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The Alchemy of Turning Fiction into Truth

From: Journal of Scholarly Publishing
Volume 39, Number 4, July 2008
pp. 354-372 | 10.1353/scp.0.0016



Our sense of the past is expressed by a wide range, from belief without any knowledge to knowledge based on incontrovertible and converging evidence. There is also an additional category: presentations of the past that are admittedly counterfactual – that is, that are known never to have happened. How libraries classify these materials has an impact on whether they are believed or rejected. Unfortunately, the Library of Congress, the agency chiefly responsible for classifying books, has made no serious effort to distinguish between probable fact and palpable fiction, leaving users unsure as to what to believe.

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