Robert Pagès (1919-2007) was an anarchist activist who later became director of a major social psychology research laboratory. Between these roles he was a student in documentation established in Paris by Suzanne Briet and others at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers. In 1947 while he was a student of documentation Pagès submitted a thesis entitled “Transformations documentaires et milieu culturel” (Documentary transformations and cultural context) which was published as an article in the Review of Documentation in 1948. A key theme was that documentation is to culture what machinery is to industry. This introduction situates and explains some key ideas from Pagès' article.

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