Aftermath of a Prediction: F. W. Lancaster and the Paperless Society


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Professor Lancaster’s audacious prediction of a paperless society by the end of the twentieth century is examined from multiple perspectives. Rationales for the prognostication, textual and contextual; reception by the profession; and impact on the literature of library and information science are reviewed. Bibliometric data is introduced in support of the extensive citation links to Lancaster’s core writings. The accuracy of Lancaster’s prediction and the leavening insights of the collateral literature are considered. DEFINING THE EXPERIENCE Sometimes we call upon fiction to explain and to make us wiser. The transition from print dominance to paperless ascendancy was one of...

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