographies, others, among the greatest, possess catalogs that are bibliographic monuments, by the richness of their content as well as by the scientific character of their descriptive methods.
The entry record in a documentary agency is one thing, the catalog is an- other. Orderliness demands that every document carry an accession number, which remains attached to it as an unchanging legal identification. And that, moreover, it bear a reference or call number according to a material classification that allows it to be found. The topographical catalog follows step by step the arrangement on shelves, in the filing cabinets, and in the binders. Author, title, and subject catalogs allow one to answer diverse questions from patrons: Do such works exist? Under the name of an author? Under a given title? What works can be read on such and such a topic? Alphabetic catalogs are matched up with systematic catalogs where documents are grouped together by cultural affinity. Catalogs, as bibliographies, may bring together, in a same alphabetic list, in a same systematic group, diverse documentary formats: books, manuscripts, medals, geographical maps, engravings, photos, and objects. There are catalogs of megalithic stones, stellar spectrums, and epigraphic documents. Documentography is the enumeration and description of diverse documents.
Arranging allows immediate order and permanent storage. Books are not arranged in the same way as when sold in a bookshop, exhibited in an art museum, or when consulted in a specialized library. The use that is intended for the documents, under precise circumstances, determines the type of arrangement. Practical solutions are to be preferred in every case. Nonetheless, arrangement must be distinguished apart from classification. In a museum, arrangement is done and undone according to the needs of the display. In a library, theoretically, volumes have their immutable place, where they return to after having been used.
Concrete classification has to be distinguished from the classification of knowledge. New encyclopedic systems of classification puzzle documentalists, who most often prefer their own classification that fits all their needs. An agency of documentation has a particular point of view in agreement with its own specialization and its peripheral ones, which may be of interest for neighboring disciplines. In this case, it is necessary to build anew a particular classification that takes notice of primary and secondary concerns, inventories all of them, and classifies them in a rational way.
Encyclopedic classifications, which have their direct application in general libraries, can help in constructing concrete classifications––BRUNET33 inspired many classifications in France during the past hundred years; DEWEY is widely implemented in the Americas. But even with this, the specialists won’t be relieved of the task of rethinking every category of their own activity according to existing classes. The development of sciences induces on the one side philosophers and on the other side professionals in documentation to keep encyclopedic classifications up to date. Among the systems that have been of diverse favor in the beginning of the century, the BLISS, the BROWN, the RANGANATHAN, it is necessary to place completely apart the application of the DEWEY decimal system, the famous Universal Decimal Classification, usually called UDC. The Bibliographic Institute of Brussels started it a little more than fifty years ago. An international committee has the responsibility of extending it to new subjects, and of reforming it. It is mainly implemented in central and northern Europe. Nevertheless, France has lined up a growing number of UDC users in the last years, and UFOD, taking over from the French Bibliographic Bureau, recently created a French committee on the Universal Decimal Classification that will have to play its part in the task assumed by the lnternational Federation for Documentation. The proper job of documentation agencies is to produce secondary documents, derived from those initial documents that these agencies do not ordinarily create, but which they sometimes preserve. Whether these agencies are centers of conservation or whether they intervene as simple users or as relays for the benefit of a category of users, documentary production holds a distinctive place within them. We are now at the heart of the documentalist’s profession. These secondary documents are called: translations, analyses, documentary bulletins, files, catalogues, bibliographies, dossiers, photographs, microfilms, selections, documentary summaries, encyclopedias, and finding aids. It is necessary to survey the train of documentary tasks, as much as the problems of their development in a world of accelerated technical evolution.
It is no longer necessary to demonstrate the importance of knowing foreign languages for guaranteeing any of the documentary forms. For under- standing documents, it is necessary to be able to read them, and today very few subjects are expressed in the linguistic limits of a single language. Thus, it will be the job of the documentalist to deliver to the users documents in diverse languages by the use of high quality translations, where there appears a perfect understanding of the subject matter. Nothing is more important, nor so rare, as encountering the cultural specialization of the polyglot; indeed, the project of organizing for France a clearing34 for translations, that would make available the names of specialists––scientific workers––capable of translating this or that language has been established. Already, the Bureau of Documentation [Direction de la Documentation) for more than the past year has published lists of articles translated under its auspices. In addition, an effort must be made to focus upon the terminology of documentation and its most current productions, the particular terminologies of the most diverse activities as elaborated by the specialists themselves (chemists, doctors, philosophers, bankers, etc.). The glossary of the Librarian will soon appear under the auspices of UNESCO.
The original or translated book needs to be disseminated. lt is not enough to translate its title or to assign its principal subject or subjects for a catalog: it is necessary to show its importance in a more or less exhaustive analysis or review. The descriptive reference is accompanied by an analysis that may be short or long. The issue of documentary analyses was evoked in 1949 and 1950 at international sessions convened by UNESCO about, first, medicine, then sciences and technology, and eventually, economics and the social sciences. Progress has been made and recommendations have been communicated about the cooperative preparation and standardized presentation of analyses. The coordination of the analyses efforts mentioned in the Index Bibliographicus,35 third edition (first volume in press, second in preparation), is now occurring, thanks to the cooperation of UNESCO, Scientific Associations, and the International Federation for Documentation.
It is sometimes asserted that a single analysis should be sufficient to describe a book, and BRADFORD was no stranger to this trend toward unification, that is to say, non-duplication. This question needs a closer look.
Without speaking about linguistic necessities––a single language cannot ad- dress all the world’s needs-we must not forget that perspectives change with cultural backgrounds and that the same book will have different uses in a mechanics center or in a hydraulics firm. Far from desiring a single analysis for everyone, it seems that we should consider a short analysis or synopsis for each broad area of activity and a narrowly specialized, functional analysis. The former will occur in publications like the Bulletin analytique of the CNRS, the latter one will be the prerogative of very specialized documentary bulletins or in-house bulletins (house organs36). Researchers and specialists will be asked an analysis convenient for specific needs. Far from being impersonal and versatile, this latter type of analytic documentation constitutes what we could call the gray matter of documentation agencies.
Descriptive or analytic entries are periodically published in the Bulletins of documentation, where, beside various pieces of information, and sometimes leading articles, all that is useful to a professional or scientific activity is distributed to the users. Bulletins ordinarily depend on the classification of the publishing agency. Headings may or may not be numbered. Documentary elements are to be retrieved or not in an index at the end of each issue or in a cumulative index. Notes may or may not be cut off, to be inserted in a file. Bulletins communicate to the users, near or far, a documentation that one could call predigested.
Let us return to the description or mark-up of documents. These notes have to be extremely mobile, able to be classified according to the needs of a desired order, and to be interfiled without delay in series that are instantly extensible. These needs lie at the origin of the invention of the card (fiche), which exists in many formats, adopted for use or standardized in certain countries. The most well-known filing card is called the international filing card. Its dimensions are often too small for certain uses. One can double it or increase it tenfold to enlarge the original. Directories present a different attraction than card catalogs, for, though they don’t allow interfiling, they do offer the advantage of being consultable at a distance. Catalogs encompass periods or limited series: they are assembled by accumulation or by the merger of card catalogs. They include indexes when systematic. Still, the most widely spread is that of alphabetic order, organized by authors, titles, or subjects. Cataloging, “ars catalogandi,” is at the heart of the librarian’s profession, who is often guided in his or her work by cataloging rules that are specific to an establishment, type of library, country, or group of countries. We have seen that a French cataloging code for librarians, bibliographers, and documentalists, was being prepared by AFNOR, in collaboration with the Bibliothèque Nationale. The Anglo-American Code37 and the Vatican Library cataloging rules codify the Anglo-Saxon approach. The codification extends to more and more documentary forms: books, engravings, maps, photographs, recorded disks, art works, bookbinding, book-plates, museum collections, patents, etc. The establishment of tables of contents and indexes deserves a place in professional education.
Catalogs inform us as to the location of documents for purchasing, consulting, or borrowing. Bibliographies inform us as to the choices that are available in regard to such and such a book in relation to a given subject. Documentographies extend the field of this selection. Bibliographies, in contrast to catalogs, are classified according to a rational order, chronological or systematic. In order to be satisfactory, the bibliography, just as the documentography, must be constructed––in respect to the norms of presentation or the forms of the entries––by the collection specialists. Bibliography operates by selection and elimination, according to a hierarchical order. It is accompanied or not by judgments of value.
The orientation or localization of documents is done by union catalogs. The orientation or information on the proper topic of the documents is per- formed by abstracts, documentary bulletins, and bibliographies that are of interest to the specialists of the subject, which may be, according to the publication format, very vast or slim. The orientation of agencies and competencies is assured by guides which, when they take on the orientation
of documents themselves and of bibliography, give unanimist38 publications, such as the MANUELS DE LA RECHERCHE DOCUMENTAIRE published by the French Union of Documentation Organizations [UFOD); GÉOGRAPHIE, under the direction of M. Emm. de MARTONNE; PHILOSOPHIE, under the direction of M. R. BAYER; SCIENCES ECONOMIQUES (in preparation) under the direction of M. Ch. MORAZÉ. It is to be wished that, following the example of France, other countries reveal to researchers their documentary resources. This is the resolution adopted by the International Conference of Documentation held at Oxford in 1938.
The documentary orientation can correct what may sometimes be too narrow about specialization in its depth. The documentalist, much more than the researcher, needs to open the windows of his specialization to a horizon without limits. This “biased” dynamism of constantly surveying the extent of its specialization corresponds to that which an author has justly called the documentalist “attitude,” or still yet, the professional comportment of a documentalist. It is known that only 30 percent of the useful documentation produced in a documentary service is related to the specialization of the agency itself.
Thus, we now perceive two tendencies: with librarians, the concern is that of producing card catalogs, and consequently increasingly vast, almost universal union catalogs which are able to respond to the question: where can one find a particular work, a rare edition?–– without respect to the subject involved. On the other side, with documentalists, there is an effort to prospect and divulge the very diverse means of access to multiform documents, with the means specific to each discipline. These two tendencies correspond to the specialty of the professions: the former is essentially related to the form of documents, the latter is centered on the cultural or functional specialization. The researchers and scholars find their rewards in these two enterprises of current awareness and orientation.
The first activities are more traditional than those of documentation. Only orientation ensures the transition.
For the past few centuries, the book has remained the bibliographic entity. Autographs were grouped within books. Engravings were preserved within albums. Periodicals were bound in volumes. Today, books have a tendency to become scattered in loose leaves. The book accompanies the scholar’s notepad. The publishing business reconsiders its methods for best responding to the demand of the century.
For some decades, the fact, information, the periodical text, the illustration have been isolated from their contexts: pulled from the book, the daily paper, the periodical, the official newspaper, and given a place in binders. By an inverse evolution of the card catalog, which schematizes and brings together descriptions of documents, the construction of such binders tends to present the documents themselves, assembling them for ease of consultation. This happens in the majority of cases with graphic documents. It is nevertheless possible to find in binders an example, a specimen, of a given matter. Next to filing cards and catalogs which present the schematized picture of documents through an abstract description of their formal aspect, accompanied or not by a photograph, one may now notice parallel catalogs obtained by the codification of elements that enables statistics or selection. Here, the word disappears and even the letter is absent, as we are dealing with perforated card machines. Statistical data-processing [mécanographie] gets us accustomed to replicating the cards that are legible with cards in which each mark is a conventionally agreed upon translation for the directly intelligible signs. The progress of cybernetics, especially at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, links the complicated precision of an already old automatism to the flashy quickness of more effective electro-technical applications. The documentalist will be more and more dependent upon tools whose technicality increases with great rapidity. “Homo documentator” must prepare himself to take command––with all his senses awake––over the robots of tomorrow. The value of the machine will be that of a servant. “Our ability to overtake machinism lies in our possibilities of assimilating the machine” (MUMFORD39).
The hand copy, the mold, the sketch, the painting of an object––landscapes or fortifications––remain means for the reproduction of documents. To these old processes are more recently added the copying of letters, tracing, typewriting, Roneo duplication, silk-screen printing, Lumitype40 xerography,41 office tools such as Ormo, Everest, etc…., and in the last few years––related to photography––the ozalid and entocé processes, etc. .. , where transparencies play a new role. Each of these processes should be studied in regard to its cost of production and the use that can be made of it in a particular case.
Photocopying on plates, film, and rolls has become the principal aid of documentary production. Black and white photos, photos directly produced on paper, black and white or color facsimiles, reproductions to size, enlargements, blow-ups, negatives, and positives increase the possibility of examination at a distance and the permanent examination of initial and derived documents.
The use of perforated or imperforated 35 mm microfilm has been a giant step in documentary technique. In documentary agencies, photographic and microfilm services have carried out the wishes of the users and they have profoundly modified the style and speed of internal work. For the convenience of classification and consulting, the microfilm roll––in an evolution that is analogous to that which we talked of about the book––has been broken apart into cuttings or strips of images, which can be stored in sized envelopes, classified by titles and subjects. These documentary copies demand, however, tools for reading: pocket magnifying glasses, wall or ceiling projectors, readers, and searching machines. Some excellent tools of this sort carry the names of THOMSON, DE BRIE, CORDONNIER.42 After a long evolution, the electronic microscope takes its place beside the primitive magnifying glass.
Television makes its appearance in the telescript, which allows one to transmit and transcribe a document from a distance, at the same size or enlarged four times maximum. The transmitter is the size of an upright piano; the reception is performed by 120 lines on a chemically treated paper that is unwound up to the final operation of quick-drying it. Documentary television will, furthermore, allow for more supple documentary cinematography by giving to users, or television viewers, possibilities for study that could not happen in cinemas.
Thus, documentary techniques very clearly mark two distinct tendencies. The first is toward an always increasingly abstract and algebraic schematization of documentary elements (catalogs, codes, perforations, classifications through conventionally agreed upon marks). The second is toward a massive extension of “‘substitutes for lived experiences” (photos, films, television, audio records, radio broadcasting). The point of application for these techniques is of interest not only for a profession that is increasingly aware, but also for an ever-growing audience––the innumerable masses––that education, the press, and propaganda investigate, enroll, and capture thanks to their attractive or demonstrative character. What words fail to communicate, image and sound try to deliver to all. Documentation, thus understood, is a powerful means for the collectivization of knowledge and ideas.
All professions have their executives and their assistants. The documentary profession is no exception. Hardly freed from the older professions of librarian, archivist, and collection curator, it is obliged to seek comparisons within education, commerce, and industry. More or less manual, according to the position in a hierarchy, it is partly intellectual, partly technical at every level. The documentalist is a specialized technician, whose professional knowledge will be increasingly technical in the future. However, one must thoroughly insist on the importance of cultural specialization in the staffing of the profession. Whereas, by definition, documentary assistants are polyvalent and can easily take with them their technical competencies from one documentary agency to the next, documentalists must select, understand, translate, interpret, and utilize––in the intellectual sense of the word––those documents which they have authority over, in accordance with the specialty of their agency. Therefore, cultural specialization for the documentalist is more important than for those professions that preserve documents.
This is why the aptitudes and qualifications that are required of the documentation agency heads and their assistants are not identical. The documentary assistant must be careful, meticulous, with a hand always ready to put things in place; he must love order, know the handling of machines and tools, know typing, have a certain rapidity, an above average efficiency, a certain elementary education, good spelling, an inclination toward arranging, and last, docility. One expects much more of the documentalist. First of all, [he must have] an internal understanding of the specialty which is the object of the organization’s proper activities (chemistry, forestry, pedagogy, engineering, gas meters, glass making, textile industry, domestic arts, whatever may be the case). Then, a doctrinal preparation applied to the methods and techniques of documentation. It is necessary to know at least two foreign languages, also. Last, the documentalist must have the abilityto organize and direct things and people, shown through the following qualities: order, clear headedness, psychology, anticipation, invention, consistency, social sense, and authority.
The functioning of a documentation center is largely made up of managerial methods that connect this activity to the organization of work. Without personal and collective organization, there is no smooth functioning. Finances, equipment, tools, publications, distribution, advertising, manpower, choice of personnel, and external relations––these are the principal concerns of the head documentalist. The multiple problems that affect the work of a documentation center have been discussed in a manual published in Paris in 1946 by the three institutes specializing in rubber, citrus fruits, and oils and oleaginous. One can find in this work excellent advice and tips, some of which are particular to the organizations in question, but which open the way to a systematization of methods and doctrines as regards to professional documentary work.
In specialized centers and departments, documentation is delivered without delay or it is deferred. It is produced on demand or it is spontaneously distributed. In the first case, it is made to conform to individual needs. In the second case, it anticipates the needs of groups of workers. In all cases, the power of selection comes fully into play, and it is here that the most important abilities of the documentalist come into play––that is to say––innate knowledge of the subject, impartiality, and a sense of the connection be- tween documents. Selection for individual or collective use is the particular task of the professional documentalist.
Thus, the components of the profession seem to be: collectivization, specialization, coordination, documentary reproduction, distribution, complete management, codification, selection, individualization, and economy.
The acquisition and set-up of documentation [translators’ note: that is, of documentation centers] is costly. At first glance, they don’t seem to make any difference. But from a higher perspective, the work of a documentation service is seen to be beneficial to the administrative, the technical, and the scientific activities upon which an organization depends. In fact, this work is profitable, on condition, of course, that it is conducted by the masterly hands of professional documentalists.
This is an essential quality upon which one cannot insist strongly enough in the practice of the profession: the dynamism of documentation. An English colleague has tried to characterize documentary activity by reducing it to what could be termed an “attitude.” While this simplification, by its very nature, conceals the complexity of documentary tasks––as a galloping horse placing itself between the spectators and the herd that it belongs to––it is true that the documentalist does not view documents as if he was simply responsible for receiving them, numbering them, classifying and transmitting them, a task that is more static, yet sometimes surpassed by the nonpassive processes of acquisitions choice and indexing by subjects. We have to emphasize that the documentalist spirit can renew the oldest concepts of preservation. Libraries themselves can only draw great profit by the most efficient application of contemporary documentology. On the other hand, documentalists have much to learn from their “elders” of neighboring professions, in which sometimes age-old experience has been deposited in proven practices. These reciprocal responses should be very beneficial to both public culture and to professional advancement.
Schools for documentalists are rare. France has advanced considerably in this area. The separate education which the UFOD established in 1945 has some original curricula with a great degree of specificity. It is essentially char- acterized by subjects specific to the professional education in question, and by a particular degree of common topics shared between several neighboring fields. Within the former, we find classification, analysis, patents, the inter- national organization of documentation, types of users, the listing of administrative documents, specialized documentation and its varied resources, the creation of documents, documentography. Shared topics occupy a much more modest place in the programs of the UFOD: the recording and preservation of documents, bibliography, cataloging, librarianship, archival work, museum studies, publishing, and management. The Technical Courses of Documentation, which corresponded to the middle and higher levels of this professional education, have been joined to the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers by order of the Ministry for Technical Education dated December 1, 1950, under the name of the InstitutNational des Techniques de la Documentation. The official curriculum is essentially targeted to the education of documentalists in industrial and commercial organizations. During the first year, nevertheless, it holds a “propaedeutic” [preparatory] value, thanks to instruction about common techniques and methods regardless of cultural specialization. This first year is thus a kind of preamble to the specialized instruction of the second year, which involves an immersion in a cli- mate of methodological or technical research that ought to continuously raise the level [of instruction] in relation to invention, organization, and applied psychology.
(Translators’ Note: Because of word processing limitations, we have had to slightly modify the exact, original appearance of Briet’s chart.]
Tabelle 2, S. 34
III. A Necessity of Our Time
For Charles LE MAISTRE43
There exist a certain number of agencies of documentation which are closed to the public and which resort to a self-sufficiency that is beneficial to their own activity. These are, first of all, industrial and commercial services that fear external competition and which jealously protect themselves against potential pillage. There are also military or technical services working with national defense, which have received orders of secrecy. These agencies are usually well informed, for, while they make their documentation available to a limited number of users, they nonetheless largely open it to both the most re. mote and the most narrowly specialized investigations. Among the first, we will cite, as an example, the chemical and technical Documentation department of Saint-Gobain glass trade, the Association of Heavy Industries, the Documentation department of the Technical Institute for Studies and Re- search on Lipids. Among the second may be cited the Documentation and Technical Information Department of Aeronautics and the Documentation Center for Atomic Energy.
However, most centers and departments are almost completely open to the public. The formalities of admission allow various accommodations. In this case, documentation is innately generous. There would be a long list of all the French successes that might be praised. Let us mention only the French Petroleum Institute, the Technical Center of Aluminum, the National Center of Telecommunications, the Technical Office of Printing, the National Foundation of Political Sciences, the Documentation department of the state-controlled Renault Factory, the Bureau of Financial Studies of CréditLyonnais, the Meter Manufacturing Company. Other documentation agencies are in one way or another intermediaries, using the documentation of other agencies and specializing in the distribution of facts or documentary elements of all types. One may compare these user agencies to “relays.” For these, more than for the closed centers, the organization of work and classification plays a central role in the arrangement of deliverable services. Whether they may be an agency or a scientific review such as the Intermédiaire des Recherches Mathématiques or an encyclopedic center of information such as SVP44 the relays play the role of distributors of documentation.
The centers of documentation, properly speaking, are the source of documentary materials. They produce secondary documents, elaborated from the initial documents. They are organized as factories, with their documentary chain of production. They investigate the complete field of a specialty, taking their share in publications in every language and every country. They keep for their direct users, insiders or outsiders, the initial documents that they have gathered, and the secondary documents or “by-products” which they have developed. This type of agency tends to assert itself with the growth of a national or international organization, which we will have to consider. Let us cite the examples of the Chemistry Center [Maison de la Chimie], the Natural History Museum [Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle], the MechanicsDocumentation Center [Centre de Documentation de la Mécanique], and the Building Trade Information and Documentation Center [Centre d’Information et de Documentation du Bâtiment].
Beyond these centers, it is still necessary to distinguish what one could call the general offices of official character or––if they are still private––on the way to being nationalized. The offices create or edit documents. They also assure the complete as possible collection of documentation relative to their sector of activity. One recognizes in them, as well, the task of distribution. Only rarely do they have direct contact with the users. Very frequently they are born from the combined efforts of trade unions, associations, and departmental or local services, which organized themselves toward better control of their collections and in the technique of documentary delivery.45 In this manner the Bureau of Documentation creates documents of great informational value. The journal Inter-technique distributes translations that are made by specialists in different fields. The Academic Bureau for Professional Statistics and Documentation [Burcau Universitaire de Statistique et de Documentation Professionnelles] distributes to its Parisian and departmental branches all the scholarly information that needs to be conveyed to the students. The National Federation of Social Security Agencies [Fédération Nationale des Organismes de Sécurité Sociale] works for its constituents. The Documentation Department of O.E.C.E.46 is at the exclusive disposal of the United Nations and of the Economic Organization of the Marshall Plan.
The Centers and the Departments of documentation that are open draw their public’s attention through advertising, as commercial businesses do, and through enlisting themselves in guides on documentary agencies. They form associations between themselves, as they have done in France, Great Britain, Belgium, etc., for the study and teaching of common methods. They constitute the national network of documentation, a network that is still too wide-meshed, sometimes broken, and sometimes inexplicably fastened. From all sides, the need is felt to organize documentary chaos. Centers and departments multiply. ROSSELLO47 justly speaks of “budding,” this symptomatic activity that announces a manifest state. One must not speak too fast of an overlapping in documentary activities. For it is very rare that a given activity would not organically distinguish itself from some other activity with which one would like to see it combine. If we take, for example, the cinema, it would become clear to us that there is room for several agencies of documentation: the technique (production), the profession (unions), and the historical (preservation and study). The forms that documentary work assumes are as numerous as the needs from which they are born.
One could ask if documentary services may not one day transform themselves into public services, just as with civil engineering, mail, and public education. This anticipation helps us to see, rising on the horizon of our civilization, a sort of nationalization of cultural information. Already, the Bureau of Documentation, attached to the Government [la Présidence du Conseil], has carved out an official domain in the Information sector. Other territories will be conquered one after another, as the authorities become gradually aware of their responsibilities in matters of documentationorganization.
Some considerable collections are on their way. We can think, for example, of the population census, of registry office services, of official statistics, of all types of printed matter that the agents of the S.N.C.F.48 receive, of the military and industrial mobilizations, of the managed supply of food––all mass activities which demand large scale documentary toolsregulated by the State.
A while ago, somebody suggested that administrative documentation be organized at the cantonal level (M. POUTEAU, Congress of 1937).49 Some years later, this idea gave birth to an attempt to regulate the administrative services of prefectures and subprefectures. In the same vein, exploited step by step, we have to point out M. DAYRE’s project of assuring the exhaustive analysis of the Journal Officiel de la République Française by a central service. Always at a national level, at a quick pace, centers of documentation were created over the past two years in the departmental Archives. Under the initiative of the Director of the French Archives, CHARLES BRAIBANT, 32 centers have been established which, connected to a university or municipal library, the academy, societies of scholars, chambers of commerce, and prefect’s offices, are capable of providing current documentation of a legislative, administrative, economic, political, or cultural character. This way the French network is being built, link after link. Furthermore, documents are drawn into vast reservoirs, the centers of preservation, collecting at length, inevitably, all that constitute national heritage, the commonplace and the extremely rare, journals as much as the most precious treasures. Museums, libraries, and archives are growing without measure, raising problems of organization and current awareness. Diverse forms of documents may be some- times encountered in them with certain overlaps that tend to become more pronounced over time: one finds artistic bookbindings and miniatures in certain museums, libraries preserve archives of historic interest and collectable objects; official publications or modern archival pieces are most often printed or typed, and microfilm is everywhere. Between the State establishments, there is a sort of competition for the delimitation of activities. The authorities must now proceed to the allocation of collections, to the inventory of specialized collections in diverse domains, and to the regulation of documentary offices in public establishments.
Already, some ministerial or interministerial commissions have been created in France for reviewing central administrative activities in matters of documentation (1946), or to coordinate the official activities (Decree of December 30, 1950). The French Committee of Documentation, created in 1938-1939 and reformed in 1951 under the presidency of M. Julien CAIN, administrator of the Bibliothèque Nationale, in view, principally, of ensuring
the representation of French documentation in foreign countries, constitutes the French Section of the International Federation for Documentation. Since 1932 the French Union of Documentation Organizations has brought together in an association governed by the law of 190150 central offices, centers, official and private documentation departments, as well as documentary technicians across all categories. Otherwise, certain documentary enterprises are gathered together in a typical Employer’s Union. We see appearing elements of a general organization of French documentation in which the National Center of Scientific Research [Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique] should play a role, with its analytical Bulletin and its groups of scientific workers, recognized by specialties. It should, therefore, have a more richly endowed budget.
The structure of the national organization of documentation, previously considered as a more or less public service, varies with the country. In the United States where very great institutions set the example, such as the Army Medical Library or the United States Department of Agriculture, it is increasingly acknowledged that part of the state’s job is to take the lead of the movement toward a better documentary organization” (sic51) (SHERA52). In countries that tend toward totalitarianism, as in Hungary today, until recently documentation had its official centers, rigorously state controlled. But in the Anglo-Saxon world, it seems that the current terminology shackles the evolution of ideas, and consequently, of organizing activity. The terms “special librarian,” “library,” and “bibliography”53 have different meanings than in our country, where we have the neologisms made necessary by the present situation, and where “documentalist,” “documentation center,” and “documentography” correspond to a state that is, if not more advanced, at least more theoretically elaborated.
M. Luther EVANS54 has done a very acute critique of the insufficiencies which come about in certain agencies when the users’ needs are ignored: “I have the deep conviction that the library services that we know are performed according to the needs of subject specialists, while they should be ‘made to order’ for the researchers of the industry that is directly concerned.” Indeed, it is true that the rigidity of classifications, the lack of flexibility in
the methods, and the petty bureaucrats among the personnel constitute permanent dangers in libraries and agencies alike. The solution to this problem will be eventually found in the way of personnel recruitment, that is to say, in an appropriate professional education.
In the most advanced countries, one is more or less clearly aware of the current needs of nationally organized documentation. Also, it is not difficult to speak the same language to those, pioneers or zealots, who gather together at international conferences. The International Federation for Documentation, seated in The Hague, convenes yearly meetings attended by delegates from 20 national sections (Germany, Belgium, China, Denmark, Spain, the USA, Finland, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Czechoslovakia, South Africa) and by the correspondents of many other countries. Successor to the IIB55 (1895), this famous institution in Brussels, which produced the UDC and the Répertoire Bibliographique, the FID has two incontestable fiefs. These are the universal decimal classification and the technical methods of documentation. On other issues, such as bibliographical reference, professional education, abstracting, archives, and bibliography, a competition occurs with neighboring organizations, such as the International Federation of Library Associations (EI.A.B. or I.FL.A.) [Fédération Internationale des Associations de Bibliothécaires], the Council of Scientific Associations [Conseil des Unions Scientifiques], and the International Council of Archives [Conseil lnternational des Archives].
Since the Second World War, UNESCO has played the chief role in assembling and energizing experts and organizations in the educational and cultural field. Its Division of Libraries, under the direction of Edw. CARTER, has systematically pursued, in relation to other sections of UNESCO, a cultural policy that guarantees that its current results will be passed onto the future. “The living republic of minds” (J. TORRES-BODET56) is being created through a subterranean evolution with the United Nations as the temporary perhaps, but useful, frame. Some outposts of scientific cooperation (Manila, Delhi, Cairo, Montevideo) are points of departure for missionaries of a new type, charged with the cultural development of the more or less uncultured masses and with multiplying contacts with scholars. The technical assistants of UNESCO, in fact, have available a sometimes immense “hinterland” to explore and organize. It is through reciprocal actions and reactions that these outposts spread out and are scientifically informed. The battle against illiteracy, the organization of a reading public, of librarianship, and of documentation in all its forms, comes in the wake of this exploration vessel flying the United Nations flag. The UNESCO vouchers, this new currency, are valid in 21 countries and through the outposts of scientific cooperation for obtaining not only all books and similar documents, but even microfilms and scientific materials. Interlibrary solidarity has been demonstrated over the past year by the aid that young and efficient Danish librarians have given to the damaged library of Valognes.57 UNESCO manuals make available to everyone, in two or three languages, proven methods of library services (Mc COLVIN) and of professional teaching (DANTON). The Archives have announced the second edition of their international catalog of inventories. ICOM58 has organized at UNESCO an information center on every kind of collection. M.L. EVANS has proposed the reduction of worldwide copyright centers from 75 to five.
This partial unification, which is one step in an absolute unification that has been impossible to realize up to the present time, is arduous in our divided world. It has become commonplace, however, to affirm that humanity strives toward unity. The historical sketch that Paul PERRIER59 has given of this evolution over the centuries is striking. He insists on the ineluctability of the law of unification that he has discovered in his patient, historical work. He explains the success and failure of regressive or progressive human enterprises. He has put into perspective the role of international relations in ourtime: “International relations and influences justly figure to be among the most important facts of universal history. Their importance is multiplied in the modern period. It is more than a question of exchanges, of relations, it is an intimate solidarity…. Our universe makes up a whole….The likenesses between different human societies have grown stronger during the last half century in all areas, in spite of ideological battles, world wars, and opposing interests. This likeness is not only explicable, as in ancient times, by the idea of needs, but it is a result of the conscious and systematic imitation of the foreign. Universal suffrage, compulsory schooling, the battle against epidemics, the progress of feminism, social laws, the organization of work, constitutions and political parties––all these social phenomena are the result of imitation, as much as of economic necessity. International influences are no longer events, episodes; they depend on genuine official institutions, they are linked to thousands of establishments. Most states are no longer represented to other states by ambassadors and consuls only, but by associations, schools, and institutes too, whose mission simultaneously involves under- standing foreign civilizations and disseminating through the world the language, works, and civilizations of their own countries. … International relations are so essential in contemporary civilization that this term ‘influence,’ which marked past results, has become no longer sufficient. They are on the way to realizing that yearning of human societies for thousands of years. . ‘this immeasurable unity, up until now unreachable by empires, religions, and philosophies.”
The principal obstacle to unification lies in the multiplicity of languages, in the babelism that stands in opposition to both understanding and cooperation. One almost no longer seeks to substitute an artificial language for natural ones. Esperanto isn’t progressing. On the contrary, the major languages, that is to say, English, French, and Spanish, tend to spread so as to become the indispensable interpreters of civilized people. German has retreated. Russian is not yet in the forefront. The Orientals always speak their language and another language. The world divides itself into linguistic areas. The organization of documentary work must take account of this reality. In regard to the creation of cataloging rules, book selection, translations, and analyses, the distribution of documents on the planet will adapt to this necessity. The recording of linguistic phenomena is not of any less importance than the recording of illiteracy statistics.
Documentology addresses itself to remedying linguistic confusion. Numeric or alphanumeric classifications are artificial languages applied to knowledge or to documents. The codes applied to mechanical duplication are internationally valid too. Standard languages are beginning to stand out in regard to synopses of authors or translations of documentary analyses.
We must distinguish two tendencies at play today. On the one hand, knowledge of foreign languages allows a much larger diffusion of written works than previously, and gives to worldwide readership an audience that can only increase. One thinks of the innumerable translations of the Bible, Victor Hugo, Marx, and Duhamel. On the other hand, the scientific work of documentation tends to content itself with a few base languages for reasons of economy. The scientific translation ought to be organized with as much care as the literary translation. While individually, one seeks direct contact with, or multiple translations of, literary monuments of every country and of all times, collectively, the technique of document distribution will be content with three or four languages, maximum.
The schematic or iconographic description of documents is enlarging. Union catalogs begin to take into account geographical areas that are sometimes linked to linguistic areas. Some of them have attained continental proportions. One can foresee that with or without the standardization of entries one will have in the not so distant future the possibility of internationally orienting researchers of documents. The international directories and specialized guides already take part in this global orientation. Documentary research, as applied to tasks of schoolwork, should be brought into compulsory and free schooling. For, it is not just sufficient to read for the purpose of understanding; one must also know how to find and utilize documents. The dynamism of living documentation joins with the dynamism of the mind seeking truth. It is here that one can justly speak of “breathless striving” in designating this urgent need of the mind. At all educational levels, documentary method must be universally and widely instilled in persons and in teams. The professional educationof documentalists poses an additional problem of an international character: the systems, methods, and achievements must be compared to one another withina high-level international institute, open to experts and teachers of documentary technique.
We have left for the end an essential feature of documentary effectiveness––we want to speak about “public relations,” those human relations that have been made much of on both sides of the Atlantic and which are studied in our country under the rubric of “human issues”[problèmes humains]. Human issues are always present in documentary activities. Altruism, team spirit, managerial aptitude, user psychology, capacity to adapt to the needs of a group, to the needs of individual researchers, social sense, affability, readiness to help, and zeal in research-these are many of the signs of the extroverted attitude of the documentalist. These optimal qualities give to the profession its social and progressive character, which saves it from mechanization and an excessive specialization. A human type that is particularly dynamic starts to be encountered everywhere: knowledgeable, methodological, efficient, and sociable. One could cite numerous and engaging examples of specimens among documentary technicians and scientific workers. Thanks to them, intellectual egoism is regressing and friendship makes its way into intellectual work. Others are attracted to the richness of the documentary experience.
A diagram that has become classic among documentalists has made clear to the eyes and to the mind three levels upon which, little by little, the inter- national network of documentation has come to be realized. The horizontal plane is that ofthe geographical areas where one sees local, regional, national, and international organizations. The vertical plane is that of specialties, whose aggregation produces encyclopedic forms, of agencies of all orders, more widely and more finely realized. The third level or diagonal plane depicts the associations and federations of documentary technicians. One could also depict these three aspects of the international organization of documentation by an armillary sphere of three turning rings that embrace our globe, the Earth. In spite of conflicts in documentary activities, of still numerous gaps, one can already see the international organization that is called to play the role of being the motor and governor of relations and researchers. The apparatus is in place. It is only necessary to activate it. This will be the job of good-willed men and professional activists who are closely or distantly associated with documentary activities. On the horizontal plane, creations are expected at the local level, and overall, at the national level. On the vertical plane, concentrations are developing little by little. On the diagonal plane, coordination has been started between the federations, though this does not exclude the decentralization of certain responsibilities.
“Against the disarray of the universe, today one can only count on the miracles of the will, born of an irreducible belief in the future of culture.” Thus, said Ventura Garcia CALDERON to the readers of the Deux-Mondes60 in February 1951. Indeed, the more the innumerable and uncultured masses arise from freed areas, the more it is necessary to instruct, enlighten, and culturally assist them.61
The time is past––it was 1931––when an English librarian said at an international conference that if he would mention documentation in his country he would be asked what this new disease might be.
The words, doctrines, techniques, and tools have forged a path. Theory and practice have kept pace. The new profession has become more and more technical: learned on the one hand, manual on the other. “What a manual century!”62RIMBAUD said, speaking of his own, nineteenth, century. While culture was being democratized, technology was making gigantic progress. The means of expression multiplied while expanding their range in space and time. Expositions and congresses thwarted the tendency of all specializations, just as all frontiers, to withdraw within themselves. The appreciation of hu- man unity has been growing on cultural, political, social, and religious fronts. Documentation-technique, the documentation-profession, and the documentation-institution are not enough to address all the needs of the growing society. They are, nonetheless, essential mechanisms that must, henceforth, be reckoned with.
February 28, 1951