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Note-taking and data sharing: Edward Jenner and the global vaccination network


Bennet, M, Note-taking and data sharing: Edward Jenner and the global vaccination network, Intellectual History Review, 20, (3) pp. 415-32. ISSN 1749-6977 (2010) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1080/17496977.2010.492619


The massive expansion of information from the seventeenth century placed considerable demands on mental capacity, and individual scholars responded with strategies of memory training and note-taking that prompted, relieved or replaced memory. It has been acknowledged how cowpox inoculation (vaccination) and smallpox inoculation (variolation) stimulated new forms of record keeping and the standardization and tabulation of medical data for scientific analysis and to inform public policy. Yet the key figure in these developments, Edward Jenner, while a careful observer who thought hard about the patterns he discerned, did not take good notes either from his reading or of his observations. He depended a great deal on his memory, especially a remarkable visual memory, consolidating his recollections and refining his thinking more through conversation and familiar letters than careful note-taking and writing. It was rather in the work of the practitioners who took up Jenners' writings, including some laymen and women, that we find the keeping of records of their vaccinations, in order to provide patient records and to report the results to friends, colleagues and a wider public.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:British history
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in history, heritage and archaeology
UTAS Author:Bennet, M (Professor Michael Bennett)
ID Code:65067
Year Published:2010
Deposited By:History and Classics
Deposited On:2010-09-29
Last Modified:2014-12-11
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