Documenting more fully

December 4, 2008

I cannot fully express my gratitude and joy that you saw fit to comment on an American scholar's esoteric work, Documentation: A History and Critique of Attribution (Books, 18 September). And furthermore, reviewer Ron Johnston's remarks are insightful, judicious and complimentary.

I certainly do not want to appear ungrateful but, nevertheless, I have two cavils. In a study that is far more than merely historical and practically critical, one that emphasises the precise nature of documentation in all of its extraordinary diversity, it is a disservice to readers to ignore the many discussions that do not fall into the two classes into which Johnston divides the study.

Your readers will not realise that commentary, for example, is as important as mere bibliographical listing, nor that citation indexing and the impact factor play an increasingly disproportionate role in documentation.

And in a study that depends to some degree on the illustrations, which often bring the discussions to life, it would have been kind to mention (or at least indicate in the bibliographic citation) that Documentation is profusely illustrated with a broad array of more than 50 extraordinary images.

Robert Hauptman, Editor, Journal of Information Ethics.

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