Your Favorite Books WEMSK41:Bibliography

                                                                                   WEMSK41 -- Bibliography

[As usual, we are faced with a problem of definition.  There are
those who would maintain that the word should mean only
`descriptive bibliography', `the study of books as material
objects', but most of us use it loosely to mean `subject
bibliography' or `enumerative bibliography'.  I shall use it to
mean `the study of books' quite broadly, but mainly as an aid in
information mining, to use a `new and ugly' term.]

[Many of the works listed below will be available on CD-ROM (e. g.
Bibliographic Index, so you need to get used to looking at CD-ROMs
in Print.  Unfortunately, this book is difficult to use, being
poorly indexed, and a call to the company assures me that it is no
longer available on CD-ROM. Bummer!  Also, most larger libraries
will have bibliographies such as the MLA online.  Ours, that is,
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has under the
heading "Arts and Humanities Databases": ABSEES, AMICO, Art
Abstracts, Artindex Retrospective, ATLA, Avery, Bibliography of the
History of Art, Current Contents, Encyclopedia Judaica, FRANCIS (=
Bulletin signaletique), Grove Dictionary of Art, Historical
Abstracts, Humanities Abstracts, Index of Christian Art, IMP, IBZ
(just got, great!), Iter, Middle English Compendium, MLA,
Philosopher's Index, Project Muse, RILM Abstracts, SCIPIO.
Some bibliographies are available online, e.g. ARBA guide to
subject encyclopedias and dictionaries [computer file], ed, Susan
C. Awe., 2nd ed. (Boulder, CO.: NetLibrary, Inc., 1999). URL: (restricted to

                Finding Bibliographic Information

1a. Your first port of call ought to be: Guide to Reference Books,
ed. Robert Balay, 11th ed. (Chicago: American Library Association,
1996).  You can get almost anywhere from your Balay.  Older people
may have called it the Mudge, the Winchell, the Sheehy, but it is
still the best.  There are occasional threats to bring it out on
CD-ROM, so you could really use it, but so far no luck. Nor is it
available online.  It is sort of kept up to date twice a year in
College and Research Libraries, and you ought to get into the habit
of looking at "Selected Reference Books ...". I am looking at
Elaine McIlvaine, "Selected Reference Books of 2000," College &
Research Libraries 62 (March, 2001), 180-195.

1b. In many ways better than Balay is Walford's Guide to Reference
Material, A[lbert] J[ohn] Walford et al., 7th ed., 3 vols. (London:
Library Association, 1996-99). It is mainly vol. 2 "Social and
Historical Sciences, Philosophy and Religion," and vol. 3
"Generalities, Language & Literature, the Arts," which interest us.
The international coverage is better.

2. Your second port of call ought to be: Bibliographic Index (NY:
Wilson, 1942-). Also available on CD-ROM. This will keep you up to
date.  I used to hang around the library and the librarians, since
they throw these out when they get old, and you can sort of keep up
in your own library. Look also at Bibliographische Berichte
(Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1959-), Internaitonal Bibliographie der
Bibliographien (Munich: Saur, 1998-), Bibliographical Services
Throughout the World (Paris: UNESCO, 1955-).

[With 1 and 2 you can get by, but I need to mention some others in
case you run across them in your book-buying tours.]

3. A very useful book: The Humanities. A Selective Guide to
Information Sources, 5th ed., ed. Ron Blazek & Elizabeth Aversa
(Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 2000).  Quite poor as to
foreign works and foreign languages and literatures, but the
introductory material is good.  Good as to electronic resources.

4. You need to keep in mind the various BIPs, such as Books in
Print, Verzeichnis lieferbarer Buecher, Livres disponibles. You may
need these for finding publishers, etc., and they can occasionally
be useful for gathering books on a particular subject; they are
available electronically.

5. It is good to keep such things as the LOC Subject Headings, the
Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors, Knowledge Index and the like.  You
can usually find these cheap, since people throw them out.  It can
be quite difficult to think of how knowledge may have been packaged
and labeled.

6. Theodore Besterman, A World Bibliography of Bibliographies, 3d
ed. (Geneva: Societas Bibliographica, 1955-56).  Now old and long
in tooth, but still worth looking at.

7. The German Balay: Wilhelm Totok & Rolf Weitzel, Handbuch der
bibliographischen Nachschlagewerke, 6th ed, 2 vols., ed. Hans-
Juergen and Dagmar Kernchen (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1984-85). Good
in every way.

8. My favorite, now also long in tooth: Louise-Noelle Malcles, Les
sources du travail bibliographique, 3 vols. in 4 (Geneva: Droz,
1950-58; repr. 1965).  Still good for some topics, e.g. Slavic.


1. If you want to find out about bibliography in general, it is
good to look at: Bibliography. Current State and Future Trends, ed.
Robert B. Downs and Frances B. Jenkins. Illinois Contributions to
Librarianship, No. 8 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1967).
It is too far out of date to be of much use, but you can learn from
it what bibliography is like.

2. Another of my old favorites: Louise-Noelle Malcles, Manuel de
bibliographie, 4th ed., revue et augmentee par Andree Lheritier
[sic] (Paris: PUF, 1984).

3. A collection of articles you might find interesting:
Bibliographic Instruction. The Second Generation, ed. Constance A.
Mellon (Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1987).

4. A good start might be: An Introduction to Bibliographical and
Textual Studies, by William Proctor Williams & Craig S. Abbott, 3d
ed. (NY: MLA, 1999). Don't spend much time with this one.

                          Style Manuals

[The particular journal or publisher for whom you are writing is
likely to have a style manual of its or his own, and you need to
ask for it.]

1. There are literally hundreds of style manuals.  Cf. John B.
Howell, Style Manuals of the English Speaking World: A Guide
(Phoenix: Oryx, 1983).

2. Many of the journals in our field will use: MLA Style Manual and
Guide to Scholarly Publishing, Joseph Gibaldi, 2d ed. (NY: MLA,

3. The standard work is: The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed.
(Chicago: UChicago Press, 1993).

4. Frequently used: Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Witers of Term
Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 6th ed., rev. by John Grossman
and Alice Bennett. Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing and
Publishing (Chicago: UChicago Press, 1996). A sort of distillation
of the Chicago Manual of Style.

                    Descriptive Bibliography

[Most of the following are for modern works.  For the Middle Ages,
see the WEMSK on codicology.]

1. The standard, and your first port of call: Fredson Bowers,
Principles of Bibliographical Description (Princeton: PUP, 1949;
rept. NY: Russell, 1962).

2. An old stand-by, still worth looking at: Ronald B. McKerrow, An
Introduction to Bibliography for Literary Students (Oxford: OUP,
1927). Repr. with Introduction by David McKitterick. St. Paul's
Bibliographies (New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 1994).

3. Intended to replace McKerrow, but not quite up to it: Philip
Gaskell, A New Introduciton to Bibliography (Oxford: OUP, 1972).

4. Georg Schneider, Handbuch der Bibliographie, 4th ed. (Leipzig:
Hiersemann, 1930). For the theoretical matter, left out in the 4th
ed., see the English translation by R. R. Shaw, Theory and History
of Bibliography (NY: Columbia UP, 1934).  Old, but good.