AA -- Information Sources

Ausgewählte Bibliographien und andere Nachschlagewerke: Neuerscheinungen und Änderungen [Selected Bibliographies and Other Reference Works: New Publications and Changes]. Ed. Achim Oßwald (digital media) and Erika Tröger (print media). In: Zeitschrift für Bibliothekswesen und Bibliographie (ZfBB). Vol. 41 (1994), no. 1, through vol. 46 (1999), no. 6. [00-1/4-001]

The bi-monthly Zeitschrift für Bibliothekswesen und Bibliographie [Journal of Library Science and Bibliography], founded in 1954, considers itself to be Germany's leading library science journal. Together with Bernward Hoffmann, the present reviewer founded the ZfBB's column "Selected Bibliographies and Other Reference Works" in 1974, stepping down in 1993 after 119 installments. Erika Tröger of the Deutsche Bücherei in Leipzig assumed responsibility for the column with volume 41 (1994) and was joined by Achim Oßwald of the graduate library school in Cologne in 1995, who took on the responsibility for reviewing digital media. As we read in an announcement by Elisabeth Niggemann, the new publisher of the ZfBB, in volume 47 (2000), no. 1, this column has now ceased altogether, and reviews of reference works in both print and digital form will henceforth appear in the regular reviews column. A number of problems and inconsistencies that characterized this new regimen in the first three issues in 2000 appear to have been overcome by issue 4. They had to do in part certainly with the 92 pages devoted to the Dublin Core in issue 1 (most of these articles are reproduced in a technical English that is very difficult for German readers to comprehend) and the need to compensate for this lavish use of space in later issues.

Given that the now ceased column existed for 26 years, more than half the life span of the journal in which it was published, it seems opportune to take a retrospective look at its second phase under Ms. Tröger. (For an assessment of the first 20 years, see ZfBB, v. 40 [1993], no. 6, p. 533.) It is notable that of the 357 reference works reviewed in this period, 67 percent were compilations of titles or addresses, e.g., bibliographies, catalogs, and directories, while only one third were encyclopedias, dictionaries, and biographical reference works. The percentage of catalogs of manuscripts and older printed works (14 percent) seems especially high. Nothing against reference material of this type, but its disproportionate representation--a prolific expert in this area is the cause--seems to contradict the intent of the publisher set forth in 1994 to "de-emphasize reference works not central to the practice of reference librarianship." Another problem is the absence to date of the cumulative index that was announced as a desideratum in that same 1994 foreword.

Only one digital work per issue was reviewed during the five years between 1995 and 1999, totaling therefore a mere 30, almost half of these bibliographic in nature. These reviews are very uneven in length and quality, resulting from the practice of the responsible editor to farm most of them out--mainly, it would appear, to his students.

One final comment: With the disappearance of the column "Selected Bibliographies and Other Reference Works," in which bibliographies always predominated, the ZfBB loses its last tie to the old (and in light of the celebrity of the Internet, increasingly discredited) art of bibliography--and that for a journal that contains 'bibliography' in its title. Isn't a title change long overdue? [sh/jg]

Reference Reviews Europe Annual. Based on reviews published in Informationsmittel für Bibliotheken, with original reviews. Ed. Nancy Boerner, James Burgett, Beau David Case, and Jeffry Larson. Fiesole: Casalini Libri. 21 cm. ISSN 1124-6332 [00-1/4-002]

Vol 5. 1999. 2000. 220 p. ISBN 88-85297-60-9: Lit. 54,000, $30.00

In July 2000, volume 5 was published with 248 abstracts, which makes this "outstanding contribution to European scholarship" (Margrit B. Krewson, European Division, Library of Congress) an important selection tool for non-English-language reference works published in Europe. Popular especially in the United States, RREA has become an invaluable counterpart to IFB. In addition to the abstracts, the current volume includes original reviews and a number of special reports, e.g., on the new German orthographic dictionaries and on international politics dictionaries. As in earlier volumes, there are title and keyword indexes, as well as indexes to reviewers and abstractors, these latter now listing the RREA entry numbers for which reviewers and absractors are responsible. The transition to the new editorial team was seamless. The reviewer welcomes them and thanks the founding editors, especially Stephen Lehmann (University of Pennsylvania), who conceived the idea for the project. The publisher also hosts the reviews on its site: <http://www.rre.casalini.com. [sh/hsb]

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