EDITORS DAILY CRIMSON.- A recent description before the Historical Society, of the "machinery" by which Mr. H. H. Bancroft carries on his investigation into the material for the history of the Pacific coast, suggests to me the application of some of the details of Mr. Bancroft's methods in the proposed plan for making and indexing newspaper cuttings according to topics. Mr. Bancroft, it is said, makes use of innumerable small paper bags, indexed by topics, and filed alphabetically, in which to store the vast mass of abstracts and quotations from books and manuscripts which he designs to use later in the preparation of his histories. Now, I would urge that some such plan be adopted in the library in the matter of such newspaper clippings as it may seem worth while to select and index.
In order to bring the matter into some practical shape I would urge upon the Finance Club and Historical Society, as including men in their number who would be most likely to be interested in making these slips, to take the initiative and give the plan a trial. Both these clubs also contain the younger and more energetic of the instructors in their departments among their members. Will not the clubs, therefore, each appoint a committee of members and instructors, which, together as a joint committee, will supervise the matter and give the plan a trial? Let the committee receive and select a certain number of topics under which cuttings are to be arranged; for each topic provide a paper bag, in which the slips are to be filed, and arrange these bags in alphabetical order on the shelves of one of the alcoves in the library. Perhaps on many topics under which fewer slips are likely to accumulate, a more convenient receptacle would be the large stiff rectangular envelope, in which lawyers are used to file documents.
Finally, as to making the cuttings themselves:- Perhaps the library does not yet feel able to detail some one of its force of employees to spend a couple of hours a day in making clippings under the given topics from, say twelve or fifteen of the more important newspapers of the country. If not, I believe a great deal of material would be accumulated by voluntary contributions from those interested. Moreover, I should think it would be of enough direct practical importance as an adjunct in the instruction of some of the courses in which the work is largely arranged by topics, for the instructors in these courses to see to it directly that all notable newspaper articles illustrating their subjects be brought within reach of their pupils by this plan. I would incidentally suggest that a selection of topics from among those suggested to forensic writers, might form a basis on which to start in choosing topics for slips. It might be of practical benefit in the several theme and thesis courses also, to prepare a bag for slips on every topic assigned to be written on. And lastly, under each label on the outside of each bag could be written cross-reference to other bags, and, perhaps, brief bibliographies referring to more formal works on the same topic.