Russian libraries in transition: An anthology of Glasnost literature

Russian libraries in transition: An anthology of Glasnost literature

Bowker-Saur, 1993.273~. S981SBN l-85739066-0. Perm. paper. H This book is aptly described on its back cover as “a review of the year’s most significan...

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Bowker-Saur, 1993.273~. S981SBN l-85739066-0. Perm. paper. H This book is aptly described on its back cover as “a review of the year’s most significant work in library and information science, as covered in the literature of the field.” The reviewedyearis not, as the titlemightsuggest, 1992: although the chapter-ending lists of references (which, cumulatively, constitute over fourth of the contents) cite some writings published in 1992, the focus is on the literature and developments of 199 1. Line’s preface notes that the I I chapter headings in this second annual review-The Context of Library and Information Work, Special Libraries, National Libraries, Collections, Access to Information, Services, Cooperation, Management, Training and Education, Public Libraries, and Academic Libraries-are .“much the same” as in the series premiere. tie also concedes that the 12 contributors, mainly UK librarians, haddifficultyfindingmaterialsfrom (and about) the less developed countries and the ex-Communist world; except in the chapter on cooperation, nearly all of the cited writings are in English. As in many literature reviews, theprose is choppy and there is some overlap among chapters. A subject index (which now has entries for individual countries) and an author index complete this convenient but high-priced review and literature guide.-Eds.

The Ubrary of the British Museum: Retrospoctivo Essays on the Department of RI&d Books, ed. by P.R. Harris. London: The Brltlsh Library, 1WI. 305~. W5 l.SBN D 7 123-0242-5.

n This collection of seven retrospective essays provides “detailed accounts of the [British] Libra ‘s internal workings over a century and a ha7 f.” F.J. Hill “explains how . . . successive generations of staff have coped with the problem of making the vast collections accessible to readers.” Harris’s account of the move from the Montague House to the British Museum in 1838-42 anticipates issues involved in the move to new quarters on Euston Road. IIseSternbergdescribes acquisition policies and funding from the time of Panizzi to 1959, while K.A. Manley depicts Panizzi’s confrontation with publishers over copyrightdeposit responsibilities. Alex Hyatt King provides two essays of contrasting appeal-one a detailed recounting of “the intellectual and physical methods by which the General Catalogue . . . was kept up to date,” the other a personal memoir of the British Museum and its Music Room, including recollections of World War II, postwar trade union affairs, and his responsibilities as residential duty officer. Finally, Paul James Gross traces the obscure history of the separate collection of pornographic material. Many of these essays reflect nostalgia for the old building and fear of the effects of electronic gadgets.

Recommendation-Originallyannouncedas Harris’s history of the traditions and folklore ofthe British Library, this multi-authorcollection focusing on the Department of Printed Books “achieves the curious distinction of both failing to live up to expectations while simultaneously exceeding them.” Reviewer-Alan Day Library Review, Vol. 42, no. 1,1993, p. 61-63 Recommendation-This collection is intended notforaffectionateusers of the British Library, librarians in general, oreven academic librarians, but for insiders. The detailed historical accounts of the Department of Printed Books willproveinvaluabletostaffseekingexplanationsforpastandcurrentpractices, butarenot compulsive reading. Reviewer-F.W. Ratcliffe Journal of Documentation, Mar. 1993, p. 98101 Recommendation-Uneven in length and weight, these essays will interest historians, notonlyfortheirdetailedexplanationsof how the Department of Printed Books functioned, but for their reminder that the library’s peerless collections resulted from a timewhen the focus was less on administration and more on acquisition. Some of the essays should be read by all serious users of the collection. Reviewer-Robin Alston Libraries & Culture, Winter 1993, p. 106-09

Research 6ukk to Libraries and Archives kr the low Countries, camp. by Martha L. Brogan. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1991. 546~. $75 ISBN O-313-25466-4. ISSN 07426879. LC 91-12596. (Blbllcgraphles and Indexes In Libraryand Information Science, no. 5.) Pert-n. paper. + This guide strives to help scholars plan research trips by describing resources and collections in Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands that support research in the humanities and social sciences. The authorgathered information by interviewing scholars who have undertaken research in the Low Countries, reading descriptions of archives and libraries there, and finally visiting these collections herself. An introduction explains how the volume works and cites related titles on European library and archival resources. The first and much shorter of two parts is a guide to relevant published materials: national bibliographiesand biographical dictionaries, union catalogs, etc. Part 2 presents detailed descriptions of individual libraries and archives. Each entry lists the address and telephone number; evaluates the collection(s) and classification and cataloging systems; notes hours, services, and publications by and about the institution; describes its history and current activities; and cites sources for further reading. One appendix lists national holidays, and another lists the provinces and towns where the research institutions are located. Consultation is facilitated by an author/ title index to the first part, an institutional index to the second, and a subject index to both.

Recommendation-This impressively detailed source is a model guide for scholars who travel to, or correspond with, research centers abroad. It is an essential purchase for libraries that serve such scholars. Reviewer-Raymond S. Wright Government Publications Review, Mar./Apr. 1993, p. 223-24 *See also Sep. 1992 p. 255; Jan. 1992 p. 401



ogy of Ghnost by Dennis McFarland, 89950-718-2.

In Transition:

An Anthd-

Utwature, camp. and ed.

Klmmage. Jefferson, NC: 1992. 214~. $32.50 l.SBN (1 LC 91-51206. Perm. paper.

+ This compelling collection of articles from the Russian library press describes and explains the erosion of the Soviet Union and the effects on the library profession. Kimmage merits praise for not only assembling these 26 pieces but also translating them and providing “brief but trenchant prefaces to the three sections into which the book is divided.” The first section, “GlasnostExposes the Problem,” describes the neglect and decline of libraries (buildings, collections, and administration), culminating in the catastrophic fire in Leningrad’s Academy of Sciences Library in 1988, in which some 400,000 books were lost and over two million more items damaged. Articles in the second section, “Information Politics,” address ideological controls, while those in the final section, “Soviet Libraries and Democracy: Directions for the Future,” assert the need for”future affirmation of libraries in their humanistic role.” Collectively, these vigorous articles call for “drastic new thought and action in furtherance of a new era in librarianship.” Especially compelling are Arkadii Solokov’s “Waiting for Perestroika,” which traces the history of the profession through 70 years of Communism, and G.S. Galiullina’s “The Library with a Human Face,” which examines the psychology of post-Soviet citizen-readers and librarians. Recommendation-This masterly compendium “must be the most exciting book on library practice to have been published in this century.” Reviewer-David Gerard Library Review, Vol. 42, no. 1,1993, p. 53-55 Recommendation-This anthology captures the excitement of the advent of glasnost for Russian libraries and librarians. The selection of articles is good and the translations read smoothly. Reviewer-Robert H. Burger College & Research Libraries, Mar. 1993, p. 184-85 *See also Mar. 1993 p. 47; Nov. 1992 p. 325


w Titles appearing for the first time in the Guide + Indicates a highly favorable review

the Journal of Academic Librarianship, July 1993