Douglas J. Foskett

Born: June 27, 1918 | London, GB
Died: Friday, May 7, 2004, GB

During his twenty-one year career at the University of London, Foskett became director of the University Library and Goldsmiths' Librarian. In his interview, Foskett next discusses the formation of the Classification Research Group [CRG] to address the need for new ways to classify scientific literature. Foskett has been a member since CRG's formation, and Foskett developed faceted classification schemes for education and safety and health that are still in use.

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Interview Details

Interview no.: Oral History 0202
No. of pages: 27
Minutes: 129

Interview Sessions

W. Boyd Rayward
3 July 2000
Portsmouth, England

Abstract of Interview

Douglas J. Foskett begins the interview by describing how he entered the field of information science and began working at Ilford Public Library. After serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps for six years, he returned to Ilford and met his wife Joy. Eventually, Foskett left the Public Library to take over Barbara Hill's position of running the information section at the Metal Box Company Ltd. When the Metal Box research department relocated to Swindon, Foskett decided, as an alternative to moving, to join the University of London's Institute of Education. During his twenty-one year career at the University of London, Foskett became director of the University Library and Goldsmiths' Librarian. In his interview, Foskett next discusses the formation of the Classification Research Group (CRG) to address the need for new ways to classify scientific literature. Foskett has been a member since CRG's formation, and Foskett developed faceted classification schemes for education and safety and health that are still in use. Foskett also met with NATO representatives and secured five thousand pounds of funding for the CRG to develop a new general classification scheme. Foskett then recalls S. R. Ranganathan's influence in the field of information science. Ranganathan was the first person to demonstrate that facet analysis could be applied to terms in a system of classification. Foskett next describes the theory of integrative levels and why the Dorking Conference was so significant. Foskett concludes his interview by addressing the expansion of the Library Association to include special librarians and the eventual formation of the Association of Special Libraries and Information Bureau (ASLIB). Douglas J. Foskett was a very important figure in the developing field of information science. He passed away on 7 May 2004.

Education

Year Institution Degree Discipline
1939 Queen Mary College, London BA
1954 Birbeck College, University of London MA

Professional Experience

British Army

1940 to 1946
Royal Army Medical Corps/Intelligence Corps

Ilford Public Libraries

1940 to 1948
Librarian

Metal Box Company Ltd.

1948 to 1957
Librarian

University of London

1957 to 1978
Librarian, Institute of Education

Honors

Year(s) Award
1965 to 1990

Honorary Library Advisor, Royal National Institute for Deaf People

1975

Honorary Fellow of the Library Association

1976

President of the Library Association

1978

Order of the British Empire Award

1981

Honorary Fellow, Polytechnic of North London

Table of Contents

Education and Early Career
1

Decision to enter field of Information Science. Experiences during World War II. Joy Foskett. The Metal Box Company Ltd. Barbara Hill and Siegl.

Career at the University of London
5

University of London Library. John Pafford. Institute of Education. William Taylor. Information Services. Alina Vickery. Goldsmiths' Librarian. Don Ritchnell. The Pafford Lecture.

Classification Research Group (CRG)
9

Formation and efforts of CRG. John Bernal. Jack Wells. Bernard Palmer. S. R. Ranganathan. Facet Analysis. Dewey Decimal Classification. International Labor Organization. Robert Fairthorne. Derek Langridge. Bliss Analysis. NATO. Helen Pates. Derek Austin. PRECIS.

S. R. Ranganathan
15

Contributions, personality, and family. T. R. Yogeshwar. Sarada Ranganathan.

The Dorking Conference
17

It's importance. Theory of Integrative Levels. De Grolier. Mysticism of Ranganathan.

Library Association
20

Formation of new section for special libraries. Jason Farradane. Association of Special Libraries and Information Bureau (ASLIB).

Notes
22
Index
23

About the Interviewer

W. Boyd Rayward

W. Boyd Rayward is a research professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Chamapaign. He turned to librarianship after graduating in English literature from the University of Sydney. He received his PhD from the Graduate Library School at the University of Chicago in 1973. He has held positions in the University of Chicago (where he became Dean of the Graduate Library School). He served as professor and head of the School of Information Library and Archive Studies and Dean of the University's Faculty of Professional Studies at the University of New South Wales in Sydney where he is now professor emeritus. He has published two books related to Paul Otlet, Belgian documentalist and internationalist, and a great many articles on history of national and international schemes for the organization and dissemination of information.