A footnote appears, at first sight a trivial thing, and easily understood. But in the pages of the new Social Sciences Citation Index, these scholarly creations step forth as independent beings, endowed with a life of their own. The Citation Index is the most recent, and most titanic, achievement of the burgeoning information storage and retrieval industry. It is dedicated to the proposition that the best way to find out what an article is about is not to look at its title, but at its footnotes. As the publicity brochure explains, “no human indexer has to decide what is the subject of an article. The author of a new article indexes his own work through his references.” The Citation Index thus “...
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