Notes and Queries, Number 49, October 5, 1850 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 42 pages of information about Notes and Queries, Number 49, October 5, 1850.

EDWARD F. RIMBAULT.

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USEFUL VERSUS USELESS LEARNING

A single and practical plan for the formation of a complete and useful library and respository of universal literary knowledge.

The design which I propose in the following few lines, is one which I should imagine nearly all the more learned and literary of your readers would wish to see already in existence and when I show that it might be effected with very little trouble and expense (indeed no trouble but such as would be a pleasure to those interested in the work), and that the greatest advantage would follow from it,—­I hope that it may meet with favourable consideration from some of the numerous, able, and influential readers and correspondents of your journal.

I am the more induced to hope this from the fact of such a wish having been partially expressed by some of your contributors, and the excellent leading articles of Nos. 1 and 2.

What I propose is simply this:  the SYSTEMATIC ARRANGEMENT of all the existing literary knowledge in the world that is considered of value by those best qualified to judge, disposed in such a manner as to answer these two purposes:  1st, to give a general connected and classified view of the literary treasures of the whole world, beginning from the most ancient in each language and department (including only what is valuable in each); and, 2dly, to afford the greatest possible facility (by means of arrangement, references and indexes) to every inquirer for finding at once the information he is in search of, if it is to be found anywhere by looking for it.

There are two ways in which this work might be accomplished, both of which were desirable, though even one only would be much better than none.

The first and most complete is, to make a real COLLECTION of all those works, arranged in the {294} most perfect systematic order; and, while doing so, to make at the same time a corresponding classified Catalogue.

The chief (and almost the only) difficulty in the way of this would be, to find a room (or suite of rooms) to contain such a library and repository; but such would probably be found if sought.

The other way in which this object might be attained is by the formation of a simple CATALOGUE in the same order, such as does already exist and lies open for public use (though only in manuscript, and not so accurately classified as might be) in the noble library of the Dublin University.

This plan would be far easier than (besides forming the best possible basis for) that so urgently advocated by MR. BOLTON CORNEY (Vol. i. pp. 9, 42, 43.).

Of course so extensive a design would require to be distributed among many hundred persons; but so does any great work:  while, by each individual undertaking that department in which he is most interested and most experienced, the whole might be accomplished easily and pleasantly.

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Notes and Queries, Number 49, October 5, 1850 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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