Needling your neighbour

May 8, 2014

Thanks to William Poole for his useful review (Books, 24 April) of Notebooks, English Virtuosi, and Early Modern Science by Richard Yeo.

I now realise that Thomas Harrison’s arca studiorum, “a kind of filing cabinet in which different pieces of paper could be shuffled between various hooks”, was a precursor of the Paramount card index system that some of us tried to use before the advent of electronic databases. Developed by the Copeland-Chatterson Company it consisted of cards with holes punched around the edges, a long “knitting needle” and a clipper. A particular topic was assigned to each hole. Whence, bibliographic references could be written on the cards and classified by clipping the appropriate hole. The needle was then passed through a chosen hole, the suspended cards shaken and the clipped cards in the specified category would nicely fall out. Or that was the theory. In practice cards somehow adhered together or scattered all over the floor, and the long needle was a risk to your immediate neighbour if used in a library.

R. E. Rawles
Honorary research fellow in psychology
University College London

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest