Among his many accomplishments Sir Anthony Panizzi is generally credited with devising the acquisitions policy that led to the superior position of the British Museum amongst world libraries. A notable document was his 'On the Collection of Printed Books at the British Museum' of 1845. However, he was not without predecessors, among them Dr Samuel Johnson, Matthew Maty and Joseph Planta. Without detracting in any way from his real abilities this article is an attempt to demonstrate where in fact these policies originated.
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