Autopsy principle

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The autopsy principle or autopsy procedures (short autopsy , Greek .: seen itself ') is a term from the methodology of science. According to this principle, only statements may be made that have been checked or experienced by oneself. If incorrect information is taken from others, it can lead to a kind of Matthew effect . Information that is often found is more often taken over without checking. This self-reinforcing effect often leads to misstatements, such as the non-verifiable attribution of quotations to famous personalities.

The term was coined by the German natural science historian Rudolph Zaunick (1893–1967).

The autopsy is the cataloging of media based on existing originals and not from second-hand templates , which is particularly used in libraries .

In addition, the autoptic bibliography is a standard method for creating bibliographical information in bibliographies of scientific publications. The main goal here is to look up the relevant publication in the original, thus to prove its existence and to disclose the access routes by specifying a relevant library. This makes it possible to check the content of the publication in question. Bibliography according to the applicable guidelines is only a parallel goal here.

The aim of this elaborate method is on the one hand to check older - often incomplete or incorrect - bibliographical information that was previously copied from one another in scientific works, and on the other hand to enable the content of the relevant publication to be checked.

See also : verification


  • JC Poggendorff : Biographical-literary concise dictionary of the exact natural sciences . Volume VIIa, Supplement. Academy, Berlin 1971, p. V.

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