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British Librarianship and Information Work…

British Librarianship and Information Work 2001-2005

by J. H. Bowman

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British librarianship and information work 2006-2010
J.H. Bowman (ed.)
454pp, 2012, ISBN 978-1-4716-8352-7, £32, available from
John Bowman is well known for, amongst other things, editing the
regular British Librarianship and information Work review series
over many years. However, as he ruefully notes in his introduction
to this latest volume in the series, commercial publishers are no
longer interested in the series because of its modest sales, so he
decided to try the self-publishing lulu route. The result is
impressively professional – well typeset, virtually no typographic
errors, and supported by a very good index.
The book comprises 26 chapters, one by Bowman himself, with
each of the others by experts in their field, covering a wide range
of aspects of LIS work. Topics covered include type of library
(national, public, university, FE colleges, government, learned
societies, independent self-funded, art, medical and health, law,
music, news – but nothing on private sector special libraries, or on
prison libraries), by types of materials handled (rare books, maps,
local studies, official publications, patents), on techniques
(cataloguing, classification, indexing), plus a few miscellaneous
topics (studies on library and information history, services to
children, library buildings, information literacy, LIS research, and
an intriguing chapter on “from community cohesion to social
justice”, a surprisingly measured and careful account considering
it was co-authored by that well-known firebrand John Pateman).
There is a heavy emphasis on librarianship rather than information
work throughout. There is no chapter on the professional
associations (especially CILIP). There is also nothing on the
training of the next generation of LIS staff through university and
college courses.
One message that is consistent throughout the book is the
challenges posed by a tough economic climate for all libraries. It is
interesting to see how some libraries have risen to the challenge,
whilst others have been crushed by it.
The chapters are somewhat variable, with many being lengthy, indepth
and extremely well researched accounts, whilst there are
others (a small minority it must be stressed) that are short almost
to the point of being cursory. All the chapters were up to date.
Refer 28 (1) Spring 2012 Part 2 11
There are a few minor niggles, and two major ones about the
book. First, the minor niggles. The book could do with a list of
acronyms at the start; there are one or two minor typos, including
one amusing one (“one author who preferred to make his own
indexers” on page 412 – I presume it should read “indexes”); the
index incorrectly gives a knighthood to Professor Ian Hargreaves
(though he deserves one in my view). A few chapters ended rather
abruptly and could have done with a Conclusions section. There
was virtually no repetition of content between chapters, but one
chapter, on law libraries, had internal repetition, though curiously
the two repeated bits were supported by quite different references.
The chapters on types of content focussed largely on
developments in the creation, storage and delivery of that content,
but tended to ignore the role of those staff who handled such
materials; quite possibly little has been written on such topics. The
chapter on indexing and abstracting was heavily weighted towards
indexing, with virtually nothing on developments in abstracting
techniques or services. The chapter on research in LIS failed to
note the key role JISC has played in funding research in this field.
The first major criticism I would make is that the emphasis is on
the library side of the profession rather than information
management, knowledge management and the like. Peter Griffiths’
chapter on Government Libraries is the one exception to this,
where the two sides of the profession are given equal weight, and
the links between them is emphasised. The second major criticism
is that there was relatively little mention of Web 2.0, Google,
Wikipedia and the like – new entrants that threaten to disrupt the
world of LIS - in many of the chapters.
This is the first time I have come across a book published using
the lulu service. It is a hardback, has robust binding and is
excellent value for money compared to titles published by
commercial publishers. John Bowman is to be congratulated for
creating such an excellent well-edited book, which is
recommended to anyone with an interest in how UK LIS has fared
in the last few years.
Professor Charles Oppenheim June 2012
  ISGReferenceReviews | Jul 16, 2012 |
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This important reference volume covers developments in all aspects of British library and information work during the five year period 2001-2005. The book provides a comprehensive record of library and information management during the past five years and will be essential reading for all scholars, library professionals and students.… (more)

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