Documentation science  

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Documentation science, documentation studies or just documentation is a field of study and a profession founded by Paul Otlet (1868–1944) and Henri La Fontaine (1854–1943). Professionals educated in this field are termed documentalists. This field generally changed its name to information science in 1968, but some uses of the term documentation still exists and there have been efforts to reintroduce the term documentation as a field of study.

"The term documentation is a neologism invented by [Paul] Otlet to designate what today we tend to call Information Storage and Retrieval. In fact it is not too much to claim the Traité de Documentation, 1934 as one of the first information science textbooks" (Rayward, 1994, s. 238).

Berard (2003, p. 148) writes that the concept "documentation" is still much used in the French speaking areas and that it corresponds to information science in general. One explanation of why this concept is well established in French-speaking countries is that there is a clear division of labour between libraries and documentation centres in those countries. The personal employed at those different kinds of institutions has different educational backgrounds. The differences in roles between libraries and documentation centres have, however, become less clear during recent years.

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