Casalini Libri of Fiesole, Italy takes pride in publishing the journal Reference Reviews Europe (RRE), edited by Gordon Anderson (University of Minnesota), Laura Dale Bischof (University of Minnesota), Nancy Boerner (Indiana University), James Burgett (University of Kentucky), Beau David Case (University of Michigan) and Jeffry Larson (Yale University). RRE was founded by Jeffrey Garrett (Northwestern University), Heidi Hutchinson (University of California, Riverside), and Stephen Lehmann (University of Pennsylvania), who served as its editors from 1994 to 1999. Also Marianna McKim (Dartmouth College) served as editor from 2001 to 2003.
Each year Reference Reviews Europe offers around 300 English-language reviews of European reference titles. The journal is published in two forms: the electronic Reference Reviews Europe Online (RREO) and the printed Reference Reviews Europe Annual (RREA). Much of the content consists of abstracts in English of reviews that originally appeared in the German journal Informationsmittel: IFB (IFB) [previous title Informationsmittel für Bibliotheken]. IFB, edited by Klaus Schreiber (Württembergische Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart) and formerly published by the Deutsches Bibliotheksinstitut in Berlin, currently is available only online. Since its inception in 1993, it has reviewed more than 500 titles per year, covering reference materials in all subjects and formats. Although German-language publications predominate in IFB, titles in other European languages, including French, Icelandic, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish are also covered. The reviewers for IFB are mostly German librarians and academics. The abstractors for Reference Reviews Europe are mainly North American librarians.
RRE abstracts, although somewhat briefer than the original German reviews, attempt to convey: (1) the scope of the work, (2) a summary of its strengths and weaknesses, (3) assessments of related titles, when relevant, and (4) a bottom-line evaluation. RRE follows the system of numbering and sequencing of reviews used in IFB, adapted from Guide to Reference Books (Chicago: American Library Association, 1996). The initials of the reviewer and the abstractor follow each abstract. Keyed lists of reviewers and abstractors decode their initials. Prices are given in their original currencies, e.g., SFr=Swiss francs, EUR=euros.
Since 1999, Reference Reviews Europe has supplemented IFB content with its own Original Reviews. North
American original reviewers provide substantive English-language
reviews of European reference books, largely in Romance languages, not covered in IFB.
Also featured at times are Special Reports group reviews surveying reference works in a particular topic area. Special Reports have included "An Overview of Retrospective Hungarian National Bibliography," "An Overview of Recent Reference Literature on Comics," "German Telephone Books on the World Wide Web," "German and Austrian Historical Bibliographies in Electronic Form" (1997); "Recent Reference Literature in Classical Studies" (1998); "New German Orthographic Dictionaries" and "Dictionaries on International Politics" (1999); "Monuments of Jewish Art and Culture in Germany" and "Johann Sebastian Bach" (2000); "Travel Guides to Germany and Italy" (2001); "Survey of the Status of Dictionaries of Medieval Latin" and "Survey of World Atlases" (2002); "New German Dictionaries and Grammars in the Context of Orthographic Reform," "Works Dealing with the Paranormal," and "The International Biographical Information System of K.G. Sauer Publishers, Munich" (2003).
Reference Reviews Europe is intended primarily for academic librarians interested in acquiring European reference resources for their collections. Most of the reviewed titles are current imprints, although the special survey reports may list older titles as well.
Beginning with 1995, Reference Reviews Europe Online has been fully encoded to display diacritics, italics, etc. on graphical browsers. The 1994 abstracts (initially prepared for non-graphical browsers) have been designated as a backfile and are not available as a printed volume of RREA.
RREA issues can be ordered individually or on subscription for 40 EUR each. The print edition, published since 1995, offers indexes to titles, subjects, and electronic media, as well as lists of reviewers and abstractors. Use this order form to obtain copies of RREA. Currently RREO is accessible free of charge; however, in the near future unrestricted access will be available only by subscribing to RREA.
We invite feedback from librarians to guide us in making this publication as useful as possible. We would greatly appreciate any response, whether of an encouraging or a critical nature. Those interested in European reference works and bibliographies are also referred to the brief annotated listings in the "New Publications of Note" section of the semiannual WESS Newsletter (Chicago: American Library Association, 1978- .).
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Last update: October, 31 2005 [BG]
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