SERENDIPITY OF THE NEW

Brian Boyd

Abstract

Special collections make even the jet-lagged scholar and the long-familiar subject seem special again. The hush, the concentration of energy and information, the respect the librarians have for the material and for those who come to consult it can inspire the neophyte and reanimate the aging expert.


Distinguished bibliographer G. Thomas Tanselle described the goal of bibliographical description in terms of attaining such precision as to provide a substitute for the original. But Karl Popper, the great philosopher of science, pointed out that precision in itself is a false goal in research because it makes sense only in regard to . . .

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