Hidden worlds of the early knowledge economy: Libraries in British companies before the middle of the 20th century

Alistair Black

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The 'knowledge economy' is a key facet of the proposition that Western societies have entered a fundamentally new phase of development as a result of rapid advances in digital technology. However, this proposition underplays the historic importance of knowledge to economic activity and performance. One example of the past intersection of knowledge transfer and economic development is the in-house company library in Britain, which, having originated in the 19th century, became a noticeable feature of the corporate management after 1914, providing a nurturing environment for the emergence of embryonic information professionalism. Paying particular attention to the First World War and inter-war periods, this paper focuses on the purpose and work of the early company library and on the factors that moulded it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-435
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Information Science
Volume30
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004

Keywords

  • 20th century
  • Business management
  • Company libraries
  • History
  • Information management
  • Information services
  • Knowledge economy
  • Knowledge management
  • UK

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences

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