Guide to Reference Books / Edition 11

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
The long-awaited eleventh edition of this reference standard has finally appeared. This edition adheres to guidelines developed by a panel of advisers: no dramatic changes in scope or arrangement, in one volume and listing primarily print sources, number of titles similar to the tenth edition, and with a higher proportion of titles that support diverse viewpoints. These guidelines were followed, mostly for the better, but the one-volume format is for the worse. It has been said that the editor of the ninth edition was warned that it should be no larger than the Manhattan phone book. Unfortunately, the eleventh edition weighs more than any phone book The basic arrangement of the volume resembles editions since the eighth with only slight changes--a new general-interest area was created for such basic sources as "Encyclopedia of Associations", a general section was created for the humanities, travel and tourism were moved to geography, and geographic areas are now listed by landmass rather than alphabetically. Some annotations were reprinted from the tenth edition (1986) and its supplement (1992); many new annotations provide criticism or evaluative statements The 15,875 titles were chosen by 50 general-reference and subject-specialist librarians from major universities across the U.S. Five referees suggested additions and deletions in the five broad subject areas. Since it was thought that science had been underrepresented in the past, titles in that area were increased by 14 percent. For example, a number of new titles are listed in the climatology, plastics, genetics, and medicine sections. There is a significant increase in titles on women in specific countries and additional listings for many African and Asian countries. The majority of entries are for print resources, but a number of machine-readable titles are included, distinguished by a bullet. For example, FRANCIS and PASCAL, the electronic services that replaced the "Bulletin Signaletique", are described in detail. There is a section for electronic encyclopedias, with reference to Britannica Online. But though there continues to be extensive coverage of national and international bibliographies, there is no listing for OCLC's WorldCat or RLG's RLIN, both of which now dwarf the "National Union Catalog". Also, many electronic tools are now available from more than one vendor. It is probably not reasonable to expect "GRB" to list all the online or CD-ROM vendors of an index, but users should be aware that the Wilson indexes, for example, are available from FirstSearch as well as Wilsonline Although the number of titles is only slightly more than in the tenth edition, the index is larger, almost one-quarter of the total volume. This is commendable. There are index entries for most works mentioned in the notes or annotations and also a number of "see" and "see also" references. The major criticism of the eleventh edition is its lack of currency. The introduction is dated June_ 1995, but there are few 1994 titles listed. For example, the thirteenth rather than the fourteen edition of the "Reader's Adviser" is cited. Important exclusions are the "Academic Index", "National Newspaper Index" and the "McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology on CD-ROM". The CD-ROM version of "GRB" that had been advertised has been canceled because of lack of advance orders. An online version through a vendor would be a useful format for libraries Editor Balay refers to this bible of reference sources as having "respect approaching reverence." This edition certainly measures up to the "GRB" tradition of a comprehensive listing of reference sources in many languages. Even with a price of $275 (compared with $50 for the tenth edition and $100 for the supplement), it remains an important acquisition for reference work in research libraries. For smaller libraries, a new edition of "Reference Sources for Small and Medium-Sized Libraries" will be available in early 1997.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780838906699
  • Publisher: American Library Association
  • Publication date: 1/1/1996
  • Edition description: 11th ed
  • Edition number: 11
  • Pages: 2020
  • Product dimensions: 8.74 (w) x 11.26 (h) x 2.99 (d)

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