Remembering and Forgetting by Means of Subject Headings: A Contribution to the History of Knowledge Organization
Keywords:intellectual history, sociology of knowledge, history of science
In the last 30 years, historical research has intensively focused on early modern practice of note-taking and the compilation of commonplace-books. In this respect, headings choice is a still poorly investigated theme. This choice is crucial for the organization of access to information when knowledge is stored in external repositories. In this paper, I would like to show that early modern learned men addressed this technical problem and tried somehow to tackle it. By means of sources mostly from the 17th century, I show that scholars formulated both theoretical and practical rules to create a working indexing system as a tool to discriminate between remembering and forgetting. My hypothesis, in this respect, is that the novelty in the choice of subject headings for early modern commonplace-books and filing cabinets lies in the fact that subject headings became a choice. This paved the way to an epoch-making transition from a universal topics to a universal index upon all authors.
Copyright (c) 2022 Alberto Cevolini
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