Drunken abstracting

According to one of my library school professors, doctoral candidates could make money back in the day by writing article abstracts for the article-abstract databases that libraries subscribe to. She told us that students would often write these abstracts while hung over on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

I think I’ve found an example of one of these.

The example is an abstract for a 1984 article titled “The Future of Yalta”, written by Zbigniew Brzezinski.

In the article, Brzezinski discussed the geopolitical background of the 1945 Yalta Conference between Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt; its long-term significance; and what future changes we might see in how NATO and the Warsaw Pact nations live with its consequences.

In the abstract of the article, on the other hand, the abstracter seems to be convinced that Brzezinski wrote about a country named Yalta. Highlights:

Subject: YALTA (Ukraine) — Politics & government

Abstract: Focuses on the foreign relations of Yalta in Ukraine with other European countries and the U.S. Concept of politics in Yalta; Dominance of Soviet Union diplomacy in the Eurasian land mass; Alliance of Yalta with Germany and Russia.

It’s not quite funny enough to be a deliberate joke, which leaves me with two theories about the reviewer: (1) hung over; or, (2) in too much of a hurry to actually read the article.

You make the call.

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