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Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

David Epstein

Swanson wanted to show that areas of specialist literature that never normally overlapped were rife with hidden interdisciplinary treasures waiting to be connected. He created a computer system, Arrowsmith, that helped other users do what he did—devise searches that might turn up distant but relevant sets of scientific articles, and ignited a field of information science that grapples with connecting diverse areas of knowledge, as specialties that can inform one another drift apart.

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