"The obvious retronym dealing with
numismatics is "ancient numismatics", since much of the early
study was on ancient coinage, whereas ancient numismatics is
only a fraction of the field today. Perhaps a better term is
Similarly, all the serious sciences are -ologies, and their
practitioners are -ologists. There is a perfectly good word for
the science of numismatics, numismatology, with the scientist
being a numismatologist. Does anyone know why/when these
words fell into disuse? I, for one, would like to again use them,
in this case to handle an area where retronyms have failed to
keep pace with rapid changes in numismatics.
As our life becomes more complex through new technology, a
rise in the number of retronyms is perhaps inevitable. Looking
back only a few years, many growing up today would be
surprised that the Watergate files were not on a computer, but
in file drawers or boxes.
Should the term photograph or photo be reserved for things
which are photographed, with a camera and film? Or are coin
images created by scanning a coin with a scanner acceptably
called photos? How about digital cameras with CCD arrays
and no film? I can see the term "photographic photo" coming
into use to distinguish from a digital photo.
I also recently had an e-mail discussion with Fred Lake about
whether or not I needed a hard copy (like paper, not stone
tablets) of his next catalog, or if an electronic (soft?) copy was
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