Oral history interview with Douglas J. Foskett

Oral history interview with Douglas J. Foskett

  • 2000-Jul-03

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].

Place of interview
Original file type MP3, PDF
  • 27 pages
Rights In Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Related URL
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

Physical location


Cite as

D. J. Foskett, interviewed by W. Boyd Rayward in Portsmouth, England on July 3, 2000. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0202. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/c247dt00x.

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Transcript (Published Version)

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

3 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads