Nov 11

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The Oxford Guide to Library Research: How to Find Reliable Information Online and Offline. 3rd Ed.

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Publication Information –

Mann, Thomas
New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 2005
ISBN: 0-19-518998-1

Availability –

Over 1680 libraries


Online at http://books.google.com/books?id=eAaFAPITy_QC&lr (limited preview)


bookstores (new & used) – many for under $15 used (Amazon Look Inside of 1998 edition)

Summary –

[from WorldCat, OCLC # 58050982]
[from back cover of book]
With all of the new developments in information storage and retrieval, researchers today need a clear and comprehensive overview of the full range of their options, both online and offline. In this third edition of The Oxford Guide to Library Research Thomas Mann maps out an array not just of important databases and print sources, but of several specific search techniques that can be applied profitably in any area of research. From academic resources to government documents to manuscripts in archives to business Web sites, Mann shows readers how best to exploit controlled subject headings, explains why browsing library shelves is still important in an online age, demonstrates how citation searching and related record searching produce results far beyond keyword inquiries, and offers practical tips on making personal contacts with knowledgeable people.

Throughout the book Mann enlivens his advice with real-world examples, offering along the way some energetic and reasoned arguments against those theorists who have mistakenly announced the demise of print. The Oxford Guide to Library Research offers a rich, inclusive overview of the information field, one that can save researchers countless hours of frustration in the search for the best sources on their topics.

Preface. What research libraries can offer that the Internet cannot (both resources and search techniques) – Trade-offs of what, who, and where restrictions on free access – Hierarchy of levels of learning – Data, information, opinion, knowledge, understanding – Wisdom separate – Implications of format differences – Nine methods of subject searching – Patterns in inefficient searches
1. Initial Overviews: Encyclopedias
2. Subject Headings and the Library Catalog
3. General Browsing, Focused Browsing, and Use of Classified Bookstacks
4. Subject Headings and Indexes to Journal Articles
5. Keyword Searches
6. Citation Searches
7. Related Record Searches
8. Higher-Level Overviews: Review Articles
9. Published Bibliographies
10. Boolean Combinations and Search Limitations
11. Locating Material in Other Libraries
12. People Sources
13. Hidden Treasures
14. Special Subjects and Formats
15. Reference Sources: Searching by Types of Literature

Review –

If Val Greenwood’s “The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy” is the scholar’s guide to genealogy, this is the scholar’s guide to library/internet research, even if it is only half of Greenwood’s page count. This edition of the book has been entirely re-written to reflect use of the internet (the second edition, published in 1998, knew about the internet but really only addressed CD-ROM and mainframe-based computer databases, most of which have been superseded by internet databases which are covered in the third edition). While it may have less use in helping find specific ancestors, it will help greatly in discovering the legal, social, and historical context in which they lived. And, if the person being researched published anything from a book to a legal decision to a magazine article, you can use the techniques and resources described to uncover their body of work. The chapters on library catalogs, subject headings, and browsing can also help you when you’re exploring a large genealogical collection for the first time. I fell in love with this book when I stumbled upon a second edition in the Library of Congress bookstore during my first-ever foray into genealogical research. This third edition has kept true to that feeling.

Other Reviews –

Amazon.com & Google Books user reviews
The Australian Library Journal 49(2):183. May 2000.
Reference Reviews 20(5):6-8. 2006.

Evaluation –

Buy It!! (This should go on every serious genealogist’s bookshelf.)

Permanent link to this article: http://vandeventer.net/2009/11/oxford_guide/

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