World Encyclopedia of Library and Information Services

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9780838904275: World Encyclopedia of Library and Information Services
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Entries cover important individuals, institutions, organizations, technological developments, concepts, procedures, and libraries around the world

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About the Author:

Wedgeworth is president of Proliteracy Worldwide.

From Library Journal:

It is probably impossible for a reference work that claims world scope and encyclopedic reach ever to be truly complete. So while this third edition adds a new level of achievement to the previous two (Professional Reading, LJ 5/15/81; ALA, 1986. 2d ed.) and while editor Wedgeworth is closer to his goal of creating a "one-volume overview of the history, the major institutions and the distinguished personalities that have shaped the field as we know it," the World Encyclopedia of Library and Information Services remains a carefully compiled set of contributions beginning to take on some of the characteristics of a true "world encyclopedia" but not yet finished. In its area of greatest strength--the 160 articles on libraries and librarianship in individual nations--this volume is informative, authoritative, and, where possible, up-to-date. The articles provide the book's greatest substance, and despite the editor's admitted inability to rewrite them all, they suggest no reason to doubt that the whole book has been 70 percent revised. This is laudably noticeable in articles like Seth Manaka's "South Africa." The revision is less impressive in the articles on library services. It is regrettable, for example, that Jo An Segal's "Bibliographic Networks and Utilities," about a very active part of our field, is unchanged from the second edition in 1986. The five new articles on institutions so important that they were selected for "special treatment," including a color photo section (the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, the Bibliotheque Nationale, the Harvard University Libraries, and the British Library), are a welcome and useful enrichment. In a glaring inadequacy, more than 80 percent of the 216 biographies that grace the Encyclopedia are of living and dead males. This is an obvious flaw in a field dominated by women. For example, Pat Battin and Millicent Abell should be there beside Richard De Gennaro. Henriette Avram, the champion of the MARC record, should be there with Andrew Osborne and Paul Dunkin. Ed Holley, obviously a proper selection, should be joined by colleagues like Margaret Monroe, Jean Lowrie, or Francis Neel Cheney. Wilf Lancaster, the seer of the paperless society, is and belongs in the book, but so does the missing R. Kathleen Molz, if only for her brilliant history of how the U.S. government was convinced to aid libraries. Medical librarians will wonder why Nina Matheson, the visionary who revolutionized medical library thinking, is missing. The price increased more than 80 percent from the $90 first edition to the $165 second. The third, up 21 percent to $200, shows that, although the trend has slowed, the price still grows faster than inflation. It may be in line with pricing in the field, but the real question is does a library get $200 worth of information? The answer depends, as always, on the library collection. Library schools and large libraries of all types simply must buy the book for students, staff, and other users. Others will have to decide if the potential for use by staff and patrons will justify the $200. Here at LJ we'll use it often enough, and our library wants a copy. We will welcome the next edition, too, especially if it includes more biographies of women.
- John Berry, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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