Page:Essays in librarianship and bibliography.djvu/245

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SUBJECT-INDEXES TO TRANSACTIONS OF LEARNED SOCIETIES[1]


We all remember the excellent paper read at the Oxford Conference by Mr. J. B. Bailey, sub-librarian at the Radcliffe Library, upon the advantage of a subject-index to scientific periodicals. Mr. Bailey spoke with just praise of the splendid alphabetical catalogue issued by the Royal Society, but observed that from the nature of the case this is "nearly useless in making a bibliography of any given subject, unless one is familiar with the names of all the authors who have written thereon." This is manifestly the case. As an illustration both of the value and the deficiencies of the Royal Society's index, I may mention that while on the one hand it has enabled me to discover that my father, chiefly celebrated as a philologist, has written a paper on the curious and perplexing subject of the formation of ice at the bottoms of rivers, the existence of which was wholly unknown to his family, it does not on the other hand assist me to ascertain, without a most tedious search, what

  1. Read at the March Monthly Meeting of the Library Association of the United Kingdom, and published in Nature, October 9, 1897.

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