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JAMA 100 Years Ago
August 22/29, 2001


Author Affiliations

JenniferReiling, Assistant Editor

JAMA. 2001;286(8):894. doi:10.1001/jama.286.8.894

On account of the rapid increase in the number of books the large library in Paris has been forced into new and larger quarters in order to find room for the rapidly accumulating literary treasures it is intended to house, classify and arrange in an accessible manner. The librarian is reported to have stated that it is becoming a more and more serious problem to properly house and arrange the books. If the present rate of increased production continues it will be but a short time before still larger quarters will be absolutely essential. He emphasizes particularly the difficulties of classification and practical arrangement. The overproduction is so excessive that the large libraries are threatened with perpetual and hopeless chaos in their efforts to make the vast accumulations accessible to their patrons. The transitory character and even absolute worthlessness of a large proportion of the publications are pointed out, and the remedy suggested is that writers restrict their production to the greatest possible minimum. The real literature is on the point of being buried beneath a mass of cheap trash. "One can not see the woods for trees."

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